This revolver was manufactured in 1875, the year before the World's Fair was held in the United States for the first time in celebration of the centennial of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the Unite States. Fittingly, the Centennial Exposition was held it Philadelphia. The fair presented a tremendous advertising opportunity for American arms companies like Colt and Winchester. Both displayed elaborate exhibition arms and took in orders, including for high end deluxe arms. Colt's famous display was perhaps the factory’s most spectacular display in its history, and Colt's smaller pocket revolvers were highly represented given they were just the type of firearms suited to those living in and visiting the bustling late 19th century cities. This revolver is listed by serial number on the Oct. 15, 1877, ledger listing revolvers received by Henry Folsom & Co. from and returned to Colt that were previously part of Colt's famous "wheel" display at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. The listing appears to say this revolver was fitted with ivory grips at the time of the exposition, which may be a factory error. The display was built in Hartford specifically for the exposition and received a lot of attention both at the World's Fair itself and into the 21st century as collectors eagerly seek out the historic Colts that made up Colt's most famous display. It is shown in multiple publications about Colt firearms, including Wilson's books (for example, see page 172 of "Colt: An American Legend." The "wheel" revolvers were later loaned to the Henry Folsom Co. of St. Louis and were returned to Colt in October 1877. Some remain in the Colt Collection at the Museum of Connecticut History. The engraving was probably executed by Cuno Helfricht and consists of punch-dot backed intertwining vine scroll and floral engraving along with checkerboard patterns and diamond pattern accents. It is fitted the standard blade and groove sights, and a pair of smooth pearl grips. The barrel is marked "COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG. CO./HARTFORD, CT. U. S. A." The bottom of the grip frame is marked "38 CAL." Matching serial numbers are on the bottom of the barrel, rear of the cylinder ("755"), and left side of the grip frame, which is also marked "P". Includes a plain modern box labeled to match the gun. Provenance: The Don and Carol Wilkerson Collection
Extremely fine, retains 85% plus of the original nickel finish with a few scattered patches of light flaking/pitting, and 70% of the tarnished original gold finish on the cylinder with the balance mostly an attractively aged patina. The engraving is crisp apart from a small patch of pitting on the back strap. The grips are also very fine with a couple small chips/cracks on the right panel where it meets the frame. Mechanically excellent.
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