Colt 1851 Navy 1st Model

Discussion in 'Blackpowder & Musket' started by Ozasia, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Ozasia

    Ozasia New Member

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    Hello everyone,
    I recently acquired an 1851 Colt Navy in what I would call very good condition. I believe this gun to be a first model. The reason I say this is its serial number is 492, it has a square trigger guard and the locking screw is below the wedge. I believe only there may have been only 800 of this model made prior to the 2nd model.
    It has a 7 ½ inch barrel measured to the cylinder
    It is USA New York manufactured gun with “ADDRESS SMAL COLT NEW YOUR CITY” on the top of barrel. There is surface rust all over the steel components which would clean off but I’m loath to touch it in fear of reducing its value. The engraving on the cylinder seems good and not rubbed off but is obscured by the surface rust. Everything seems fine mechanically . It is stamped “COLT’S PATENT” on the left hand side. All serial numbers match and the silver on the grip guard is about 95% (the base metal looks to be brass). Although the walnut grips are in good condition they are dirty and show little to no varnish. The only possible problem I see is that the pivot that joins the lever and plunger seems to be a pin and not a screw and there may be a small crack in that area on one side of the pivot. The pin could be a situation where the head of the screw has been filed off or perhaps the 1st model used a pin- I would appreciate help here. I can provide photos to anyone who is interested.
    I do intend to get a letter from Colt in the near future. I know valuation is a difficult question but a knowledgeable ball park figure would be appreciated. I believe this gun has been in the same family for about 60 years and know nothing about it before that.

    Oh just to let you know I'm in Australia so information is limited here.

    Thank you in advance

    Grant
     
  2. Ozasia

    Ozasia New Member

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    Here are a couple of photos
     

    Attached Files:


  3. Ozasia

    Ozasia New Member

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    Oh come on, I can't believe nobody here at this wonderful site can't add something to my post. Pleeeease help even if it is just a little and thank you.
     
  4. Reinhard

    Reinhard New Member

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    hi Ozasia, I need better pics of the barrel adress and srial nmbrs,something fishy about this gun(no expert here ,just my opinion) ,it could be a replica that's been worked to give it that "been there " look,the verry heavy pitting and overal condition of this gun does not add up with the condition of the backstrap and grips,further the serial range of the first model navy(with square backstrap) are between 1 and 1250 ,so that makes this one the rarest version of the 51 navy,and I am very currious on howmuch you payed,Flayderman valued the gun 5000$ -32.500$,I I don't think that Colt can provide a letter for this early guns.I would take the gun apart and clean with gun oil ,but I am sure that other memebers have better suggestions
    sorry mate that it took a while for any reply ,.....that Pleeeeease sounded like a real cry for help;)
    sheers,
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  5. Ozasia

    Ozasia New Member

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    Hello Reinhard,

    Thank you very much for your reply I appreciate your time. I bought it from a close friend of my brothers who got it when his father died about 3 years ago. it was part of his fathers possessions and according to the guys cousin it actually belonged to his grand mother before it was passes to his father. He has no interest in guns and was simply glad to get rid of it. I paid $2000. The photos do not do the gun justice. I have found a couple of local (in Australia) experts, one currently writing a book on colts in Australia. Both have said it is genuine but they only have had the photos to go by, although I will be showing it to one of them in the next couple of weeks. The other guy is about 1100 miles away an I will be seeing him about mid September and he is interested in including it in his book. I hope the extra photos are provide a better view.

    Thanks again

    Grant
     

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  6. Ozasia

    Ozasia New Member

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    I wasn't able to get a good photo of the barrel address as my camera isn't good enough but I'll try over the next week with the assistance of my brother's camera. Hope the attached photo helps.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

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    Nice pistol. I have nothing to add as I am no expert on those but I would like one someday.
     
  8. Hawg

    Hawg New Member

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    It looks good to me. It has the correct screw under the wedge unlike later ones but the wedge is inserted from the wrong side. The screw head on the ram has been filed or broken off. It goes in from the right side unlike later models which go in from the left.
     
  9. Reinhard

    Reinhard New Member

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    no doubt that the gun is original, and $2000 is a good price, I would pay that money anny day,I was thinking in the region of $3500-$4000, congrats you did well
     
  10. Ozasia

    Ozasia New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies I knew this site was full of good people.
     
  11. Paymaster

    Paymaster New Member

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    1st Issue 1851 Colt

    Hello Sir,

    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.
     
  12. Paymaster

    Paymaster New Member

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    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.


    Arthur Henrick- Paymaster.
     
  13. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker New Member

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    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.
     
  14. HockaLouis

    HockaLouis New Member

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    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: Apr 7, 2012
  15. Ozasia

    Ozasia New Member

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    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.

    Thank you all again.