Page 144 - Auction84-Book1
P. 144

      LOT 269
Desirable, Documented, Historic U.S. Artillery Model Colt Single
Action Army Revolver with Pre-Custer Battle Lot 5 Parts - Serial no. 5071, 45 LC cal., 5 1/2 inch
round bbl., blue/casehardened finish, walnut grips. This U.S. Artillery
Model Colt SAA revolver is accompanied by a “Letter of Authentication” (copy) by Colt
Single Action expert John A. Kopec. The letter describes the features and condition of this revolver, and the details of the Colt “Artillery” alteration and refurbishment. In the letter, Kopec notes that the revolver was previously listed in the survey he co-authored (“Cavalry & Artillery Revolvers...a Continuing Study”) and the frame
no. 5071 places it within the historic Lot Five (nos. 4500-5504) serial number range. In the aforementioned survey, the frame serial number 5071
is listed on page 271 among the known Lot Five SAAs now surviving as Artillery Models. Lot Five was one of the prime groupings of SAA
volvers issued to the 7th Cavalry from Ft. Abraham Lincoln on uly 2, 1874, just before the 7th departed for the Black Hills and
uster’s infamous defeat at Little Bighorn. Per Kopec, this revolver no. 5071 is in close proximity to revolvers nos. 5020, 5065 and 5099 which are “presumptive Custer Battle examples,” making for “a good chance that our subject revolver while still in its Cavalry configuration had also served with the Seventh Cavalry during the Indian Wars.” Kopec also notes in the letter, “This revolver has been recently assembled using these ‘Lot Five’ components by
a well-known ‘gun restorer.’ It had been previously presented to this writer for authentication purposes. Remembering well,
when we advised this gentleman, ‘We frequently encounter these Artillery revolvers with one desirable ‘Lot Five’ component,
maybe on some occasions with two of these ‘Custer’ serial number, but never with four ‘Custer related’ components being
found on one Artillery revolver.’”The frame (no. 5071), trigger guard (no. 5321), back strap (no. 4504), and barrel (no. 5142) fall
into the Lot Five serial number range (nos. 4500-5504). Note that the backstrap is only 3 digits away from revolver no. 4507
listed in General Alfred Terry’s diary as being his personal sidearm. Troops under General Terry’s command arrived after the Battle of Little Bighorn to discover the bodies of Custer and his men. Like the frame, the barrel number is in close proximity to “presumptive Custer Battlefield” host guns: nos. 5100, 5128, 5133, and 5180. Kopec states the grip has also been changed out since he last examined the revolver. The cylinder, barrel, trigger guard and back strap were inspected by O.W. Ainsworth and are stamped with his “A” inspection mark. The frame has the “US” marking. With a wooden French cut case containing a cleaning rod and “L” shaped screwdriver.
CONDITION: Fine with substituted parts (see above). 60% arsenal refurbished blue finish remains on the barrel and ejector rod housing, 50% blue finish remains on the cylinder and strong amounts of blue remain around the trigger, otherwise thinned to a smooth brown patina. The back strap retains hints of blue finish with a smooth dark brown patina on the balance. 40% of the case colors remain on the hammer and frame. The grip is very good with a few hand marked initials, high edge wear and minimal minor handling marks. Mechanically excellent.
Estimate: 6,500 - 9,500
LOT 270
Extremely Rare and Highly
Desirable U.S. Smith & Wesson .38 Safety Hammerless Army Test Double
Action Revolver - Serial no. 41458, 38 S&W cal., 6 inch solid rib bbl., blue
finish, hard rubber grips. There were only 100 of these .38 Safety Hammerless
revolvers sold to the U.S. Government in May of 1890, making these one
of the most difficult and desirable of all U.S. contract arms. The revolvers are
Third Models, but they are in the Second Model serial number range, 41333 -
41470 (note serial number of this revolver). The revolver has the push button barrel release, two-line address/
patent dates on the top of the barrel rib and is marked ‘’U.S.” on the left side of the barrel lug. Casehardened
trigger, five-shot fluted cylinder and checkered hard rubber grips with S&W logos at the top. Matching serial
numbers are on the butt, right grip panel, cylinder, and barrel.
CONDITION: Fine, retaining 50% original blue finish with a smooth brown patina on the balance. The grips are also fine with some minor handling marks and overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. A U.S. Smith & Wesson .38 Safety Hammerless Army Test Revolver missing from even the most advanced public or private collections.
Estimate: 6,000 - 8,500
  re J C
           Collector’s Fact
One of only 100 Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless revolvers sold to the U.S. Government.

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