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Well, it will be interesting to see what this one ultimately brings. I think the pre auction estimate is overly optimistic at $160,000 to $250,000, especially since I think that Cavalry (and Artillery) Model revolvers may have peaked in the last three years and are on a downward slope. Then again, for the best of the best, that may not apply.

The best way to determine if this estimate is overly optimistic is to see what others have sold for in the last three years, at auction. Of course, I have no idea what private sale transactions may have occurred, unless I am the buyer or seller. I elected to look at recent past sales at Rock Island Auctions and Morphy Auctions (and James D Julia).

First, the most a Cavalry Model ever brought, to the best of my knowledge, is this one:

https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/LotDetail.aspx?inventoryid=434150

This is an extraordinary revolver because of its ironclad provenance and because that provenance proves that this was actually used at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Smashed through the pre auction estimates of $175,000 to $275,000, hammering in at $460,000, including buyer's premium. Sold Spring 2017. This is one of a kind, and all the rest do not have this provenance. This is clearly like comparing apples to oranges, this revolver, vs the one being offered at Rock Island Auction next week.

So, the next best thing is to look at high condition Cavalry Model revolvers having sold within the last 3 years. Very few have condition.

Here's a Nettleton sub inspected Cavalry Model that sold in December at Rock Island Auction:

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/75/2276/henry-nettleton-subinspected-colt-single-action-cavalry

More desirable than a D.F.C. inspected revolver, but the condition, which the auction house describes as 85% is not in the league of the revolver coming up for auction next week, number 55104. The Nettleton revolver sold for $63,250, including buyer's premium. The Nettleton revolver is beautiful, but placing an image of it next to the David F Clark, number 55104, demonstrates how much more vivid 55104 is relative to number 49158. I should mention that when this degree of condition is involved, I think a Nettleton being more desirable than a Clark sub inspected revolver is relatively inconsequential.

Then this one: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/LotDetail.aspx?inventoryid=252818

R.A.C. sub inspected, $20,740 in February 2017.

And this one, $60,000 in March 2018: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/LotDetail.aspx?inventoryid=442687

No Kopec letter, the collection it came from, from what I have heard, contained some "helped" items.

Another one, same collection, same auction: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/LotDetail.aspx?inventoryid=442686

Hammered at $45,000. Again, no Kopec letter. At that price range, I'd definitely want one.

Another one, at $30,000, same auction, no Kopec letter: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/LotDetail.aspx?inventoryid=442518

Here's an exceptional Nettleton, sold last September for $109,250. The revolver being sold next week is clearly superior to this one (not really--this one IS superior to the one being auctioned!): https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/74/74/documented-henry-nettleton-subinspected-colt-single-action-army

Edit: Further analysis reveals this one is indeed superior to the one being auctioned as this one seems genuine; see later posts that describes flaws in revolver being auctioned, when further scrutinized.

And a nice David F Clark, no 55267, sold $46,000, September 2017: https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/71/1236/colt-single-action-cavalry-model-revolver-david-f-clark

And a David F Clark, sold May 2017 for $46,000: https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/70/2175/colt-single-action-revolver-45-long-colt-factory-letter

An Ainsworth sub inspected revolver from the same auction, $63,250: https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/70/420/colt-single-action-army-revolver-45-long-colt

So, other than the extremely rare Colt Cavalry Model revolver, no 5773, that was at Little Bighorn, it appears that the most one of these has bought at auction in the last three years is just shy of $110,000. The low end estimate for no 55104 is $50,000 greater than this in a, like I said, climate in which the prices on these seem to be falling.

However, this is perhaps the finest Cavalry Model with regards to condition in existence, or very close to it. Two individuals with deep pockets and the desire for "bragging rights" could drive this one rather high, but, looking at this in a sane manner, and comparing as to what others have sold for it appears that a 6 figure price tag is warranted, but when one starts pushing $150,000, does it make good business sense?
 

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“but when one starts pushing $150,000, does it make good business sense?”
Hahaha! Informative write-up mrcvs but that last line made me chuckle.
 

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Say what you want but this is the defining factor as to what this gun will sell for.

"this is perhaps the finest Cavalry Model with regards to condition in existence"
 

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Say what you want but this is the defining factor as to what this gun will sell for.

"this is perhaps the finest Cavalry Model with regards to condition in existence"
Agreed, and this might push this one into the stratosphere.

But, how much more is the very best one out there worth relative to the next highest one, at $109,250? And, that one is an extreme outlier relative to others I identified.

Often, the ultimate purchaser of something like this has nearly unlimited funds, and doesn't care what it costs. The important thing, in their mind, is that they own it.

This one's out of my league, unfortunately. I wish to congratulate, in advance, the next caretaker of this stellar example of a Cavalry model.
 

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Just curious. In Mr. Kopec's letter he states that he feels the firearm had never been shot. Why then such a ring around the cylinder and wear marks on the cylinder notches? Do you all think that through all these years the gun was just cocked and re-cocked over and over again to feel the action?
 

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Well, this definitively answers the question of what the original case hardening from Colt looked like.

How in the world did this thing manage to stay in such pristine condition? Incredible.
 

