The letter states the revolver was in .38 caliber with a 5 inch barrel, "soft" finish, and ejector when it was one of six shipped to Hartley & Graham in New York City on March 16, 1887, and further notes that the "soft" notation indicates the revolver was shipped without finish because it was destined for outside engraving. "Soft" guns are valuable because they represent revolvers destined for professional period engraving from the start. Hartley & Graham were the top dealers of the era and had top notch engravers work for them as is clearly shown on this revolver. It has stunning scroll engraving with beaded backgrounds along with dot and wavy line accents. The barrel length listing is possibly a misreading of the ledger or a recording mistake as the revolver has a 6 inch barrel that is clearly original to the time the revolver was engraved. The barrel has a rounded blade front sight, the two-line address on top at the breech, "COLT. D.A. 38" in a panel on the left side, and "38" on the bottom at the breech. The frame has the three-line patent marking on the left and a top strap groove rear sight. The trigger guard has "38 CAL" on the left side. The matching serial number is marked on the frame, trigger guard, and back strap, and the cylinder has the matching last three digits. The loading gate has the assembly number "104." The revolver has a pair of pearl grips. It is accompanied by a rare and very attractive tooled leather "Mexican double loop" holster. It is the same pattern as the El Paso Saddlery holster from 1890-1900 shown on page 113 of the book "Packing Iron." Provenance: The Gary Burghoff Collection
Very good with 30% period retailer nickel plating remaining mainly on the barrel, traces elsewhere, flashes of bright niter blue on the back of the hammer and trigger, mostly silver-gray patina on the balance, crisp engraving, and minor oxidation/pitting. The grips are fine and have mild handling and storage related wear, including some tiny flakes along the edges. Mechanically excellent. The holster is very fine and has beautiful floral tooling and fairly minor overall wear given its age, including most of the lining remaining. Overall, an attractive "soft" shipped and New York engraved Colt Lightning complete with a stunning period holster.
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