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    Description

    Fine and Exceptional Colt Walker Model Civilian Series Revolver, with Period Flap Leather Holster, Known as the "The Thumbprint Walker"
    Colt Walker Model Revolver, serial number 1078, known popularly as "The Thumbprint Walker," is an exquisite example from the series of 100 civilian revolvers which were manufactured at the same time as the commission from the U.S. Ordnance Department, through the aegis of Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker, in 1847. These revolvers were designed jointly by Walker and the youthful entrepreneur, Samuel Colt.
    This unusual revolver, in an exceptional state of preservation, and in rare full blue finish, has a workman's fingerprint, possibly that of Samuel Colt himself, on the left side of the frame.
    The markings are extraordinary, sharp and perfect, with numbers matching throughout. The barrel address is sharp and clear:
    ADDRESS, SAML COLT, NEW-YORK CITY
    (note that the L in SAML is raised with a line beneath.)
    On the right side of the barrel lug:
    US
    1847
    Within the cylinder cartouche (the cylinder is in the white, exactly as originally manufactured) is distinctly stamped:
    1078
    The cylinder roll scene is sharp, with the easily visible cartouche markings: "Model U.S.M.R." and "Colt's Patent." Also readable is the marking of the engraver of the dies, Samuel Colt's friend and colleague: "W.L. Ormsby, Sc. N.Y." The slightly indented impression from the roll die at the rear section of the scene (by the cylinder stop cutouts) is quite pronounced.

    Also present on the back of the cylinder is the cylinder safety pin, mashed as is generally the case. The corresponding aperture on the face of the hammer is a hole drilled on the hammer face, rather than the customary notch as found standard on the majority of Dragoon revolver projection.
    On the bottom of the barrel lug, as well as on the bottom of the frame, on the cylinder periphery (within decorative cartouche as noted above), on the triggerguard strap (divided in half by the forward guard screw), on the buttstrap, and on bottom of the cylinder pin, is the serial number, stamped neatly in tiny digits:
    1078
    The factory loading lever bears an assembly number on the top of the loading lever lug and on the bottom of the barrel breech, the latter just before the barrel lug. That number is also on the bottom of the wedge:
    18
    Visible marked on the bolster of some of the nipples, only found on Walker revolvers in excellent condition, on one side:
    COLT'S
    Marked on the other side:
    PATENT
    Accompanied by wood box of pine, which is believed to have been with the revolver when discovered by Tom P. Weston, Mexico City. Also accompanied by glass jar with screw top.
    Presence of the exceptional and beautifully made original fine quality leather Walker Colt holster adds to the supreme importance of this unique set.
    Discovered by Tom P. Weston, Mexico City
    Following the death in the late 1980s of James E. Serven, writer/researcher R.L. Wilson was able to acquire the Serven Archives and Photograph Collection from his widow. Several photographs were within that collection, of Paterson and Walker Colts. Serven was able to acquire a number of rare and important guns from Tom P. Weston over the years. The photographs sometimes included notes and reference information, and the subject picture is therefore documented on the back as follows:
    WESTON'S
    Ave Madero 13 Mexico City, Mexico
    A-43-B
    This rare and original photograph, taken at the time the revolver was discovered by Weston, in Mexico, shows the Walker civilian model number 1078 with its original deluxe leather holster, and a ruler to indicate scale. A few other photographs of number 1078, and holster, also accompanied the Serven Archives.
    Weston's photograph is his Mexico City shop appears on the cover of the American Society of Mexico Bulletin, dated February 1958. Including in the photograph is a cased set of a miniature Colt Paterson revolver, and within the publication.
    Significance of Civilian Walker Colt Revolver, Serial 1078
    In evaluating Walker revolvers, the following quotation from the R.L. Wilson's The Book of Colt Firearms is pertinent:
    To the advanced collector of Colt firearms, the Walker Model is the most necessary single item in his arms group. Production was limited, and nearly every specimen was subject to use on the rugged frontiers of Mexico and the American West. Perhaps as many as 30% of these failed in firing due to burst cylinders . . . . it is unusual to find these arms in better than good or quite used condition, sometimes with altered rammer levers, or even a very few converted to the metallic cartridge . . . . At this writing about 175 of the original 1,100 Walkers are known to the gun collecting fraternity. . . . The original Walker is rare and desirable in any condition. . . .
    The Civilian numbered series of the Walker, from Serial #1001 through about #1100, was made for two purposes. The first purpose of these was as presentation arms to military personages who could benefit Colt in getting all-important government contracts for more weapons. The second reason was to offer a few pistols commercially, a move which was certain to circulate the new product and get a variety of persons - most of them influential - using and discussing it . . . . Not only is the Thumbprint revolver one of the best conditioned of Walker Colts known, but it is one of the few with its period barrel length, with excellent markings and cylinder scene, with completeness of original parts, and the presence of original finish. Further, the Thumbprint Walker has its original and unique best quality leather holster, and is one of only three specimens known to the author with the factory installed loading lever latch assembly - all superbly documented with photographs taken by Tom P. Weston of Mexico City, when the set was discovered there decades ago.
    Number 1078 is worthy of the finest private or museum collection of American firearms, and is truly a classic from the entire field of studying and collecting arms and armor.
    Literature:
    Reproduced in several publications, the revolver has been especially featured in:
    R.L. Wilson, American Arms Collectors Percussion Colts and Their Rivals The Al Cali Collection, pages 4-8.
    R.L. Wilson, The Paterson Colt Book, pages 286 through 290.
    R.L. Wilson (ed.), Antique Arms Annual, 1971, published by Texas Gun Collectors Association, page 22 illustrates No. 1078 in color.
    The Thumbprint Walker has also appeared in various editions of the Texas Gun Collector magazine, including in reunions of Walker pistols held by the TGCA at various of their meetings, in Texas, over the decades. Further, the revolver has been featured in advertising in that publication, as well as in The Gun Report (defunct, 2011), and in Man at Arms. The definitive work on the Walker Colt has yet to be published; when that is a fait accompli, No. 1078 will be featured as much as any other example of this legendary Model of Colt firearms.
    Provenance:
    Tom P. Weston, Mexico City
    William M. Locke
    L. Allan Caperton
    Hary Von Erchelber
    Chris Anderson
    George Repaire
    Al Cali




    Condition Report*: Excellent cylinder scene and all markings sharp.  Case hardening with fine color, 80% blue finish, some turning brown and gray, primarily on barrel. Walnut grips fine, excellent varnish. Minor storage marks.
    Holster fine, minor wear and marks.
    *Heritage Auctions strongly encourages in-person inspection of items by the bidder. Statements by Heritage regarding the condition of objects are for guidance only and should not be relied upon as statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty, or assumption of liability by Heritage. All lots offered are sold "AS IS".

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    18th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 22,115

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