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Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver from Col. Colt to Gen. William S. Harney  -

Item sold by Gregg Martin Auctions on 11/14/2005 for : $9,647.50

Lot 3343 Detail

Rare and Historic Presentation Engraved Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver, from Colonel Colt to General William S. Harney, U.S. Army

Serial no. 59486/', .36 caliber, 7 1/2-inch barrel marked - ADDRESS SAML COLT NEW-YORK CITY -, left side of frame engraved COLTS/PATENT, Gustave Young shop engraved barrel, loading lever, frame, hammer, wedge, and steel gripstraps. Wolfhead motif on left side of barrel lug and on sides of hammer. Inside of triggerguard strap presentation inscribed in script: "Genl. Harney/with/Col. Colts Complts." Backstrap with two slots for attachment of First Model Shoulder stock. Select walnut one piece varnished grips.

Condition: Fair. Extensive pitting; steel with gray patina. Cylinder scene with traces only, including portion of marking of COLTS PATENT and serial number. Grips worn, dents and mars, and light filler on left panel. Missing sling swivel for shoulder stock from front of triggerguard. Replacement of approximately 10 screws.

Note: Presentation inscriptions seldom engraved on inside of triggerguard strap; by far the most likely placement was on the backstrap. Wording of presentation also of considerable rarity, in contrast to the more customary "with Compliments of Col. Colt." First style shoulder stock seldom observed. Revolver found in vicinity of Mt. Shasta, in Northern California.

Provenance: For background on the association of William S. Harney, U.S. Army, with Colonel Colt, see R.L. Wilson, THE COLT ENGRAVING BOOK, pages 5, 60 and 152. Pages 5 and 60 refer respectively to a Model 1851 Navy no. 7980 presented to General Harney by Colt, and 152 a Model 1855 Sporting Rifle (1st Model) also inscribed from Colt, serial no. 84. Both items in the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Page 5 refers to a presentation from Colt to Harney of a Paterson. Further details on Harney and Colt appear in the P.R. Phillips-R.L. Wilson PATERSON COLT PISTOL VARIATIONS, as well as in Wilson's THE BOOK OF COLT FIREARMS, pages 15, 26, 43, 58, 74-75, 79, 187 and 572.

See THE COLT ENGRAVING BOOK, volume I, page 126, for illustration of Model 1851 Navy no. 59492, also cut for shoulder stock, engraved, and similarly inscribed on the inside curve of the triggerguard, in this instance to Gen. R.J. Walker. The Walker revolver presented at approximately the same time as the Harney Navy no. 59486/'.

Colonel Samuel Colt's debt to William S. Harney, U.S.A., was substantial. Harney was an early and vocal supporter of Colt's firearms - from as early as the Paterson period - and was recipient of a select number of presentation arms. The earliest presentation to Harney was a Paterson No. 1 Pocket revolver, while Harney was in the Florida Territory, fighting the Seminole Indians. Extensive information on Harney appears in U.S. Army records, as well as numerous other texts, including Professor Howard H. Lamar, THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AMERICAN WEST.

Estimate: $15000 - $25000

Rare and Historic Presentation Engraved Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver, from Colonel Colt to General William S. Harney, U.S. Army


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