This is one of the nicest Colt Model 1889 Double Action Revolvers we've had in several years. 4 1/2" barrel. Caliber 38 Colt. We look high and low for this rather elusive model but they rarely turn up possessing this level of condition. The 1889 was essentially the grandfather to the modern Colt Double Action revolver and was their first with a "swing-out" cylinder. Note the cleaner lines which is mainly due to the outside of the cylinder having longer flutes and the absence of any visible stop notches. See comparison photos with the Model 1892 Colt. Colt built just 31,000 of these from 1889 to 1894 with the first 5,000 units going to the US Navy. Following its introduction, Colt quickly improved the 1889 by adding duals sets of stop notches on the cylinders in addition various other internal improvements. As a result of these improvements, nearly all of the 5,000 USN's were upgraded to the New Navy configuration with cylinder stops added. At Colt, the 1889 was soon phased out of production and these new improved models went on to become known as the Colt New Army or Navy Revolver with various year designations defining the improvements,i.e. 1892, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1901, 1903, etc.
Serial number on this 1889 is in the 26,000 range and was built in the year 1893. It has all matching numbers which include the frame, cylinder, barrel, swing-out arm, cylinder catch, and grips. This one has a couple of neat variations you'll find only on the last 1889's. Note that by 1893, the improved Model 1892 with dual locking bolts had already been in production since the previous year. On late 1889's like this one, Colt was sharing the same frames for both models. Thus, you'll see 1889's with slots for locking bolts that were never installed. Also, note the sideplate is a little longer than on early 1889's. A neat variation and one you'll find only on late 1889's.
Overall condition grades to NRA Antique Excellent Plus with 97-98% shiny original blue. Only wear present is confined mostly to the sharper edges, a little on the back of the cylinder, and some slight wear on the backstrap. The screws, trigger, and hammer retain nearly all their original fire-blued finish. Hard rubber grips are the lighter Colt Brown color and are flawless with nice early 1889 type "COLT" logos. Checkering is perfect. Mechanics are nice and smooth. Bore is mint. A very strong example of the Colt 1889 that would be a challenge for a Colt collector to improve upon.