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One you'd never expect to find on this side of the ocean

Discussion in 'Other Militaria' started by Skipper, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I'm still wondering how on earth this one ended as a shoe polish box in a farm in central France.

    This a U.S. Civil War area 1865dated amno box made for the UNION Navy Watervliet , New-York.

    Go figure . This was either left behind by a ship or brought back later. I do't know whether these were still in use in 1917.

    Whatever the story is , the box is in my collection now and it's a genuine one too. There was no cover those days, just planks, hence the absence of the top.

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  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    What a find ! IIRC, the Colt Navy .36 was a percussion revolver....I wonder if Colt sold any of these to France after the Civil War ?
     
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  3. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Thanks Martin, would this mean the Colt Navy wasn't only used by the Navy ? I will try to find out if any of these were sold to France in the late 1860s. I don't think they did though. I can imagine the U.S. had quite a surplus after the war and needed cash . some were used by the UK and the Prussians had a few (captured from the Russians). The Austirans had a few too, another guess would be a possible trade with the Confederates. There were many confedarates ships who trades with France and this relic could have been left behind.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_1851_Navy_Revolver
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    The Colt Navy model wasn't used by the US Army AFAIK ( they used a .44 ) but was very popular after the Civil War as a civilian weapon.....
     
  5. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Another lead: some models were in Brescia Italy , so there was a European market too.
     
  6. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Vey possibly , but the origin of the Arsenal is miltary , so is the cammo. I doubt Watervliet made amno for civilians.
     
  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    There sure was. Colt sold to anyone who would buy.

    Here is one of my favorite pieces in the Metropolitian Museum of Art in NY. It is the mate of one that he gave to Czar Nicholas I as a marketing tool during the Crimean War

    http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/24960
     
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  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Thanks Dave, most interesting indeed. I can imagine how the Czar felt when he recieved such a beauty.
     
  9. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    Very cool!
     
  10. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I'm guessing the cartridges were sold as surplus after the war. The 1865 date lends credence to that theory. Many Colt Navy's were exported to Europe, but I'm guessing the paper cartridges would also have worked in any .36 caliber firearm of the period.

    The Colt Navy was popular in the US Army. Officers could buy their own weapons and many preferred the well balanced Colt Navy over the .44, and it wouldn't surprise me if some state regiments issued them in lieu of the .44 due to shortages, etc.

    After the Civil War, the Navy was the most popular revolver on the frontier until the Colt Single Action Army (the 'Peacemaker') edged them out in the 1870's.
     
  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The Model 1851 Colt pistol was in the specified Navy caliber of .36 caliber. It had a hexagonal 7 1/2 inch barrel. Thereafter all .36 caliber Colts were referred to as Navy caliber or just Navy. These were used by both Army and Navy personnel. It was a lighter pistol at 2.6 lbs. than the contemporary Colt Army 1848 Dragoon (4 lbs. 4 oz).

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    Colt Revolving Belt Pistol of Naval Caliber Model 1851

    The Colt Dragoon was a .44 caliber pistol used by the US Army's mounted Rifles and was carried in a saddle holster. Its weight made its carry in a belt or belt holster, problematic. The Army specified the caliber so .44 caliber became known as Army caliber. It was manufactured in both 7.5 and 8" versions.

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    Colt Model 1848 Dragoon

    The Colt Army Model 1860, used the same frame as the Model 1851 Navy. It had a rounded, 8" barrel and weighed 2.68 lbs. making it suitable for belt holster use. It was issued to both Army and Navy personnel, but was called "Army" because of the caliber.

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    Colt Model 1860 Army

    The Colt Model 1861 Navy was a .36 caliber improved version of the Model 1851 Navy. It adopted the Army's rounded barrel, weighed 2.6 lbs., had a 7.5 inch barrel and an improved, shortened rammer similar to the 1860 Army Model.

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    Colt Model 1861 Navy

    Calber was the differentiator between Army and Navy, not the service the pistol was issued to. The Navy's were the more common post war due to their lesser recoil.
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    London was a major source of Colt's .36 Navy. So many were being imported to Britain that Colt decided to open a factory in London. Although Colt's London Armory operated for only a few years, they produced about 24,000 .36 Navy pistols for the British government.
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  13. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Wow, thanks for all the input gentlemen, I didn't expect so much for an old crate. I think I'll keep it in my library to store Cd's . I love the markings and the original paint .
     
  14. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Off topic but I'm in NY this week and went back to the Met today. Here is how presentation Colt is being displayed now, along wwith some other eye candy
     

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  15. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Excellent presentation!

    The surplus from the Union Army gets my poll. after all it's clearly marked Watervliet and I doubt European makers would have used this reference.
     
  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Another cool aspect of your artifact is where its from, Watervliet Arsenal.

    "The Watervliet Arsenal is an arsenal of the United States Army located in Watervliet, New York, on the west bank of the Hudson River. It is the oldest continuously active arsenal in the United States, and today produces much of the artillery for the army, as well as gun tubes for cannons, mortars, and tanks. It has been a National Historic Landmark since 1966"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watervliet_Arsenal

    It's still an active US Army post.
     
  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Since you don't really collect civil war stuff, you might want to consider selling to an American collector. An item in that condition would bring big bucks and perhaps fund a very nice WWII piece.
     
  18. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I haven't thought about that, in time maybe.
     
  19. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Member Emeritus

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    Skipper, What a great and most interesting find! If only it could talk. I agree, beautiful color and patina. I always thought the 1851 Navy was the most beautiful piston ever made, just perfect proportions. A few side notes, The Confederates made numerous copies of it, most with brass/bronze frames, by different companies, extremely rare today. They probably would have found the Army hard to machine. And it the post-war period many "Navies and Armies" were converted to brass cartridge revolvers.

    Not many wooden cartridge boxes survived.

    Gaines
     
  20. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The most famous Colt Navy gunman was Bill Hickok.

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