Original London Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver Manufactured in 1855 with British Proofs - Matching Serial 40194
Original Item: Only One Available: This is a very nice and interesting LONDON COLT NAVY marked percussion .36 caliber revolver, in truly excellent shape. It has some scattered old pits but otherwise it is a crisp and most attractive revolver. The Naval Battle Cylinder scene is still much apparent, as is the COLTS PATENT marking on the frame. The revolver also shows MATCHING NUMBER # 40194 on the Barrel, Grip, Frame, Cylinder, Loading Rammer, and trigger guard. The Cylinder axis pin is marked 194, and the barrel wedge 0194, shortened versions of the full number. This is definitely what we consider an "All Matching" example.
The top of the barrel marking on this example is still clear:
- ADDRESS COL. COLT LONDON -
Actual production started in 1852 in London and stopped at the end of 1855. Thereafter LONDON Marked Colt Revolvers were prepared in the United States and shipped over as required, the serial number ranging from about 15,000 at the close of the London production line and in 1856 around 40,000 for those made in the U.S. for the London market with London Markings. This revolver bears London Proof Marks but is a RARE LONDON marked Navy made in the U.S., though there is some confusion over the exact serial number ranges, so this could have been made in London. Rock Island Auction house recently sold a very similar revolver to this, which went for over $3000: https://www.rockislandauction.
The cylinder shows British Proof marks to each chamber, Crown over V for "viewed". It also has the standard Crown over P and Crown over CP from the London Proof House, on the side of the barrel, though they are quite faded.
In splendid shape, the grips look both wonderful and totally original, still retaining much of the original "Piano Varnish" finish that was applied to London Colt grips. The revolver cycles correctly, with a strong trigger pull and good cylinder lock up. As with any revolver of this age though, it can be finicky. The bore has clear lands and grooves, and a partly bright finish.
The revolver nice and tight and a credit to any Collection. Ready to display!
History of the 1851 Navy Colt Pistol:
The Colt Revolving Belt Pistol of Naval Caliber (i.e., .36 cal), later known as the Colt 1851 Navy or Navy Revolver, is a cap and ball revolver that was designed by Samuel Colt between 1847 and 1850. Colt first called this Revolver Ranger model; but the designation Navy quickly took over. It remained in production until 1873, when revolvers using fixed metallic cartridges came into widespread use. Total production numbers were exceeded only by the Colt Pocket models in concurrent development, and numbered some 250,000 domestic units and about 22,000 produced in the Colt London Armory.
The cylinder of this revolver is engraved with a scene of the victory of the Second Texas Navy at the Battle of Campeche on May 16, 1843. The Texas Navy had purchased the earlier Colt Paterson Revolver, but this was Colt's first major success in the gun trade; the naval theme of the engraved cylinder of the Colt 1851 Navy revolver was Colt's gesture of appreciation. The engraving was provided by Waterman Ormsby. Despite the "Navy" designation, the revolver was chiefly purchased by civilians and military land forces.
Rare and seldom encountered, the London Colt revolver was made in very limited production. Quantities total some 42,000 London pieces of all variations. Serial numbers are recorded in the following ranges: 17,000, 24,000 34,000, 37,000, and 39,000. Samuel Colt designated the term "Navy" to imply the caliber (.36) of the weapon, as he did with its later and heavier companion, the Colt Model 1860 Army (.44 caliber).
Year of Manufacture: 1855
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 7 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 13 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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