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Thread: Old pistols someone has

  1. #21
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    Certainly a very handsome set of pistols. I do wonder, however, about the lack of a "Navy" battle scene engraved around the cylinder of Colt's Navy pistols. That was standard, just as it was on the Colt 1860 Army pistols. A stagecoach robbery was engraved around the cylinders of the Colt 1849 models.

    Also, I question the lack of the stamped "Colt Patents" and date on the left side of the frame just in front of the trigger guard. That too was standard not only on the 1851 Navy Colts, the 1860 Army Colts, but the 1949 Colt Pocket and Gambler Models. Also there should be "ADDRESS COL SAML COLT NEW YORK AMERICA" stamped on the top of the barrel just in front of the cylinder.

    Also there should be five identical serial numbers stamped on the pistol. One on the bottom of the grip frame, one on the bottom of the trigger guard in front of the trigger, one on the bottom of the frame just in front of the trigger guard serial number, and one on the bottom of the barrel just in front of the previous number. The fifth serial number should be engraved on the cylinder, along with the "Navy" battle scene.

    I am no Colt percussion expert, but have owned several over the years, including this Colt 1860 Army .44 that was allegedly picked up on the battlefield after a battle, by my great grandfather who was a Sgt. in Co. B, 40th Georgia Inf. It was passed down through my father's family until he gave it to me many years ago. The only thing on it that is not original is the wedge screw.

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    As stated above, a letter from the Colt Historian would verify the serial number if the pistols are, indeed, authentic Colts. If they're authentic Colts, as also stated, they are worth big time $$$$$$$. Good luck.

    S.M.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),U.S. statesman, scientist, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


  2. #22
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    I made some calls today. I wish I could say that they are authenicated because of blah blah blah, but I can't. I will tell you the story as I was told it and, of course, I realize the information by itself doesn't authenticate anything. I didn't take notes, I didn't remember important words like "serial numbers" and was preoccupied with working fast, getting done and going home. I'll do better as time goes. I'll try to bring the people closer to the pistol to the forum and we'll see how it goes.
    I was told that a man bought these pistols two years ago for forty thousand. The pistols were not heirlooms. He passed on and his widow wishes to sell them for far far less. The pistols were taken to Cabelas and some pawn shops, but nobody wanted to touch them due to federal regulations with ivory. The pistols were taken to an auction house and the man said they were real however one of them was missing something or not functioning properly. Also, the original cases are missing and they searched all the sheds and can't find them.
    I may get a phone number and people can call to help them. I may get some participation. Anyhow, this is where I am at today.

  3. #23
    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    It weird that the area they are at now has meyer family history and a lot of it. I was going to make a phone call to see what my great uncle Jules meyers granddads name was. It seems that cabelas would know about ivory and such or ditch the grips and sell that way.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

  4. #24
    Ed edr730's Avatar
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    Yes, Randy it is odd. However, they no longer live in the area. They now live in SE Michigan where there's some more money. I can't even tell you their last name at the moment. The pistols were sold for 5000. The man told them if they found the original cases he would give them 5000 more. I just got off the phone about it, but didn't get much information because I have a poor signal tonight and was cut off twice.

  5. #25
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    They need to get in touch with a REAL auction house!!!

    I would recommend Cowens auctions in Cincinnati. They deal with items of this nature all the time.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/appraisers/wes-cowan

    Because the ivory grips are original to the pistols they are legal to own and transfer. The fact that they do not know this is reason to avoid them as incompetent.

    I was a museum director for several years and dealt with this kind of problem many times, and you need to get word to these folks that what they have is valuable in spite of what the Michigan pawn broker offers or does not offer!

    A broken part means nothing when you are talking about a display of this nature. It does not need to be repaired or touched in any way.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 07-26-2016 at 08:31 PM.
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  6. #26
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edr730 View Post
    Yes, Randy it is odd. However, they no longer live in the area. They now live in SE Michigan where there's some more money. I can't even tell you their last name at the moment. The pistols were sold for 5000. The man told them if they found the original cases he would give them 5000 more. I just got off the phone about it, but didn't get much information because I have a poor signal tonight and was cut off twice.
    The grips were worth more than $5000!
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  7. #27
    Ed edr730's Avatar
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    Kyrat, I will tell them of that auction house and site and hopefully they will use it. There are other items to sell and paintings for 5000 were mentioned. I would find it unusual if a man had such pistols and didn't have other collectable guns. I wish I knew more about the name Meyers on the pistols since the seller lived in the general area. They are probably about 4.5 hours from anywhere in Cincinnati and a long day or two would be worthwhile.

  8. #28
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quit looking for the family of today and start looking for the Officer the pistols were presented too.

    The Michigan units have a long and well documented history and they need to get in touch with one of the Michigan Historical Societies.

    Someone would probably love to examine the pistols, even if they are not firearms experts, and do some checking into the unit the Major commanded and the officers that presented him with the pistols.

    The value of these items is in their documentation and information. A CW collector would probably give far more than the family or the pistols would not be floating around looking for a proper home.

    I am sure there are re-enactors in the area that would be proud to own these arms.

    http://www.migenweb.org/michiganinth...ry/27thinf.htm
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 07-27-2016 at 09:10 AM.
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  9. #29
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    I second-the-motion as to what Kyratshooter just posted in his # 28.

    S.M.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),U.S. statesman, scientist, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

  10. #30
    Ed edr730's Avatar
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    Yes, it's pretty obvious that a CW collector would pay more than a present family member. I had never considered contacting a present family members for that or any other reason, although I was curious if the names were connected. I came for advice, I got it and appreciate it. Although it's still possible that someone like yourself or another has sufficient knowledge and curiosity to turn up the name and it's true history. Natertot, did seem to find the name, but the Major part didn't fit. Although a shame, they were sold quick.

