May 18, 2022 Extraordinary Firearms
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/18/2022
Rare and desirable Colt Model 1872 "Open Top" revolver, serial number 1817. Sometimes referred to as the Model of 1871-1872 due to the July 25, 1871 and July 2, 1872 patent dates found on the left side of the frame. Actual production dates are believed to have been from February 1872 through June 1873, only a 17 month production period with a total quantity of approximately 7,000 Open Top revolvers produced. 7 - 1/2" barrel, chambered in .44 Rimfire. Blue with case hardened frame and hammer. 1-piece walnut (Army size) grips. Matching serial number 1817 found on the barrel, frame, trigger guard, backstrap, and cylinder. Roll-die Navy battle scene on cylinder. Much conjecture surrounds the Colt Open Top revolver, mainly due to it specifically being made to accept what was already considered an obsolete metallic cartridge, Winchester's .44 Henry Flat with Stetson swaged bullet. Considering the Open-Top was being manufactured during the same period as the Colt Richards-Mason Conversions of the Model 1860 Armies which were chambered in a cartridge considered superior, the .44 centerfire. One potential reason Colt elected to build these guns could have been to take advantage of the abundant availability of .44 rimfire ammunition, along with the many Winchester Model 1866 carbines and rifles in service. A good case in point is illustrated in the following scenario: John Frank Green along with 19 other men mustered into the newly formed Texas Rangers "Minute Men" Troop V in Boerne, Texas on September 1, 1872. Their pay was $20.00 per month with a few state-issued supplies including a Winchester carbine, cartridges, and a sling. They were to provide everything else they would need, including their own horse, a "six-shooter", food, water, and blankets. The Winchester carbine provided by the State of Texas in 1872 would have been Winchester's Model 1866, chambered in .44 rimfire. At the time, the logical choice for a companion sidearm would have been the newly introduced Colt Model 1872 Open-Top also chambered in .44 rimfire. German-born Johann Gruen who would become John Green, immigrated to Texas in 1846 at the age of six, settling in Fredericksburg. After the early death of both his parents, he worked on local ranches before moving to Bandera County where he raised stock on the Bladen Mitchell Ranch. During the Civil War, Green joined the Frontier Forces for the Confederacy, serving under Capt. Charles de Montel and Capt. Bladen Mitchell. During his years in Bandera and in the Frontier Forces, he became renowned for his Indian-fighting and tracking skills. After the war, Green married Augusta Specht and had three children, William, John, and Mary. They moved to Helotes settlement in Bexar County where he purchased a 100-acre ranch. In Helotes, Green continued his horse-raising business; however continuous Indian raids soon depleted his stock. He joined Texas Rangers Minute Men Troop, Company V of Medina County as a 1st Sergeant, second in command under Lieutenant George Haby, on September 1, 1872, after the State of Texas authorized its formation to protect settlers from Indian Raids. Considered an exemplary frontiersman, accounts of Green's Indian encounters were chronicled in A.J. Sowell's classic book "EARLY SETTLERS AND INDIAN FIGHTERS OF SOUTHWEST TEXAS". Unfortunately, Green was killed by a member of his troop, in what was later described as an accidental shooting. In 2014 a writer and native of San Antonio, Texas, Cynthia Leal Massey authored a well-acclaimed book titled: "DEATH OF A TEXAS RANGER / A TRUE STORY OF MURDER AND VENGEANCE ON THE TEXAS FRONTIER". The book is a fascinating account of John Green's life and his son, William's quest for justice and the truth known surrounding his father's death. A short piece in the July 12, 1873, San Antonio Daily Express noted: "Green was an experienced Indian Fighter and recovered more horses than any man in the section of the county where he lived, consequently, he was much-dreaded by them and all other horse thieves. His death is much regretted and he was otherwise a good man" On Sunday, January 24, 2010 Texas Ranger John F. Green was honored by other Texas Rangers in a grave-side ceremony where they placed the "TEXAS RANGER MEMORIAL CROSS" forever memorializing his grave. Accompanying John F. Green's Colt Model 1872 Open-Top revolver, serial number 1817, is a notarized statement from Green's oldest living relative and great-granddaughter, Shirley Ann (Green) Sweet, dated February 23, 2016. The statement documents serial number 1817 and accompanying "Slim Jim" style holster as having been passed down through their family and formally belonging to Texas Ranger, John F. Green. CONDITION: Very good overall with traces of original blue, balance turning a pleasing blue-brown patina. Front trigger guard screw is a replacement, the barrel wedge retaining screw has a broken head, balance of screws are original and unmolested. Grips are excellent showing only modest wear. Bore is turning dark with scattered abrasions, strong rifling. Action is tight and crisp. Original, period-correct "Slim Jim" holster is very good overall, with exception of heavy wear at the throat. Overall an attractive and rare revolver with well documented early Texas Ranger history. Worthy of the most advanced collections. -MKS-
Barrel Length
7 - 1/2"
.44 RF
FFL Status
2 Books, Binder of Provenance
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $26,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium:
Estimate: $50,000 - $75,000
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
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