EXTRAORDINARY CASED BRACE OF COLT MODEL 1860 FLUTED ARMY PERCUSSION REVOLVERS THAT BELONGED TO SPANISH GENERAL DON CARLOS GARCIA TASSARA.
SN 1264 & 1311. Cal. 44. Revolvers are virtually identical, blue and color case hardened with scarce 7-1/2″ rnd bbls, German silver front sights and 1 line Hartford address. Left side of frames have small “COLTS PATENT”. Frames are 4-screw type cut for shoulder stock with flat head hammer screws. Cylinders have 6-chambers and are full fluted. They each have a matching SN in one flute and a patent date in another. The silver plated brass trigger guards and silver plated steel backstraps contain smooth, Army sized, 1-pc ivory grip. Buttstraps are engraved in period script “C.G. Tassara”. Accompanied by a fantastic, burgundy velvet lined rosewood casing with a brass plaque in the lid, inscribed identically to the revolver butt straps “C.G. Tassara”. Interior is French fitted with black velvet lining around the edges of the recesses for the revolvers, a dbl sided, angled spout flask with repoussed decorations of birds and a bird dog, a 2-cavirty blued steel “COLT’S PATENT” bullet mold with bowed legs and sprue cutter marked on the right side “44H” and an L-shaped nipple wrench. Right rear open compartment contains a lacquered tin of Eley’s caps and left compartment contains a functioning key. These pistols were purchased from Colt’s New York office in 1861, which is probably where they were inscribed, cased and accessorized. They remained with the General until his death in February 1889 and then with his family until the 1970s when they were discovered by a friend of Dr. Chester P. Bonoff of Los Angeles, CA, who helped him buy them from the family. General Tassara was born September 1823 and entered the Spanish Army in 1839 at age 16. He served the remainder of his life, dying while still on active duty in 1889. He served at a variety of commands from artillery to Cavalry, lancers and staff & field. Over his career he fought in several wars and numerous battles being wounded on one occasion fighting Spanish rebels. In 1860 after heroic service in Africa, he was, by Royal decree, declared a National hero. Some of his major decorations included; the Military order of San Hermenegildo; Cross of San Fernando 1st Class; Military Great Cross of Merit; Plaque and Grand Cross of San Hermenegildo; Great Cross of Military Service and Medal of Alfonso XII. He reached the rank of Lt. General and was appointed director General of Artillery and President of General Defense Board of the Kingdom and Director General of Cavalry. General Tassara was a very distinguished and brave soldier his entire life and the condition of this set of pistols reflects the thought and care of a soldier. Accompanying this lot are two authentic medals similar to those awarded to General Tassara. One is the Grand Cross of San Hermenegildo and the other is the Grand Red Cross of Military Merit. Additionally accompanying is a 2-pg letter from renowned Colt author & historian R.L. Wilson which authenticates this set of pistols. Mr. Wilson begins his letter with the statement that General Tassara was an ambassador to the States, which is incorrect. This set was awarded a silver medal, #153 and a Top 10 Best Weapons Award at the April 20, 1975 NRA meeting in San Diego, CA to Dr. Bonoff. Medallion has been misplaced, however the original certificate and plastic plaque accompanies this lot. This set also was awarded Best of Show Honors at both the American Society of Arms Collectors meeting and The Texas Gun Collectors Association annual show in 2011. Also accompanying this lot is a Colt Factory Letter for each revolver which identifies them in cal. 44 with 7-1/2″ bbl, blue finish, type of stocks not listed and shipped to Colt’s New York office on January 16, 1861, together, in the same 50-gun shipment. Also accompanying is a very large volume of copies of documents in Spanish with translations detailing General Tassara’s career and awards. Additionally accompanying is a copy of a picture of General Tassara. PROVENANCE: Dr. Chester Bonoff; The William Gerber Family Collection. CONDITION: Revolvers are very fine, all matching except grips which are unnumbered. #1264). Bbl retains about 85% glossy orig blue with a large flaked area on right side of lug and scattered flaking elsewhere; rammer and handle retain about all of their orig case colors, brilliant on the pivot; frame and hammer retain virtually all of their orig brilliant case colors, showing fading only on left recoil shield; trigger guard and backstrap retain virtually all of their orig silver; grip is sound showing no flaws and retains a fine mellow ivory patina; cyl retains about 80-85% glossy orig blue with the loss area flaked to a medium patina, 4 of the 6 safety pins are serviceable; appears to be unfired. Mechanics are crisp, brilliant shiny bore. #1311). Bbl retains 75-80% thin orig blue mixed with flaked areas and some scratches on the right side with the loss areas a medium patina; rammer and handle retain brilliant case colors; frame and hammer retain brilliant case colors, showing light fading only on left recoil shield; trigger guard has a small chemical spot and backstrap some fine pimpling, otherwise overall retains virtually all of its orig silver plating; grip has an age line, otherwise shows no flaws and retains a fine mellow ivory patina; cyl retains about 90% glossy orig blue and all 6 safety pins are serviceable. Mechanics are crisp, brilliant shiny bore, appears to be unfired. Case is sound showing numerous handling and storage nicks & scratches and retains about 75% orig varnish with most of the losses on top of the lid; interior is bright and clean, showing light soil under the revolvers; flask and mold appear to be new; cap tin is nicked & dinged with a very faded label; nipple wrench is also new with light, fine pitting. Altogether an extraordinary set the likes of which never to be encountered again. (WG-003) 4-51090 JR522 (250,000-350,000) – Lot 2008
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.