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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Gentlemen, this is a very long story which I will attempt to abrevieate for everyones sanity.
About 8 or 9 years ago, I purchased what was advertised as a Colt 2nd Generation Martial 1851 Navy. The seller was Collectors Firearms out of Texas with whom I have had numerous excellent purchases. I could not find the Martial model listed in Adler's book, but the photos looked great, and I knew I could return it with no issues. I was looking for an unabused shooter, so the fact that it did not have a box or papers didn't matter to me. The pistol arrived in due time, and I eagerly opened the box to view my prize. After a few seconds of admiring the perfect polishing and blueing, the old red flags started waving. This most certainly was NOT a second gen. Colt product. I have had a number of the 2nd Gen pistols and this looked nothing like them. The address was not one that Colt used in the 2nd or 3rd generation products.



The finish was very high polish, with absolutely no overruns or welling around holes or loss of sharpness in the edges. An amazing and expert job every where I could look. I am a good judge of metal work (former QA guy for Shiloh Rifle Co. 16yrs) and whoever did the metalwork was "top shelf". I carefully disassembled the pistol to see if I could find any markings or a signature stamp. What I found was that the pistol has no areas that show evidence of casting. All internal surfaces are filed, polished, or milled. There are inspectors stamps in places that don't show without disassembling the pistol (in the cut for the loading lever pivot under the barrel, on the standing breech of the receiver, on the underside of the cylinder pin) Most exhibit "proud" metal around the stamps. I grabbed my copy of Swayze's book on '51 Navies, and began to dissect the pistol piece by piece. After a few days of research, I think what I have is a very good condition original Navy/Navy with an almost flawless restoration job or... an outright, full on fake, made of one or more original Colt 1851s melded together by some master restorer to produce a very rare M1851 variation ( a small iron guard, early "late model" Navy/Navy). I know by actual comparison, that the cylinder scene is the one produced from the roll die that belonged to Tom Haas Sr. and used in his shops restorations.







Plate 49 on page 90 of Swayze's shows his Navy/Navy ser. # 89851. Mine is #89852....Hhmmm...pretty remarkable coincidence.









One more.




I called Collectors, as I was sure it was worth a lot more than the 2nd Generation Colt I thought I was buying. They really weren't interested in it, and only told me that I could return it if I wasn't satisfied.....I was so intrigued by it, I decided to keep it.

I have no idea what it is worth, but would sure like to hear some opinions from the forum.

I had originally discussed this pistol on another forum back in 2009, but had no way to post pictures. I see some of the same usernames here, so I apologize to Steg and a few others for dredging this subject up again. If anyone needs other photos of specific parts, I have taken hundreds of this pistol that I could share
Thanks for any and all comments
Tom W.
(sorry my photos are so big....I'm still learning...)
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I too suspect that Acevedo was the restorer/creator of this interesting piece. I did contact the family through the website and some months later received an email from them saying they did not have the records showing this piece. I got the impression that they only had a partial list. I would love to know everyones thoughts on:
-who made this piece

-is there any chance this could actually be a completely restored #89852

-what kind of cost to have this work performed

-what kind of worth to attach to it.

I have left the Photobucket link to this pistol "public" so feel free to click on the pictures to pull up the file for it. The photos there are expandable for detail.

Just a few more...

Star or asterisk on cylinder face.



One of the inspectors stamps.



Navy anchor stamp at breech end of barrel.



Thanks for all comments!
Tom W

Meant to mention that the gain twist rifling is perfect.
 

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It's very nice looking. I think you've decided it's not the original finish from the mid 1800s, and I agree. Not because i'm an expert in finishes (like you!), but just because there is NO wear anywhere. The frame screws are so sharp they'd cut you, there isn't even any smoothing from 150 years of handling - anywhere. So I'm with you, it was done much more recently.
 

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Very beautiful, and I agree it's probably from the Acevedo shop. I've had the pleasure of being a past owner of both a Haas Whitneyville Transition Dragoon and one of his Walkers, and your Navy has the all the hallmarks of the type of workmanship on those two pieces. Years ago when I owned them, the Dragoon I believe went for about $4000, & the Walker maybe a couple thousand more than that. Would guess an easy $2-3 thousand for this one, IF it could be proven to be a Haas/Acevedo creation. If you ever want to part with it...............
 

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A quick way to tell is to measure the cone (nipple) threads. Uberti used 6x.75 threads until circa. 1982 and 12-28 after. Original Gen. 1 Colts used .225x32 x .475 Long cones:

http://www.possibleshop.com/s-s-nipples-cb.html
Well, he did say it had 'Progressive Rifleing', so...sure sounds like a non-repro Barrel to me.

I usually do not care for restorations or 'renditions', but this one is so exceptional and fine and beautiful, I like it very much!!
 

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Well, he did say it had 'Progressive Rifleing', so...sure sounds like a non-repro Barrel to me...
I missed that in my rush to get out the door. :bang_wall:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Gentlemen,
First, thanks for taking the time to reply to this thread. I have been gone all day and will be gone most of tomorrow, so please don't take my lack of participation as a bad sign.
Secondly, I am not an expert on antique Colt finishes (wish I was), but do have extensive experience with hand polished metal work. I wish I could have tied this piece to the Haas/Acevedo works, but have had no luck with any kind of written documentation and not sure where to look next. Desron6's comments on his own pieces is about the most concrete link I have...I have no intention of selling the piece at this time, but like to keep my insurance coverage up to snuff (as I bet you all do !). It is most definitely not an 1850's Colt blue, but a well placed Colt Collector said it was certainly a great copy of the 1890's Colt process. I know that the Haas/Acevedo shop was able to produce that color on some DFC era military SAA's so that still "clicks".

