View Full Version : Worth a Look - Colt Navy/Army Revolvers

paco ramirez
01-01-2013, 7:32 PM
Thought you guys might like an interesting story.

I have a couple of Colt revolvers, an 1851 Navy and an 1860 Army. I bought them from a gentleman who was in his mid 80's, dying of cancer, and getting his house foreclosed on and he needed the money. He sold me a total of 10 firearms initially, then after I bought those he told me he had something else I might be interested in as well and that turned out to be these two Colts. They've been in his family in this condition with these markings ever since they were found in the 1800's. His great grandfather's name was Squire Duree and he owned a ranch in Kansas City, Missouri in the 1800's. The story that I was told by the guy I bought them from (direct descendant) was that one day a couple of indians that worked for Squire Duree came upon these two Colt revolvers while out working on the ranch and presented them to Mr. Duree. They've been in the family ever since. I put the serial numbers in Colt's website serial number search to find they were both made in 1862. The 1860 Army is missing it's ram rod lever thing.

Colt 1851 Navy made in 1862:

Colt 1860 Army made in 1862:

Original carving on grip of the Colt 1860 Army from when it was found:


Stamping on front strap of the Colt 1860 Army. The "8" looks upside down, usually the smaller circle is on the top of the larger circle. The guy that sold them to me never noticed this marking. Turns out 1847 is the year Jesse James was born:


My guess originally when I first heard the story was that the indians found/bought this gun and carved Jesse James' name into it themselves to "prank" the owner of the ranch, Squire Duree. But then when I saw the "1847" stamp on the front I was skeptical of that possibility too. When I found that mark I leaned more towards it being one of the fakes his mother made, or the one in a billion chance it's one he himself carried and carved and had stamped with his birth year. I can't imagine that back then many people knew what year Jesse James was born save for his mother Zerelda and immediate family. The 1851 Navy was said to have belonged to Robert Ford, the guy that killed Jesse James. I don't know where they got that from, but that's what the story was with that one. It's definitely a gun that's been through hell and been out in the elements for a while at one point before they were discovered, definitely a working man's firearm. The bottom of the grips look like they were used as a makeshift hammer at some point.

Obviously it's probably all nonsense, but it's still always fun to learn about history and share it.

Beetle Bailey
01-01-2013, 10:08 PM
I think the fact that they were made in 1862, changed hands several times, and are still in as nice a condition as they are, is very cool regardless of if they were really owned by Jesse James or not. Thanks for the pics!