SOLD FOR: $7,735

General Edward Ferrero Inscribed Civil War Colt 1861 Navy Revolver, MFD 1862

Make: Colt

Model: 1861 Navy

Serial Number: 8145

Year of Manufacture: 1862

Caliber: .36 Caliber Cap and Ball

Action Type: Single Action Percussion Revolver

Barrel Length: 7 1/2″, Round

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a German silver blade fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch in the hammer spur, visible when cocked.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one-piece smooth walnut. The grip has minor handling wear with a few light marks and some thinning finish. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grip is in excellent condition as ANTIQUE

Type of Finish: Blue, Case Color & Silver-Plated Brass

Finish Originality: Original, serial-matching.

Bore Condition: The bore is gray. The rifling is well defined, sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There is light erosion scattered through the bore with some patches of more moderate-severe erosion and pitting. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 4 or 5 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 20% of its metal finish. There is some silver plate remaining at the top of the backstrap, the butt, and corners of the trigger guard. There is infrequent case color in well protected areas. The cylinder and barrel have infrequent remaining finish, having mostly worn or been cleaned to white. There are some tool marks and erosion around the wedge and loading groove. There are some scattered nicks and scratches. The action shows operational wear including some turn-wear on the cylinder, but the safety studs on the rear of the cylinder are intact. The wedge screw is missing. The remaining screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with useable slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in Good condition as ANTIQUE (see Mechanics).

Mechanics: The cylinder ratchet has a burr that catches the hand in one chamber position, preventing the hammer from being pulled back due to the cylinder stop still being engaged. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with minor play on each chamber. The barrel has minor play to the frame. The trigger is crisp. We have not fired this revolver. 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 Archives letter and a variety of documentation about Edward Ferrero, both photocopies of information from various publications as well as documents requested from the National Archives. The letter indicates that this revolver shipped August 29, 1862 to the United States Navy Department, Commander Davis, in Cairo, Illinois as one of 100 guns of the same type in the shipment.

Our Assessment: The Colt 1861 Navy revolver was an update to the earlier 1851 model, incorporating the round barrel and creeping loading lever of the 1860 Army. In all respects, it is a great percussion revolver, but it saw limited production for a few reasons. Limited numbers were procured by the Government as there were already large purchases of the 1851 and 1860 models. After the Civil War, the civilian market was flooded with surplus weapons, limiting demand for new guns. Colt’s factory had a disastrous fire in 1864, and by then cartridge revolvers were starting to hit the market. For these reasons, despite the quality of the design, there were fewer than 40,000 produced between 1861 and 1873 when the model was discontinued. It would, however, have an influence on the Single Action Army, which had a similar grip frame (though steel instead of brass) and would retain the 7 1/2″ barrel length for the Model 1873 adopted by the U.S. Army. This Model 1861 revolver is of particular interest for Civil War collectors as it is inscribed “Col. e. Ferrero” on the backstrap. In 1862 there was a Colonel Edward Ferrero commanding the 51st New York Regiment, later in the year being promoted to Brigadier General and Breveted Major General in 1864 for bravery and meritorious service. Outside of his military service, Ferrero ran a successful dancing school business in New York City. The revolver is accompanied by a large quantity of documentation of Ferrero including documents from the National Archives. This a wonderful piece of history which would take a prized place in a Civil War or US military firearms collection.