  11. #31
    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    I'm still going to ask the meyer family relatives from that area if they remember anything about it
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

  12. #32
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    The other part that didn't fit besides rank was the spelling of the last name. The pistols say "F. Myers" while the roster was Frederick Meyers.

    Another thing that leads me to think they are original is that the engraving is not dead on the same. At that time, engraving was done by hand and the ability to make two lengthy inscriptions without a difference in spacing, curves, and sizes is impossible. These two engravings were done by hand by the same person with minor differences which would be correct.

    Not saying they are fakes, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.

    Finding someone who can authenticate them and issue a certification for them would be the best route.

    Keep us posted. I'm intrigued!
    Last edited by natertot; 07-28-2016 at 04:18 AM.
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  13. #33
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    If they were mine, the first place I'd start would be to send a letter to the Colt Historian with the serial numbers, a description of the two pistols, or perhaps some good closeup pictures, and see what the historian found in Colt's records.

    I do think that one of the pistols has been fired, as it is in rougher shape than its "twin." Just my opinion.

    Too bad the original case for the pistols has been lost. If the pistols are Colt's pistols, the case when originally issued, would have contained tools, an additional cylinder, powder flask, percussion caps, perhaps a bullet mold, etc. Colt's cased presentation pistols came with elaborate, various accoutrements.

    On closer examination of one of the pictures, it appears there MIGHT be a faint, faded lettering of "Colts," and PERHAPS a couple of faded letters which MIGHT read "Patent" on the left side of the frame below the front of the cylinder. (???) Also, one cylinder MIGHT have the very faint outlines of an engraved Navy scene. Are those the masts of a ship????

    Anyone else see what I think I might be seeing??

    S.M.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),U.S. statesman, scientist, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

  14. #34
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Zooming in on the views there is a faint roll engraving of the Naval battle scene on the cylinder, and a faint stamping on the left side frame. Seems to read the last part of ?OL?S US with smaller stamping under that.


    The spelling of names in rosters during the CW is not consistent in many cases. F. Mayers and Fred Myers would not be a long stretch from being the same person. My own family name has four spellings that I am aware of that were used in the 19th century with some family members using two or three variations on the same day.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 07-28-2016 at 06:19 PM.
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  15. #35
    Ed edr730's Avatar
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    When I take the photo from this site, I can clearly see "colts". The "T" in colts has some damage which can make it appear to be a U. Below it I can see lettering ??t??t. I can see what could be masts of a ship or an entire ship, but looks like flags and is unclear.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by edr730 View Post
    When I take the photo from this site, I can clearly see "colts". The "T" in colts has some damage which can make it appear to be a U. Below it I can see lettering ??t??t. I can see what could be masts of a ship or an entire ship, but looks like flags and is unclear.
    In that event, it is imperative for the owner to contact the Colt Historian and get a letter of authentication. As they are engraved to a particular person, the letter would probably verify either the person who ordered the pistols, and for whom they were intended, ivory grips, caliber, and when they were shipped from the Colt factory, etc.

    If the owner wants to sell them for their true value, then after a letter of authentication, a top auction house should be contacted and go from there.

    Also, search high and low for the wooden presentation case. If found, that will increase the "package" by big $$$$.

    Good luck.

    S.M.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),U.S. statesman, scientist, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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  18. #38
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    Yep, Colt Navy model pistols.

    I say again, for true value, get a letter of authentication from the Colt Historian at the Colt factory in Hartford, Conn. Then contact a top auction house that specializes in antique firearms.

    And, try to find the original case. Probably long gone, but you never know ...............

    Good luck.

    S.M.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),U.S. statesman, scientist, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

  19. #39
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    Thanks for posting this thread...was kinda fun seeing a "find" happen.
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  20. #40
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    There may also be a problem if these pistols were manufactured BEFORE the factory burned In 1864.

    Colt does not have records for the production before the factory burned. Sorry, nothing was on computer with backup back then and all the paper records burned.

    These guns were presented in 1864, the year the factory burned, and Cold did not get back into operation for nearly a year, which means it may be impossible for the Colt Historians try to verify the exact production, the wholesaler the pistols were shipped to and all the standard information one would expect.

    Has anyone checked to verify consecutive serial numbers on these pistols.

    The presentation case would be a nice touch but the value here is in the guns and consecutive SN would be the real prize. The presentation case will add a thousand $$$ while consecutive SN will almost double the value. Presentation cases are almost impossible to authenticate and can be easily faked by anyone with a good wood shop, some old felt and enough vinegar to age the hinges.

    It is actually a downgrading tactic used by dealers to pay less to unknowing sellers for the pistols, They put much more value on the case when they are buying than when they are selling!

    The entire set of case, bullet mold, powder flask and a tin of original caps would be a different deal entirely. the presentation case without those items has little additional value.

    I suspect that since there are protective "socks" present for the pistols the case is long gone, or never existed. These were not extremely expensive presentation pistols when new, simply standard Colt Navy revolvers with engraving on the brass back-strap by a local craftsman. There may have never been a case. The engraving might have even been added after the war when the Major got home.

    The standard infantry kit did not make provisions for the toting of two revolvers, even by a staff officer on horseback, so the pistols might have been presented in a civilian made double holster belt.

    The 27th Inf was a hard charging unit that saw much action and much travel while in operation, going from Kentucky to Vicksburg to Nashville and then to the Virginia campaigns until the end of the war including the battles for Richmond and the siege at Petersberg. Keeping up with a wooden box while on campaign would have been an irritation, especially if the officer wore the pistols daily and the holster hung by his cot at night and never used to box.

    There are so many variables to deal with here that we can only speculate over that the value must be focused on what is there, not what could have been present sometime in the past 150 years.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 07-30-2016 at 02:58 PM.
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