Colt Model 1849 Percussion Pocket Revolver with a desirable Hartford Address, 6" barrel, and large trigger guard. This one has a great serial number in the 179,000 range which puts its manufacture date at the end of 1860. It's one of those Colts that was manufactured in the five month window between the time Abraham Lincoln was elected in Nov. 1860 and the start of the Civil War when the Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter in April 1861. During this timeframe, Southern states began seceding from the Union and taking up arms. As they lacked the industrial resources to manufacture weapons, the soon-to-be Confederates in the South were buying up all the weapons they could get their hands on from the North. That's not to say that a fair number of Unionists were not also taking up arms as well in anticipation of a fight. A great many of these Model 1849 Pocket revolvers, especially in the Hartford Address serial ranges were shipped to southern states. The belief here is that, when tensions began to escalate and the South began purchasing larger quantities of Colts circa 1860-61, there was disdain among Colt's southern customers for the New York barrel address where the Colt sales office was located. At the time New York City was regarded as the forefront of the abolitionist movement. Recognizing this as a potential problem, Samuel Colt had the address changed from NYC to Hartford, CT where the Colt factory was located. Once the war began in April 1861 and no more guns could be shipped south, Colt quickly went back to the traditional New York address. That said, these Hartford marked Colts...especially the late ones...get a bit more attention from Civil War collectors as they were produced during one of the most turbulent times in our nation's history...and have the possibility of having shipped south. The majority of the 1849's produced from 1860 into the early part of 1865 were purchased for the war. The number of ambrotype photographs of soldiers posing with these Colt 1849's leaves no argument that these were purchased by in great numbers by soldiers and officers on both sides. See photos.
Overall condition Grades to NRA Antique Fine. All matching numbers throughout including wedge and arbor pin. The octagon barrel has 25% thin original blue speckled across the flats mixing with a smooth brown patina. Frame has turned to mostly a mottled brown with strong traces of darkened case colors around the recoil shield and screw holes...about 10% overall. The balance of the colors have faded but still show shadows of mottling with patina mixing through. 10% case colors on loading lever. Cylinder has 95% of its original roll-engraved scene depicting the stagecoach robbery. Fine screws with many retaining portions of their original fire blue. Brass trigger guard has 90% original silver plating while the back strap shows 97% silver. The amount of silver left on the straps is exceptional for an 1860-61 era Colt. Walnut grips are nearly perfect with 95% original varnish and just a few light handling marks. Wood-to-metal fit is perfect. Nice mechanics. Bore is nearly Excellent with bright shiny lands and grooves with some light scattered pits. No rings or bulges. For an 1849 Pocket Revolver with an early Civil War Hartford address, this gun is in very nice condition.