Page 165 - 4090-BOOK1
P. 165

      LOT 187
Outstanding Factory Exhibition Quality Engraved Colt New Line .38 Revolver - Serial
no. 3768, 38 RF cal., 2 1/4 inch round bbl., nickel finish, antique ivory grips. This revolver was
manufactured in 1875, the year before the World’s Fair was held in the United States for the
first time in celebration of the centennial of the Declaration of Independence and the founding
of the United States. Fittingly, the Centennial Exposition was held in Philadelphia. The Fair presented
a tremendous advertising opportunity for American arms companies like Colt and Winchester. Both displayed elaborate
exhibition arms and took in orders, including for high end deluxe arms. Colt’s famous display was perhaps the factory’s most spectacular
display in its history, and Colt’s smaller pocket revolvers were highly represented given they were just the type of firearms suited to those
living in and visiting the bustling late 19th century cities. Unfortunately, this revolver does not appear to be listed on the Oct. 15, 1877, ledger
listing revolvers received by Henry Folsom & Co. from and returned to Colt that were previously part of Colt’s famous “wheel” display at the
1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. While the Folsom list is extensive, it does not even list half of the total number of guns that were
part of the display. Many New Line .38 revolvers with serial numbers around this one are listed including; 3752, 3755, 3761, 3767, 3773, and
3776. Furthermore, this revolver shows an almost identical level and style of engraving to others that are on the list and were part of the display. The display was built in Hartford specifically for the exposition and received a lot of attention both at the World’s Fair itself and into the 21st century as collectors eagerly seek out the historic Colts that made up Colt’s most famous display. It is shown in multiple publications about Colt firearms, including Wilson’s books (for example, see page 172 of “Colt: An American Legend.” Many of the “wheel” revolvers were later loaned to the Henry Folsom Co. of St. Louis and were returned to Colt in October 1877. Some remain in the Colt Collection at the Museum of Connecticut History. The engraving was probably executed by Cuno Helfricht and consists of primarily punch-dot backed intertwining vine scroll and floral engraving. It is fitted the standard blade and groove sights, and a pair of smooth grips. The barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. CO./HARTFORD, CT. U. S. A.” The bottom of the grip frame is marked “38 CAL.” Matching serial numbers are on the bottom of the barrel, rear
of the cylinder (“768”), and left side of the grip frame, which is also marked “E”. An included request for factory records on this revolver states that they were not able to locate any shipping information pertaining to this revolver, further reinforcing the writer’s belief that this revolver was part of Colt’s “wheel display” at the 1876 Centennial Exposition.
CONDITION: Excellent, retains 97% plus of the original nickel finish with a few scattered small patches of light flaking and crisp exhibition quality factory engraving overall. The grips are
very fine with a few scattered hairline age cracks, only the slightest handling marks, and an attractively aged tone. The hammer will not cock with the cylinder in place, but with the cylinder removed the action functions fine.
Estimate: 7,500 - 11,000

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