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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Serial number 884.

what would you do with this one? Severe pitting, probably from sitting in a holster for over a century, worse yet, someone heavily buffed the barrel to diminish the extent of the pitting, and the loading lever latch is a homemade component?

Part it out? Sell as is? Any idea of the value of usable components, such as grips, cylinder, backstrap, hammer, and trigger guard?

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I’d get a factory letter for it, first. With it’s three digit serial number that’s a first year ‘61 and it looks as though the grip straps never had silver plating. It may very well be have been issued to a volunteer cavalry unit. Several Illinois. Regiments received 1861 Navies.
Vol.2 of Springfield Research Service’s Vol 2 on US martial arms list a bunch of ‘61 Navies as issued to Co D, 2nd Illinois Cavalry, one of which, No. 390, I handled, and it was used hard.
The serial numbers listed in the above volume for Co D, 2nd Ill go from a low of 33 to 669 with gap up to 4255 and sporadically up to 7709 for the company.
I think it is a safe bet that gun has some history.
Regards,
Tecolote
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I’m sure it does have history! But it’s a Catch-22. $300 is a lot of money for a revolver with condition issues. If it was $100 for a letter, I would have gotten one ages ago!
 

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Serial number 884.

what would you do with this one? Severe pitting, probably from sitting in a holster for over a century, worse yet, someone heavily buffed the barrel to diminish the extent of the pitting, and the loading lever latch is a homemade component?

Part it out? Sell as is? Any idea of the value of usable components, such as grips, cylinder, backstrap, hammer, and trigger guard?

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For several years, I had #958, a no-finish gun with decent grips and little cylinder scene. Charles Pate assured me that the $300 Colt letter would not be interesting. Among other things, these went out too late for the Southern markets. Mine sold for about $3000.
 

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Very good! My guess is mine is worth in the $1500 to $1750 range???

Where did you sell yours? I am thinking of selling this one, perhaps?
I sold it on gunsinternational. It sat for two years looking for the right buyer. I see that my starting price was $3600, and that too-high price must have delayed sale. I just searched my emails, and found the actual sale price was $2750 plus shipping.

Your horizontal lever latch could be fixed by welding up the lever, re-cutting the slot, and drilling the pin hole. An 1851 Navy latch should work on this one.

I like the grips on your 1861. Advertise that "it would look great in a holster"!
 

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I’ve thought that very thing myself! It actually has a lot going for it, but really falls apart once components buried in a holster are considered—e.g., the barrel and loading lever latch.
Well, some collectors like me, fancy those low serial numbers.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What should I do with this one? Sell it on the forum? What might be a fair listing price?

Gunbroker, penny listing? I’ve never sold on Gunbroker before.

It is EARLY, but $300 for a letter is a substantial portion of the value of this one and so I’ll likely pass on doing that.
 

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I like first year '61 Navy's a lot (all '61's for that matter) and have 3 originals, plus a 2nd Gen and a Signature Series. One of my originals is in slightly better physical shape than yours (all matching numbers with no "add on" parts) but it's also been heavily buffed to clean it up by a previous owner. I can still read the numbers and the barrel address and patent but the cylinder scene is gone and some edges have been rounded. I gave $1000 for it a year, ago swapped out the nipples and use it as an occasional shooter. Knowing the condition, that's what I bought it for. I could see yours going in that 1000-1500 range as well - no offense intended. There are people who would pay more just to have a first year '61 but unless it's got matching numbers, original grips, or an amazing history, etc there's not much true collectibility, IMO, because of the fact it's been altered. Can you post more and detailed pics?

For reference, my other first year '61 was shipped to the Boston Navy Yard in October, 1861 (yes, paid for the letter on this one) has a shiny bore, good cylinder scene, all matching numbers (including the grips numbered in India ink in the channel). I paid $2200 for it two years ago.

My fully loaded an capped dug/relic '61 that I recovered from private property at Stones River in the early 1990s was shipped to JC Grubb in Philadephia in November, 1861 and carried by a member of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry and lost on December 29, 1862 at Stones River. With Charlie Pate's help over the past 30 years I believe I have narrowed it down to two possible soldiers, both majors killed at Stones River, who MAY have carried it. This one is priceless to me.

Please post more pics and lets see what's what to better help you out. Thanks for sharing your early '61!
 

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My fully loaded an capped dug/relic '61 that I recovered from private property at Stones River in the early 1990s was shipped to JC Grubb in Philadephia in November, 1861 and carried by a member of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry and lost on December 29, 1862 at Stones River. With Charlie Pate's help over the past 30 years I believe I have narrowed it down to two possible soldiers, both majors killed at Stones River, who MAY have carried it. This[/QUOTE]

I really like your relic and the story with it, and if it were mine it would be in a shadow box hanging in my computer room.
A great piece of history.
 

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Definitely looks to be a field expedient repair. I bet that revolver has some history....
hello; field repairs could be o k jn many cases. there were forges, and smith carriages and any one that could make a horseshoe could likely do many repairs and parts replacements. the biggest problem was that many recruits had no experience with the new fangled revolvers of mr. colt.

regards, bro
 

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Thanks for sharing the extra pics - that '61 has a lot of character.

In regards to your original question, I would not part it out. If you wish to sell it, please keep it together. Regardless of pitting, buffing, repair, wear and possible tinkering with the finish... it's a three digit first year production '61 and IMO should stay as such, in one piece. Again, just my opinion, but it's piece of history that should stay together.

I'm sure you'll be able to sell it if you wish. For how much? I cannot speculate - there are others with far more experience than I that can better guide you there. My personal pricing examples given earlier were just that - personal examples of what I was willing to pay for the particular revolvers that I had my eye on. Worst case you can put it on GB as you mention and see what happens.
 
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