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I wonder what the action feels like on that Colt.. and how well the hands at the factory truly had them tuned up back then
 

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The more I look at this gun the more impressed I am. Forgive me for being incredulous, but I’m a firm believer in the age old adage “If it seems to good to be true, it usually is”. That said, I can’t find one dang thing to suggest this gun is anything other that what the auction house claims it is...a miraculously preserved example of a Calvary issued Model P. Obviously, Kopec’s letter further solidifies this claim. Did it fall out of the bleeding hands of a 7th Calv. soldier at LBH, no. But for the collector that’s seeking the most pristine example of the Colt craftsmanship that typified this era, this thing is ultimate grab. All that said, a couple of notes I’d like for our resident experts to weigh in on:
1.) Frame to grip frame fit: the frame of this gun doesn’t quite marry perfectly with the grip frame in several areas along the trigger guard due to what appears to be damage the the edge of the case hardened frame itself. How does this happen assuming the grip frame hasn’t been removed/replaced at some point and how common is this in SAA’s of this vintage?
2.) Grip ears. The tops of the grip frame ears stand slightly proud of the frame when closely examined. Possibly a misaligned grip frame that could be easily remedied by loosening screws and adjusting accordingly, but the vast majority of 1st gens that I’ve had the privilege of handling have absolutely perfect fit in this regard. How common were/are flaws in this fitment in early guns?
3.) We’ve run across this one on the forum before but it dang sure looks like the cylinder face is contacting the barrel/forcing cone in a few of those pics. Merely an optical illusion?
4.) Double struck/ sloppily struck patent dates/serial numbers. A few errors are evident upon close inspection on this gun. Many here have commented before that this is par for the course on early SAA’s given the inconsistencies involved with both the tooling itself and the craftsmen who hand struck these letters/numbers. Any thoughts on the errors displayed on his piece?
VERY interested to see what this thing goes for!
 

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Its " BEAUTIFUL " to say the very, very, least. But like several have said >>> ABOVE MY PAY GRADE. But thanks so much for sharing this with us all here. We can dream anyway.
 

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The more I look at this gun the more impressed I am. Forgive me for being incredulous, but I’m a firm believer in the age old adage “If it seems to good to be true, it usually is”. That said, I can’t find one dang thing to suggest this gun is anything other that what the auction house claims it is...a miraculously preserved example of a Calvary issued Model P. Obviously, Kopec’s letter further solidifies this claim. Did it fall out of the bleeding hands of a 7th Calv. soldier at LBH, no. But for the collector that’s seeking the most pristine example of the Colt craftsmanship that typified this era, this thing is ultimate grab. All that said, a couple of notes I’d like for our resident experts to weigh in on:
1.) Frame to grip frame fit: the frame of this gun doesn’t quite marry perfectly with the grip frame in several areas along the trigger guard due to what appears to be damage the the edge of the case hardened frame itself. How does this happen assuming the grip frame hasn’t been removed/replaced at some point and how common is this in SAA’s of this vintage?
2.) Grip ears. The tops of the grip frame ears stand slightly proud of the frame when closely examined. Possibly a misaligned grip frame that could be easily remedied by loosening screws and adjusting accordingly, but the vast majority of 1st gens that I’ve had the privilege of handling have absolutely perfect fit in this regard. How common were/are flaws in this fitment in early guns?
3.) We’ve run across this one on the forum before but it dang sure looks like the cylinder face is contacting the barrel/forcing cone in a few of those pics. Merely an optical illusion?
4.) Double struck/ sloppily struck patent dates/serial numbers. A few errors are evident upon close inspection on this gun. Many here have commented before that this is par for the course on early SAA’s given the inconsistencies involved with both the tooling itself and the craftsmen who hand struck these letters/numbers. Any thoughts on the errors displayed on his piece?
VERY interested to see what this thing goes for!
Agree with all said, and why so much wear on the cylinder notches and it's ring? While this may be the best example in existence I do not think it should be called 99% or just as it left the Colt factory.
 

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I guess I am being ignored. Am I being indigent for not genuflecting before even looking at this pistol. I must have ruffled the feathers of those that know so much more then me. I guess my lack of knowledge is offensive on a internet forum with those that think they have such a High, High Colt pedigree.

I thought this was a place to learn. That is what I am trying to do. Many need to get over themselves and realize what is really important in life, and it is not a chunk of wood and steel or maybe iron.
 

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The case colors sure do vary a lot between the SAA and the 1860 pictured. Saying the gun is unfired is a bit of a stretch considering the wear to the cylinder. The bolt and trigger screws show definite evidence of having been turned so one can assume the other screws have been out of the gun as well. The 2 screws at the top of the backstrap look a bit buggered to me. The top of the backstrap does stick up a bit above the frame. The photography is is a bit misleading as it is shot so precisely that it gives the gun a 2 dimensional look.

The more I see guns debated on the internet using photographs the more I realize the pictures do not tell the full story. I have seen true experts reverse their opinions of pictures after a closer look.

The gun is a great example of the way it appeared when new and obviously was placed in a location away from harm for many years before being discovered by someone who took the care to keep it the way it was found.
 

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I just wonder what all the "Guns are for shooting, not sitting in a safe" members in this forum would do with THIS gun if it was somehow gifted to them? Would you shoot it???????
I know I would carefully put a nylon 'zip strip' on it so now one could even cycle the thing.
 

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I guess I am being ignored. Am I being indigent for not genuflecting before even looking at this pistol. I must have ruffled the feathers of those that know so much more then me. I guess my lack of knowledge is offensive on a internet forum with those that think they have such a High, High Colt pedigree.

I thought this was a place to learn. That is what I am trying to do. Many need to get over themselves and realize what is really important in life, and it is not a chunk of wood and steel or maybe iron.
My apologies. I was at work today and cannot bring this up on my work computer and resolution is poor on my phone. No, we need to ask these questions.

In the meantime, here's the original link, as it never has worked as originally posted in this thread: https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/77/124/documented-1880-production-colt-cavalry-model-sa-revolver

I will analyze further very shortly.
 
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