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Colt Model 1877 Double Action .38 Revolver...used by and marked for American Express Co. / Factory Engraved Back Strap, by Cuno Helfricht 1895

CUNO HELFRICHT ENGRAVED BACK STRAP, Am. Exp. Co. No. 181, If the buyer requests a Colt Factory Letter, it will detail exactly what you see here, and shipped direct to American Express, likely C.E. Seaton, purchasing agent.

Here we have an excellent example of the era when all shipping of valuables moved by Train or Stagecoach. American Express founded  before Well Fargo, had lines of service from the West to the East, and East to West. It was highly essential to arm their Messengers with a quality weapon for self defense and to protect the shipment from thieves. Am. Ex. ordered 1,200 directly from Colt the 1877 DA Model, and had Colt mark the back straps for them with ownership.  This one, Serial No. 10129X, dates 1895 , and is No. 181. Another number appears, 18 on the shoulder ( both sides) of the trigger guard. This would identify the Messenger it was issued to, or division.  This 1877 still has a 100% correct working action !The factory Blue finish remains in the flutes of the cylinder , some area on barrel and the ejector housing. The balance is a soft untouched natural smoke gray patina. Case color "ghost" can be seen on the frame.. ALL serial numbers match, and ALL factory applied markings are distinct and clear. The 1877 has the original factory checkered hard rubber grips which exhibit daily use. The checkering is worn smooth on most hand applied areas of the grips and a small "under chip ' at the bottom of the right grip. This is a very historical Colt Revolver, who really saw the Old West and was there to see the hold up's on Stage and Train lines. Even the occasional Express Office that was "hands up" and deliver! VERY FEW ! of the original 1,200 can be found today, so this is an excellent collectable.

PRICE $ 2,850

***Note: American Express Call card for Display only, not for sale.



By 1890 most of the Colt Single Actions where shipping West, NY distributors were still very active but Simmons of St. Louis was making it's mark. This 4-3/4 inch Black Powder , Eagle Hard Rubber gripped Colt was shipped to Simmons in August of 1890. It is as the Factory Letter describes, 4-3/4 inch, Nickel finish, Rubber grips. Currently this 132 year old piece of history has about 15% of the original nickel remaining, the balance an untouched original antique patina is present. the original Eagle Pattern hard rubber grips show minimal hand wear, and retain their checkering and the Eagle plus the Colt Logo at the grips top.

So very important with these old warriors is the WORKING ACTIONS. The action on this Colt SAA is PERFECT : it has the safety notch, half cock, full cock, cylinder rotates, indexes, locks tight, and trigger release to fire, perfect working action. The remaining nickel finish is spread out, over the barrel , frame and back strap and even trigger tip ! This Colt came out of Oklahoma, and spent many years on this Western Frontier.

PRICE $4,200





Colt Single Action Army .45, Serial No.6902X is as the Factory Letter designates. Nickel plated finish, note: barrel and grips not listed, which means 7-1/2 inches and 1 Piece Walnut grips. As we see the Colt today, it has about 35%+ of the original nickel plate finish, the balance is a soft mellow gray patina. ALL parts are factory original, ALL factory markings are clear and present. Most Important: ALL working actions function 100% correctly all the time ! The original Walnut grips have no damage and show normal hand wear.

The most UNIQUE part of the SAA .45 is the shipping location for 1881.

It shipped to M.W. Robinson, NY, NY in a quantity of 12 ! At this time M.W. Robinson was an exclusive S&W distributor. You can look at ALL the factory letters after the Civil War for S&W, you will find shipped to M.W. Robinson, NY. There were exceptions in the 1870's like Curry Brothers, California. In all my years in the business, never have I seen a Colt SAA shipped to M.W. Robinson.

There is a very strong presence of nickel plating remaining on the barrel, both sides, and specific areas on the frame. This early Colt SAA still has the "donut: head ejector. In 1881 the Wild West was reaching a crescendo across the west with Range Wars, Outlawry, and Clan Fights in the Southwest. A strong example of an 1881 Colt, with a unique shipping location.

PRICE $4,500



BLACK POWDER 1897......

An early example of  Colt Single Action Army, STILL A BLACK POWDER REVOLVER, with the new designed cylinder pin release. A tool was no longer required to back out the frame screw, now, just press the spring loaded button and pull out the cylinder pin. Certainly a great improvement, no tool, screw driver etc.. required  We see by 1897 the hard rubber grips have changed, no Eagles at the bottom, the entire grip is checkered. Shipped in January 1897 to Kentucky, just in time for the Hatfield and McCoy feud, could be ? This is a blued Colt with Case color hardening, and hard rubber grips. Currently  it has about 10% original blue, the balance is a soft plum gray patina. The blue is around the trigger guard. ALL factory applied markings are clear and sharp: barrel address, barrel caliber, frame patent and Rampant Colt, plus clear and MATCHING serial numbers..

The checkered hard rubber grips are in very good condition, strong checkering is sharp, and the upper grip logo is very distinct. The is No damage and are original to the Colt. The working action is crisp and perfect ! ALL working actions: cocking , locking, indexing, and firing NO problems. This is a scarce Single Action, LONG barrels in 38/40 are few and far between. A nice collectable Colt.

PRICE $ 4,500






This DA 1878, was by serial number, the very first one manufactured in 1896 ! In addition, it is in a scarce caliber for this Model, 38/40. Serial No. 3510X has the 7-1/2 inch barrel, and a strong ! probability of Factory Ivory grips. The Colt has just about all the factory nickel plating remaining on the frame, along with blue on the screw heads and trigger. The balance of the Colt remains about 60% nickel plate on barrel, and 100% on ejector housing. The cylinder has about 60% also, with some freckling. The balance of the surface is a soft plum patina all original and UNTOUCHED. ALL factory applied markings are present : barrel address, barrel caliber designation, and Serial Number. Very IMPORTANT. the working action is 100% perfect on both single action mode and double action mode. All screw heads are clean and crisp, no burring, and ALL parts are ORIGINAL to this Colt DA 1878. This Model Colt was slow in the beginning BUT after a few years into production it became a VERY popular revolver on the Frontier, and with notables of the Frontier. Very rare we can see the beginning or ending Colt revolver, BUT with this DA, it is listed in all Colt records as THE FIRST 1878 made in the year 1896 !

Perhaps if ordered it would be an interesting Colt Letter. PRICE $3,000

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MARCH 31, 2023


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