Colt Navy Revolver, ca. 1860
Appraised Value: $2,500 - $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:14)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: My father was doing some work to my grandparents' home. They had passed away. And when he took out part of a wall to do some plumbing, he found the pistol and a little pouch with the gunpowder. But when he took out the pouch, it just disintegrated. After he brought it home, a friend of his cleaned it for him. My father kept it on his desk until he passed away, and after he passed away I put it in my safety deposit box for 16 years.
APPRAISER: Well, it's a Hartford addressed Colt Navy. The guns are called 51 Navys because of the naval battle scene that's on the cylinder. We can't quite see it on yours anymore because of wear. Colt is kind of fascinating. He's a businessman, and he's in the business of making money. So as we lead up to the American Civil War, he sends his nephew to the South, to try to make contracts with the Southern states to sell them pistols, because he sees the war as imminent, and he's afraid that, once it starts, he won't be able to sell them anymore. If we look right here on the top, we'll see the barrel address for Hartford. This gun is a serial number 95,000. Between 90,000 and 100,000 is where we find the Hartford Navys that are actually sent to the South. The State of Alabama had a contract with Colt, and they bought Hartford Navys. It is quite possible that this pistol was purchased here by a local Mobilian, through a contract with the State of Alabama. Now, you can send off to Colt to try to letter a Hartford Navy. And some of them will letter, and when that comes back, it can actually influence the value. If this were not a Hartford Navy, and it was just a standard 51 Navy with a New York address, this gun would be worth somewhere in the area of $1,000 to $1,500. As a Hartford Navy, without a letter-- $2,500, maybe $3,000. With a really good letter, say, shipped to Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans, Louisiana, Richmond, Virginia, you might tack on maybe even another $1,000. It's an interesting gun. I think it's fun that you found this here in the Oakley District here at home. And it's quite possible this gun was shipped to Alabama in that contract.
GUEST: Thank you so much.
APPRAISER: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
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