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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Exquisite Collector Colts

For those not familiar, Rock Island Auction Company sent out a series of emails containing some of the highlights in our May 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction. These messages covered a number of popular genres and gave a first look at some firearms that are bound to attract the attention of some of the world's foremost collectors and investors. This blog, and the ones to follow, are a reprint of those emails for those who do not receive that type of communication. As an added bonus, these blogs will also include many photos that did not appear in the original emails in order to keep them at a reasonable size. We hope you enjoy these collectible firearms and their multitude of photos!

If you like what you see below, be sure to check out our auction highlights in the Photo Preview4-page Sneak Preview, or our full 16-page mailer. To search our entire auction listing please visit

Some guns are simply so legendary that collectors follow them from owner to owner hoping that one day they'll be lucky enough to have an opportunity to add them to their own collection. Today's article examines two such pieces of firearms history, formerly from several illustrious collections. To have two such popularly known Colt revolvers with such esteemed provenance means that just about everybody will be paying attention to the upcoming sale at Rock Island Auction Company.  We have new items coming in every day and each one seems in a competition to outdo its predecessor! We hope you enjoy these articles and the exciting guns shown inside them. Thank you for taking some time to look at all these amazing items! We promise to show more in the days ahead.

There are two Colts appearing in this auction and they are arguably the very pinnacle of several famed and prestigious collections. The first gun appearing in the May 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction with a glowing provenance and an abundance of popularity is the truly extraordinary, rare, cased Texas No. 5 Paterson revolver, serial number 515, with carved ivory grips, attached loading lever, and 9-inch barrel.
Lot 1147: Profoundly Rare and Equally Magnificent Cased No. 5 Texas Paterson with 6 Silver Bands 9" Barrel, Loading Lever and Shell Carved Ivory Grips

Colt Patersons are an extremely desirable collector's item for their important place in firearms history, their historic associations with the expanding western frontier, and their rarity. Patersons were the first commercially available percussion revolvers yet only around 2,850 were produced. Roughly 1,000 of those produced are the "Number 5 Holster" or Texas Patersons. This particularly famous Colt has been inlaid with silver bands: one at the muzzle, two at the breech, and two more on its underside. The roundback cylinder and carved ivory handles are also scarce features, and the handsome varnished mahogany case, filled with all its high condition accessories and topped with a German silver plate, completes the lengthy list of exquisite features that are heaped upon this incomparable Colt.

Eclipsing this gun's special ornamentation, the case and accessories, its rarity, and its history, is its unbelievable and excellent condition. It bears 98% of the original blue finish, buttercream colored ivory grips, and a remarkably sharp stagecoach cylinder scene. The gun has never been fired and is of the highest of investment grade firearms.

It's hard to believe that a gun be could more desirable and fetch higher prices than the Colt Walker that we'll look at next, but this Colt Texas Paterson has done it. The little revolver with a small production has everything a collector dreams of: historic significance, excellent provenance, sterling condition, exceptional rarity, and the added perk of being distinguished among even the most accomplished collectors.

The second is the instantly recognizable and collector revered Colt Walker Model Civilian Series revolver, serial number 1078, whose alias is simply, "The Thumbprint Walker."

Lot 3116: Iconic, Historic and Exceptional Colt Civilian Walker Serial Number 1078 with Magnificent Period Holster: Popularly Known as "The Thumb Print Walker"

Only 1,100 Walkers are known to exist and less than a tenth of those are the civilian model. A mere 100 civilian revolvers were created as presentation pieces for people of influence both in and out of the military to kindle interest in the revolver. Such presentations were a frequently used tactic by master promoter Samuel Colt. Civilian Walkers are without a question the most difficult of all Colt firearms to obtain. Generations of collectors have never even had an opportunity to own one, let alone one of this quality and renown.

Considering their dwindling numbers, a Walker of any condition is a prize to be sought. Serial number 1078, with its correct barrel length, distinct cylinder scene, crisp markings, and high level of original finish, would easily be the crème de la crème of any collection and is in the discussion for one of the most single desirable Colts known to exist today. It has been featured in several authoritative books and publications, and the interest in this celebrity Walker shows no sign of slowing. Collectors or investors would be hard-pressed to find a higher investment grade firearms.

It is further complemented by a pine box and the beautiful period leather holster shown belown, whose light color matches the golden hues of its one time occupant spectacularly.

As guns of this stature find their way to Rock Island Auction Company for the May Premiere Auction, the excitement has already begun to build. A choice few collectors will vie for the chance to take home these idolized guns and many more will anxiously await to see who will be fortunate enough to call them their own.

The Cali Colts are far from the only percussion Colts in this auction! We have an exceptional Ehler's 5th Model Paterson Belt Model, 2nd Model Dragoons, an amazing Model 1851 Navy Contract, a spectacular factory engraved 1861 Navy with pearl grips, a cased Gustave Young engraved 1849 Pocket, a cased and historic Gustave Young presentation engraved 1851 Navy with a Civil War Philadelphia National Guard Officer's Inscription, and even a rare Gustave Young factory engraved, Model 1861 Navy Richards-Mason conversion with Tiffany Grip! A host of models, special grips, engravings, special variations, ornamentation, and unique histories are ready for auction day.

Stay tuned for more pictures and history-filled articles highlighting the exciting world-class firearms that will be appearing in our May 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction. It's going to be an event to remember!

Please browse any of the following Colt themed categories with a simple click!

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