Rock Island Auction, May 6, 2017, Lot 2124, Exceptionally Rare and Magnificent, Documented Silver-Banded, Factory Cased Colt No. 5 Squareback Model Texas Paterson Percussion Revolver.
Estimated price: $350,000 – $475,000 — Sold for $500,000.
Description: This exceptional revolver is one of approximately 1,000 Texas Paterson revolvers manufactured by Samuel Colt’s Patent Arms Manufacturing Company from 1838-40. The No. 5 Holster Model revolvers were the largest of all the Paterson handguns and achieved fame as a result of their use by Captain Jack Hays and other Rangers on the Texas frontier. In fact, a major purchaser of the No. 5 was the Republic of Texas. Samuel Walker was familiar with the No. 5 during his days as a Texas Ranger and used the revolver to great effect. His experience with the Paterson persuaded him to advocate for a larger, quicker loading revolver powerful enough to kill either a man or horse with a single shot. His discussions with Samuel Colt led to the Colt Walker Model revolver in 1847. What followed next was a rapid evolution in revolver design spearhead by Colt who introduced the Dragoon series of revolvers that were based on the Walker design. Samuel Walker is often credited for establishing early Colt revolvers as an effective handgun. The Walker and Dragoon revolvers definitely provided Colt with financial relief and fame. This particular No. 5 revolver was once owned by Francis Bannerman. It is illustrated and described in detail on pages 80-83 of “The Art of the Gun: Magnificent Colts Volume I” by Robert M. Lee and R.L. Wilson. The revolver has a high polish blue finish on the barrel, frame, cylinder, and grip strap. The hammer is color casehardened. The five-shot, square back cylinder is roll-engraved with the stagecoach holdup scene. German silver bands are inlaid on the barrel at the muzzle, on the top of the barrel at the breech, on the underside of the barrel lug curves and on the recoil shields. An oval German silver escutcheon is inlaid on the back strap. The barrel has a German silver front sight blade. The two-piece grip is fancy grain walnut with a high polish piano finish. The straight sided barrel has a distinctive double curved lug with no provision for a loading lever. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped “- Patent Arms M’g. Co. Paterson, N.J. – Colt’s Pt. -” reading from the breech to the muzzle with â€œstar & snakeâ€ terminals at either end of the legend. The top of the cylinder is marked “COLT” in addition to the roll-engraved stagecoach scene. The serial number “141” is visible on: (1) the rear face of the barrel lug, (2) bottom of the cylinder wedge, (3) bottom of the frame in the trigger well, (4) inside of the trigger, (5) rear face of the cylinder, (6) inside of the hammer and (7) bottom of the left grip heel. All of the visible serial numbers match. The revolver is complete with a mahogany Paterson style case with beveled lid and scalloped German silver escutcheon plate. The case is lined with dark blue velvet with wire clips to retain the accessories. The case contains: (1) spare five-shot, square back cylinder marked â€œJ./201″ on the rear face, (2) brass cleaning rod with turned wooden head, (3) .36 caliber, single cavity, round ball iron bullet mold with three wooden handles, (4) Paterson combination tool with fire blue finish, (5) side-latch brass Colt capper marked “No. 333” on the inside of the body and lid, (6) distinctive Paterson copper and brass combination powder and ball flask numbered “16” on both the upper and lower sections and roll-stamped with the same Patent Arms Co. legend with â€œstar & snakeâ€ terminals as the top barrel flat and (7) several .36 caliber lead balls that were originally in the flask.
Condition: Very fine. This revolver remains in exceptionally fine condition, appears to be un-fired and retains 70% of the original high polish blue finish. The blue on the barrel is thin with some cleaning overall, but the metal surfaces are smooth and the edges are crisp. The barrel legend is extremely sharp. The cylinder retains nearly all of the stagecoach scene and has about 90% of the blue finish. The front and rear face of the cylinder and the percussion nipples show no trace of flash pitting or firing wear. The frame and back strap retain more than 90% of the high polish blue finish; the face of the recoil shield, top of the frame and the cylinder pin are in the same excellent condition as the exterior surfaces and show no wear. The hammer has nearly 95% of the original case colors with no flash pitting. The nicely figured walnut grip is in very fine with some scattered finish flaking. The visible serial numbers on all components are sharp. The factory case is fine. The case exterior has a few scattered and minor handling and storage marks, and the interior has some oil stains and compression marks but no serious wear. The spare cylinder has some flash pitting on the percussion nipples and the front and rear face but retains 100% of the stagecoach scene and nearly 80% of the blue finish. The cleaning rod remains very fine. The bullet mold has traces of blue finish on the blocks and sprue cutter while the wooden handles show minimal wear. The excellent combination tool retains 90% of the nitre blue finish. The capper is fine, complete, and original with an attractive, un-polished patina and sharp markings. The rare Paterson combination powder and ball flask is excellent and retains nearly 90% plus original of the bright original gold plated finish with crisp markings and serial numbers. This is a truly exceptional example of the most desirable of all Colt Paterson firearms – the Texas Paterson revolver. The combination of un-fired condition, rare German silver inlays, and factory case with rare accessories make this one of the finest of all Paterson revolvers extant. Provenance: Robert M. Lee Collection.