SOLD FOR: $11,075.00
Make: C.B. Allen
Model: Elgin Patent Cutlass Pistol
Serial Number: NSN
Year of Manufacture: Circa 1837 (Flayderman’s, 7C-014)
Caliber: Approximately .41 Caliber
Action Type: Single-Shot Percussion Pistol with Integral Knife Guard
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “C.B. ALLEN / SPRINGFIELD / MASS.”. The frame has decorative engraving. The bottom of the frame, behind the trigger guard, is hand-etched “A 7 R” (possibly “A Z R”?).
Barrel Length: 4″ Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a brass blade fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch fixed to the rear of the frame.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one-piece smooth wood with attractive figuring. The grip has a few scattered light marks. There are no chips or cracks. The wood is well fit to the frame. Overall, the grip is in about Fine condition as Antique
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The smooth bore is bright with no erosion. There are some tool marks in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 50% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The barrel flats have scattered light finish wear and a few light marks. The frame retains some case-coloring with scattered light finish wear, mostly in the grip straps, and a few light marks. It appears that the front of the nipple-shield on the hammer has broken off. The screw heads are mostly sharp with one of the knife/guard’s mounting screws lightly disfigured with a useable slot. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock position. The trigger is crisp. The knife/guard has no play to the frame or barrel. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a black leather sheath/holster with brass trim and a series of photos and information about its previous owner (see Our Assessment). The holster has light tarnish in the brass trim with scattered wear in the leather, intact stitching and very light play between the brass fixtures and leather body, in about Very Good-plus condition as Antique. A toe-tag is included, marked “PROPERTY OF DOLPH THOMAS / PISTOL WITH ATTACHED BAYONET BOUGHT FROM A / SPANIEARD BY MR. THOMAS / MANUFACTURED BY C.B. ALLEN, SPRING#- / FIELD, MASS., IN THE ’50s.” (presumably mis-identified as manufactured in the 1850s).
Our Assessment: Capitalizing on the popularity of the fighting knife of James Bowie, George Elgin designed and patented his cutlass pistol, licensing its production to two firms, Morrill, Mosman and Blair of Amherst, and C.B. Allen of Springfield, Massachusetts. The pistols were quite advantageous as an arm of the time, as they could continue to be used as a weapon after or before the pistol’s charge was fired, not requiring the transition to a different weapon in between. Still, their production was quite low, and this smaller version even lower with only about 100 made, making this a rare pistol, indeed. Even more rare is one with the holster intact and in such good condition. This example, apparently by way of a purchase from a Spaniard, made its way into the ownership of a particularly interesting individual, Ulysses Adolphus Colfax “Dolph” Thomas. Dolph was a man born in 1870 in New Market, Iowa. He had a number of different careers as a farmer, carpenter, Deputy and later Sheriff of Sheridan County, Wyoming, and also became a Police Officer in Cody, Wyoming. Throughout his life, he would also supplement his income by working as a hunting guide, leading “dudes” on excursions in the Absaroka Range of the Rocky Mountains, supposedly including one “dude” in particular, Theodore Roosevelt. This pistol, as well as a Winchester 1895 and Starr D.A. 1858 Army in this same auction, were owned by Dolph Thomas and have been passed down through his family, even being pictured together as part of his collection on an included photo of Dolph’s collection, the photograph also including the holster for his knife-pistol. Dolph would lead a very interesting and busy life, still working as a driver for a logging company at the age of 68 when he died in an unfortunate accident in 1939. This pistol as well as the other firearms from Dolph’s collection are a wonderful example of arms used by a hard-working American who brought law and order, but also exploration and wonder to the American frontier. Please see our photos and take the time to view Dolph’s other firearms in this auction. Good luck!
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This antique percussion handgun can be sold in California.