Sold For: $4,576.65
Model: 1851 4th Model
Serial Number: 103899
Year of Manufacture: 1862
Caliber: .36 Cap and Ball
Action Type: Single Action Percussion Revolver
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA”. The bottom of the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard and the bottom of the backstrap are marked “103899”. The bottom left side of the barrel lug is marked “2”. The barrel wedge is marked “03899” on the bottom and the loading lever “3899”. The inside of the grip is marked “39”. The left side of the frame is marked “Colts / Patent”. The cylinder is marked “COLT’S PATENT NO 103899”, “ENGAGED 16 MAY 1843” and with a naval battle scene. The front face of the cylinder is marked “J”. “WHM” is scratched very lightly into the bottom of the backstrap.
Barrel Length: The octagon barrel is 7 1/2”.
Sights / Optics: This revolver is mounted with a grooved hammer and a brass bead front sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one piece walnut with a lacquered finish. There are two notches carved into the top right rear of the grip. The grips show oil staining around the frame and the bottom of the grip. The grip shows surface loss along the left front, the right bottom front and along the bottom edges on both sides. There is a compression mark at the right bottom rear corner and the middle of the left bottom edge, with several more compression marks on each side. There are no chips or cracks noted. The grips rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: This revolver has a blued barrel, case colored loading lever and frame, and a silver plated brass trigger guard and backstrap.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright, and the rifling is sharp. There are scattered spots of light erosion near the muzzle.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 60% of its finish. There is pinprick surface erosion on the rear edges of the barrel and the sides of the hammer, front edge of the cylinder and the spaces between the nipples, and very light erosion on the left front of the frame and the left rear of the recoil shield. The barrel shows frosting along its length, thinning on its edges, light compression marks along its top edges and numerous compression marks on the right side around the barrel wedge. The muzzle end of the barrel also shows surface loss with compression marks and light file marks. The frame shows handling marks on both sides and thinning on the lower edges and recoil shields. The backstrap and trigger guard show finish loss with light compression marks along the front strap, trigger guard and the front of the trigger guard at the frame. The cylinder shows thinning. Two of the screws on the left side of the frame, the screw at the front of the trigger guard, the ramrod and loading lever screw, and one of the screws in the backstrap are sharp – the others are distressed. Both sides of the barrel wedge show compression marks. The markings are clear, including the naval battle scene on the cylinder, and the case coloring on the frame and loading lever is still vivid with brilliant blues. Overall, this revolver rates in about Excellent condition for a gun of this vintage.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, with a very tight cylinder lockup. The hammer has a half-cock safety notch and the trigger pull is rather stiff. We did not fire this revolver.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: The Model 1851 was Colt’s prime medium caliber handgun in the percussion period of manufacture in Hartford. As one of the most popular of American antique arms, the Navy has come to be recognized as a collecting specialty of its own – the number of variants being considerable. The 4th model was the largest group manufactured, having a serial number range from 85,000 to 215348 when they stopped being produced in 1873. This pistol is in Fine condition with thinning on the edges of the barrel and surface loss on the trigger guard and backstrap. The barrel shows frosting, and there are few spots of pinprick surface erosion on the barrel, frame and hammer. This is a very collectable revolver that was made just in time to have seen service in the Civil War. It probably has a great history if it could be told, as evidenced by the two notches carved into the grips on the right side. We don’t see too many original 1851 Colts in this good of a condition, and those we do see are all made after the war. Serious collectors should take a very good look at this revolver.