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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Brand new to the Forum. Went to a memorabilia show today looking for my first original Colt purchase. Got "deer in the headlights" for a bit while looking due to lack of knowledge and fear of "pulling the trigger ". The price he was asking for this 1851 Navy was $2250.00. Seemed a bit high to me, but I am pretty sure I could have negotiated him down a bit. The action seemed okay, but it wasn't to smooth and was "hot and miss* when going to half-cock. I probably didn't take as many pics for you guys as I should have, but took a few of the serials numbers ,etc. Whaddya think? Should I have made an offer? Or is this price just way to out of the park?
 

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As you were already informed, this is a Colt 1860 Army revolver.

Run, don’t walk from this one! Look at the left recoil shield where someone routed out a section of it! You can even see circular marks in the “groove” from when this was done. Not sure why this was done, but such it is!
 

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Run, don’t walk from this one! Look at the left recoil shield where someone routed out a section of it! You can even see circular marks in the “groove” from when this was done. Not sure why this was done, but such it is!
The cut out on the recoil shield was done at the factory, it was for the shoulder stock and nearly all the martial and commercial models produced during the civil war were milled this way. I would however be concerned about the deep scratches in the side plate indicating aggressive cleaning.
 
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The cut out on the recoil shield was done at the factory, it was for the shoulder stock and nearly all the martial and commercial models produced during the civil war were milled this way. I would however be concerned about the deep scratches in the side plate indicating aggressive cleaning.
You are correct. I stand corrected!
 

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Note that the last four numerals of the serial number stamped on the side of the cylinder are “5558” while the other serial numbers on the gun end in “6568”. The cylinder on this gun came from another 1860. It’s not uncommon but it does lower the value in my opinion and $2250 is way too high for this gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You guys are awesome and this is Exactly why I made this post. My apologies on the obvious mistaken identity of the '60 vs. '51 identification error. I know better. :(. I also looked at a '51 and tried to post another discussion with pics, but seem to have had some trouble with the site. Not sure why. Just for info, based upon the VERY little info and pics of the '60, what would have been a reasonable offer for this old Colt?
 

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Welcome to the forum! I have a few recommendations:

First, if you're new to this field and not very knowledgeable, don't be in a rush to make a purchase. Take a deep breath, come to the forum and ask questions, get a few books, and spend some time making yourself familiar with the kind of guns you're interested in. Stay away from gun shows until you know what you're looking for.

Second, buy the gun, not the story. Some people might tell you a tall tale about a gun. Unless they have some sort of provenance or proof, don't believe the story.

Third, don't be afraid to walk away if the price is too high and/or you are in doubt about something.

Fourth, pay no attention to those who advise you to buy a certain types of guns. Buy what you like. Pay no attention to those who suggest guns are an investment (financially speaking, they're a a rat hole - albeit a very enjoyable one).

I'm not trying to talk down or lecture, I'd just hate to see someone make some of the same mistakes I've made.

Good luck! Once you do make a purchase, come back, tell us all about it, and post some pictures. :)
 

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I would add a Fifth piece of advice, to the Four by 1911Collector (above).

I would say, Fifth: consider buying at auction, and not from a dealer. Cut out the middleman, and instead really on the in-house experts of an auctioneer at one of the country's large auction houses for guns, for example, Morphy or Rock Island.

These two auction houses have some very knowledgeable folks working for them, who can send you extra photos, and talk to you about the gun on the phone, or in person. Not all of their "experts" are knowledgeable, but folks here on the forum can direct you to the better ones.

The auction houses have "premier" auctions (expensive items) or regular auctions (which is likely more your price range). If you win something, they ship it to you insured and tracked by UPS or Fedex.

If you see a gun you like, you can post its auction link here ahead of time, and many people will volunteer to vet the piece for you and give you advice about it ahead of time.
 

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I agree, but at auction and cut out the middleman (dealer). But… you need to become your own expert. You would be surprised how little the “experts” really know. I only know a fraction of what I should know and it’s considerably more than what the “experts” know. I’ve refuted their theories, both written and oral, many a time.
 

