Page 142 - 4090-BOOK1
P. 142

  LOT 155
Exceptionally Rare, Documented New Orleans Shipped, Factory Silver Plated Antique Colt First Generation Single Action Army Revolver with Rare Bridgeport Rig and Factory Letter - Serial no. 169221, 38 WCF cal., 4 3/4 inch round bbl., silver finish, hard rubber grips. The accompanying factory letter lists this SAA with a 4 3/4 inch barrel in .38-40 caliber, silver plating and hard rubber grip when shipped to A. Baldwin & Co. of New Orleans, c/o L.J. Smost & Son on February 13, 1897. Rarely encountered, highly sought after factory silver plating was a special order feature usually reserved for engraved specimens, making this example even rarer. Another non-engraved factory silver plated SAA (serial number 53684), for instance, was intended for famed lawman Bat Masterson. The barrel has the two-line Hartford address on top and “38 WCF” on the left side. The left side of the frame has the two-line patent dates marking followed by a circled Rampant Colt. Matching serial numbers are on the frame, trigger guard and back strap. The hammer screw is a special screw with an over-sized button head. The revolver is accompanied by a lightweight leather cartridge belt with the Flatau device which consists of a two-prong spring steel clip riveted to an arched rectangular back plate. The back plate is attached to the belt by four rivets. The spring clips engages the revolver hammer screw and attaches the revolver to the belt. The revolver can be quickly disengaged from the clip or swiveled and fired from the belt. The spring clip is stamped “BRIDGEPORT G.I. CO” and “PAT’D JAN 17. 1882.” The belt tongue is marked “34.” The rig was patented
by Louis S. Flatau of Pittsburg, Texas, in 1882 and manufactured by the Bridgeport Gun Implement Co. of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Approximately 500 units were manufactured for U.S. Army trial issue and were attached to Model 1874 saber belts at the Rock Island Arsenal. These devices were issued to infantry and cavalry units in the Southwest for troop trials in 1883. The Army determined that the “Flatau Pistol and Carbine Holder” was not suitable for issue and sold the remaining devices as surplus. A smaller number of the Bridgeport rigs were manufactured for the civilian market where it enjoyed limited success among those on the Western frontier. Surviving examples of Bridgeport rigs are extremely rare and very desirable on the collectors market.
CONDITION: Fine. The period modified barrel, has a counter sunk recrowned muzzle. The ejector rod housing, frame, hammer and grip straps retain 70% untouched original factory silver plating and traces of original silver remain on the cylinder, with otherwise mottled gray patina. The replacement grips are very good with a repaired left panel, a couple small surface chips, faint initials on the bottom and some wear to the checkering. Mechanically fine. The Bridgeport rig is fine with a smooth dark patina on the Flatau device and overall flex wear on the darkened leather. The stitching is tight. This could be the only factory silver plated Colt SAA fitted with Bridgeport rig in existence! A must have for any serious Colt or Western frontier collector!
140 Estimate: 7,500 - 15,000

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