James D. Julia

March 17, 2009
Fairfield, ME, US

More About this Item

Description: SN 1104. Cal. 44. Blue & case colored with unmarked 7-1/2" oct to rnd bbl, early style vertical rammer lever latch with tiny German silver front sight and no bbl markings. Bbl has two cracks about mid-point with a complete circular bulge. This damage is reported to have occurred from an overload during Navy testing and it is further reported that Mr. Colt upon learning of this damage was overheard to say that he would never make anything for the Navy again. It has usual 6-shot cylinder, 2-3/16" long with roll marked Ranger/Indian fight scene and a distinctive pressure ridge. Rear of cylinder has a single safety pin and the number "551" appears on a land between two of the nipple recesses. This indicates that this cylinder was salvaged from a Walker and was the 551st Walker revolver produced. Cylinder is still in the white. About centered on left side of frame is "COLTS PATENT" in an oval and appears to have been stamped over another "COLTS PATENT" stamping. Left recoil shield has a mortised 3-1/2" belt hook secured with a screw. Trigger guard is Walker style with short trigger and square back trigger bow with long angled shoulders. Rear edge of the frame is radiused for the corresponding Walker style grip. Back strap is silver plated iron of Walker design, fitted with a 1-pc Walker grip with heavily beveled bottom edges. Butt strap channel under the grip is marked "10" which appears to be an assembly number which is also found on the right side of front strap under grip, rear face of bbl lug, on inside of the belt hook, on top of cylinder pin and only a "1" stamped on the flat of the rammer. Further disassembly was not affected to check for additional numbered parts. Cylinder pin, which is also serial numbered to the revolver is made without lubricating grooves. Serial numbers appear on bottom of the bbl lug, wedge, cylinder, cylinder pin, bottom of forward frame, trigger guard and butt strap. This revolver was made as a test piece for the U.S. Navy at the request of Gen. John M. Mason, Jr. in a letter to Samuel Colt dated Sept. 21, 1847, wherein he states "I have an instant order from the Secretary of the Navy that you should make & forward to me as soon as may be, one or two pattern pistols for the Naval Service - I would advise to macke (sic) two of somewhat different patterns ---". "---I should think the present Army pistol, you are making or something like it with a hook on the side, to fasten it to the Seaman's belt, would answer the purpose ---" and signed "J. Mason, Jr." Pencil notations on this letter apparently in Mason's hand state "The hook must be on the left side of the pistol ---". Also written in Colt's hand above the date and city "2 arms delivered to Mr. J. Mason October 4.47 & by him to Secy of the Navy". Written on the reverse of the letter in an unknown hand is "No 1104 and 11--". The above information as extracted from the letters which appeared in the Dec. 2006 Man at Arms magazine in an article by Herbert G. Houze, noted author & researcher titled "Walker Colt Breakthrough, an Examination of Previously Unpublished Documents Relating to the U.S. Model 1847 Revolving Holster Pistol". A copy of this article accompanies this lot. Additionally accompanying is a very rare, full, sealed tin of Eley's caps with green & black top label & a gold printed blue wrapping with brown & white side label. Also accompanying this lot is the orig certificate from the Texas Gun Collectors Association Parade of Walkers, Spring 2003 in its orig red leather, gold embossed portfolio. Also accompanying this lot is a fine custom made mahogany & Plexiglas stand with a marquetry inlay border on the base. PROVENANCE: Dr. Joseph A. Murphy Collection. CONDITION: Exceptionally fine, all matching including wedge & grip. Bbl retains about 90% thinning glossy orig blue with a few small scratches and light wear with light peen marks about the left side rupture. Rammer handle & pivot retain most of their orig case colors, turned to dark with brighter colors on the pivot. Cylinder is still in its orig white with only slight discoloration and a full safety pin, retaining about 98-99% Ranger/Indian fight scene. Frame retains most all of its orig case colors, mostly faded to a smoky gray pattern. Hammer retains about all of its moderately faded orig case colors. Trigger guard retains virtually all of its lightly oxidized silver plating and the back strap about 90% orig silver plating with substantial bubbling. Grip has a chipped right toe, otherwise is completely sound with a few dings, mostly on left side and a worn spot on right side, retaining about 85-88% strong orig varnish. Mechanics are crisp, bright shiny bore with a few scattered spots of light pitting and the aforementioned ring. Cap tin is very fine with a few minor chips and regluing of the wrapping with the label showing light wear.  Altogether an exceptional and outstanding prototype Whitneyville-Hartford Dragoon. Stand is extremely fine. 4-36404 JR93
Request more information


