This is a very early US Government purchased Colt 1860 Army Revolver that was made in at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. This is a standard .44 Caliber, 6 shot revolver with 8" barrel, and rebated cylinder. The serial number is in the 8800 range. Early Model 60 Armies were used hard throughout the entire Civil War so its not very often we find early ones with 4 screw frames in this condition. The 4th screw was placed on all early Model 1860's for the purposes of attaching a shoulder stock. This is by far the nicest and the earliest martially marked 4 screw we've ever had.
This gun was once on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in the Exhibition of Percussion Colt Revolvers and Conversions in 1942. Come to think of it, while this revolver would have been on display at the "MET" while the Battle of Midway was being fought in the Pacific and Doolittle's Raiders bombed Tokyo in B-25's. The Exhibition was on loan to the Museum by John Parsons who later authored a couple of well known books to collectors including a book about Colt Single Actions entitled "The Peacemaker" around 1950 and another popular book about the Henry Rifle and Model 1866 Winchester titled "The First Winchester" in 1955. The previous collector who had owned it for the past 30 years stated that he acquired it from another famous Colt Expert, Herb Glass during the late 1970's. Between John Parsons, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Herb Glass collection, this rare little Colt has been in some very famous collections and now it can be in yours! These guys really knew their stuff so you can be assured there was a very good reason why this revolver was in their collections.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Fine+ to Excellent condition. The serial numbers are all matching including the wedge and arbor pin. Nice cartouches and various military inspector marks on the various parts. The frame has 75% original case colors remaining while the barrel retains 60% thinning original blue with some holster wear to the right side of the barrel with some tap marks on the lug near the wedge. Quite remarkably, the wedge still has original blue on the left side. Iron backstrap still shows 65% original blue indicating very little usage. Trigger still has most of its original fire blue. Excellent markings and knurlings throughout. Very good screws throughout...a few still show some of their fragile original fire blue. The cylinder has turned mostly to a light grey patina with 99% of its roll-engraved scene intact including the Naval Engagement date at the front of the cylinder....even guns with nice scene typically lose this feature. The back of the cylinder still has all of its safety pins intact. The grips are just fantastic still retaining much of their military oil finish and two perfect cartouches on each side of the grip. Note the very scarce early style cartouche in the large oval border on the right side of the grip...you rarely see this style cartouche and very few 4 screw Model 1860's survived with these in good enough shape to still be visible. Barrel is still nice and tight to the frame. Nice action and mechanics and a Fine bore. A nice untouched early Civil War Colt in 100% original condition with a low serial number. You will have a tough time finding a nicer example than this not to mention you'll be the only one on your block with a Colt that was on display the Metropolitan Museum of Art!