October 25, 2023 The Paul Friedrich Collection of Firearms & Gold Rush
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/25/2023
According to the included Colt factory letter, this gun was fit with a 7 - 1/2" .38/40 barrel, nickel finish, carved ox head ivory grips, factory engraving, and shipped to Von Lengerke & Antoine, Chicago, Illinois, on July 1st, 1912, in a shipment of 1. A second letter addressed to Stan Shapiro lists the same specifications, dated 1980. Finally, a third letter from Dick Burdick discusses this revolver, opining that the engraving was cut by Cuno Helfricht himself, the scarcity of engraved 7 - 1/2" guns (Dick notes that he believes most engraved were 5 - 1/2", then 4 - 3/4", and finally 7 - 1/2"), the quality of the original finish, and the outstanding condition of the gun. In "Colt Engraving" by Wilson, Wilson further notes that only approximately 1050 Single Action Armies were engraved between 1901 and 1921 and that after the turn of the century, demand for engraving fell, causing the number of engravers employed by Colt to drop drastically from as many as 6 to as few as 2, and Colt started engraving guns only a special order basis; post-1910 engraved Single Action Armies continued to drop off in popularity as semi-automatics and double actions come in vogue. All of these facts make this revolver extremely rare, and the incredible state of preservation makes this one of the finest examples of its type. Classic Helfricht scroll on a punch dot background is accented with Helfricht's geometric touches, including wriggle work and playful dots on the ejector rod housing, checkerboard patterns on frame at barrel lug, shell motifs and starbursts on loading gate, with a beautiful section of vinework on recoil shield, more playful wrigglework and scroll on rear of cylinder (including some very unusual rays jumping off the gullets), and a piece of running scroll through a diamond on trigger guard; backstrap with shell motif at top and a more restrained wrigglework pattern on strap and butt. 2 piece ivory grips with very scarce on gilt deep set Colt medallions and a carved steer head on right panel. Standard legends include caliber marking and Colt's information on barrel, 2 line patent dates on frame with encircled Rampant Colt, VP on trigger guard with subinspector proof. Housed in a box for a 7 - 1/2" Single Action, with an end label indicating that it was for a blued gun with rubber grips, although a piece of adhesive is clearly present over that area and possibly indicated that the correct configuration of this gun. "ENGRAVED" label adjacent on top lid. No numbers observed on bottom of box. Contents include L shaped screwdriver, cleaning brush, a Colt revolver advertisement, and an Oilright advertisement; lid is inscribed in pen "NO 646519 $2 (illegible) / NO 7007 / S + W 22T". CONDITION: Outstanding, near mint, retaining essentially all of the original nickel finish with some superficial scratches and a few very minor pockmarks, mostly visible on side of backstrap. Engraving is crisp and sharply defined, clearly executed by a master of Helfricht's level. Ivory grips are well-patinated and have a small repair at the toe of right grip. Box with some distress to high edges from age but solid and complete. This is an absolutely gorgeous gun, worthy of the best museums or collections.

ADDENDUM: While the box is an original factory box, it is not numbered to the gun and the advertisements in the lid date as circa 1930.
Barrel Length
7 - 1/2"
.38 W.C.F.
FFL Status
Curio & Relic
Single Action Army
Factory Letter, Information
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $38,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $86,400.00
Estimate: $75,000 - $125,000
Number Bids: 20
Auction closed on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.
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