Offered here is an extreme rarity in Colt SAA collecting as it is one of only 10 standard frame Bisleys chambered in .38 S&W (See David Brown's "The 36 Calibers of the Colt Single Action Army," page 166). You are certainly looking at one of the rarest First Generation SAAs to come out of the Colt factory! "The [.38 S&W] cartridge is one of the lightest loads available in .38 caliber factory ammunition," wrote David Brown in "The 36 Calibers of the Colt Single Action Army," "and the heavy frame of the Colt Single Action combines with this light loading to permit extra accuracy." The .38 S&W caliber was only available on special order, and its extreme rarity means that SAAs in this caliber are often missing from even the most prestigious collections. The accompanying factory letter confirms the 7 1/2 inch barrel in .38 S&W and blue finish with the type of stocks not listed. The letter also states the revolver was shipped to H. Van W. Myer (address not available) on August 28, 1901. This was a single gun shipment. It is rare for us to catalog a SAA being shipped to an individual. H. Van W. Myer of Newark, New Jersey, was a prominent engineer who was granted several U.S. patents. By 1901 he was wealthy enough to own a summer home in Madison, New Jersey, where he raised and traded in fine horses. The barrel has the one-line Hartford address on top and has the correct model/caliber designation ("(BISLEY MODEL) FOR 38 S&W CTG.") on the left side. The left side of the frame has the standard two-line patent dates followed by an encircled Rampant Colt. Both grip panels are marked with the matching partial serial number "3993" on the back. The matching full serial number "213993" appears on the frame, trigger guard, and back strap. The period leather holster has a wonderful floral tool pattern covering the front body. Provenance: The Gary Burghoff Collection
Very good, displaying a classic as found patina on a well-traveled Bisley while retaining traces of original blue finish in the sheltered areas, especially on the barrel under the ejector rod housing, and silvered out original case colors. The heavily worn grips show similar character and are also in good condition for spending a lifetime in a holster and in a hand. Mechanically needs work as the third click is absent; otherwise, the action functions properly. The holster is very good with overall tight stitching. This original Colt Bisley Revolver in .38 S&W with all the hallmarks of authentic use is an extreme rarity in Colt collecting. It will be a long time before you see another example.
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