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I would add a Fifth piece of advice, to the Four by 1911Collector (above).

I would say, Fifth: consider buying at auction, and not from a dealer. Cut out the middleman, and instead really on the in-house experts of an auctioneer at one of the country's large auction houses for guns, for example, Morphy or Rock Island.

These two auction houses have some very knowledgeable folks working for them, who can send you extra photos, and talk to you about the gun on the phone, or in person. Not all of their "experts" are knowledgeable, but folks here on the forum can direct you to the better ones.

The auction houses have "premier" auctions (expensive items) or regular auctions (which is likely more your price range). If you win something, they ship it to you insured and tracked by UPS or Fedex.

If you see a gun you like, you can post its auction link here ahead of time, and many people will volunteer to vet the piece for you and give you advice about it ahead of time.
I have nothing against auctions, but personally I like to see the gun up close and in person before I commit to spending my money (I think mrcvs has also made an excellent point as well).

Buying from a middleman (such as a dealer) may cost you a bit more; but sometimes the time saved is worth it.

In addition, I think it's a good idea to support local business, so even though I might have bought things cheaper at auction, on GunBroker, or at big box stores, I try to buy things from my LGS first. I've done a lot of business with them over the years; they know what I like, and they call me when certain things arrive, and are more than happy to put things aside for me a few days until I can visit.
 

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I have nothing against auctions, but personally I like to see the gun up close and in person before I commit to spending my money (I think mrcvs has also made an excellent point as well).

Buying from a middleman (such as a dealer) may cost you a bit more; but sometimes the time saved is worth it.
I don't 100% agree. Of course it's nice to see a gun in hand, but if that's not possible, personally I'm fine buying something on the internet, as long as I have multiple good photos and can ask lots of questions and I'm happy with the answers. No pictures? No answers? No patience? No sale.

One just has to take a deep breath, look carefully, go slow, ask questions, get multiple good photos.

But yes, it's harder to do this if you have no experience at all (like our OP). I can do this, because I'm very experienced and have handled many many guns over many years. The OP will have to learn slowly from books (OP - buy some good books before you buy a gun), and rely on photos, and the advice of others on this forum, and the advice of the "experts" at the auction house.

I used "" on purpose when referring to auction house staff, as yes, some of them don't know much, but then some of them really really do. The trick is to know who to reach out to, and then listen to them very carefully. They may not slam a gun, but they'll often really brighten up when they think something is really good.

Finally, I pointedly don't agree about a novice buying from a middleman/dealer. I can buy from dealers because they only time I'll do it is when I know more about the item than the dealer, and I'm getting the item at a bargain price, and I have done that many, many times. But a novice (like our OP) will not be able to do that, so he's almost always going to be shafted by the dealer.

Dealers are out for financial gain, their own, and not to help novices out. Anyone says otherwise, come buy this bridge from me.... There are very few reliable dealers out there. Sure, I know a couple of dealers who are reliable, but most are not. The OP will not know, and as such may suffer the consequences.
 

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The 1860 the OP posted, here in Ohio in that condition, would not sell at the $1500 range due to the mismatched cylinder. It might not even sell for 1K because anyone willing to spend $1000 on an antique Colt will just pony up a few hundred more to get a matching numbers gun, in perhaps lower overall condition, but at least matching. Mismatched cylinder is pretty big deal and some collectors (like me) have ZERO interest in a mismatched cylinder gun. Mismatched or replaced wedge is no biggie, even a mismatched lever is ok if the price is lowered, but mismatched barrel or TG or BS or cylinder....most collectors keep looking. So if you ever 'upgrade' to a better specimen, like most eventually do, you take a big hit when you try to sell this one. Think about it. What is the FIRST thing you do when picking up an old Colt? Besides making sure it isnt loaded, you turn it over and scan the barrel, frame, TG, and BS to look at the numbers, then look at the cylinder number. All other inspections follow from there.
 

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As you were already informed, this is a Colt 1860 Army revolver.

