The fluted cylinder Model 1860 Army revolvers from early in production are among the most sought after of all Civil War era Colt revolvers and are a rare and intriguing variation in part due to the fact that some of these revolvers are factory documented as shipped to the South on the eve of the Civil War and even after shots were fired on Fort Sumter. Very few of these revolver's survive with much if any finish remaining as a testament to their Civil War use, but this revolver is in extraordinarily high condition and likely never saw use. Instead it has been passed down through over a century and a half in remarkable condition and gives us a rare opportunity to see what these revolvers looked like as they left the Colt factory as the country was torn asunder. The consignor also noted that, while Colt had indicated to him that no shipping records were available for this revolver, Charles Pate found records while researching his book "The Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver" that indicated this revolver was shipped to Colt's New York sales office, a common destination for many of the fluted cylinder Army revolvers. While others have estimated around 4,000 of these fluted cylinder Army revolvers were manufactured, Pate estimates that between 5,000 and 6,300 were originally produced. Some were changed by the factory to standard cylinders if they were returned to the factory which has limited the number that have survived. By his estimates, the 7 1/2 inch barrel on this revolver is actually rarer than the fluted cylinder as he estimated that only 2,800 Model 1860 Army revolvers had this barrel length. Regardless of the exact numbers, only a very small portion of the 200,500 revolvers manufactured between 1860 and 1873 were in this configuration and very few of them remain in high condition, let alone the outstanding condition of this revolver which is certainly one of the finest extant. This revolver was reported as found in a vault in an antique and coin shop in Colorado following the death of the shop's owner in the 1970s. It was then sold to another coin dealer before being sold to well-known collector George S. Lewis Jr. The revolver was manufactured in 1860 and has the distinctive blued, six-shot, fluted cylinder that defines this desirable variation. The cylinder is marked the serial number "964" in one flute, "PATENTED SEPT. 10th 1850" in another flute, and "B" on the rear by one of the safety pins. As noted before, the rare early production barrel is 7 1/2 inches in length rather than the later standardized 8 inch length, and it has a blued finish, German silver blade front sight, "-ADDRESS SAML COLT HARTFORD CT.-" roll-stamped on top, a casehardened "creeping" loading lever mounted underneath, a "P" on the left at the bottom of the lug by the frame, and the matching serial number "964" on the bottom. The brilliantly color casehardened "four screw" frame has the matching serial number "964" on the bottom at the front, "COLTS/PATENT" stamped on the left side of the frame, slightly projecting "fourth" screws, flush hammer screw head, shoulder stock cuts on the recoil shield, and a capping groove on the right. The hammer is also color casehardened and features borderless knurling. The silver plated brass grip straps have the matching serial number "964" at the front of the trigger guard and butt of the back strap along with "S" and "G" on the left side of the trigger guard and a slot at the heel for mounting a shoulder stock. The "piano" varnished Army sized grip. The revolver was not dismounted out of respect for the revolver's high condition but was previously confirmed to also have matching serial numbers on the wedge and the mortise of the grip. The revolver comes in a factory mahogany case with an early diamond key escutcheon. The interior has burgundy velveteen lining and is partitioned for a revolver and accessories. The case was originally fitted for an 8 inch barreled Army revolver, and a removable block was added at the muzzle to better fit the revolver. In addition to the revolver, the case contains a set of exceptional accessories, including a Colt Army flask with sloped charger, a blued L-shaped combination screwdriver/nipple wrench, a blued "COLT'S/PATENT" marked ball and bullet mold with a "D" on the right arm, several balls and bullets, an unopened Eley Bros. cap tin, two unopened cartridge packs marked for "COL. COLT'S PATENT/NEW MODEL/REVOLVING HOLSTER PISTOL," and the case key. Provenance: The George S. Lewis Jr. Collection; The Gary Minsey Collection; The Greg Lampe Collection
Excellent. The revolver retains 98% of the bright original high polish blue on the barrel with some minor flaking and brown patina concentrated on the right side of the barrel at the breech. The cylinder retains 96% plus of the original blue finish with some minor flaking and brown patina and strong original blue even on the front face and within the chambers and complete safety pins. The loading lever, frame, and hammer retain 98% plus of the incredibly vibrant original case colors and have minimal handling and storage marks. The grip straps retain 98% plus of the original silver plating which has taken on an attractive dark aged patina. Even the wedge and the screws retain nearly all of their bright original finish and have very minimal wear. The grip is also excellent has nearly all of the original varnish, some very slight edge wear by the heel on the left, and otherwise only the slightest handling and storage marks. Mechanically excellent. Aside from the horizontal crack in the case lid, the case is exceptionally fine and has mild scratches and dings and minor fading on the lining. The Colt flask, mold, and combination tool are all excellent with minimal age and storage related wear and nearly all of their original finish remaining. The unopened cap tin and cartridge packs are very fine and have minor storage wear. Overall, this is an extraordinary cased set centered around one of the absolute finest fluted cylinder Model 1860 Army revolvers extant, arguably one of the top two. Chances to obtain the best of the best are fleeting. Mr. Lampe spent a lifetime acquiring the best available, and this revolver is certainly a testament to his dedication.
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