1862 Young Shop-Engraved Colt Pistol

Value (2012) | $15,000 Insurance$17,000 Insurance
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APPRAISER:
So what have you brought in for us today?

GUEST:
A gun that belonged to my great-great-grandfather. He owned a brewery here in San Antonio in the Menger Hotel. And Teddy Roosevelt came to the hotel and drank.

APPRAISER:
He was known to do that from time to time. And actually, that's also one of the hotels where they raised some of the soldiers for the Rough Riders.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
That's what local lore is.

GUEST:
Yes, yes, the Rough Riders.

APPRAISER:
Across the top of the barrel we have the Colt's patent mark and also the New York City production location. And what it is is a Model 1851 Colt's patent revolver. It's not made in 1851. That's just the model. They made these on up until 1873, which was still way before Teddy Roosevelt. If we turn the gun over, we have the serial number. It's 128,000. And thanks to Mr. Colt's bookkeepers, we know that that was made in 1862.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
So it was made during the heart of the Civil War. What's special about it is that we have the letter E.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And that's very important for a Colt firearm. That lets us know that it was to be "e"--engraved or embellished. This gun has beautiful scrollwork.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Classic styling. I mean, it... wow. If you notice, there's a wolf's head. You can see the eye, the mouth. That's the sign of being engraved at the shop of Gustav Young, who was the premier engraver for Colt firearms. He was like the Picasso of gun working.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
To a Colt guy, that sends chills up your arm. Because it's not signed by him, it doesn't have his name on it, we can't say that he's the one that engraved it. We know that it's in his style and is going to be one that came out of his shop. Shop. This gun would have been a high-quality gun, so it could have been a presentation piece or a gift. It's not one that you would actually carry into service, usually, unless you were a flamboyant person. It has the original ivory grips that have a beautiful golden tone, just rich, thick patina. It's a beautiful gun. Have you ever had the gun appraised?

GUEST:
Yes, my father did many years ago, and they said it was maybe worth around $1,000.

APPRAISER:
A gun like this, you would need to insure it between $12,000 and $15,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my God. $12,000 to $15,000... That's a lot of money. And I've been keeping it wrapped up in an old cloth. It's just unbelievable. It is unbelievable.

APPRAISER:
Good news?

GUEST:
Yes, very good news.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Shiloh Civil War Relics
Savannah, TN
Update (2012)
$15,000 Insurance$17,000 Insurance
Appraised value (2007)
$12,000 Insurance$15,000 Insurance
Event
San Antonio, TX (July 14, 2007)
Form
Animal, Pistol
Material
Metal
January 24, 2011: After this appraisal aired, we received an email from a viewer who felt the descriptive caption on this gun was incorrect, and that instead of being called a pistol it should have been called a revolver. We asked appraiser Rafael Eledge to explain the terms and this was his response: "A pistol may or may not be a revolver, but a revolver has to be a pistol. It is technically a revolving pistol."

Update 11.12.2012: We contacted appraiser Rafael Eledge for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $15,000 - $17,000 (Increased)

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