Run, don’t walk from this one! Look at the left recoil shield where someone routed out a section of it! You can even see circular marks in the “groove” from when this was done. Not sure why this was done, but such it is!
I believe that is a cut for a shoulder stock, but certainly not an 1851 Navy
Sorry should have read further before posting
Dennis
 

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Welcome to the forum! I have a few recommendations:

First, if you're new to this field and not very knowledgeable, don't be in a rush to make a purchase. Take a deep breath, come to the forum and ask questions, get a few books, and spend some time making yourself familiar with the kind of guns you're interested in. Stay away from gun shows until you know what you're looking for.

Second, buy the gun, not the story. Some people might tell you a tall tale about a gun. Unless they have some sort of provenance or proof, don't believe the story.

Third, don't be afraid to walk away if the price is too high and/or you are in doubt about something.

Fourth, pay no attention to those who advise you to buy a certain types of guns. Buy what you like. Pay no attention to those who suggest guns are an investment (financially speaking, they're a a rat hole - albeit a very enjoyable one).

I'm not trying to talk down or lecture, I'd just hate to see someone make some of the same mistakes I've made.

Good luck! Once you do make a purchase, come back, tell us all about it, and post some pictures. :)
Great advice, as my friend once told me, it's far better to get home and cry about NOT buying a gun than to get home and start crying I wish I HADN'T bought this gun! (I have done both! Several times!)
Dennis
 

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I don't 100% agree. Of course it's nice to see a gun in hand, but if that's not possible, personally I'm fine buying something on the internet, as long as I have multiple good photos and can ask lots of questions and I'm happy with the answers. No pictures? No answers? No patience? No sale.

One just has to take a deep breath, look carefully, go slow, ask questions, get multiple good photos.

But yes, it's harder to do this if you have no experience at all (like our OP). I can do this, because I'm very experienced and have handled many many guns over many years. The OP will have to learn slowly from books (OP - buy some good books before you buy a gun), and rely on photos, and the advice of others on this forum, and the advice of the "experts" at the auction house.

I used "" on purpose when referring to auction house staff, as yes, some of them don't know much, but then some of them really really do. The trick is to know who to reach out to, and then listen to them very carefully. They may not slam a gun, but they'll often really brighten up when they think something is really good.

Finally, I pointedly don't agree about a novice buying from a middleman/dealer. I can buy from dealers because they only time I'll do it is when I know more about the item than the dealer, and I'm getting the item at a bargain price, and I have done that many, many times. But a novice (like our OP) will not be able to do that, so he's almost always going to be shafted by the dealer.

Dealers are out for financial gain, their own, and not to help novices out. Anyone says otherwise, come buy this bridge from me.... There are very few reliable dealers out there. Sure, I know a couple of dealers who are reliable, but most are not. The OP will not know, and as such may suffer the consequences.
Of course it's not always possible to have something in hand. In those cases, yes, I'm all for buying from online auctions, websites, etc. (I've done this before, too). As you said, be careful, ask questions, and get plenty of photographs.

I think it may be a bit harsh to say someone unknowledgeable will always get shafted when buying from a dealer or middleman. True, there are a lot of disreputable people out there, but there's also many good people as well who would like repeat business. Perhaps it's just me, but I'd rather pay a fair price than haggle for a bargin.
 

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If you buy at an auction house, start with the obvious. Unless something like a Colt SAA Artillery Model, ask “do all numbers match?” If they don’t, you can quickly move on. Unless, of course, the auction house confuses the serial number with the assembly number. In house “experts” get this one wrong all the time.
 

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If you buy at an auction house, start with the obvious. Unless something like a Colt SAA Artillery Model, ask “do all numbers match?” If they don’t, you can quickly move on. Unless, of course, the auction house confuses the serial number with the assembly number. In house “experts” get this one wrong all the time.

Yup, that's what I want to know, DO ALL THE NUMBERS MATCH?

So what do you do with this Colt 1860 Army Serial Number 35284?



 
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