I don't think this is an original 1851 1st Model Colt. The serial numbers are too spaced out and the fonts don't look right.
I have a 2nd year of production (serial number 4338) 2nd model and they used a "broken" "4" on the serial numbers. The Left part of the horizontal part of the "4" is missing. I see this on very early 1851 Colts on the web.
What Colt did in the 1900 is take old parts of 1851 colts lying around (New Old parts) and built a few hundred guns. You can tell since they errased any numbers (filled them off) and renumbered with a type of font that is more modern. This gun looks rusted (just 1 day in a mist can do that!!!) but the plating of the silver looks good.
Take the gun apart with good GUN SCREW DRIVER SET and see the inside of the brass. The MILLED the brass in the 1850's to 1900. Replicas, they Cast the brass.
Still, $2000 is a good price. I would "restore" the gun but some people don't believe in that.
I looked at the images... sure looks like a real LEGIT 1851 (made in 1850) 1st Model Navy Colt. The Reason, the "4" on this has one part missing.... just like my 2nd Model Original Colt (serial number 4338). On parts of my gun, the "4" looks like exactly like this
1st model. Probably worth $6000 US... needs some cleaning but many dealers don't like fixing or restoring a gun. Just coat it with nice gun oil.
If it is legit, and you want it to keep it's value, I would not restore it (not sure how collectors feel about restorations), and do not clean it. IIRC, collectors usually want that patina. Take that away, and it loses value. I'm not sure about taking the rust off of it though. It would be really easy to take off too much, and take of some of the patina.
I'd bet it's real though the polished plated brass bothers me a tad. Hope it's real 'cause we need to know another has surfaced. Yeah! Get a letter from the family you bought it from showing the timetable, names, places and situations as provenance -- it will probably increase the gun's value especially if you can figure out how it got to Australia, and when. Live in hope. If there's a "Colt" that even does histories anymore I know they were charging a fortune eventually...
Last edited by HockaLouis; 04-07-2012 at 08:51 PM.
Hello everyone and thank you for your interest. I have had it checked by a number of experts both in Queensland and Victoria in Australia. The gun is real and original, from what we can tell the wedge is a replacement and so is the loading leaver and ram. It looks like maybe a 100 years ago the leaver was lost and a local gunsmith made a replacement. The screw for the leaver may also be a replacement. The guys I showed the gun to weren't too bothered about the replacements as they were so old and part of the history of the gun. I would like to find an original series 1 leaver and wedge if possible but will keep the replacements with the gun as it is part of its history. If anyone has these parts please let me know.