In October 2016, I spotted another Uberti/Colt .44 Magnum on the Guns International web site (www.gunsinternational.com) which I purchased and subsequently received on October 29, 2016. The gun came from Reidsville Sporting Arms (Reidsville, North Carolina) and is identical to the “New Frontier” discussed above except it has blue and case color finish instead of chrome or stainless steel. The revolver has “Cat. 1489” and “75919” on the barrel and the same markings (including date cope AP and proof marks) as above. The serial number (75919) is marked in the same places as with the .22 revolvers. The photos on the Guns International listing also showed what appeared to be a list of guns by caliber, barrel length and serial number. To my surprise and absolute delight, the gun did arrive with this list and two other items of provenance that shed a good deal of light on these guns.
In chronological order, these items were as follows. Discussion of these items will follow later in this document.
- A copy of a telex communication dated September 9, 1986 from Colt Firearms to Aldo Uberti & Co. ordering 65 firearms (five “Phanton .44 Mag” and 60 SA firearms in .22 and .44 Mag in 4 ¾, 5 ½ and 7 ½ inch barrel lengths). The order was signed “J. Frascarelli”. (The word “Phanton” was actually spelled that way on the order.) See Attachment 2 for description of a Phantom revolver and Attachment 3 for a copy of this telex.
- A copy of a shipping manifest dated December 23, 1986 from Aldo Uberti & Co. to Colt Industries Firearms Division (Charter Oak Blvd, W. Hartford CT 06119 USA) detailing “Italian Goods to be Exported”. Listed were 65 “breech load revolvers” (Stallion, Cattleman, Buckhorn and Phantom model names) and one “muzzle load revolver Paterson prototype”. Code numbers, catalog numbers, model names, calibers and barrel lengths were detailed. See Attachment 4.
- A copy of a letter dated June 6, 1988 on the Aldo Uberti & Co. letterhead to Kevin Cherry (Cherry’s, 2703 High Point Rd., Greensboro, NC 27403) showing the model (all are “single action rev.”), barrel length (4 ¾, 5 ½, 7 ½ and 10 ½ inches) and caliber (.44 Mag., .22Conv., .22 LR and .22 CAL), and serial numbers of 65 revolvers. The letter is signed by Maria Laura Uberti of Uberti USA, Inc. and states that these revolvers “were made for Colt Firearms as prototypes by my father Aldo Uberti”. The serial number range is 75918 to 75985 with one outlier-75255 (a .22). Not all numbers in this range were used. All the .44s (including the Phantoms) were in the range of 75918 to 75954 and all the .22s (except 75255) were in the range of 75955 to 75985. See Attachment 5.
In addition to the above, I have a photographic copy of a note dated May 13, 1988 also signed by Maria Laura Uberti that directly quotes the inscription on the tops of the barrels of the revolvers and indicating that Colt did not follow through on the deal. In the note, Ms. Uberti is offering the guns to someone (probably Kevin Cherry) for $13,000 plus shipping and excise tax. Unfortunately, someone blanked out the addressee on the photo copy. However, the supposition that it was Kevin Cherry is supported by the date, the serial number list (above) dated June, 6, 1988 and by Kevin’s statement to me that he was the purchaser of the guns. See Attachment 6.
I asked several Colt connected people about the person who signed the September 8, 1986 Telex from Colt to Uberti. In an e-mail dated December 15, 2016, Beverly Haynes (Historian, Colt Archives) told me that Jackie Frascarelli was a long-time employee at Colt. She eventually left to start a gun business with a man named Joe Lucas. Jackie suffered a stroke a few years ago and is now in an assisted living home in Indiana. (I regret to say that Ms. Frascarelli subsequently passed away in the summer of 2018.)
Joe Canali (former Colt Archivist) called the evening of December 15, 2016 and confirmed most of the above information about Jackie Frascarelli. She would have been head of Commercial Sales about the time the order was placed with Aldo Uberti & Co. He also was able to tell me the name of the business that Mr. Lucas and Ms. Frascarelli started – J&J Custom Firearms. In addition, Joe gave me Mr. Lucas’ contact information.
I was able to speak with Joe Lucas on the phone and he asked if I would send him copies of the documents I have to see if they would jog Jackie’s memory. His recollection was that Jackie was working in Sales in the l980’s, left Colt for a while to work for B-Square and went back to Colt a few years later as head of the Custom Shop.
I sent the documents to Joe and he called back on January 5, 2017 to say he had shown the papers to Jackie and her only comment was to the effect that: “This was probably something Al DeJohn put in front of me and asked me to sign”. (Al Dejohn headed up the Colt Custom Shop from its inception in 1976 until his retirement in 1989 and is now deceased.)
Table 1 – Italian Firearms Makers Date Codes
From the Bluebook of Modern Black Powder Arms, by John Allen, 5th Edition, 2007.
AA=1975 AF=1980 AN=1985 AZ=1990
AB=1976 AH=1981 AP=1986 BA=1991
AC=1977 AI=1982 AS=1987 BB=1992
AD=1978 AL=1983 AT=1988 BC=1993
AE=1979 AM=1984 AU=1989
Table 2 – Proof Marks (See Photo 13)
Cogwheel star over PSF = “Italian smokeless proof since 1951” (page 62, GUNMARKS by David Byron, Crown Publishers, copyright David Byron, 1979).
Wikipedia (Attachment 1) calls this “finish proof for firearms ready for sale”.
Cogwheel star over shield or crest with crossed lightning bolts or maybe crossed rifles with bayonets = “Italian provisional proof since 1951 (Gardone)” (page 91, GUNMARKS ibid.)
Wikipedia (Attachment 1) calls this “provisional proof for all guns (Gardone)”.
The above two marks are on the barrels and cylinders of both my .22s and the two .44s discussed here. There is another mark on the barrel of the guns, but I cannot make it out even under high magnification or by expanding Photo 13 greatly. It just looks like an amorphous mass. It is the mark on the barrel nearest the frame in Photo 13.
Photo 1 – Uberti 22, serial number unknown
Photo 2 – Uberti 22, serial number unknown
Photo 3 – Uberti 22, serial number unknown
Photo 4 – Uberti 22 serial number 75255
Photo 5 – Uberti 22, serial number 75255