Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Colt Third Model Dragoon Percussion Revolver, Serial Number 12406

Samuel Colt (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1814–1862)
ca. 1853
Hartford, Connecticut
American, Hartford, Connecticut
Steel, brass, gold, wood (walnut)
L. 14 in. (35.6 cm); L. of barrel 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm); Cal. .44 in. (11.2 mm); case; H. 3 in. (7.6 cm); W. 16 3/16 in. (41.1 cm); D. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 9.8 oz. (224 g)
Credit Line:
Gift of George and Butonne Repaire, 1995
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371
Samuel Colt (1814–1862) was one of the most famous and successful American inventors and entrepreneurs of the early industrial age. By patenting the first mass-produced multishot revolving firearms, Colt achieved worldwide fame and a vast personal fortune. His introduction of precise machine-made weapons and his promotion of the interchangeability of parts were innovations that transformed the arms industry. Colt actively promoted sales through advertising and displays at international fairs, and by presenting deluxe arms to men of influence, including heads of state. His precise and reliable standard-model revolvers were highly valued by soldiers and frontiersmen. His more elaborately embellished exhibition and presentation arms appealed as functional objects of beauty.

The Museum’s revolver is considered one of Colt’s finest. Apparently, it was created as part of a set of three pairs of gold-inlaid revolvers that Colt took with him to Europe in 1854. That year saw the outbreak of the Crimean War, which pitted Russia against Turkey and her allies, Great Britain and France. Colt aggressively marketed arms to both sides. In November 1854, he presented three gold-inlaid revolvers, one example from each pair, to Czar Nicholas I of Russia. Of these, the Third Model Dragoon serial number 12407 (now in The Hermitage, Saint Petersburg) is actually the mate to the Museum’s pistol, serial number 12406. The gift clearly demonstrated the technical and artistic aspects of Colt’s product, while its patriotic motifs proudly proclaimed its American origin.
Signature: Gold-inlaid on the barrel with the maker's name: Saml Colt.

Inscription: Gold-inlaid on the cylinder: G. WASHINGTON; inscribed on a band scroll on the cylinder, and on the left side of the frame: COLTS PATENT.

Marking: Stamped on the walnut grips: 4785; on all metal parts: 12406.
Wilson, R.L. "The Sultan of Turkey's Famous Colt Dragoon Revolver, s/n 12406." The Rampant Colt 16, no. 1 (Spring 1997). pp. 4–8.

Vaule, Eric. "A Magrnificent Gift." The Gun Report 44, no. 11 (April 1999). pp. 38–40, ill. pp. 38–39 and cover.

Wilson, R.L. "The Dr. Joseph A. Murphy Collection." In Fine Colts. Doylestown, PA: Republic Publishing Co., Inc., 1999. pp. xiv, 226, 228.

Wilson, R.L. "Volume One: c. 1832–1921." In The Colt Engraving Book. Vol. 1. New York: Bannerman's, 2000. frontispiece, pp. 197–201, ill.

Boorman, Dean K. The History of Colt Firearms. New York: Lyons Press, 2001. pp. title page, 106–107, ill.

Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Mr. Morihiro Ogawa. Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions 1991-2002. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 4, 2002–June, 29 2003. pp. 36–37, no. 32, ill. (color).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Thomas P. Campbell. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 167, ill.

Related Objects

Colt Dragoon Percussion Revolver, Third Model, serial no. 13096

Artist: Samuel Colt (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1814–1862) Date: 1853 Medium: Steel, brass, silver, wood (walnut) Accession: 48.125 On view in:Gallery 372

Colt Paterson Percussion Revolver, No. 5, Holster Model, serial no. 528

Artist: Samuel Colt (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1814–1862) Date: ca. 1838–40 Medium: Steel, silver, ivory Accession: 55.206.1 On view in:Gallery 372

Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver with Thuer Conversion for Self-Contained Cartridges, Serial no. 27060

Artist: Samuel Colt (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1814–1862) Date: 1853; converted for cartidges, ca. 1868–71 Medium: Steel, brass, silver, ivory Accession: 58.171.3 On view in:Gallery 372

Colt Model 1861 Navy Percussion Revolver, serial no. 12240

Artist: Samuel Colt (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1814–1862) Date: 1863 Medium: Steel, brass, wood (walnut) Accession: 55.206.2 On view in:Gallery 372

Colt Paterson Pocket Percussion Revolver, Fourth Ehlers Model, serial no. 152, with Case and Accessories

Artist: Samuel Colt (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1814–1862) Date: ca. 1840–43 Medium: Steel, wood (walnut) Accession: 56.167.1a–g On view in:Gallery 372