SOLD FOR: $12926
Model: Frontier Six Shooter, 1st Generation
Serial Number: 202742
Year of Manufacture: 1900 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup), Shipped November 30, 1900 to M. Hartley Co.
Caliber: .44-40 WCF (Winchester Center Fire)
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.”, the left is marked “COLT FRONTIER SIX SHOOTER”. The left of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871. / JULY 2. 72. JAN. 19. 75.” and with a circled rampant colt. The bottom of the frame in front of the trigger guard and the bottom of the trigger guard at the front are each marked “202742”, the butt is marked “202 / 742”. The backstrap inlet on the grip has “2742” hand-written. The hammer slot has inspection mark “7”. The revolver has foliate scroll engraving with bordering around some features, sunburst motifs, and punch-dot fills in the negative spaces.
Barrel Length: 5 1/2”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a quarter round blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch in the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one-piece pearl with a steer head carved in the left side. There is some yellowish discoloration around the edges of the steer head, there is a grain-line crack on the left at the top-front of the backstrap and there are two grain-line cracks along the rear of the right side. Otherwise, the grips show minor handling wear. Overall, the grips are in about Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Nickel, Small Parts Blued
Finish Originality: Original to the engraving (see Our Assessment).
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 85% of its metal finish. There is some scattered minor bubbling in the finish, most notable at the muzzle-end of the barrel and in the backstrap. There is some scattered light finish loss, mostly at leading edges and on the loading gate. The areas of finish loss show discoloration from oxidation. The action shows operational wear including a thin, light turn-line on the cylinder, mostly not through the finish. The head of the cylinder pin has tool marks. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in about Very Good-plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with minor play on each chamber and barely perceptible end-shake. The cylinder has a removable bushing. The trigger is crisp. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This revolver comes with a Colt Historian letter confirming the original configuration. This revolver was shipped November 30, 1900 to M. Hartley Co. in New York, New York as the only gun of the same type in the shipment. The revolver was shipped with a “soft” finish, described in the letter: “The word ‘soft’ which appears with the finish indicates subject revolver was shipped without final finish for engraving outside our factory”. The letter has some scattered minor discoloration consistent with oil or cleaning solvent.
Our Assessment: Colt’s Single Action Army revolver is the iconic sidearm of the cowboy, lawman, and outlaw. It was also the canvas on which some of the most beautiful American art of the 19th and early 20th centuries was created. While Colt had their own in-house engravers, they would also ship guns “in the soft” to dealers who would then apply their own engraving and finishing. According to Graham, Kopec & Moore’s “A Study of the Single Action Army Revolver”, nearly all of these soft finished guns went to Winchester Repeating Arms, Schoverling, Daly and Gales, or Schuyler, Hartley and Graham with a majority of those going to Schuyler, Hartley and Graham. Schuyler would retire from the company in 1876 and the name would shorten to just Hartley and Graham by 1880, Graham would pass away in 1899, leaving only Hartley as owner of the M. Hartley Company. The company contracted much of their engraving work to Master Engraver Louis Nimschke, some to the Gustave Young family and the book speculates that engraving patterns indicate apprenticeship or even employment with Colt or their Master Engravers in the pieces engraved for Hartley and Graham. The book’s survey found that of all the observed revolvers shipped “soft”, only 6% had a 5 1/2″ barrel like this example. This revolver was shipped in 1900 where it was engraved and nickel plated for sale by Hartley. The revolver has made it through the last century quite well, retaining about 85% of its nickel finish with a nice bore and strong mechanics. The engraving pattern immediately evokes the old west with its sunburst motifs and punch-dot fills. A Colt factory letter is included, which combines with the overall beauty of the revolver to make a piece that no American with an eye for fine guns could resist, much less a Colt collector. Please see our photos and good luck!