May 7, 2024 The Paul Friedrich Collection of Firearms & Gold Rush
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/7/2024
Manufactured in 1856 this revolver features iconic Gustave Young pattern factory foliate scroll engraving covering the rear third of the barrel, frame, and embellishing the grip straps. Characteristic dog heads present at the loading lever retaining screw and on both sides of the hammer. The polished blue octagonal barrel measures 7 - 1/2" and is stamped with a 1-line New York address within engraved flourishes. Frame with engraved "COLTS / PATENT" marking on the left. 1-piece smooth ivory grips. Grip straps are finished in silver and inscribed on the backstrap "J.E. Ager / Langtons Express". Beginning in 1850, Samuel Langton ran an express line from Marysville, California, to Downieville, California, via Grass Valley and Nevada City, which became the Langton's Pioneer Express in 1855. With the discovery of the Comstock Lode, Langton began running lines from Carson City to service the Humboldt mines. John E. Ager was initially employed by Langton from 1854 through 1861 and served as superintendent and business partner during the expansion into Nevada. After Langton's untimely death in 1864, Ager was contracted to continue mail service to the Humboldt mines. In 1859, Ager, along with Langton and other charter members, formed the California and Utah Camel Association for "the introduction and employment of camels on the Pacific Coast.". In 1860, he was also elected Captain in the Nevada Guard in defense against Native Americans. Accompanying documentation includes an 1859 dated Langton's Pioneer Express receipt signed by Ager, as well as a pair of 1861 dated letters on Langton's Pioneer Express letterhead in Ager's own hand, one requesting his commission from General William Kibble and another to Governor John Downey noting delivery of 2000 rifles for the National Guard. Additional Langton's Express receipts, covers, collection envelope, Langton CDV, Langton signed receipt, and a large binder of research about Ager and Langton's Express also accompany this lot. The revolver is housed in an original red crushed velvet lined mahogany presentation case with Colts Patent flask, brass dual cavity Colt's Patent mold, Eley cap tin, packet of Hazard's combustible envelope cartridges, L tool, and nipple wrench. CONDITION: Very fine overall. Barrel retains the majority of its original blue with some toned spots and wear, especially along the high edges. Cylinder likewise retains the majority of its blue with a sharp, legible scene. Frame displays attractive muted case colors, the loading lever also retains flashes of color with the balance a silvery gray patina. Grip straps retain most of their richly patinaed silver plate, wearing through to mellow brass on the back strap, trigger guard, and high edges. Markings are sharp. Matching numbers observed throughout. Grips have a few scattered impressions and an overall aged honey/cream patina. Case has some expected scuffing, a split in the lid, and is missing the lock plate escutcheon but presents very well. With the accompanying documentation, this is a truly outstanding and very attractive piece of Western express history. An excellent addition to any advanced collection.

Item Dimensions: 15 x 7 x 3"
Case with Accessories
Barrel Length
7 - 1/2"
.36 Percussion
FFL Status
1851 Navy
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $13,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $31,200.00
Estimate: $25,000 - $60,000
Number Bids: 11
Auction closed on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.
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