Boge, the cones in the cylinder are definitely not the old Colt manufacture, but are of the correct thread and length.

I suppose I should buy a nice case and accoutrements for it, but for now it just lives in the depths of my safe. Every now and then I take it out and wipe it down ( never did get another 2nd Gen to shoot...). It remains a question mark for me, with perhaps just a little light at the end of the tunnel with the new input from this forum. The pursuit of it's origin has been the best part of owning it (well...on second thought...it IS pretty !!)
All coments welcome !!
Tom W
 

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The pistol itself is a sight to behold. I think anyone would be proud to have it.
Sometimes I wonder, though.......do you folks ever get dizzy from all of the ins-and-outs
in tracking the nature of these pistols? When I bought my first and only BP revolver, I
was sure that things like manufacture were pretty cut and dried. Reading many of these
threads it seems like there were waaay more nuances in the manufacture of Colts than I
first thought. Further it seems that the market in replicas adds a whole 'nuther layer
and becomes a collection challenge in its own right.
Do you folks see this as a challenge to be overcome, or is this just part of the fun of ownership?
Am I hearing more of this from "owners" or is this more important to collectors and they simply
post here more often? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Bruce, I cannot speak with any authority about what drives or motivates real Colt collectors. I can speak to what I enjoy about this hobby. In my modest collection, it is the variations and nuances that I enjoy. Tracking down a piece of information or a name or a reason for a modification satisfys the "detective" in me. With old Colts, you never know where a new pistol might take you. This one led me to my first and only CCA show (Reno). I met people I have only read about (Sam Lisker and his father, some big name auction houses like Little John's, Martin, and RIA, and many people I have chatted with on forums!). At the Reno show , RIA had the fabulous Gustave Young "Tears of Gettysburg" Colt. I was actually able to hold this masterpiece (white cotton gloves, please!!), and saw two identical Walker's with identical serial numbers......(I never was able to get the whole story behind that !!!!). I have been a Colt fan for more than 50 years, and it just keeps getting more interesting with every purchase !!

Just one more, as a parting shot




My sincere thanks to everyone who has participated in this thread ! If anyone finds more info at a later date, please let me know. I will update this thread if I turn up anything new. The Coltforum has done a great deal to educate me on my favorite brand...everything from percussion, to SAA's, to early semi-autos!! That pretty well covers my field of interests !!!
Tom W
 

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Thanks, C: That helps a lot. I can't imagine my getting into a place where I would be able to
buy an authentic vintage pistol. I also don't know that I would be willing to shoot the little gem
if I did. I think my own take on these items is more as they represent a particular way of life
that is probably lost to us for all time. The idea of tracking down a particular piece and having to sort out
the unique challenges each piece presents sorta went over my head as I imagined that all
of these pistols were stamped-out like so many cookies on an assembly line. It sounds like a great hobby
but probably better left to folks who can afford a 6-figure purchase. Thats a bit outside my neighhood.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Bruce,
If I took the hobby as seriously as many Colt collectors do, I would need at LEAST a six figure income :) !! I'm only in this beauty for about $400, as it was supposed to be a 2nd Generation shooter. I don't dare fire it (the only firearm I have that has NOT been fired)! I have other 2nd Gen Colts to help scratch that itch. For the most part, the majority of Colt pistols were produced in a factory setting. With that came the modifications, contract requirements, equipment/labor expediencies, and material shortages that all major firearms companies deal with to this day. The variations just make it all the more interesting....Kinda like archeology.The books I use for reference are almost as fun to collect as the firearms. Most evenings see me reading and fileing information in my head. I live on a very modest retirement and SSI, and moonlight for the local sheriff's office. Trust me, most of my 15 odd Colts are not in the state of preservation that interests real collectors. You can pick up the 75% finish ones for substantially less!! Occaisionally you will turn up and acorn (usually at small gunshops) at a price that doesn't tick off the spouse. The study of them helps keep me from ever being bored!
Tom W
 

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photo (30).jpg That's a stunning 51 you have. Looking closely at your photos the machining and general fit of all parts does lean towards it being a refinished original. Modern copies just don't have that level of detail. Whoever did the case hardening really knew what he was doing. Probably the closest I've seen to Colt's colours. Over some years I've been working on a Uberti 51. I'm not a professional but decided to see if I could replicate the finishes from 19C Colt. I found that the most difficult skill to master is polishing. It's relatively easy to make steel shiny. However, to bring the polish to a mirror finish without rounding edges takes a long time to master. I ended up gluing different grades of emery paper to small flat steel backing plates to suit specific areas of the gun whilst polishing. I found wooden backing to be too soft and would compress, - causing rounded edges. Anyway, other than the case hardening, which was done by Turnbull, I finished the rest. I only have the one photo at this time but I hope you can see the detail.
All the best
Whitesongs
 
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