Colt Navy Revolver Serial # question

Discussion in 'Curio & Relic Discussion' started by Jiblin, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. Jiblin

    Jiblin New Member

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    Got a question regaurding the serial number. I'm almost certain it's an 1861 Colt Navy .36 Revolver. Has a rounded cylinder with a sailing ship scene on it with 'engaged 16 May 1843' on it. Also says Colt Patent No. 3148 on the cylinder with 'Pat Sept 10th, 1855' below that.

    This matches all the pictures and descriptions of an 1861 Navy Revolver, so if someone could clarify that this is what I have that would be great.

    But what is confusing me is the serial number. I understand there were some 38,000 of these made between 1861 and 1873. But the serial number for this revolver is 53148 on all parts of the gun.

    So what does this serial number mean? As in when would it of been made and its estimated value.
     
  2. BillM

    BillM Active Member Supporter

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    You sure it's not a 1851 navy? Round or octagonal barrel?

    53,000 would be 1856 in the 1851 navy range.
     

  3. Jiblin

    Jiblin New Member

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    ah, i was mistaken, it is an octagonal barrel
     
  4. BillM

    BillM Active Member Supporter

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    Well that sure changes things. They made like a quarter million 1851's.
    I'll give ya' a hundreds bucks for it, assuming it's in good condition
    and you are willing to deliver it.;)

    Seriously----don't do anything to it. Don't "clean it up", don't try
    to take it apart, NOTHING.

    Get it to a good reputable appraiser that specializes in old Colts.
    See if the Colt factory can provide a "Factory Letter" on it.
    Both of these will cost you some bucks, but it's money well
    spent.

    Depending on condition and provenance a 1851 Navy can have a value
    from a few hundred to many thousand.
     
  5. MyMilitaryYears2

    MyMilitaryYears2 New Member

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    Cabela's has the lowest price on them. MidwayUSA also sells them as kits. You can order them online.They are cool guns if you are into black powder and like to make clouds of smoke.
     
  6. raveneap

    raveneap New Member

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    There's a vast difference between the reproductions that Midway & Cabela's sells and the real thing. I saw a filthy, neglected 1851 Navy with provenance at a gun show going for $4000.00 - and there are many out there going for more than that.
     
  7. janikphoto

    janikphoto New Member

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    I think they are discussing the original colts and not the "reproductions" commonly found at cabela's. Speaking of those, I have been thinking about picking up a cheap kit. They look like fun...
     
  8. ScottG

    ScottG New Member

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    Also as a black powder gun, no forms or registration needed?
     
  9. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    As for Cabela's they have about the best prices you'll find. However the brass framed 51 Navy in .44 is a Pietta fantasy that Colt or nobody else never made.
     
  10. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    I have to ask...Where in the world did you get this relic? You obviously didn't buy it from a collector or you would have a rough estimate of the value. Is it a family heirloom? You must have an interesting story we would all like to hear?
     
  11. superc

    superc Member

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    Colt resumed making them (1970s?) because there was no law against cloning them back then and several companies were doing so and making money. Colt, when they too decided to make money off the black powder market started their serial #s right where the older ones left off. This really complicated things for collectors as a little burnishing or pitting of a critical number makes it really hard to tell an original from a 20th or a 21st century version. The good news is the old dies have by now completely worn out. Indeed there are books out there on telling the old ones from the Fabulous Fakes (can't really call the newer Colt versions Clones or fakes, as they really are Colts). There are subtle variations in the engravings, spectro analysis of the steels compositions will also reveal difference in the steels, etc. Then there is the issue of who actually makes which components, etc. Colt started using sub contractors for many parts way back in the WWI days and never really got out of the habit. Heck, they even had complete pistols made by competitors shipped to them just so they could stamp their name on it and sell it as a Colt, i.e., the 380 Pony (made by Astra). Buying or validating an actual authentic Civil War period pistol is an act that (should and often does) involve a lot of research. Just don't get too excited by a number is what is what I'm saying.