Image Lot Price Description



SN 4884. Cal. 45 Colt. Usual configuration with 7-1/2″ bbl, full height front sight, 1-line script letter address and matching SN on the bottom under the ejector housing. Ejector housing is correct1st type with orig donut-shaped ejector rod head. Left side of frame has 2-line patent dates and “U.S.”. Mounted with 1-pc walnut grip that shows matching SN in backstrap channel. Left side of grip has cartouche “OWA” (Orvil W. Ainsworth). Tiny “A” inspector initials are found on bottom of bbl, trigger guard, backstrap, cyl and bottom left edge of grip. This revolver falls directly in the center of the serial range issued to the 7th Cavalry Regiment under Custer January 28, 1874. On June 25, 1876, Custer and five companies of the 7th Cavalry and three white scouts were annihilated at The Battle of the Little Big Horn by the combined forces of several tribes of Indians. There were at least 632 Single Action Revolvers carried into that battle, of which about 252 to 280 were lost on the battlefield that day. There were 212 Cavalrymen and three civilians killed with Custer, all of whom were carrying Colt revolvers. Of the 632 Colt revolvers carried into the battle that day, a total of 302 were reported lost during the battle. Kopec and Fenn, pg 259,Colt & Artillery Revolvers…A Continuing Study, 1994, states that about 600 of the 755 orig 7th cavalry issues came from “lot 5”. SNs known with Little Bighorn or 7th cavalry issues are 4507, 4553, 4597, 4729, 4949, 4955, 5100, 5128, 5133, 5147, 5153, 5180 and 5416. In a letter from John Kopec accompanying this pistol, “Another significant reference example #4878 (just 6 numbers away) is listed in the archives records as being “turned-in” by the Indian “Fools-Bean” on September 5, 1876. There is no question that the subject revolver #4884 is well within the group of revolvers which could have been associated with the famous Custer battle.” The fact that this revolver has remained in near orig configuration attests to the almost certainty that it was captured by the Indians at the Custer fight. Had it remained with the 7th cavalry, or any active cavalry unit it would have been recalled in 1895 or the early 20th century and would have been converted too artillery configuration with its bbl cut to 5-1/2″. Since that did not happen there are really only two possible explanations: 1). It was captured at the Little Big Horn by the victorious Indians or , 2). It was stolen by an active duty trooper. The vast majority, about 600, of 7th Cavalry Colts were issued from lot 5 which includes this revolver. This is a fine “as found” example exhibiting perfect mechanics, crisp bore and fine belt, holster and Civil War cap box converted to Indian War’s cartridge pouch. CONDITION: Very good to fine, all matching including bbl, cyl & grip. Bbl and ejector housing retain strong traces of bright blue finish in sheltered areas with light pitting in crescent on bbl around end of ejector housing. Frame retains small areas of dark case colors in sheltered areas with the balance a dark silver grey patina with staining and fine pitting on left recoil shield. Hammer retains 60-70% faded case colors. Trigger guard and backstrap are a mottled silver brown patina with traces of bright blue in protected areas. Cylinder is matching patina with tiny traces of blue. Grip is sound and solid with tiny chips to inside toes, hand worn patina with moderate edge wear. Hammer is not solid in safety notch otherwise mechanics are fine. Strong bright bore with scattered fine pitting. 51016-1 JS (40,000-60,000) – Lot 4252

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Auction: Firearms - October 2016
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.