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Old 05-01-2015, 08:02 AM   #1
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Engraved Colt 1851 Navy.

I am researching this gun for a friend who's wife inherited her father's collection.

It is a matching numbers Colt 1851 Navy that is completely engraved. I am pretty sure it is not factory engraved it but does appear to have been shipped by Colt in the raw to be engraved because the cylinder does not have the Navy scene, there was no caliber stamped on the trigger guard and the address on the barrel is engraved as opposed to being stamped.

The engraving is light and rather plane but pretty much covers the whole gun. I sent some pictures to Paul Szymaszek at Colt and he is pretty sure it is not factory engraved.

My questions are should I have my friend get a factory letter, has anyone seen engraving like this and. does anyone have an estimate of the value.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:34 PM   #2
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How can you not?

I agree that it does not look like factory work... certainly not the quality one would expect.

But if the supposition that it was shipped "soft" without the cylinder scene and barrel address is correct the records should have very useful information.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:46 PM   #3
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The only way you will know for sure if it was shipped "soft" is to get a Colt letter. I'm sure it's not factory engraving, It's rather crude almost like it was done with a pantograph. I'm sure the Colt markings on the barrel were not done at Colt either.
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Old 05-02-2015, 08:10 AM   #4
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While I would definantly agree that Colt is a good place to go to to find out about your 1851 Navy, what you find out -- what you're able to find out -- will depend on when this particular gun was made.
IIRC the '51 was made up to 1873 ....might be off a little.
The trouble is that the Colt factory was attacked and partially burned by a Confederate spy circa 1863 during the Civil War. A good many records were lost then, making it a strictly "hit or miss" proposition as to what can be found out about pre-1863 guns. And unfortunatly it seems it's usually "miss."
But if you can tell your gun was made after, definantly try. Heck, try either way; you've nothing to lose.
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