Pistol / Hand GunsRevolverUsed£ 4,500
The world record for a Colt revolver was made in April 2018 by Rock Island Auctions and was for a Colt Walker, the only one known to survive in a case. The price was a staggering $1.84 million! A “cheaper” one subsequently sold for $340,000.
In their excellent book on Colt Brevet Revolvers by Roy Marcot and Ron Paxton they state that “in their multi-year study on Colt Brevet revolvers only three copies of Colt Walkers were found”. I’m not one to disagree with the experts but having been in this business for 40 years I believe I have seen six of these and of course three might have been the ones referred to in the book. Clearly these are rare.
For the Colt Collector a Walker is the pinnacle of any collection but for mere mortals the aspiration to own a Walker is beyond us and merely a dream.
The 1847 Colt Walker was the largest black powder repeating handgun ever made at that time, but contrary to popular belief in the United States, it was not the most powerful, as some Austrian and British revolvers of the 1850s based on the Adams-Beaumont design were even more powerful because of their large calibres. The Colt Walker was created in the mid-1840s in a collaboration between Texas Ranger Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker (1817–1847) and American firearms inventor Samuel Colt (1814–62), building upon the earlier Colt Paterson design. Walker wanted a handgun that was extremely powerful at close range.
Samuel Walker carried two of his namesake revolvers in the Mexican–American War. He was killed in battle the same year his famous handgun was invented, 1847, shortly after he had received them. Only 1,100 of these guns were originally made, 1,000 as part of a military contract and an additional 100 for the civilian market, making original Colt Walker revolvers extremely rare and expensive to acquire.
The metal of the Walkers was prone to flaws and it is reported that at least 30% failed because of overloading and cylinders blowing up. Some of this was put down to troops inexperience with the new invention but as a consequence the revolver did not have the best of reputations and the design evolved into the Dragoon.
I suspect that a small batch was later ordered in Belgium as there was a requirement for a strong powerful revolver that surpassed the smaller Colt and Remington’s in .44 calibre with shorter cylinders. These revolvers were extremely well made as indeed were most Belgium guns and the Belgium proof house standards were greater than the British Proof House. Much of the components of the English gun trade including Tranter, Adams and Webley were made in Belgium. The metal was superior and quality excellent.
This example is, to all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from a Colt Walker with the exception that it was not made by Colt and is not stamped Colt. Everything else is identical even down to weight.
The revolver has a serial number stamped in several places including the wedge although it was clearly stamped to intimate that the manufacturer had made hundreds of them which of course from history we know this was not the case. The rifling in the bore is identical to the Colt Walker rifling, and is significantly different from the fast twist rifling of modern reproductions designed for present day shooters. The bore is difficult to photograph but it is clean with deep rifling extant.
Mechanically the revolver locks tight on full cock and the half cock works flawlessly. The revolver is stamped US 1847 above the key as the original and the overall finish is excellent as can be seen.
The revolver is contained in an older case that clearly was made for it and the case contains and original tin of percussion caps and a reproduction Walker powder flask.
Were this a “real” Walker the serial number of 988 would place it as being manufactured during the first year of manufacture. The revolver is superbly made but has no proof marks and the romantic in me says what if………
An interesting contemporary example of an iconic gun and a superb addition to any advanced Colt collection. Seldom seen and I doubt if I will sell another one.
See this and many other interesting collectible firearms at the Sandown Racecourse Antique Arms Fair Sunday 4th October. Social distancing and safe dealing in place.
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