This is a nice early example of a Colt Root Revolver in .28 caliber with 3-1/2" octagonal barrel. Produced from 1855 thru 1870, the Root can be differentiated into seven distinct models with several subtypes. The serial number is in the 14,000 range and was produced toward the end of 1856, making it a Model 2. All Root Model 2's have 3-1/2" octagon barrels and came with .28 caliber bores like their predecessor, the Model Number 1 Pocket Paterson Revolver. To the best of my knowledge, the Paterson and the Root were the only two models manufactured by Colt with .28 caliber bores. The highly figured grips on this Root are simply outstanding with rays running perpendicular through the wavy layers of grain! What makes the grain really "POP" is the original amber varnish which has not darkened and remains a light reddish-orange hue. Several Colt Roots...both presentation grades as well as standard from the mid-to-late 1850's had grips made from the famous white oak tree known as the Charter Oak which fell in a storm in 1856. As much as I'd like to believe this is one of the Root Revolvers that Colt stocked with wood from the Charter Oak, the consensus among several collectors who've seen this gun is that they appear to be a high-grade of walnut...perhaps European. Other features include the Hartford Barrel Address with the "pointing hand" motifs with the "Cabin and Indian" theme for the cylinder scene. See Flayderman's, 9th edition, page 91.
Overall Condition grades to NRA Antique Fine+ to Excellent- with 90% bright original blue on the frame. The barrel retains approximately 70% blue with light wear and some freckles. Backstrap which runs from the rear portion of the cylinder pin down to the very front toe of the grips still shows about 75% original blue. The cylinder has perfect scene with 75% original blue mixing with patina and light wear. The hammer still has about 40-50% light original case colors while the loading lever has faded mostly to a silvery gray. The grips are Excellent, still showing 98% original varnish with only a few minor handling marks. No chips, cracks, or repairs either. The wood-to-metal fit is perfect but just to be thorough, we carefully removed the grips from the backstrap and found the serial number which is still visible and scribed black ink to be matching. The mechanics are in Excellent working order. Also, the bore is Excellent, still bright and shiny with perfect rifling. For a 150+ year old Colt, this one has survived in exceptionally nice shape and would be well deserving of an opportunity to be paired with an original wooden Colt Root case!