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Old 01-02-2020, 01:50 AM
delta-419 delta-419 is offline
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Default Really, Really, Old Colt???

I am a really avid collector of old stuff and old guns are not an exception. I have an odd collection of guns besides the normal S&Ws, Winchesters, etc. I hangout a lot on GB and I also love mysteries and one caught my eye 6 or 7 weeks, ago. The auction went thru several 2 week cycles with the price reduced every 2 weeks. The price came down. The auction had an odd listing for a counterfeit (fake) 1847 Colt Walker described as built along the same timeline as the first Walkers. Wow! The attention to detail, it sold as an antique, yet it does not have any proof marks, trade marks, military ids, etc. It does not work. I was told that it had been in a collection for over 50 years. My training as a researcher kicked in and my thoughts said thesis or antithesis, shall I work to prove it is a Colt or to prove it is a fake. I chose the latter. This will take time! In any event it is an antique worthy of collecting simply because it appears to be a perfect copy of a civilian Colt Walker. Here is a look. Tracking says it will be here Friday, my Christmas!
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Old 01-02-2020, 01:55 AM
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The Italian replicas had metric screws. The originals had US screws
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Old 01-02-2020, 10:57 AM
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Any chance it is an antique "lunch box" gun?
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:33 AM
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There were several companies making copies of Colt's early revolvers. One that comes to mind was the Manhattan Company, sued by Colt for patent infringement after several years selling nearly copies of the 1851 Colt Navy revolvers. So it is possible that someone offered copies of the Walker Colts.

It is also possible that you have come into possession of a modern reproduction that has been artificially aged to give the appearance of an antique. This has been a recurring problem since makers in Spain and Italy started making Colt replicas about 60 years ago. In some cases individuals intentionally produced revolvers to give the appearance of antiques as display pieces. In other cases unscrupulous producers made up counterfeits to be sold as genuine to unwary purchasers. There have also been incidents involving the use of kits and parts guns to counterfeit valuable parts for antique Colts.

In the OP's case one of the challenges will be in finding a genuine Walker Colt to compare his acquisition with (even the best copies will have irregularities in dimensions, assembly, and finishing). Relatively few Walker Colts were made, and those that remain are highly treasured pieces in museums or private collections; knowledgeable collectors or museum curators might consider allowing historic research by recognized experts, but allowing someone from the street to examine, disassemble, measure, and otherwise analyze one would be highly unlikely.

You may be able to locate collectors familiar with period copies and later counterfeits over on the Colt Forum. Good luck, and I hope this is not part of a retirement investment plan!
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:42 AM
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Genuine Colt Walkers are literally scarce as hen's teeth. Most were used in rough environments and with a total production of 1100(military and civilian) the survival rate is low.
In all likelihood you have an older reproduction as I've seen some that were practically perfect copies. Let us know what you find out.
Jim
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by LoboGunLeather View Post
It is also possible that you have come into possession of a modern reproduction that has been artificially aged to give the appearance of an antique.

I’m certainly no Walker Colt expert, but that was my first thought after viewing the pictures. The gun doesn’t look old or worn to me, just rusty and tarnished.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by lestert357 View Post
I’m certainly no Walker Colt expert, but that was my first thought after viewing the pictures. The gun doesn’t look old or worn to me, just rusty and tarnished.

I would tend to agree. My first thought was those grips look too good to be that old, and the screws are virtually pristine.

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Old 01-02-2020, 12:13 PM
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I once owned a Colt Walker, in functional but near-relic condition. It seemed completely authentic and was correctly marked, except there was something not quite right with the barrel which I was never convinced was original. I sold it for $1000 over 35 years ago.
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:10 PM
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Talking Colt Walker?

I bought it as a curiosity wall hanger and "no" it was not an option in my retirement portfolio. I do believe it to be an antique reproduction and trusted the seller where I purchased it, having acquired some of my S&Ws from them. What caught my attention was the serial number #1565 which falls into the early John Fluck Transition Colts to the First Model Dragoons. In my document search I also found reference to two new discovered Colt Walkers that came to light in 2019, the last being serial number #1437. I have not been able to find a photo of either one. Rock Island Auction has some great videos of Colts that have pasted thru their auction house. The NRA National Firearms Muesum has a "fake" Walker from a collection with lots of photos. My search will focus on 109 battle damaged (mostly blown cylinders) that were shipped back to Colt in late 1847-48 from Mexico at the tail end of the Mexican/US war. Design changes, plus relocation of the factory in early Jan 1848 and delays in retooling suggest that these 109 were repurposed to civilian market guns, ie. refinished with all military markings polished off and repaired. I think that some of the 109 were sold as civilian models with serial numbers in the 1st model dragoon series. At any rate, this will be a fun search. I also think that quality fake guns are collectable items. I fully appreciate your comments and keep them coming!
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:28 AM
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I know nothing of Colt Walker revolvers.

