View Full Version : 1851 Navy Colt value

September 29, 2010, 08:56 PM
I received this gun several years ago from my Uncle. His family, (he is an in law married to my dads sister) passed this down to him from his great grandfather that served in the civil war for the Union. I had the serial number checked and it was manufactured in 1863. It was sold to a large distributer in New York. Serial number is 1545-- range. I was provided with his information and was able to get his military records from the national archives. Obviously there was no record of this gun and I'm not even sure he carried it during the war for he was just a private. He may have purchased it after the war but the family story is that he carried it. It was given to me because they had no kids to pass it on to. I will never sell it and am going to pass it on to my son. I'm only interested in value in case it gets stolen. There are no cracks in the wood and the action is still smooth. Has maybe 50% bluing and there is no case hardning visible. Some time during it's life somebody lost the part that holds the front of the ram rod in place and roughly filed a new dove tail in the barell and put on a shorter and probably not corect ram rod. The cylinder engravings can be seen but ya have to look real close. thanks for any remarks. hope the pics show up

September 29, 2010, 11:06 PM
Your 1851 Colt is the large round trigger guard variation in (from your description and what I can see in the pics) NRA Fair condition should be worth about $2200, give or take a few bucks.
You're right about the oral history of the revolver. About all you might be able to verify is that Your Uncle's Great-Grandfather owned it. A collector will value the gun based on model and condition, not supposed history. The rule is, you buy the gun, not the story. What's neat is that the Colt has been in the family for nearly 150 years and I applaud your intention to keep it that way!

September 30, 2010, 09:03 AM
Documented history can have a tremendous effect on the value of a gun. Just look at that Walker that sold for over 900k. It was only because of the documented history of the previous owners that made it that valuable. BUT, it needs to be well documented and provable. Generally buy the gun and not the story is the best approach.

I would value you Colt at 2500+ dollars for insurance purposes.

September 30, 2010, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the info guys. Unfortunetly my uncle has passed away and I am not able to talk to him personally about the gun. As I mentioned my uncle was an in-law so it's not my family line. I do have a picture of his great grandfather with the gun but it's obviously years after the war. Even with that you can only see that it's a 1851 but not for sure this one. Regardless of the relation it's staying in my family, especially since I gave him my word when he gave it to me.
It was pretty cool getting his military records. He served with two different units for the North, 14th Missouri Cav. and the 46th Missouri Inf.. It included his enlistmaent and discharge papers and several muster calls. I looked up his unit and like most in that time there were more casulties from disease than combat. According to notes written in their bible, he was a orderly for Col. Rosecrans. I know some eyes open wide with that name but further research showed that it was not the same Col. Rosecrans that was made famous in the war. Apperently there were two Rosecrans in the Union. Again, thanks for you responce.

I did get a Range match letter from a company called Antique American firearms when I sent off the serial number for them to do research. They indicated that the weapons serial number was within the serial number range of identical weapons issued to the 19th Pennsylvania Vol. Cavalry/ 1864. I am aware that this might not be accurate in formation. Is anybody know anything about this company? They said the got the info from the National Archives, record group #94.

September 30, 2010, 07:35 PM
as much as a man will pay fer it,put it on g.b.,no reserve,just kiddin,hand it down to the next generation of yankees,his truth is marching on!:D