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    Description

    Exceptional Historic, Cased, Engraved and Presentation Inscribed Colt Model 1861 New Model Navy Revolver, From the Colt Co. to E.W. Parsons, of Adams Express Co., Hartford
    Serial number 19928/E. .36 caliber, 6-shot cylinder with naval engagement roll scene. 7 1/2-inch octagon barrel with German silver blade front sight. Top of barrel marked
    - Address Col. Saml. Colt New-York U.S. America. -
    Left side of frame engraved "Colts/Patent." Scroll and border engraved in highly refined and detailed late vine style, with coverage on the barrel, loading lever, wedge, cylinder, frame, hammer, and gripstraps. Wolf head motif on each side of hammer. Finely knurled hammer spur. Rich, blued finish, with case-hardened frame, hammer, and loading lever, and silver-plated brass gripstraps. Varnished select walnut grips of the finest quality. Shipped from the factory with the cylinder not serial-numbered, as noted on some of the other deluxe engraved arms of the period.
    Rare checkered rammer lever, and American eagle motif, latter on left side of barrel lug. Right side of barrel lug with stand or arms motif.
    The backstrap was elegantly inscribed in Gothic and script style as illustrated.
    Accessories of rare and unusual oil-finished brassbound walnut case, lined in blue velvet, with embossed stand of arms powder flask, elegant and scarce presentation grade high gloss blued steel double cavity bullet mold, five packets of combustible envelope cartridges by Colt's Cartridges Works. tin of Eley Bros. percussion caps with green paper label and paper wrapping, blued L-shaped screwdriver/nipple wrench, extra nipple and key.
    A silver plaque on the case lid is script inscribed "Presented to/G.F.G.V.C./by/Edward W. Parsons,/July 7th 1890." "G.F.G.V.C." was the 1st Company, Governor's Foot Guard, Veteran's Corps, of Hartford, of which Parsons was a member.
    Though his career began in Hartford as a bookseller, for most of his business life E.W. Parsons served as Chief of the Hartford Division of the Adams Express Company. Parsons had previously organized the Parsons-Fuller Mail Co. (1844), a company that had issued one of the first private postage stamps in the U.S.
    Parsons later became superintendent of Adams Express Co. for the Hartford area, which firm shipped thousands of Colt revolvers. The enterprising Parsons also became a limited partner of an insurance company, which had been founded by Jacob L. Greene.
    Colt factory ledgers document this revolver, by listing the description in Journal B, page 294:
    Hartford Saturday December 9, 1865
    354 Presentation a/c
    [For] 1 N.M. Navy Pistol extra Engd
    with all appendages in Walnut Case
    presented to E.W. Parsons Esq Hartford
    [$]28/52
    E.W. Parsons has an intriguing connection to researcher and author John E. Parsons. The Parsons family had ties with Connecticut, and E.W. had left this revolver as a gift to the 1st Co., Governors Foot Guard, Hartford. Eventually the organization needed to repair the armory's roof, and was enabled to do so by selling the Parsons Colt, as well as a deluxe Winchester Model 1873 rifle in a leather case. Both sets were featured in color illustrations in the Antique Arms Annual 1971, pages 102 and 103.
    John E. Parsons had indicated to author and researcher R.L. Wilson that E.W. Parsons was an uncle. Wilson met John E. Parsons, in 1961, while preparing the Samuel Colt Presents book and exhibition. Irving Blomstrann, Wadsworth Atheneum photographer, drove with Wilson to Parsons' palatial country home in Harrison, New York. There both photographer and author surveyed the Parsons arms collection, displayed upstairs in glass cabinets, the type one might see in a museum. Primarily keen on firearms history, Parsons had several percussion Colts with inscriptions, some of which he lent to the "Samuel Colt Presents" exhibition.
    The E.W. Parsons Colt set has been widely pictured, including in the Antique Arms Annual 1971, as noted above, as well as in Wilson's The Colt Engraving Book, volume I, page 252, and in Colt Engraving, page 178. A letter from R.L. Wilson, on Colt factory letterhead, originally prepared for Herb Glass (who acquired the Colt and Winchester from the Foot Guard), also accompanies this important set.
    The Parsons Navy documentation is contained within a clamshell style bookbinder's case of half leather, with extensive background material, including pages from various books in which the set has been featured, various magazine articles, and an historical letter from R.L. Wilson. Among this collection is a newspaper clipping, entitled "Presented with a Pistol," related to the gift of the cased set to the historic military unit in Hartford.
    The E.W. Parsons Navy ranks among the finest and most historic of Colt percussion revolvers. It is considered an icon within the arms collecting community and a prime example of the appearance of a rare Colt set, as it left the Colt factory destined for presentation to an important personage.
    Attribution of the engraving on this revolver is to Conrad F. Ulrich.
    Literature:
    R.L. Wilson. American Arms Collectors Percussion Colts and Their Rivals The Al Cali Collection, pages 69-73.
    R.L. Wilson (ed.), Antique Arms Annual, published by the Texas Gun Collectors Association, 1971. Pictured in color on page 103.
    R.L. Wilson. The Colt Engraving Book, volume I, pages 252-253. Pictured in color.
    Provenance:
    E.W. Parsons
    1st Company Governors Foot Guard
    Herb Glass
    Richard Prosser Mellon
    Al Cali




    Condition Report*: Mint. 100% bright blue with minor patina and light storage marks. Vibrant case hardened colors. 100% silver on gripstraps. 100% varnish on grips. Case and accessories excellent to mint.
    *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: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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