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 LOT 3358
Fine Historic Cased Factory Presentation Engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket Percussion Revolver Inscribed to James H. Comfort in November 1855 with
R.L. Wilson Research Letter - Serial no. 108876, 31 cal., 5 inch octagon bbl., blue/ casehardened/silver finish, deluxe factory walnut grips. This stunning revolver was manufactured in 1855 and features classic Gustave Young shop factory engraving consisting of elaborate scroll and floral patterns with beaded backgrounds, “SAML COLT” inscribed on the upper barrel flat, “COLTS/PATENT” inscribed on the left side of the frame, the wolf’s head motif on the hammer, and the factory inscription “James H. Comfort/ Novbr 1855.” All of the visible serial numbers are matching, and the factory dot marking for factory engraving is marked above or below the serial numbers on the frame, trigger guard, and back strap. The deluxe walnut grip has a varnished finish. It comes in fitted mahogany case with an early brass ball/bullet mold, eagle pattern pocket flask, and cartridge pack.
In his included letter, R.L. Wilson wrote, “The James H. Comfort Model 1849 Pocket revolver is an extraordinary artifact, actually much rarer than a fully inscribed presentation Colt from the Colonel” and pointed out that Colt sometimes made presentations without mentioning himself in the inscriptions to avoid the appearance of bribery. Wilson could not identify Comfort but theorized that he had been involved in the building of Colt’s factory or mansion. He concluded, “The James H. Comfort deluxe, cased Colt Model 1849 pocket deserving of special recognition for its extreme rarity: an apparent presentation from Colonel Colt in which a name and date are marked on a revolver, but the inscription ‘from the Inventor’ or similar dedication, was purposely not employed.”
The rather peculiar name was not common, but two men by that name from the period
to appear in burial records: James Hartis Comfort (1839-1923) born in Niagara County, New York, and buried
in Miltonvale, Kansas, and James Hall Comfort (1816-1875) born in Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey,
and buried in St. Louis, Missouri. The consignor has included additional research centered on the latter, an
attorney who spent most of his adult life in Missouri. He graduated from Princeton in 1836 and came to
Missouri in 1839 and then became a lawyer on March 16, 1844, and worked in St. Louis. He was a partner in Comfort
& Manter with F.H. Manter at 119 Chestnut in St. Louis and is identified as living at the northeast corner of 14th and
Pine in St. Louis in 1856. He was a founder of the suburb Kirkwood, Missouri, and purchased property from the Kirkwood
Association at the first sale of plots in 1853. His Italianate home in Kirkwood was built c. 1871 and is on the National Register
of Historic Places. The registration information indicates that in addition to his legal work, Comfort was a real estate speculator and that the house originally had a full half a block for its plot. We have also
found that he was a member of the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association.
CONDITION: Fine with crisp engraving and markings, 40% original blue on the barrel, faded original blue and dark patina on the cylinder, traces of original case colors, dark gray patina on the balance, 75% of the age darkened original silver on the trigger guard, 60% original silver on the back strap, and minor overall wear. The grip is very fine and has attractive figure, most of the original varnish, minor marks and scratches, and slight flaking at the heel. Mechanically fine. The case and accessories are also fine with mild age and storage related wear.
Provenance: The Bobby Smith Collection; Property of a Gentleman.
Estimate: 7,500 - 12,000
LOT 3359
Civil War Era Cased Factory Engraved Colt Model 1862 Police Percussion Revolver - Serial no. 3428, 36 cal., 5 1/2 inch round bbl., blue/casehardened/silver finish, walnut grips. This revolver was manufactured in 1861 during the first year of
the Civil War and features very attractive German-American “Gustave Young” style
scroll and floral engraving with punched backgrounds. The engraving also includes hand engraved “COLT’S/PATENT” inscribed on the left side of the frame rather than the usual stamped marking. The engraved hammer has four dots on top often believed
to denote the level of time spent engraving by Gustave Young’s shop. The barrel has a cone front sight and the one-line New York address. “36 CAL” and “L” are marked on the left side of the trigger guard. The cylinder has the patent marking in one of the flutes and the matching serial number on the back. The matching serial number is also on the wedge, arbor pin, barrel, frame, trigger guard, and back strap. Factory dot markings denoting the factory engraving are marked above or below the serial numbers along the bottom of the revolver. The grip is nicely figured and has a “piano” varnish finish. The case contains an Eley Bros. cap tin, a Great Seal of the U.S. themed pocket flask, L-shaped combination tool, and blued ball/bullet mold.
CONDITION: Good with crisp engraving and markings, traces of original blue, strong patches of original silver plating in the protected areas, aged patina on the exposed brass, and mostly silver-gray patina on the iron. The refinished grip is fine and has some gaps, minor chips, nice figure, and smooth finish. Mechanically fine. The relined case and accessories are very good with mostly minor age and storage related wear. Estimate: 4,000 - 6,000

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