Colt Navy 1851 with grips-gourd
This revolver is a Colt Navy 1851 made between 1851 and 1857 at the London factory and bearing the marks of the London Proofhouse.
It has the large round blued iron trigger guard and backstrap typical of the London Navies, and the hammer opening in the backstrap is a little longer than on the Hartford models.
BUT...it has to be considered as a "Hartford Model" because of its serial number higher than 42000.
The London factory has issued about 42.000 Navies, and when it closed in 1857, tools and remaining unfinished weapons were sent back to Hartford and sold later. So this revolver was finished and serial numbered at Hartford with parts made and proofed at the London factory. It was sold in the US around the year 1862, during the Civil War.
Very few of these Navies are known, and they are very desirable items.
It is the "4 screws" model, fitted with the same stock attachments as on the 1860 Army: 2 cuts in the recoil shield, flattened hammer screw head and two extra screws on both sides of the frame to hold the stock.
The canteen stock is a very scarce accessories, which was first used for the Dragoon . The basic idea was to convert a revolver in a carbine in a few seconds; but the idea was not very good accepted by the army (only 924 sold to the army in 1858).
Stocks for the Dragoon and Army model are scarce; the ones made for the Navy are extremely scarce, so finding one for a Navy, with removable canteen and with matching numbers, is almost a miracle.
To give an idea of the value, the Flayderman guide quotes the separate stock at the same price as the gun, even not matching...
Curiously, according to author James E. Serven, a certain quantity of those stocks were produced for Colt by the Massachussetts Arms Co; one may wonder when these were made, since that company was founded in 1851 and lost that same year a famous trial against Colt for infringements on his master patent, which allowed to extend the patent cover until 1857. Since the canteen stock was covered by patent n° 22657 of january, 1859, are we allowed to think that both companies had found a way to be friends again? Interesting question...
Whatever it is, this set - which is in excellent condition - must be considered as extremely rare.
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