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LOT 3178
The Finest Known, Presentation Cased Pair of Factory Engraved, Consecutively Serialized Colt Third Model “Thuer” Derringers Pictured in "Colt Engraving" by Wilson -A) Factory Engraved Colt Third Model “Thuer” Derringer - Serial no. E26083E, 41 RF cal., 2 1/2 inch round bbl., nickel finish, antique ivory grips. Colt’s Third Model derringer was the first design for a derringer pistol developed in-house by
the company, with both their First and Second Models having been designs acquired from their takeover of the National Arms Co. The Third Model derringer was a total redesign which was done by a longtime Colt gunsmith, F. Alexander Thuer. Thuer is credited with three different patents during his time with Colt, the first for a metallic cartridge conversion system for percussion revolvers, the second for tools for reloading the cartridges for said conversion, and the third for these derringer pistols.
The No. 3, Third Model, or “Thuer” derringer patent
was granted on 12 July 1870, and the model would go on to become Colt’s most popular derringer model by far, being produced until 1912. The derringers were extremely popular in both Britain and North American, probably due, in large part, to the greatly expanding industrialized urban centers in both. Such highly populated areas led to increases in crime, especially mugging, leading to a strong desire for many to carry a concealed form of protection such as these pistols. By the end of production in 1912, approximately 48,000 of these derringers were produced, though consecutively numbered pairs with this level of embellishment remain scarce, especially in the extremely high condition these two show. It is very likely that this pair are the finest engraved, consecutively numbered pair in existence. This outstanding pair show the later production features such as the sloping hammer and the slightly more open grip profile. They both feature beautifully executed factory floral scroll engraving which encompasses approximately half of the surfaces and the small parts are nitre blued. They have the standard “-COLT-” marking in italics on top of the barrels.

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