This old Navy Colt just came from right out of the woodwork (not a collection) here in Georgia. Its a standard 4th model with large brass trigger guard, .36 Caliber, 7 1/2 in. octagon barrel and Hartford Barrel Address. 100% all matching numbers throughout including wedge and arbor pin. Its in the mid-90,000 serial range is consistent with Southern-bound purchases of Colt 1851 Navy's in the months preceeding the Civil War. The 76 year old former owner mentioned this revolver was found near the city of Savannah 40 years ago. While we have no family history to it (past 40 years ago) but the owner had a story as to how this was discovered...too interesting to be made up. Call or write and we'll be happy to share it.
As many of you know, the months following Lincoln's election in the fall of 1860 produced a number of large arms purchases from Southern states including a number of Colt 1860 Full Fluted Army Revolvers and Colt 1851 Navy Revolvers. Most of these have been turned up from the 90,000-100,000 serial ranges. The Serial number on this one is right there in the 97,000 range which places its production just before the end of 1860. The dark brown patina coupled with nice wood grips still showing original varnish is consistent with a Southern gun...all tell-tale signs of having spent many years living in a hot and humid climate. The barrel has the Hartford Address which is a bit of a story on its own. Many collectors feel that Samuel Colt, who was not only a great inventor but a shrewd businessman, altered his barrel address political reasons. Its been theorized he changed the New York business address located on the barrel of all Colt Revolvers over company's mfg base at Hartford, CT to appease his Southern pro-secession customers. At the time of Lincoln's election, many Southerners regarded New York City as a the center of the Abolition movement. Whatever the case, by April 1861 when the Civil War began, Colt had once again changed the address back to New York as he began to supply Colts to his Northern customers. This is one of those Colts that fits into that late 1860 to early 1861 Hartford Address window.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Very Good with metal that has turned to a smooth brown patina. Slight traces of original blue around the front sight and wedge retaining screw. Trigger guard still has 35% original silver plating with traces of silver on the flange of the backstrap. Nice markings, very good edges, and fine screws throughout. Numbers are all matching which includes the frame, barrel, cylinder, trigger guard, back strap, loading lever, wedge, and arbor pin. Cylinder shows 75% original Naval scene. Original Walnut grips are in Fine condition still showing about 50% thinning original varnish. Perfect wood to metal fit with not even so much as a chip missing from the corners of the butt. Action works nicely. Bore is Good overall...un-cleaned with strong rifling and dark grooves. A very good example of a Hartford-marked Colt 1851 Navy that shipped South for the Civil War.