View Full Version : 1851 Navy colt

March 5, 2010, 11:51 AM
I own a 1851 navy colt This gun was commissioned in 1976 to be handed out to the Conquistadors del Cielo.This club was made up of 175 of the top men in aviation and aeronatics.Niel Armstrong was a member My pistol has the name Mark R Russel engraved on the back strap from my research I believe he was the chairman of TWA at the time The engraving was signed Ormsby on the cylinder I was looking for any information and value of this piece I can post pics a little later Thank you for any responses

James K
March 5, 2010, 03:10 PM
Waterman Lilly Ormsby was the engraver who made the plates for the original Colt revolvers; of course the use of the name on a 1976 reproduction was just to keep the traditional marking.

(The engravers didn't really engrave every revolver; they made a master engraving from which hardened steel plates or stamps were made. The cylinders of revolvers were rolled under high pressure over the plates, thus transferring the engraved picture to the cylinder.)


March 5, 2010, 03:38 PM
Thank you Jim Would you have any idea of a value to this pistol?

March 5, 2010, 09:09 PM
Assigning a value will be difficult.

While Colt made many commemorative models of guns, they also would make "private issue" models.
As I recall, the minimum order was 25 guns, and they would make up guns as fancy and ornate as the buyer could pay for.

These private issues guns were made for clubs fraternal organizations, police unions, police department commemorations, companies for executive gifts, and a rich person who wanted to give his friends a nice gift.
In short, anyone with the money to pay.

Since these were private issues, most of them are unknown even to Colt gun collectors.
Value would depend on how many were made, how ornate, whether the original box, papers, and other items that came with it are present, the organization it was made for, and the condition.

Several possible sources of information would be Colt themselves, and possibly Cherry's.

For Colt, you'll have to buy a Colt Historical Letter. This will detail when the gun was shipped, how many were shipped, and to WHO it was shipped, along with any special features such as engraving, custom grips etc.


Cherry's is a company that specializes in commemorative Colt's and may know some details.


For possible evaluation on actual value, you might contact the Colt Collector's Association:


March 6, 2010, 07:42 PM
What would also effect the value is whether the subject Model 1851 is an original issue Model 1851 revolver, simply commissioned in 1976 - or a ca.1976 Uberti/Colt repro Model 1851, done at that time.


March 7, 2010, 11:12 AM
Colt made blackpowder revolvers during the 1970s (I think they were based on Italian-made parts), so it's probably a real Colt Navy.

James K
March 7, 2010, 09:21 PM
Colt always pointed out that those guns were NOT copies or reproductions, only reissues, meaning that Colt was simply resuming production of guns it had last made in the early 1870's. I have to agree to a point, but think collectors may be forgiven for making a distinction.


March 9, 2010, 12:44 PM
Thank you all for the info.

May 9, 2011, 11:50 PM
I too have one of these, Mine was given to T.A. Wilson who was CEO of the Boeing Co. at that time. I have all the paperwork from Colt Arms. They were given in glass top presentation cases inleted for the powder measure, nipple wrench, caps and a parchment rolled up with a leather thong. The parchment is from the Conquistadors event with group photos, sporting events and such. Each side of the barrel is engraved, one w/ aviation symbols, the other with sporting events from the event.

I saw another one once at a gun show and the guy had no idea what it was and I foolishly told him what I knew, I went back to buy it a few minutes later and he had pulled it off his table and no longer wanted to sell it. I don't have a good feel for value, as a collectable mine may be more valueable to Boeing collectors?