Accepted forms of payment: Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer
Shipping: If you are the successful bidder and are unable to attend the auction in person or pick up your item, we will pack and ship your item for you. The costs for shipping include labor at $22 per hour, packing material and cartons, insurance at $0.55 per $99 valuation, and actual invoiced shipping charges.
Buyer's Premium
From: To: Increment:
$0 $249 $25
$250 $999 $50
$1,000 $2,499 $100
$2,500 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $49,999 $1,000
$50,000+ $5,000
Payment Information: All items are to paid for in American funds at the day of the auction. Non-residents who have not established an account with us and wish to pay by check, must do so prior to the beginning of the auction by presenting a current letter of reference from their bank or by providing references which are suitable to the auctioneer. Absentee & Artfact Live Bidders - Directly after the auction a bill will be sent to you for the items you purchased and a total amount due. This bill is due upon presentation and must be paid immediately. The auctioneer reserves the right to hold merchandise purchased by personal check until the check has cleared the bank, if the auctioneer deems such action necessary to protect his interest.
Shipping Information: If you are the successful bidder and are unable to attend the auction in person or pick up your item, we will pack and ship your item for you. The costs for shipping include labor at $22 per hour, packing material and cartons, insurance at $0.55 per $99 valuation, and actual invoiced shipping charges.
Buyer's Premium: Shall be reduced to 18% of the final bid price, to be paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. This is assuming the account is paid by check, cash or any equivalent of cash. If you settle your account by credit card the buyer’s premium then shall be the standard 20% of the final bid price which will be applied to each lot sold to be paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price.
Taxes on your purchase: State of Maine sales tax is 5% and will be collected at time of payment unless a current sales tax certificate is on file or if shipped outside the state of Maine.
Condition Statement: We have attempted to make a consistent effort in cataloging and correctly describing the property to be sold. The catalog descriptions carry a limited guarantee. It is a guarantee to protect you against major discrepancies that would have a major effect upon the value of the item. Under no circumstances do we guarantee against anything less than a major discrepancy that would have less than a major effect upon value. This limited guarantee covers authenticity. It also covers any major restoration or repair not described. Also we guarantee against fakes, reproductions or major fabrications. As outlined above, our guarantee is limited, however, it is almost unique in a business that operates “Caveat Emptor”. This is not a perfect system, however, and it is important to be aware of that. Our intention is to be as fair as possible in our catalog descriptions but it is virtually impossible to adequately describe an antique or collectible item that has been used and shows signs of wear. If you are a discerning, highly particular customer, it is virtually impossible to adequately describe an antique item that has been used and shows signs of wear. Imperfections, slight damages, handling marks, etc., are commonplace with antiques and with most buyers it is understood and accepted. If, however, you are a very discerning buyer and wish to know exactly what the lot is and if imperfections, handling marks, small alterations are something that are of great concern to you, then expecting mint or near mint condition, it is advisable that you not ever submit absentee bids here or at any auction house without seeing the item in person, since your definition of condition might be far more particular than what any cataloger would have time or space to specify. The entire purpose of our catalog description is to give our customers a general description and idea of what the lot is and we will stand behind that description regarding a major discrepancy only. If the discrepancy is less than major, under no circumstances would any adjustment or refund be made. This means that if you are purchasing a gun and find a small undisclosed surface crack in the wood or a couple of small chips in the wood that were not disclosed, it would not qualify for a refund. If however the stock were broken through the wrist, that would constitute a major problem and qualify for a refund. If a small in use repair were incorporated in an antique gun and overlooked in a description, it would not qualify for a refund. However, if the barrel were cut or the gun serial numbers did not match, but described as “all matching serial numbers”, obviously that would qualify as a major problem and subject to a cancellation. If the gun were described as excellent original blue and it was discovered to have been re-blued, it would qualify for a cancellation. In regards to assessments of quality or percentage of original finish; under no circumstances would we cancel the sale for a difference in assessment. If our cataloger states that the gun retains about 70% of its original blue on the barrel and in your assessment after you receive the gun you feel it’s actually 60%, a refund would definitely not be considered. However, if our cataloger stated that there was 70% original blue and it turned out that it was re-blued, that’s a major problem and it would qualify for a refund. As stated above, this is an imperfect system; the very best thing that a client can do is to attend the auction and view the goods in person or have an agent examine the things on their behalf. In lieu of that, should you elect to leave absentee bids, we will protect you on major problems, but under no circumstances will we cancel the sale for less than a major problem. The purpose of our guarantee is to protect our bidders from major problems that would have major effect upon the value of the firearm. It is impossible for us and it is not our intention to guarantee to satisfy everyone; it is important that one understands this before bidding absentee. Should the need arise, the auctioneer reserves the right to make verbal corrections and provide additional information from the block at the time of the sale. Absentee bids will not be executed on items that are found to be other than described in the catalog unless we were able to contact you prior to the lot being sold and advise of this discrepancy. If we are unable to reach you or if time does not permit, we will not execute your bid. Please Note: the only thing we guarantee is what is in print in the catalog and what is announced from the block at the time of sale. Absolutely nothing discussed over the telephone or in person prior to the auction shall be construed as part of the guarantee.
View full terms and conditions