Colt Automatic Pistol and Revolver Information - 20 years of Service to Colt Firearms Collectors

COLT MODELS

Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket Hammerless .25 ACP - Factory Engraved and Gold Inlaid Examples

Model N Factory Gold Inlaid with Factory Carved Mother-of-Pearl Grips.

The first factory engraved and gold inlaid Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP - blued finish with Type II slide markings and 17 gold inlays. This is also the first Model N with factory monogrammed relief-carved mother-of-pearl grips. The engraving, inlay and carved grips were performed by Colt master engraver, Cuno Helfricht. Perhaps the most unique aspect of engraving on this pistol is that when the work was performed, no pre-defined styles of engraving existed for the Model N. Just eight of the Model Ns are noted as having any type of gold inlay work.

Colt 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP Serial Number 165082 Factory Master Engraved by William H. Gough Nickel Plated, Mother of Pearl Stocks - The records indicate this pistol was shipped out as a .25/c, 2", in the Green state for engraving, with the final finish to be nickel and Pearl stocks. A factory order number 555 was assigned to this pistol for the work and it was shipped to Murta Appleton & Company in Philadelphia, PA c/o William Gough on May 29, 1917, a shipment of 1 gun.

William Gough's distinctive five pointed star.

Factory Master Engraved and Silver Plated Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket Model Serial Number 204423 - One of five guns shipped to William H. Gough on May 21, 1919, returned to Colt and reshipped to Murta Appleton on July 2, 1919.  The engraving pattern on this pistol matches the pattern of 204695 (pictured above, which was also in the same shipment).  The other four pistols were also silver plated and fitted with mother of pearl grips.  This pistol has full factory "C" coverage, is silver plated and is fitted with gold inlaid monogrammed mother of pearl grips with recessed medallions.

Remarks:  The notations concerning finish of subject pistol are confusing as it lists being both silver and in the "Green State".  The "green or soft" state would normally indicate shipment without finish for engraving outside the factory.  As W.H. Gough was a known engraver for Colt at this time, it would appear that the pistol was sent for engraving although the record does not specifically list this feature.

There is a further notation indicating that the pistol was reshipped to Murta Appleton & Company on July 2, 1919.  It would appear that at this time the final finish on subject pistol was silver.

Factory Master Engraved and Silver Plated Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket Model Serial Number 204695 - One of five guns shipped to William H. Gough on May 21, 1919, returned to Colt and reshipped to Murta Appleton on July 2, 1919.  The engraving pattern on this pistol matches the pattern of 204423 (pictured above, which was also in the same shipment).  The other four pistols were also silver plated and fitted with mother of pearl grips.  This pistol has full factory "C" coverage, is silver plated and is fitted with mother of pearl grips with recessed medallions.

William H. Gough master engraved Model N sn 125221.

This gun retains 99+% of the original finish, has full engraving coverage and is fitted with Type II mother-of-pearl grips (featuring rounded top and recessed medallions) This gun was engraved by Colt master engraver William H. Gough and features Gough's distinctive style which includes his use of vines, flowers and lined background.  It was shipped from Colt's to the engraver on March 15, 1915 and returned on May 20, 1915.  The Colt factory letter indicates that the gun was produced with a blue finish and fitted with mother-of-pearl grips and confirms the factory engraving.  It was a one gun shipment to H.S. Barton, address "unavailable" on October 8, 1917.  The original price on a gun with these features was $27.00 (Standard variation: $12.00, Master engraved: $12.50, Mother-of-pearl grips: $2.50).  See the December 1998 Gun of the Month feature for more history on H.S. Barton.

Model N Factory Engraved and Silver Plated

Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP Serial Number 125565 - Factory Silver Plated and Factory Engraved (Grade 3) Model N. This special order gun was shipped to Shelton-Payne Arms Co., El Paso, TX in March 1916 in a two gun shipment. This gun is sitting on top of its' original factory presentation case. (ex. Robert Howard Collection)

Colt Special Gun Orders Entry:

"March 22, 1916
962/1 Shelton Payne 2/7/16
N Auto 25 - Silver- Pearl-
#1 1/4 Engrave Rush-"

Silver plating was the rarest of the special finishes for the Model N. Of approximately 410,000 guns produced, there were only 64 factory silver plated .25s, only a handful of which were also factory engraved.

Model N Gold Plated and Factory Engraved - Serial number 68443 sold and shipped to Wm. G. Rolston, May 20, 1912.  Colt Special Order Ledger lists this pistol as gold plated, factory engraved #3, although the grade of engraving is not mentioned in the factory letter. This pistol has mother-of-pearl Colt grips that have been embellished with "W R" and the date 1912.  In addition, the grips have rather crude cuts along the edge of each grip, presumably to improve the shooters grip on the pistol.  The grips are factory and while the monogram appears to be period work, it is not confirmed in the factory letter.  Additionally, the crude cuts along the edge of the grips are not characteristic of Colt factory work.

Model N Factory Engraved

An early factory engraved Colt Model N sn 82838 blued finish with Type II mother-of-pearl grips. This was one of a two gun shipment to Browning Bros. Co., Ogden, UT on December 17, 1913. From the figures listed below, this gun cost $18.00 (Base price: $12.00, Plain Mother-of-pearl stocks: $2.50, Style 3 Engraving:  $3.50)

Model N Factory Engraved/Inscribed

Factory engraved and inscribed Model N. Engraving coverage is Style 3 and is typical of many of the Style 3 engraved guns.

Model N Factory Inscription

Factory inscription "H.F. SCHOTTLER" is hand engraved in the case hardened grip safety. This gun was shipped in 1915. 

Model N Factory Engraved/Nickel Plated

Early nickel plated/factory engraved Model N. The "medallion" mother-of-pearl grips were a relatively new feature for a gun in this serial number range.

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June 2017


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