SOLD FOR: $6031
Model: 1849 Pocket
Serial Number: 113522
Year of Manufacture: 1856 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .31 Caliber Ball
Action Type: 5-Shot, Single Action Percussion Revolver
Barrel Length: 4”, Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a brass post fixed to the barrel at the muzzle, the rear sight is a “V” notch in the hammer, visible when cocked.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one-piece smooth ivory. The grip has discolored with age and handling showing some scattered light nicks and scuffs. There is a small hole in the bottom on the right which appears to be a natural feature of the material. Overall, the grip is in Fine-plus condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue, Case Color & Silver Plate
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling is generally sharp. There is scattered light erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 35% of its metal finish. Most remaining finish is in the unengraved flats of the barrel with some other scattered remaining blue. There is some case color in protected areas such as the top of the loading lever and on the portion of the frame protected by the cylinder. The grip frame has lost silver finish on the side flats and the backstrap, with some remaining silver plate in the trigger guard, butt and frontstrap. Some of this silver has darkened with age. The cylinder has mostly gone to a light patina. There is some scattered minor surface oxidation. The wedge is tool marked on both sides. The action shows operational wear including a turn-line on the cylinder. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear with good detail in the engraving. Overall, this revolver is in Fine condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The barrel has no play to the frame. The cylinder locks up with very little play on each chamber. 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 in a wood presentation case which has compartments for the pistol, included Colt iron two-cavity ball and bullet mold, and American Eagle powder flask. There is a compartment for a tin of percussion caps, but no tin is present. No key is included. The bottom is coming loose from the body of the box and there is wear in the lining, most notable inside the lid.
Our Assessment: Colt’s 1849 Pocket was the company’s most popular percussion revolver with hundreds of thousands sold in a variety of configurations. They were frequently purchased for self-defense and even as personal sidearms by soldiers on both sides of the Civil War (Confederates, obviously, would have purchased them before the war broke out). It was also one of the more popular guns to be ordered with factory engraving, showcasing the artistic talents of some of the most accomplished engravers of the era.
This example is one such revolver, factory engraved with silver plate finish on the grip frame and factory ivory grips. Produced in 1856, this revolver is from the Gustav Young period with his distinctive style of engraving. Animal heads are incorporated on the sides of the hammer nose, the right of the frame and the left of the barrel. Unfortunately, Colt’s records for this pistol have been lost to time, so it is not certain whether this revolver was engraved by Young himself or by one of the other Colt engravers who frequently reproduced his style during this period, though we believe this one to be his work. The hand-engraved Old English script of the barrel address and hand-engraved “COLTS PATENT” marking on the frame characteristic of factory engraved guns. The apostrophe marked next to the serial numbers of the barrel, frame and trigger guard are characteristic of engraved guns equipped with factory ivory grips (“Colt’s 1849 Pocket”, Jordan & Watt, p200-201). The included presentation case has many characteristics of original cases, as well as having appropriate accouterments.
This is a beautiful example of how one of the most popular revolvers of the time could also be a canvas for one of the most beautiful pieces of art. With its factory engraving, ivory grips and presentation case, it will make a fine addition to even an advanced Colt collection. Please see our pictures and good luck!