Page 145 - 4090-BOOK1
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LOT 156
Absolutely Spectacular Factory Exhibition Engraved, Gold Plated and Casehardened Colt New Line .41 Spur Trigger Revolver with Desirable “Pipe” Style Case - NSN, 41 RF cal., 2 1/4 inch round bbl., gold/casehardened finish, antique ivory grips. Colt’s “New Line” revolvers were introduced in 1873 alongside their legendary Single Action Army revolver. These smaller pocket revolvers were intended both as a companion piece or backup to the Single Action Army, but also to appeal to a more urban oriented clientele that had little interest in carrying a full-size holstered revolver regularly. While the New Line of revolvers saw initial success, by the late 1870s production of most of the variations had ended, due in part to a plethora of very similar, often cheaper, pocket revolvers on the market. One of the most famous Colt advertisements of this range of revolvers was their “wheel display” at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where they displayed a broad range of their offerings, particularly the New Line, most of which were highly embellished with deluxe finishes. Some of the guns from the display were sent to Henry Folsom & Co. after the exposition, and as such a partial list of revolvers in the display exists, documenting them by serial number. This unique example certainly shows the masterfully executed factory engraving and
deluxe finishes that many of those “wheel” revolvers displayed, however, this example is uniquely unserialized. While it is difficult to document this revolver to the Centennial Exposition, or any other specific event, the exhibition grade engraving and finish of this revolver, as well as the lack of a serial number, suggest that it was specifically made for advertising and display, likely at one or many of the large trade shows of the period. There are also examples from the period of Colt providing highly embellished arms to the high end retailers of the time to display in their stores as an eye- catching example of the high level of craftsmanship the company was capable of, and regardless
of where this specific revolver was displayed, it is certainly eye catching. The only factory markings on the revolver is the standard two-line address on top of the barrel. 75% of the surfaces feature masterfully executed vine and scroll engraving on a punchdot background, much like the style featured on many of the “wheel display” revolvers. The barrel and cylinder are gold plated, while the frame is casehardened and the small parts are finished in nitre blue. It is fitted with a blade front sight, frame top groove rear sight, and a pair of smooth antique grips. Included with the revolver is a desirable brown leather wrapped “pipe” style case.
CONDITION: Excellent, retains 90% plus of the original gold finish, 85% of the original casehardened finish, and 70% of the original nitre blue finish with some scattered patches of mild flaking on
the gold surfaces, showing a brown oxidation and otherwise crisp engraving overall. The grips are very fine with a few hairline stress lines visible around the screw on the left panel, which also shows an attractively aged tone. Mechanically excellent. The case is fine with mild handling/storage wear. Very difficult to improve upon this spectacular Colt New Line!
Provenance: The George S. Lewis Jr. Collection.
Estimate: 30,000 - 50,000

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