This is a good example of an early production Colt New Pocket revolver with a low three digit serial number in the 900 range. Production started for this Model in the year 1893 with 450 units manufactured that first year. This one is early 2nd year production and was built in 1894. While there isn't much finish remaining, this revolver originally had a standard blued finish with checkered hard rubber grips with the plain Colt logo. Caliber is .32 Colt with a 2-1/2" barrel and six-shot cylinder. The barrel has the early address with the 1884 and 1888 patent dates. That's always an important thing to look for on these early New Pockets as many have later production replacement barrels with the later 1900 patent date. The left side of the barrel is marked "COLT D.A. 32" while the side of the frame has the Rampant Colt with a circular logo around it that reads "COLT'S NEW POCKET".
The New Pocket followed the introduction of Colt's first large frame Double Action revolvers known as the Model 1889 Navy and Model 1892 New Army Navy. These were the first Colts with a swing-out cylinder (with most of these early ones going to the US Navy and US Army)...a design concept that is still found today on all modern day double action revolvers. The New Pocket was scaled down from .38 Colt to .32 Colt and was Colt's first pocket model using this design. The New Pocket was made from 1893-1905 with 30,000 units produced. The gun was well ahead of its time both mechanically and stylistically. Most casual observers would never guess this revolver was designed and produced during the early half of the 1890's. In fact, a slightly elongated version based on the New Pocket frame became known as the Colt New Police revolver. Teddy Roosevelt, a NYC Police Commissioner was so impressed that he ordered just over 5,000 New Police Models for his officers, becoming the first standardized service revolver of the NYPD.
Only the first 11,900 New Pocket revolvers qualify as pre-1898 antiques and while that's not what collectors would consider to be an overly small number, from personal experience, these can be unusually hard to find in the pre-1898 ranges. The dawn of smokeless powder age which became commercially available in the mid-late 1890's is likely one of the of culprits contributing to their low survival rates. They simply weren't designed to take on the higher pressures and sooner or later, they got fired with smokeless. Of the few we've located over the years which includes the test gun owned by the US Cartridge Company (also a low three digit number), a number have had later replacement barrels with the 1900 patent dates. Like the Colt Single Action, these early pocket DA's were built for black powder and it wasn't until the turn of the 20th Century that the NEW POCKET was sufficiently "BEEFED UP" to where it could handle these more powerful smokeless rounds. Well, that is my theory as to why there are so few on the market today. The good news here is that all of our searching has paid off and we have found another good early one worthy of a place in somebody's Colt collection at a fair price.
Overall Condition grades to NRA Antique Good that has turned to a fairly smooth brown patina with traces of original blue in the protected areas. 100% original with all matching numbers. Markings and edges are Good. Screws are all good. Hammer checkering is sharp. Original front sight is intact and has never been filed down or modified. At 124 years old, the action shows wear but still works in both Double and Single Action Modes. Bore is Good with decent rifling. Original had rubber grips have nice checkering with no chips or breaks. For one with an antique serial number and one of the first ones built, I'm amazed that such a fragile early black powder version survived all original and intact given the many years of use it received. This little gun is a true survivor and the grandfather to the modern Double Action Detective Special.