"COLT MODEL 1860 ARMY EXPERIMENTAL OR PROTOTYPE CARTRIDGE CONVERSION REVOLVER SN 114721. Cal. 44 RF. 1860 Army configuration with 8 rnd bbl, German silver front sight with the very rare engraved in script Sam. Colt in place of bbl address. It has 3-screw frame cut for shoulder stock with no notch in buttstrap. Frame, hammer, trigger guard & backstrap are engraved in late vine style, with full frame coverage foliate arabesque patterns with matching patterns on sides of hammer & remnants of wolfs heads on each side of hammer nose. Backstrap, trigger guard & sides of bbl lug are engraved to match. It has an altered front frame having had rebated step removed to a nearly straight line and hammer nose notch altered for the rimfire firing pin. Frame around the percussion hammer nose has had a plug welded in place and the rimfire notch cut. It has a rare straight cylinder with bored through chambers, slightly rebated for cartridge rims and no conversion ring on recoil face. The right recoil shield has been cut away as a loading notch. It still retains its orig percussion rammer. It has a silver plated brass trigger guard and iron backstrap with a wonderful smooth 1-pc ivory grip. The top of backstrap has a D inspector mark with no serial number on buttstrap indicating that it was probably a recycled, rejected military part. This is an example of one of the earliest Colt attempts at a large bore cartridge revolver. The Book of Colt Firearms, Sutherland & Wilson, on p. 212 describes another of these revolvers as experimental 44 rimfire revolver on the Model 1860 Army frame. That revolver had mixed serial numbers. The paragraph dates that revolver, and consequently this revolver, at circa 1868-69. Accompanied by a 2-page Larry Wilson letter detailing some of above information wherein he also states that the engraved bbl address of Sam. Colt is known on scarce few Model 1860 Army Colt revolvers of the post-Civil War period. This exact revolver is pictured on p. 266 of The Colt Engraving Book, Wilson, and was offered as Lot 149-17927 in the Summer 2001 David Condon retail catalog. In the evolution of cartridge revolvers, this one must rate near the very top. It undoubtedly is the progenitor of all the Colt cartridge revolvers that have followed for the past 130 plus years. The idea for this revolver ranks right up there with the Mason ejector rod which likely would not have followed without this rare revolver having been built. PROVENANCE: "The Colt Engraving Book", Wilson; David Condon Retail,Summer 2001 CONDITION: Very fine, all matching including wedge, cylinder is not numbered. Bbl retains about 85% glossy Colt blue with loss areas flaked, not worn to light patina. Cylinder retains 50-60% glossy Colt blue with balance flaked to light patina and a couple of small scratches. Frame retains dark case colors in sheltered areas being mostly a cleaned gray patina. Hammer retains about 90% thin glossy Colt blue. Trigger guard retains about 80% silver plating and backstrap virtually all of it orig silver plating. Grip has a couple of chips on right edge and has several age lines on bottom edges and retains a wonderful mellow ivory patina. Mechanics are crisp, bright shiny bore with scattered pitting. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a truly experimental Colt, one of the most rare prototypes extant. No one knows for sure how many of these rare revolvers were initially made nor how many survive today. This may be the only one of its type factory engraved. 4-32315 JR489 (15,000-25,000)"
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