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Discussion Starter #21
These are just photos and it's hard to get a real opinion.
I think the weapon is authentic because it is for sale in a public auction of items from an old castle and there is only this weapon for sale.
It should be seen in reality .. That is why I will not make bids.
I do not think that the expert of this sale is mistaken on the authenticity of this revolver, he is mistaken on his own history
 

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I think the weapon is authentic because it is for sale in a public auction of items from an old castle and there is only this weapon for sale.

Irrelevant. A non sequitur.

Now I mean the following in the best way towards you. In the antiques world, which includes firearms, you are on your own. You can not trust anyone for any decision that leads to a purchase. It is a jungle out there. I suggest you get some more experience under your belt before bidding on such items in the future. I am doing the same. :)

Good luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
..
You are partly right but I repeat that it is very difficult to have an exact expertise on simple pictures.
My opinion is worth that of others ...
often I buy on line on picture ... and it is true it takes luck ... sometimes nice surprises and sometimes also bad ... it's a game !!
If the weapon remains at a reasonable price I buy ...
In conclusion I thank all the people who give their impressions on this type of weapon ...
Excuse my English ..
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I think this weapon is authentic with a modification to improve the aim.
The cylinder does not have engravings and serial numbers.
The problem is not on these objective criteria of this 1851 but on the fact that it would have belonged to General Stonewall Jackson. His family would have given it to a French general in 1870 ..
It seems to me impossible to prove that this weapon belonged to GENERAL JACKSON.
I know that this great general had a Lefaucheux French revolver, maybe in exchange for this 1851 .... who knows ... we can write a novel about this story ..
The interest of this revolver is essentially historical;)
698881
 

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This looks to be a neat old gun, but as many have noted it has likely been embellished with a far-out, somewhat outlandish flair (for example, the dogs) and it has little or no original finish. You know, these old Colt percussion pistols have been sought-after and collected for at least 100 years, and many of them have been worked on, and worked on, and worked on, by generations of owners.

What the collector community prizes more than anything, is good original condition. A huge premium will be paid for original configuration, and a high amount of original finish. A typical Civilian 1851 Navy can cost $500 for a gun found in "relic" condition, all the way to $25,000 in "minty" condition. That's the range we all play in...

There's little doubt in my mind that there's no original finish on this pistol, and the cylinder is hugely suspect. I would also add that by 1862 (war-time) when this pistol was purportedly made, the silver-plating on trigger-guards and back-straps was notoriously light, and would be stripped away within months (if not weeks) of handling and cleaning. The silver-plating here looks pristine, and so that would also be a red flag for me, and to me that demonstrates a later (and much thicker) re-finishing. Also, while I'm not an expert on engraving, the engraving on the bottom of the trigger-guard looks to be fairly crude, and not in-line with the quality of period engraving of the period. So that, plus all the comments made by other folks, would call for you to exercise extreme caution before buying this.

Finally, with respect to the story, as others have mentioned, really, please buy the gun, and not the story. Dealers, auctioneers, and even some collectors, are all out to make a fast buck on guns, and so will try to attach any kind of story to any kind of gun. Just because a gun is sold by a dealer, or sold in an auction, or "discovered in the rafters of an old barn in Kentucky" -- that means nothing at all. I think you said this gun is in an auction right now, but there are very few auctioneers that I would trust these days. We all know the good and knowledgeable auctioneers (count them on the fingers of one hand) and the vast majority of all others generally don't know what they are doing. If you feel your heart beating faster because you hear a nice story, take a good long breath and a time-out, and then look for hard evidence. Stories mean nothing - evidence is everything.
 

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Neat pistol and if you can get it for what other engraved '51 cased Navy's sell for, I don't think you'll get hurt. As far as General Jackson owning it? There was a war going on in 1862, and he wasn't on the side that Sam Colt was on. I'm thinking it's not likely he would have owned it. Certainly not impossible, but highly unlikely. If it was made before 1861, the story would have a little more credibility. Good luck with it and let us know what happens!
 

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Discussion Starter #30
High value antique weapons are a matter of the expert and when there are experts everything becomes problematic.
In France as in the USA, the historical value of a weapon is always of the greatest importance. Look at the Lefaucheux revolver of Jackson, the weapon itself is worth nothing but its historical value is incalculable ...
Regarding this 1851, it will be impossible to prove that it belonged to the family of General Jackson but this is mentioned in the sale of this revolver as a possibility ...
If the weapon was offered simply without its history, I may have chances to buy it !!
Revolver Colt Navy
 

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This is a great detective story and thanks for sharing this with everyone. Let us know what you end up doing. Just to recap, it looks like:
  • The gun has been refinished and reworked. Its cylinder is likely a replacement. The ivory grip's engraved helmeted head looks very "Continental" to me (I think this was engraved in Europe, not in America - the style is wrong).
  • The accompanying "note" is undated and doesn't describe the gun, the case, or the serial number, all of which is quirky.
  • Although the note says the gun was given from General Jackson's "son", the General never had a son.
  • The gun dates from 1862, and Jackson died in 1863. In 1862, Sam Colt was firmly on the Union side and likely wouldn't have given this gun to Confederate General Jackson. Sam's Union buddies would not have been amused by such a gift.
  • General Jackson was pretty much worshipped by many after his death - I highly doubt his family would have given his gun away in exchange for "lodging and friendship"... In my mind, the story is totally bogus.
  • The gun is neat, but has too much wrong with it.
  • Given where Ivory regulations are headed, if you buy this gun, you may find out in the near future that it's not commercial, and you can't ever sell it again on the open market.
  • Best to save your cash for something else.
 

