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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here is an example of an authentic, factory engraved Colt 1849 Pocket, made in 1856. I did allot of research on this. I also found an expert who has been in the engraving business for 45 years. He has studied Gustav Young's work. He told me that he really doubts it is a fake. He tells me this likely came from Young's shop. From what I understand in past research, after Young engraved pistols for Colt in-house, he moved out and formed his own business. Here is where he used talented apprentice engravers. I do not think Young himself engraved this, but it did come from his shop. This is a good engraving that has been well executed for its apparent skill level. By the way, the engraver for the most part validated my suspicions.

Note the detail that went into this. The engraving is smaller compared to other what I would term knockoffs. Smaller engraving with exacting detail spells a higher level of skill. There were not many back then with experience in engraving steel. This is where engraving tools used on steel had difficulty engraving in a straight line. Engraving in steel requires a different skill.

Note the wolf's head on the hammer. This is classic Young style of engraving. Note the fine parallel lines found there. Note the detail on the frame below the cylinder around Colt's Patent letters. Note the dogs head. Interesting, eh? Note how the background in the scroll work is completely filled in with very little in overlapping punches (dots). This is another feature of Young style engraving. Note how the engraving makes use of the irregular surface, where the work still "flows", rather than engraving something just to fill up the corners. This is a sign of a good engraver. Note the script used in place of the regular barrel stamp. This is what have seen on genuine factory engraved pistols. Anything else, like large letters of lets say the Hartford address IMO is very suspicious.

I had originally attributed this to Georg Sterzing, who I think also worked in Young's shop when located in the Colt plant itself, before Young left. So it still can be him. He was an experienced engraver from Germany who worked at Colt during this period of time. He had his own style to add to the engraving. For instance, he liked his dog heads. Also the periodic use of petal like scrolls is commonly found in his work. IMHO I think this demonstrates a good skill level, but not that which approached what Young was capable of. Anything less than this demonstrated skill level is IMO is just a knockoff. Nothing special. Perhaps even specious (a fake).

BTW there are parts of the engraving that are partially faded. It has been at one time very carefully cleaned, in a manner just to touch up the engraving. Remember, this firearm was made before the Civil War.

@bati: Take note. :)

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As a further note, each part of the pistol to be engraved received a dot punch right below the serial number. But on occasion, apparently they used something else, like capital "I" style punches.
 

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Very nice looking 1849 pocket, beautiful grips, a real piece of history. is it a cased gun, or in a display case ? to nice to be locked in a dark safe, :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Bill is going to be making the case for this one. Hear that, Bill? :)

I have not taken posession of it yet. I am selling some firearms here to pay for it, paying down my credit card after my purchase. I will make it work somehow. I sold one, and have one more to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Here are a couple more photos of engraved pistols that were from Young’s shop. By the way, even though it looks nice, I am not impressed by the photos as shown. I suspect the photos that were reproduced here may be lacking good detail.

Here is am interesting note. The engraver that makes fakes from genuine Colt pistols needs to anneal the metal. The approach used makes the metal soft enough to be engraved. There is one way to tell if this was done. Field strip the pistol. Take a surface that normally would not be visible. Using a point of a knife, and scrape it. If it scratches, it is specious (a fake). Doing this on the inside part of the frame can prove to be enlightening.

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Here is a comparison between what is claimed work that was done by Gustav Young himself, and this other pistol that I have discussed in this thread. I only say that the latter was made by someone in is shop, not by the master himself. Notice any differences? Is the first genuine, or actually spurious? You decide. It does pay to do ones research, which may include going to experts that you can trust. I know I was also very foolish at the beginning of my collection.

I will never be able to afford one made by the master himself. I think we are talking about prices possibly over $10,000. And then one fine shape? Whatever the market will bear.

Enough said by me on this topic.

Here is the one allegedly by Gustav Young himself.

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Here is the other done likely by his shop.

