This is an exceptionally fine example of the Colt 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver with the desirable Hartford Barrel Address. It came from an old collection that goes back many years to a time when nice early Colts were much easier to find on the market. Late 1858 production made just prior to the Civil War. Serial number is in the 89,000 range with all matching numbers including cylinder and wedge. Hartford Navies have a strong association with shipments that were going to southern states prior to the war. Since the start of this website in 2004, we've offered a number of Colts with Hartford addresses including some very nice 1849 pocket models...but this is the finest Hartford Navy we've offered to date.
Overall condition grades to NRA Antique Fine Plus with 80-85% bright original barrel blue...the balance, a patina mixing through the finish. In other words, the losses are more due to 150 years of age than wear. This Navy shows surprisingly little usage. The frame is hazing over to a nice smooth patina...but still shows approximately 35-50% bright original case colors depending on how hard you're looking with the balance of the colors subdued under the patina. The trigger guard has 70% original silver plating which has never been cleaned and has oxidized mostly over to a dark pewter coloration. The back strap has approximately 20% original silver remaining. Cylinder has nearly 100% of its cylinder scene intact and has turned to a smooth brown patina with original blue still in the cylinder stops, protected areas, and even some inside the chambers. It also has all six of its original safety pins intact...something we don't see very often. The loading lever has 30% original case colors. Even the rammer shows 65% original blue...which is the first time I can recall having a Colt percussion revolver with a significant amount of original finish on such a high-wear component. The wedge also shows most of its original blue (see photos). The screws are also in very good to excellent condition with the majority retaining most of their original fire blue. Check out the loading lever and wedge screws. The walnut grips are in excellent shape with 95%+ original varnish showing just light handling marks. The varnish has done a good job of protecting the wood grain as it's still blond to light red in color, having never absorbed oil or dirt which darkens the wood. I've read somewhere that Colt used a couple of high-grade types of varnish on their grips...one was called Turpene (if my memory is correct)...that was basically composed of ground up amber. No chips, cracks, or repairs. Perfect wood-to-metal fit. The bore is in Very Good condition overall...mostly bright with strong rifling...but there are a some patches of rust mostly down in the grooves from where the gun wasn't properly cleaned after firing. I ran a brush through it and during the few minutes I spent, the bore improved significantly. With a little more effort, these spots will likely clean up even further as the majority of what I see is still "ON" the metal in the form of scabs of rust...not down in it. Mechanically, this Colt functions flawlessly. Barrel fits up to the frame perfectly with looseness or play. Judging from the overall look of this gun...it was probably only fired on one or two occasions and put away. All in all, just a very strong example of an 1851 Hartford Navy that has a great untouched look, lots of finish, and remains 100% original down to the smallest screw. Whoever ends up with this one is going to LOVE this Navy...it's a keeper!