December 04, 2019 10:00 AM EST Cincinnati


Colt London Navy WD Marked Percussion Revolver

.36 caliber, 7.5" octagonal barrel, S/N 21533 (mfg. 1855). Blued and color case hardened finish, walnut grip. All visible numbers match. One-line Colt London barrel address, visible serial numbers match, standard roll engraved cylinder scene. London commercial proof marks on barrel web and between chambers of cylinder. British military War Department WD / {broad arrow} ownership stamp on barrel web. Gripstrap engraved: W.D. DeSaussure 15th SCVI. A search of both American and British military records reveals that only one potential candidate for this inscription exists, Colonel William D. DeSaussure of the 15th SC Volunteer Infantry, who was killed in action on at Gettysburg on July 2. 

With the advent of the Crimean War and the sudden need for modern repeating handguns in the field, the British Ordnance Department placed orders for a total of 23,700 Colt’s “Navy” pistols. These revolvers were delivered between March of 1854 and February of 1856. While many of these were delivered from Colt’s London production facility, additional revolvers were delivered from his US manufactory as well. Of these revolvers, 9,600 were issued to the Royal Navy, 5,000 were issued to the army in the Crimea and 9,000 remained in store at the Tower of London as of February 1856. All of these British military purchased revolvers were marked with London commercial proof marks, as well as the British military ownership mark of a small {broad arrow}/WD mark. The standard procedure for the British military was to keep arms in service for a minimum of 10 years unless they became unserviceable. Typically those arms were marked with opposed {broad arrows} when they were sold out of service. This gun is not so marked. As this revolver bears British War Department ownership markings and the revolver would have remained in British service until circa 1865, there is no realistic possibility that the inscription on the backstrap to a Confederate officer who died in 1863 is legitimate. 


Good. Metal with a dull pewter gray patina with scattered surface oxidation and discoloration, showing some scattered pinpricking and light pitting here and there. Markings remain clear with a mostly visible cylinder scene. Mechanically functional, good bore with scattered oxidation and light pitting. Grips with wear and scattered bumps, dings and mars.

Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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