Early cased and inscribed, British proofed, factory engraved, Colt Model 1851 Hartford-London .36 ‘Thuer’ Conversion Navy six shot revolver s/n 2125/. manufactured circa 1853. Inscribed on the back-strap: ‘Smith Elder & Co. / London.’
The ‘Thuer’ conversion was Colt’s first production of revolving firearms chambered for metallic cartridges. A total of about 5,000 were manufactured or converted in the US and in London. They are found in .31, .36 and in .44 calibre, for the various models of Pockets, Navies and 1860 Armies. Also Roots and Dragoon examples are known, but are ultra-rare. The breech end of the six shot cylinder has a distinctive conversion ring, which is stamped: ‘PAT SEP./15.1868’ with an E in script, marked on the ring at the eject position. There is also a knurled turning knob and a rebounding firing pin.
The dot after the serial number on this revolver, denotes that this gun was destined to be engraved, or with special finish. It has ‘ – ADDRESS. COL: COLT. LONDON – ’ address with arrows at each end pointing inwards. It is in .36 calibre, with a six-shot cylinder and a 7½ inch octagonal barrel with attached loading lever. The barrel and cylinder are blued with a casehardened frame, hammer and loading lever. The brass back-strap and trigger-guard grips are silver-plated. The un-numbered roll engraved ‘Thuer’ cylinder, is British proofed. The roll-engraved cylinder scene, depicts the battle between the Texas Navy and that of Mexico.
This fabulous Belt Model ‘Thuer’ Navy, is profusely engraved on the frame in the early tight scroll style of London engraving. This intense style of engraving extends to the breech end of the barrel. The left side of the frame displays a hand-engraved ‘COLT’S PATENT’ within a riband. The muzzle end of the barrel features a fine scalloped border. The rear of the recoil shield, displays engravings of trailing vines. The hammer, wedge and loading lever, including the bottom section of the loading lever shaft, are also scroll engraved. The silver-plated brass Hartford back-strap is profusely engraved with circular scrolls behind the hammer, trailing down the back-strap. The butt is also scroll engraved with vines climbing up, towards the inscription. The silver-plated small brass trigger-guard is also scroll engraved to the base of the guard and with vine-like scrolls climbing from the butt. The trigger-guard also features a fine three-sided engraved border on its bevels. Both sides of the hammer are sparsely scroll engraved, with the top ornately engraved with fish eyes, scales and knurling within a semi-circular border. This fine revolver is complimented with one-piece, varnished walnut, slim-Jim stocks.
This piece of metallic art is finely inscribed on the back-strap ‘Smith Elder & Co. / London.’ The provenance of this company through the 19th century, will be added later.
Serial number 2125/. Is in very fine to excellent condition, with much blue to its barrel and ‘Thuer’cylinder. There are also faint case-colours to the frame, loading lever and hammer. The brass back-strap and trigger-guard retains most of their original silver-plating. The cylinder scene is about 98% strong with ‘COLTS PATENT without the serial number. Often, conversion cylinders are left un-numbered. The action is in good working order, with a mint 10/10 bright bore.
Cased in an original early London oak case, with lock and round brass escutcheon and key in the centre, manufactured circa 1853. There is an ornate circular vacant brass plaque with a beveled border in the middle of the lid.
Accessories include four very rare component parts associated with the ‘Thuer’ conversion. A large tin to hold 50 “Thuer” cartridges, without its label. There is an empty five hundred count lacquered primer tin, with an orange label that reads ‘ELEY BROS, London.’ around the circumference. In the centre it reads ‘500 WATERPROOF / Percussion Caps / FOR / CENRAL-FIRE / BREECH-LOADING / CASES’. There is also an empty 250 count similar primer tin. Also a .36 bullet mould with sprue-cutter, stamped ‘COLTS / PATENT’, to cast one conical and one round lead ball, a L-shaped iron nipple key and a pewter oil bottle, stamped on the base ‘JAMES DIXON/ & SONS/ SHEFFIELD’. Metal cleaning rod with domed head. There is also a smaller pewter oil bottle manufactured by ‘C. & J.W / HAWKSLEY The case and accessories are all in fine condition.
A fine and rare casing of an early British proofed Colt Hartford-London ‘Thuer’1851 Navy revolver with very interesting historical provenance that requires more research.