COMING IN JUNE 2020
RARE AND FINE COLT WALKER PERCUSSION REVOLVER B COMPANY 102, INSCRIBED “ANDREAS S VIESCA” PROMINENT MEXICAN GENERAL.
inv # 01-17378
Everyone knows the history of Walker revolvers and their association with American troops in Mexico. These guns were made for the US Dragoons in the Mexican War. Capt. Samuel H. Walker, the inspiration to Samuel Colt for the manufacture of these massive 4 pound revolvers and the Commander of Company B was killed October 9, 1847 in Mexico. By Oct. 26, 1847, this revolver was probably one of the 496 issued to various companies in Mexico including 394 to Colonel Jack Hays’ Texans. Only 316 were returned due to battle, theft, or retained by soldiers as these were the most powerful handguns produced to date and were used to great effect in the recently ended Mexican war. Many of the returned Walkers were issued to the Texas Rangers in San Antonio and when the Civil War began, the arsenal was seized by Confederates and no doubt some were carried in the war. Was this one?
What makes this gun so exciting is the etched name (in old English manuscript font) inside the triggerguard under grips “ANDRES S. VIESCA”. Andres Saturnino Viesca (1827-1908) was a prominent Mexican General and 4-time Governor of Coahuila which borders Texas and prior to 1845 was “Coahuila y Tejas” (Coahuila and Texas) where Viesca was born which was part of Texas until Texas annexation. When Confederate General Jo Shelby went to Mexico after the Civil War instead of surrendering; he dealt with Governor Viesca directly who was not enamored with Shelby marching through his territory with cannon & a large part of his army.
Where and when did General Andres S. Viesca get this gun? He was 20 years old when this gun entered Mexico the first time. Did it stay, or did Jo Shelby have something to do with it 19 years later? Regardless, we know Viesca had it due to his name being etched on it in south western style.
This revolver is much better than most Walkers encountered & is original and authentic in most respects with standard configuration 8 15/16″ octagonal to round barrel with shortened German silver front sight, very crisp “ADDRESS SAM COLT NEW YORK CITY” on top flat. Right side of barrel housing is marked “US / 1847″ with wedge screw partially obscuring mark. The “8” in date often seen upside down, like here, with the larger loop on top. Wedge is an unmarked replacement but appears of the period with matching surface and patina. Cylinder is extremely nice with a near perfect Ormsby rolled “dragoon fight” cylinder scene, serviceable single safety pin. The cylinder is serial numbered “B COMPANY 106”, four off other matching numbers. The cylinder also has the sequence number “546” still very crisp on back of cylinder. As B Company guns were made after C and A, and sequentially numbered starting with C #1, 220 guns made in C & A, sequential number for B 106 would be the sum of 220, 220, 106 which is “546”. Rarely is this number even partly discernible. The full serial number “B COMPANY 102” is found on left side of barrel housing, frame and on the bottom of buttstrap. The abbreviated number “B COMy No 102” is found on the trigger guard and that number was attempted to have been removed but all still visible. The cylinder as noted has serial number “B COM-Y 106”. Serial number 102 is found internally on arbor & right side of triggerguard under grips. The grips are original Walker but are numbered “96”, six off other matching numbers. The number is not visible on face of frame where it mates with barrel housing. The loading assembly has been replaced with Walker style and was noted in 1940 as such. This gun was updated with Colt dragoon style latch as so many were in 1850’s by Colt. The filled mortice on bottom of barrel near muzzle where latch was attached is still visible. Most early Walker collectors changed these loading levers back to the Walker style like early collector David Ingalls must have. This is a fine authentic Walker revolver that presents much better than a majority on the market over the last few years and the added history of being owned by a prominent Mexican General and 4-time Governor of Coahuila (which borders Texas) adds to its history and desirability. Very few Walkers have associated history and few have cylinders as fine as this one.
Another layer of interest surrounding this unique Walker is that it was featured over 80 years ago in the 1938 Far West Hobby Shop catalog marketing the David L. Ingalls collection. There were two Walkers listed for sale; C Company No. 43 for $850 as well as B Company No. 102 for $550. The additional pedigree surrounding the provenance provides an additional level of significance to the collecting community.