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How would you feel about buying a Colt engraved by someone like Alvin White? He was Colt's Master Engraver earlier on in this century, and then went into partnership with RL Wilson to form A.A. Engravers. That business went defunct at some point (I believe in the mid or late 90s). White died in 2006 or so, and his stuff has always been very collectible. Rock Island recently had an auction of White's personal guns, knives, etc. I thought the prices those items fetched, given their historical nature, was reasonable. His work was very traditional, and he's considered to be one of the very very best engravers. Something you may want to consider if you like engraved Colts, and don't want to pay for period engraving.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Excellent! Thank you,
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Here is one claiming to have been engraved by Gustav Young. I do think this is an actual possibility. It is showing its age. Still, look at how dense the engraving is, where there is something going on every millimeter of surface, besides just a bunch of dot punches and simpler scroll work. It is interesting how he works the scroll work with respect to to dot punches, This is how space is created between some of the scroll work and the dot punch filled background. This approach is characteristic of his style of engraving.

Now what I find interesting is that dog face in the third photo. All examples that I have found drew essentially fancy arced lines there, even with the better engravings. This is demonstrated in the fourth photo. All in that really small space, another small work of engraved art was made. But then I am no expert. I just like noticing things and making sense out of what I see. Still, I think all of you here would agree that a very good skill level is demonstrated here.

These photos are from a pistol on GunsInternational.

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r010159, you may enjoy looking at the nice pics and reading the story in this article from 2019, "Wheelgun Wednesday: Creating a Replica of Gustave Young Engraved Colt Dragoon Revolver":

 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
That is a nice article. I am bookmarking it.

I found an example of a flower engraved by Young. Look at the elaboration that went into the engraving. Not what I find in other Colt factory engravings. (I am talking about the larger upside down flower in the middle replete with scrollwork).

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Here is another example of an authentic factory engraving, and one engraving done much later. Note the differences. The authentic Colt is thr first photo. At first glance, they both look authentic. Even the dot next to the serial numbers, and the engraving around the SNs were replicated, SN 147620, as found in the 3rd photo. The differences are to be found in the details.

Right off, the fake shows poorly executed elements of the engraving. There is a lack of detail where detail should be found, and a lack of consistency. I do see the engraving is faded in parts, so it has been cleaned.

There are bizzare aspects where I do not have a clue what the engraver was trying to accomplish, so I will call them mistakes. Whats with that flower in the fourth photo? Also the flower top pointed downward in the 2nd photo looks poorly done. The lines are wider and deeper in spots as part of the overall engraving on tge pistol. In my opinion, the metal was annealed to make it easier to engrave. We are talking about a what was originally a case hardened frame here. Lastly, compare the dot punches between the two. Once again, I will say that I am no expert, but to me the differences are obvious.

There is the last two photos of what is claimed to be a factory engraved pistol. I provide it here since there are some similarities to the fake mentioned above. The elements of the engraving, including the “leaves” off of the “vine”, are more accurately and consistently articulated. There is more detail where there should be. I also do not see the same mistakes

I will say that I am not inpressed by the skill level demonstrated by this particular “authentic” factory engraving, at least as evidenced by the fiffh photo. The reason I say this is that I have a question that I ask myself. Is the quality of engraving poor enough to doubt its authenticity? I will admit that this engraving is also faded some.

BTW the photos are from 1849 Pocket pistols. The second, fourth, and fifth ones are from a RI auction that took place. RI did indicate the engraving on the fake was done much later, somewhere during the 20th century.

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Discussion Starter #12
I have purchased that factory engraved Colt 1849 Pocket that is in the first post of this thread. Here are some better photos. Much of it is faded, but still much of it is still there.

Apparently, this is not by Gorg Sterzing as I originally thought.It is more probable that sone apprentice in Gustav Young’s shop engraved this pistol.

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you. I had to sell a couple firearms for this one, but it is worth it. I purchased it at what I would cobsider a fair price.
 
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