This is a good US Navy marked Colt Model 1895 with a desirable pre-1898 antique serial number in the 18,100 range. Made in 1895, this one was early first year production and was sure to have seen service in the Spanish-American War in 1898. Standard 6" barrel, caliber .38 Colt, blued finish, and checkered hard rubber grips. It comes still in its original USN marked flap holster which has seen better days, but is still mostly intact.
Perhaps the most famous Colt 1895 issued to the US Navy was the one Theodore Roosevelt used during the charges he made with the 1st USV Cavalry, a.k.a. "Rough Riders", up Kettle and San Juan Hills. So how did an officer in the US Army get his hands on a Navy issued Colt? Well, prior to joining the US Army, Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The Colt was given to Roosevelt by his brother-in-law who recovered it during salvage work on the USS Maine after it mysteriously exploded and sank in Havana Harbor. Roosevelt, who was anxious to get into the war brewing between the United States and Spain over Cuba, resigned his position with the Navy and joined the Army to help his friend Leonard Wood form the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry. As Leonard's XO in the 1st USV Cavalry, Roosevelt carried the 1895 recovered from the Maine with him to Cuba with the Rough Riders and used it to kill two Spanish soldiers during the ascent up San Juan Hill. For his actions that day, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001. If you look carefully at the photograph taken of Roosevelt and the Rough Riders standing under the American flag atop San Juan Hill, you'll notice Roosevelt is carrying a gun on his belt in what appears to be the standard US Navy flap holster. In contrast, the second soldier to Roosevelt's right has a standard US Army holster with the Army-style strap going over the handle of his Colt revolver. Roosevelt's Colt was serial number 16,334. In spite of being sunk once, helping win a future US President the Medal of Honor, stolen twice and recovered twice over the past half century, Roosevelt's famous Model 1895 is still in existence and kept on display at his home at Sagamore Hill, New York.
This Colt is not far from Teddy's in the 18,000 range and within 2,000 numbers of Roosevelt's. Both are early 1st year production Model 1895 Colts. It's actually in much better condition than TR's and comes in an identical and original US Navy holster that Roosevelt is photographed wearing on top of San Juan Hill with the Rough Riders in 1898. Overall, the gun grades to NRA Antique Fine+ Condition with 60% original blue overall. The trigger, hammer, and several screws show strong traces of original fire blue. All matching numbers throughout which includes the bottomstrap, barrel, crane, frame, cylinder, cylinder latch, and the inside of the grips. Barrel has the correct patent dates running from 1884 to 1895. The checkered hard rubber grips are in nearly perfect condition. There was a small triangular chip (approx. 1/3") at the front lower corner of the left grip which was has been repaired so brilliantly that it's practically invisible. That is the only thing that keeps us from calling them EXCELLENT PLUS. The butt is marked with the serial number along with the Navy inventory number and inspector Nathan Twining's "NCT" stamp. Twining also inspected the Winchester 1895 Lee Straight Pull Rifles issued to the US Navy and US Marines. The left side of the frame, cylinder latch, cylinder, and barrel bear the Naval inspection mark, a small letter "C" surrounded by a star. Nice mechanics with an Excellent bright shiny bore with no pitting.
The original Navy flap holster that came with this revolver has been with it since new back in the 1890's. It is in relatively poor condition but mostly intact and has done a good job protecting the revolver. The flap is marked "USN" inside an oval border. It's missing the brass clasp on the flat and the seam has been restitched some years ago. The belt loop is coming apart but the aside from the clasp, it's pretty much intact.
While we search all over for Colt DA's with early antique serial numbers, one of the most challenging variations to find are these US Navy Model 1895's. The few USN marked 1895's we do come across are usually post Span-Am War with later non-antique production serial numbers. This one is not only antique, but it's 100% all matching, unaltered, and its in FINE+ condition still with its original holster.