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COLUMBUS FIREARMS MANUFACTURING COMPANY CONFEDERATE REVOLVER

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Our Price: SOLD

COLUMBUS FIREARMS MANUFACTURING COMPANY CONFEDERATE REVOLVER.


Serial Number 23


The most quintessential & Iconic of All Confederate Revolvers

 

This is the rarest of all marked Confederate revolvers; only 4 specimens have survived and this example is no doubt the finest and one of only two complete original specimens.


Other examples known are serial number 46 which is from the Richard Steuart Collection owned by the Virginia Historical Society. The other of the 3 known, serial number 34 once in the Don Bryan Collection was sold privately and replaced with serial number 23 offered here. This example is published in several texts, to include Confederate Handguns, by William Albaugh, 1963.


It is of note that there are numerous fake Columbus Firearms revolvers, several in published references, however, the most scholarly research has shown the only 3 original guns are serial numbers 23, 34, and 46. This gun is marked on left side of cylinder:


“COLUMBUS FIREARMS / MANUF. CO / COLUMBUS GA / 23”


This identical marking occurs on serial number 34 other than the serial number; serial number 46 is unmarked. The barrel on this revolver is marked “COLUMBUS GA” just like serial number 34; Serial number 46 also contains “COLUMBUS FIREARMS / MANUF. CO” above city and state. A loose barrel serial number 94 is also marked like serial number 46 making it the only other part of a Columbus revolver known. Based on this limited census, it would be logical that this manufacturer quit marking the cylinders and combined the markings to the barrel later in manufacture. Though it can be guessed based on period Confederate records that there may have been as many as 1000 revolvers envisioned to be made, today there are only 3 known and 1 loose bbl. It is extremely unlikely that production even remotely approached that height as a new example has not surfaced in over 50 years, though numerous fakes have been made and offered.


It is known that when Federal General Winslow captured Columbus GA., he destroyed “Haiman’s Pistol Factory”. William Albaugh in Confederate Handguns notes several newspaper accounts telling of the pistol manufactory but only one newspaper account mentions examination of a revolver, May 3rd, 1863, from the Augusta Daily Chronicle & Sentinel (taken from the Columbus Times).


“HAIMANS REPEATER. We have had shown us a beautiful repeating pistol, the first out by the Columbus Firearms Mfg. Co. We take the liberty of naming it Haiman’s Repeater…. It is handsomely mounted with polished brass & the barrel & other parts are beautifully blued. The revolving machinery works quick & exact & quite easy…it is the same pattern as Colts celebrated repeater the company have (sic) a large number of various parts of the (sic) pistol shaped out which will be finished and put together so soon as the new buildings which are now being erected just above the Saber manufactory are ready to receive the workman, which will be within a short time.”


There is a large file of paperwork, correspondence and research concerning Louis Haiman and his Columbus Firearms Manufacturing Co. If you wanted to start a collection of every major Confederate military manufacturer of revolvers, you have to buy this one.


PROVENANCE: Harry Brooks, Dallas, TX.; Pictured in The Texas Gun Collector, Issue 36, July 1953; Jackson Arms; William A. Bond, Vernon, TX. December 1959; Conestoga Auctions, Lot #566, July 5, 1994; Don & Kathlee Bryan Collection.


Condition is fine overall. All is matching, complete, and original. Matching serial number 23 is found on barrel, frame, trigger guard, backstrap and cylinder, other parts are not numbered, but every part appears to be original including screws, there is a very old braised repair to tip of arbor that is not easily discerned and of course internal. Barrel retains about 20% bright blue finish with balance plum/gray. Cylinder is overall plum/gray with scattered small blemishes. All 6 safety pins are discernible; 2 nipples are fractured. Frame and hammer show some finish in protected areas with balance dark gray/silver. Grips are sound and well fit with hand worn patina and small chip to left inside toe. Mechanically gun is sluggish with crisp distinct rifling in bore.

 

 

 

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