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This is a great detective story and thanks for sharing this with everyone. Let us know what you end up doing. Just to recap, it looks like:

[snip]
  • The gun is neat, but has too much wrong with it.
  • Given where Ivory regulations are headed, if you buy this gun, you may find out in the near future that it's not commercial, and you can't ever sell it again on the open market.
  • Best to save your cash for something else.
This is very true. Right now over here in America it is the same. The sale of any kind of ivory is banned in several States, like Colorado and California. The last statement in the quote should be underlined. Do not be so eager to just buy"something". Study Young's work very carefully. I think you will find some unpleasant news if you did this.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
I think you are absolutely right about General Jackson who had 3 daughters (two dead children ...) !!!!
I have 3 colt 1851 because I like these Colt and this one seemed different to me with his "sighting dog" ..
It is a pity that the French expert mentioned this letter of 1895 indicating an incredible friendship between the Jackson family and the family of the French general Solier ...
It would have required other authentic documents to prove this friendship which may have existed because the French have always been friends of the Americans since Lafayette !!!
Thank you for your common sense analysis
 

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Discussion Starter #34
This is very true. Right now over here in America it is the same. The sale of any kind of ivory is banned in several States, like Colorado and California. The last statement in the quote should be underlined. Do not be so eager to just buy"something". Study Young's work very carefully. I think you will find some unpleasant news if you did this.
With regard to ivory, in France the sale is prohibited for ivory objects manufactured after 1947 except for objects made between March 2, 1947 and July 1, 1975 with less than 200 g of ivory
 

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Two points:
First, does that note say the "General Jackson" is the "General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson" or just one of what must be quite a few General Jacksons in the world?
Second, are those grips really ivory? They don't look like old ivory in the photos, and indeed, in the photos, look like the older type of plastic!
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Two points:
First, does that note say the "General Jackson" is the "General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson" or just one of what must be quite a few General Jacksons in the world?
Second, are those grips really ivory? They don't look like old ivory in the photos, and indeed, in the photos, look like the older type of plastic!
First point .. He is the famous general Confederate Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson who is mentioned on the letter attached to this 1851.
Second point, the French expert who inspected this weapon knows how to differentiate between plastic and ivory.
Finally for me this revolver is engraved Young but unfortunately modified with a dog
Each gives its opinion and it is the purpose of the forum but no real truth ..
 

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Thanks for your reply. I was asking for info, not giving an opinion.
I never saw any statement that the "General Jackson" in that note was specifically identified, and I tried to read the photo of the note, but could not.
I also missed, if you posted, any info that any expert had given an opinion that this was indeed ivory. I've owned more ivory stocked Colt percussion revolvers than I can remember, and certainly examined hundreds with me holding them in hand, and the photos did not show to me the look I would expect. But I didn't see any mention of expert examination in previous discussion, and that's why I asked - perhaps I missed this important point in previous discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Thanks for your reply. I was asking for info, not giving an opinion.
I never saw any statement that the "General Jackson" in that note was specifically identified, and I tried to read the photo of the note, but could not.
I also missed, if you posted, any info that any expert had given an opinion that this was indeed ivory. I've owned more ivory stocked Colt percussion revolvers than I can remember, and certainly examined hundreds with me holding them in hand, and the photos did not show to me the look I would expect. But I didn't see any mention of expert examination in previous discussion, and that's why I asked - perhaps I missed this important point in previous discussion.
Please look :
"Colt Navy revolver model 1851, six shots, calibre 36.
Barrel with sides marked "ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA ", decorated on each side with two silver hammers applied in relief. Brass trigger guard.
Ivory stock plates carved with a helmet rider's head in high relief.
Blued finish.
In its original mahogany case lined with burgundy velvet inside, with accessories "

 

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No offense meant and I wish you well.
You quote an auction / catalog description. I saw that.
I didn't say you didn't quote a auction / catalog description that called the grips ivory. I wrote that you did not say these had been examined by an expert in identifying ivory. One important point of auction / catalog descriptions is that writing the words does not mean the person writing them knows for sure. I've read hundreds of catalog descriptions over the years that were just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG - not just about ivory, but descriptions that stated that, for example, a gun not made until 1873 (and dated 1873) was used by some named person in the Civil War, which ended 8 years before 1873.
If you have an interest in this gun, get a copy of the report by the expert who examined it, and you might ask whether that expert will stand behind that option and make things right with the buyer.
As I said in my first posting, I think this is a real gun, with period engraving.
A factory letter should be available, and would add many thousands of dollars of value to this gun.
 

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I found auction descriptions can be wrong in significant aspects of their description. This includes reputable auction houses. I was burned one time over this. Also provenance is not worth the paper it is written on, except. for a few select cases of firearms that come up for auction. We are talking about the mega-dollar hammer prices. Once again, I will say “Buyer Beware”.
 
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