The only thing I can offer is from looking at the pics is that the cylinder 'scene' on the revolver is a form of etching and was not applied by impressed roll die marking as the originals were done.

There is a small book written just about the Colt cylinder scenes, their engraver Ormsby, the process used to and the techniques to apply the roll marking. Fakes and alternative methods of marking are discussed in the book IIRC, but I don't remember to what degree, pics, ect.

Tobias is the Author. I think the book was simply called 'Colt Cylinder Scenes'. Very small printing # and not seen very often.
But it might be of some help.

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Old 01-03-2020, 10:39 AM
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Default More Photos of Walker #1565

I thought I would provide a few more photos of this old revolver to give you an understanding why I think it to be a period (1848-50) production fake and not one made in Italy or Belgium with no gill stamps. I do intend to repair the lockwork with period correct parts or use existing parts and rehab them.
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Old 01-03-2020, 10:52 AM
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Good on you for doing the work. My family had a “flute from the Civil War”... I eventually proved the flute (not a fife) was later, but found the Civil War fifer in our family that owned it!
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:27 AM
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I have 3 of the modern firing reproductions. The one I'm holding is a Navy Arms import from the late 60's or early 70's (same time frame and quality as the Colt Signature Series. Most likely Pieta made this copy.)

When looking at the photos above, the trigger guard is what caught my eye. Your copy's guard is almost twice as thick, and there is something about the form that is slightly off also.

I know you said there are no marks except a serial number. Mine has 2 proofs on the barrel bottom, right below the loading port. Plus a third on the foreword flat of the trigger guard.

The Lyman company sold American made repos in the 60's and 70's also (I have one of them also) but they are not quite as nice as the Italian copies and maybe a little heavier (if that's even possible)!

About 25 years ago I talked with a collector of old Colt's. He had been at an estate auction in the Hill Country of Kentucky and said nobody there knew an original Colt from an Italian Copy, he ended up buying all 17 Walker's and 39 of 40 Dragoons, 27 Navy models and somewhere near 50 Army models. Almost half were actually Colts (7 of 17 Walker's were Colts, and not one in on the list of know Walker's [see the index in the Dixie catalog for the list of known originals]).

Around 1995 +/- a few years, I as talking with a different dealer and a girl walked up to him with a brown paper sack in a beach bag, in the sack was an Original Colt Walker that had been in her family for generations. He had been on the phone with her and she had ask him to inspect the gun for her, because the family was going to fire it at 4th of July! That gun was in good or better condition, and safe to fire. The firing of the gun wouldn't hurt the value as long as it was cleaned and lubed properly! At that time he valued it at $40,000, it is probably 3 times that now!

Ivan

Your second batch of photos came in while I was typing. The one thing that makes me think it is newer than the 1800's is the loading lever retaining spring is in great shape for the rest of the condition! Ivan

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Old 01-03-2020, 12:21 PM
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My Uncle had what he was sure was an original Walker Colt he traded for in the 1970's, as I remember he gave a couple of antique Ford cars for it, probably worth $10,000 or so back then. In the mid 1990's, he tried to sell it, a dealer brought it to the Baltimore Antique Gun Show for him, priced it at $35,000. Examination of the gun by experts there revealed it to be a fake from the 1950's....

So my Uncle looked up the guy who traded him the gun, offered to trade him back. He hemmed and hawed a bit but did wind up giving him some good trade items, but nothing like he had originally traded. This made my Uncle take a look at all the stuff this dude had traded him over the years, all fake....
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:12 AM
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Talking Trigger Guard Shape

Ivan, I too noticed the brass trigger guard and comparing photos of known civilian Walkers two things stand out: the front radius of the guard looks off; and the trigger looks a bit long. Only way to tell is measuring with a micrometer , finding more data; or lots of closeup photos of known Walkers. The gun came in yesterday, the shipping package (movement) in transit tended to rub some of the rust off the cylinder and I believe it to be roll engraved. Under the right light the word colt (shadow image, can be made out.) Its the only reference that gives us a hint. My best friend is an avid Colt collector and metals expert. I'm going to try and get it over to his place this afternoon. I want him to look at a spot that looks to be traces of silver plating and get his overall opinion of the age of the gun. Appreciate your input.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:21 AM
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Take it to Pawn Stars and let the "experts" check it out!
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Old 01-05-2020, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikerjf View Post
Good on you for doing the work. My family had a “flute from the Civil War”... I eventually proved the flute (not a fife) was later, but found the Civil War fifer in our family that owned it!
I have the drumsticks my Great Grandfather used the US Civil War.
He left them to the first family member to play the drums.
I was it.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:33 AM
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Talking update on Colt Walker

