Lot 1000

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Own a Piece of History! "Jesse James" Colt 4th Model 1851 Navy Revolver. This antique 4th Model 1851 Navy revolver has a 7.5 inch octagon barrel with a brass grip frame and Features 11 fine filed notches on the left side barrel flat. The one-line barrel address reads “ADDRESS SAM COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA”. The left side of the frame is marked “COLTS/PATENT”. The six-shot cylinder is roll-marked with the scene of the battle between the Texas Navy and that of Mexico. The Walnut grips are smooth and varnished. Caliber/ Gauge: .36 Cal.; Serial Number: 150301.

Jesse James was born September 5, 1847 in Missouri. He and his brother Frank, gained their skills as bushwhackers during the Civil War, fighting on the Confederate side (specifically: The Missouri State Guard). Their raids and crimes made them wanted men, even after the war ended. The brothers allied with former fellow soldiers and bushwhackers to form the James-Younger Gang. The Confederate guerrillas known as "bushwhackers" specialized in ambushes of Union troops and savage combat conducted at close quarters. The guerrilla's principal weapon was the .36 caliber 1851 Navy Colt revolver.

Frank and Jesse James carried and used the Model 1851 Navy during their raiding days with Quantrill and Anderson. 16-year old Jesse joined this group of Confederate irregulars that in 1864, soldiering first under Quantrill, then “Bloody Bill” Anderson. The James brothers and their fellow bushwhackers armed themselves with whatever they could and the 1851 Colt Navy revolver, in 36-caliber, was popular with the James brothers. The guerrillas took to carrying as many of these as they could and using them ‘New York Reload’ style. This meant firing one dry, then stuffing it in a waistband while pulling out the next loaded one to keep the lead flying. Jesse James spent his teenage years learning to ambush parties from horseback, overwhelm his target with a fusillade of bullets and shot and then speed away as fast as his horse could carry him. This training left young Jesse with a unique skillset when the war ended in 1865.

The National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington DC houses a shoulder holster that has provenance to Jesse James which carried a Colt 1851 Navy. Jesse would come to know the business end of the 1851 as well. The chest wound he suffered while attempting to surrender in 1865 was inflicted by .36 caliber ball (actually found during the 1995 exhumation of Jesse’s grave). This .36 caliber ball was fired from a Model 1851 Navy.

Working Order: Firearm has not been tested; Background Check: Not Required; Keywords: Firearms, Guns; Ref: BD1248

  • This pistol has been owned by Dr. Harry Taylor from the late 1920s until his passing in 1981. Since 1981 it has remained in possession of Dr. Taylors 2nd wife until this very day. Dr. Taylor was born on Jan 12, 1904 in Illinois then went to Missouri where he graduated from Kansas City University - College of Osteopathic Medicine as a DO. Upon graduating he practiced medicine in Hickory County Missouri. It was told that he also practiced medicine in and around St. Johns Missouri and Kearney Missouri prior to moving to Lewisville Texas in 1934 where he received his medical license by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners in 1934. This Colt 4th Model 1851 Navy Revolver was reportedly given to Dr. Taylor by a relative of Jesse James in lieu of payment for a surgery performed while practicing medicine in Missouri. Considering he practiced medicine in Missouri during the depression and many people were financially destitute it was not uncommon for Dr. Taylor to take care of patients for whatever the clients could afford. Dr. Taylor recognized the importance of this special gun and upon relocating to Lewisville Texas in 1934 had an index card notarized which includes his name and the details of the gun including the matching serial number. Unfortunately, due to the age of the document and improper storage of the paper a portion of the notarized index card is missing. The remaining portion contains the details of the gun and a portion of the signature of the Notary Public “Fitzsimmons” from Denton Tx. Throughout his lifetime Dr. Taylor was intrigued by antique firearms and became an avid gun collector and hunter who amassed a large collection of rare and valuable antique firearms. Upon his passing the estate donated the majority of his collection to various historical societies and museums in Texas.

    The details of the provenance were told to us by Dr. Taylors family, specifically his 2nd wife who is currently 90 years of age and married Dr. Taylor in 1955. Although 26 older Dr Taylor knew the family of his future 2nd wife since approx. 1938 as her Mother worked for Dr. Taylor as a Registered Nurse. It was well known that Dr. Taylor was an avid gun collector and hunter and he showcased many of his guns by displaying them on walls in his various houses or offices. We are currently scouring family photos for an early picture of the gun as it was told that the family had an early picture of guns in the background of several photos. However, at this time we have not been able to locate a specific photograph of this gun but have located photos of other rare antique guns featured in this auction.

    Surviving documents: We will provide an original copy of a notarized statement by Dr. Taylors wife to the winning bidder. At this time, we are intentionally omitting her name and contact information as we respectfully ask that she not be contacted due to her age and health. Additional documents provided to the winning bidder will include a copy of Dr. Taylors Texas Medical License as well as the remaining portion of the notarized index card. This has been a journey and we are still acquiring additional provenance. Any additional documents or provenance will be posted prior to the close of the auction and will be turned over to the new owner of this piece of history.
  • Dimensions:
  • 7.5" Barrel
  • Artist Name:
  • Colt, Jesse James
  • Circa:
  • 1863
  • Notes:
  • A search of the colt archive for Serial Number 150301 indicates that this gun was manufactured in 1863. The records also indicate that it is listed as a 1851 Navy (.36 Caliber with Naval Engagement on Cylinder, Octagonal Barrel)
  • Condition:
  • All serial numbers match. Original bluing on the barrel, loading lever and frame is approximately 30% turning to a silver-grey patina. The barrel bore is fair with visible rifling. The action functions properly. The brass grip frame has a very nice patina. There are 11 fine-filed notches situated on the left side barrel flat. The roll-marked cylinder exhibits a small readable amount of the battle scene and the revolver’s serial number. The wood stocks have some dings and dents that are typically associated with the age and use of this revolver. There does not appear to be any visible replaced parts.

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