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\"Civilian Walker\"

A wonderful old woman called me today asking if I could determine the age of her
firearm by testing the metal. (I work at a metallurgical lab)

Short answer, no. While some dating can be done this way, it was not
what she was looking for. Our tests are of a destructive nature.

I told her that if she knew who made the gun, and if it had a serial number,
I might be able to help her determine the age.
While is is one sharp cookie, she doesn't use the internet.
(she confided she is too blind to read the type.)

She tells me that it is an 1847 Civilian Walker made by Colt.
Serial number 10XX.
She is sure it was one of 100 made.

Her father left it to her. She wanted to leave it to her son, but he doesn't want it.
(How anti-firearm would you have to be to turn down a piece of history like this,
not to mention the monitary value he could obtain from selling it)

She can't find any historical data on the gun.
She called Colt in 2004 and was told that they don't have any records
of that firearm.

She said one dealer told her to sell it at the local auction house as a "replica",
and he would be there to make sure she got a good price.
She was too smart for that, because she knows it isn't a replica.

She said that she had been in possession of it longer than any of the
dealers have been alive.

She isn't interested in selling it. She wants to know it's history,
and have proof that it is really an 1847 Colt Civilian Walker.

Where does a person go to get an old firearm like this authenticated?
 

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Re: \"Civilian Walker\"

I am basically trying to find out the same type info in my post. Maybe we can get someone to respond.
 

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Re: \"Civilian Walker\"

The problem with Walkers is that people have been making fakes for a long time. A dealer once showed me a super looking fake that he believed was about 75 years old. Blue books states that a Civilian Walker is worth between $52,500-293,700. That is the type of money that has gotten several Colt experts like R.L. Wilson in trouble for defrauding people.If you got the full serial number that might tell you something because their are people that track the serial numbers if it has the same serial number of a known correct revolver it would point to it being likely a fake.There is a couple of old posts that talk about Walkers you might try using the search function.
 

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Re: \"Civilian Walker\"

Hi dwebb210,

The original civilian Walker revolvers were built from a combination left over parts from the 1000 Military Walkers built by Eli Whitney for Sam Colt. Colt had to sue Whitney for the machinery and remaining parts. Sam Colt then assembled the 100 civilian Walkers along with some un-numbered Walkers and sold them as he was trying to raise money to go into business. If you want to read the story of these guns and Sam's business attempts, try "Sam Colt's Own Record - 1847". This book is a reprinting of Colt's own handwritten records of the period. It was originally printed by the Connecticut Historical Society in 1949. It is most likely out of print, but copies can be found from time to time on the used book websites. You can determine alot about the Walkers by reading this book and also by studying what Colonel Bob Whittington wrote in his book on Colt's Walker revolver.

There are probably more fake Walkers than real ones in circulation. Fake walkers have been documented since the early 1900s... In the 50s and 60s a "gentleman" in the mid west made a considerable quantity of first class replicas of the Walker and some of the Texas Paterson as well, that were really hard to tell from an original... I've owned a couple of them myself. It requires some well developed knowledge of markings, number stamp sizes and placements to determine a real example from a fake. Keep in mind that when a gun sold for $30,000-50,000 in the 1950s, you could spend a lot of time on one to "get it right" and still make a considerable profit in the deal.

Unfortunately, many of these replica/fake Walkers have obtained "Legimate" status because of folks like RLW who have "authenicated" them over the years and made a tidy profit in the process. Many deep pocket collectors do not want to see their investments eroded so there is considerable resistance to any move to really authenticate one. Meaning it is difficult to find a truely real Walker to compare a sample to... As a result, Most collectors with the six figure pocket change to buy one will only buy a Walker with a known pedigree... Whether it is real or Fake, a Walker becomes real because of the pedigree and is then worth the six figure price tag in the collector world.

Any undocumented Walker, whether real or fake, is viewed with scepticism and in my experience is practically impossible to get legimate status for it.

With that said, if you are going to try to document it, you should get copies of the books on the Walker and study them. Then get the old auction catalogs where known legimate walkers have been sold. Compare your Walker to theirs. If you gun looks good enough to be real, become involved with the Colt Collectors Association, and get to know the people who will be buying your Walker. Walk it around with them and attempt to convince them of its legimate status... If you are trying to sell it, they will be your buyers... I have seen six or eight undocumented Walkers a year surface under the same circumstances as you have here, so this is not a new thing. The buyers have seen it too, and are not really impressed or excited about it. I think you will have an uphill battle documenting yours... I wish you luck with your project... Just my opinion. Bob Best



Here is a Civilian and a Military Walker for you to look at.
 

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My four half·pence

You are correct... The gun could easily be identified as Pre-Bessemer Steel / Pig Iron but not without damage. I would assert that the mis-identification of "Blood Pitting" are actually the result of impurity deposits.

Pre 1855 forging.
 
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