My Colt collector friend was instantly enamored at first sight. He does work for high end colt collectors and spent the afternoon researching his extensive library of books, articles, etc. on Colts. He focused on the cylinder and the engraving. The cylinder engraving is the best he has ever seen. The lockwork is functional and indexes as it should. I guess it had 172 years of dried oil and bear grease in it. He asked if he could keep it for a week and share photos with his colt collector community. One problem that he found was the bore had been damaged by a shooter that must have had a stuck bullet in it and scared up the sides of the bore trying to get it out. This journey in search of the true ancestry of this old gun is an exciting part of our hobby. I don't think I will consider selling this antique as I find it to be a work of the gunmaker's art and has a beauty all its own and I am reminded that the cost was well below the price of a shooter grade triple lock. The saga continues.
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Old 01-09-2020, 12:24 PM
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Take it to Pawn Stars and let the "experts" check it out!
I'll never forget an episode of Pawn Stars when their gun "expert" was examining a 1st generation SAA. He looked at the numbers on the loading gate and claimed the gun was not original since these numbers didn't match the rest of the numbers on the gun. There have been other boners on this show as well but this one particularly stood out!
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:22 PM
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I know nothing of Colt Walker revolvers.

The only thing I can offer is from looking at the pics is that the cylinder 'scene' on the revolver is a form of etching and was not applied by impressed roll die marking as the originals were done.
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Originally Posted by delta-419 View Post
The cylinder engraving is the best he has ever seen.
You might need another expert opinion.
The cylinder looks etched to me also, not roll marked. They were not engraved.
I think it is an 'aged' modern gun.
The font on those numbers is modern. No seraphs and blocky.
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:23 PM
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Talking Walker Fake

Phone call a few minutes ago. It apparently is not a Colt Walker but is a reproduction, my friend has two Colt Walker cylinders and a marked barrel and they do not fit the frame. The cylinder is roll engraved, my bad, due to my terminology ignorance. It is still a fair wall hanger and is the reason I bought it. I appreciate your input and I will stick to S&Ws about which I know a little. It was a fun trip.
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:36 PM
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A lot less than $1.8M for a cased original

https://www.rockislandauction.com/de...alker-revolver
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:20 PM
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A lot less than $1.8M for a cased original

https://www.rockislandauction.com/de...alker-revolver
It appears more than one guy wanted that one.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:29 PM
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I don't think I will consider selling this antique as I find it to be a work of the gunmaker's art and has a beauty all its own and I am reminded that the cost was well below the price of a shooter grade triple lock. The saga continues.
I see a new Uberti Walker that one can fire is $380-$420. Isn’t a modern wall-hanger that someone attempted to “antique” worth $100 bucks or less?
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Old 01-10-2020, 01:07 PM
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Default Wall Hanger update

A few more details about this gun; the screws are American/English standard, not metric suggesting it was manufactured in USA, the roll die engraving is excellent, the inside of the wood grips is marked in ink similar to the "real guns", something I did not know? It was suggested, by my friend, that I get the metal tested in the barrel and cylinder as my friend has done with the parts referenced in the above post. That will give us a digital fingerprint in which to compare with the Colt parts. We have access to the equipment. What we are looking for is a gun manufactured along the timeline of the real Colts in the USA. Also, if you know of American reproduction guns made from 1960 thru 1980s please share. I may be wrong, but 2nd generation Colt Walkers were contracted out to Italian firms and parts are metric.
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Old 01-10-2020, 01:26 PM
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I love a mystery and really hope you solve this one. All of this is fascinating and I admire your tenacity.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:15 AM
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I received a bit of information as to the guns history concerning its being in a "50 year collection" It belonged to a WWII vet that was the police chief in a small NH town, he passed 30 years ago. I acquired it from a gun shop in Henniker NH. Bits and pieces of info trickle in.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:43 PM
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Looks like a fun gun to shoot & just enjoy the research, even if you know it’s not original.

I think the “Stradivarius in a junkyard” is a higher probability than an original Walker.
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Old 01-18-2020, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by italiansport View Post
I'll never forget an episode of Pawn Stars when their gun "expert" was examining a 1st generation SAA. He looked at the numbers on the loading gate and claimed the gun was not original since these numbers didn't match the rest of the numbers on the gun. There have been other boners on this show as well but this one particularly stood out!
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I saw that, what a Moron.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:01 PM
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Talking Lyman Reproductions

Ivan The Butcher, in your above post you stated that you had a Lyman 1847 Walker clone. I did a search for photos of this model and drew a blank. I understand that it had American Standard screws and was produced in the 1960s/70s. I read that later they contracted with a manufacturer in Italy for 1860 Army clones and Navy's. Can you post a couple of photos of your Walker Lyman. I'm still trying to determine if this is a modern repro or a period repro. Have not been able to get the metal tested to compare with the actual Walker barrel and cylinders in my friend's collection. Appreciate your help!
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