"COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER. SN 10378. Cal. 45 Colt. Usual cavalry configuration with 7-1/2" bbl, full front sight with small script address. Frame has 2-line patent dates and a small "U.S." with the "U" being very lightly struck. It has 1-pc burl walnut grip with a clear "OWA", for O.W. Ainsworth, Chief Sub-Inspector for the Colt Single Action Revolver, 1873-74. About the center of the right grip is a small chrysanthemum stamped into the wood, which is the emblem or crest of the imperial Japanese family and was usually stamped into Japanese firearms, especially military arms. There are small "A" inspector marks on the various parts in the proper locations. It has a correct first type ejector rod housing with bull's eye ejector rod head and the orig base pin with dimples at each end. The last four digits of serial number appear on bottom of bbl, under ejector rod housing with the number "0233", the last four digits of single action number "10233", another of the Colts gifted to the Emperor of Japan in 1874, obviously mixed up during reassembly after cleaning. Last four digits of serial number also appear in ink inside back strap channel of grip. This revolver, along with nine others, was presented to the Mikado (Emperor) of Japan on 23 June 1874 and is one of the very few times, up to that point, where a foreign government was given the latest American firearms technology. This presentation is well documented in the National Archives and in several publications on Colt revolvers such as A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, Graham, Kopec & Moore, Colt Cavalry & Artillery Revolvers, Kopec & Fenn and Colt Cavalry, Artillery & Militia Revolvers, Cochran. Although the presentation of these ten "Mikado" Colts had been previously known, none had ever surfaced until 1976 when on April 18, 1976 Mr. V.B. Rasmussen of Mercer Island, Washington, traded two Colt single action revolvers, serial numbers 10378 and 10143, to Mr. Dennis Andrews of Bellevue, Washington. He furnished Mr. Andrews a signed & notarized letter stating that in March 1946 he had been a 1st Lieutenant assigned to the Small Arms School at Aberdeen, Maryland and at that time was transferred to the 8th Army in Japan and assigned to the Tokyo Army Ordnance Depot to set up a small arms school to train occupation troops in small arms. He stated that during his tenure there the indigenous Japanese were required to surrender all small arms and weapons and that two of the items turned in were these two single action Colts. Mr. Rasmussen states that he had worked for a Col. Steele who was the Commanding Officer of the Battalion and that Col. Steele had given him these two Colts. He states that when he returned to the U.S. in December 1948 he brought them home with him and they had remained in his collection until the time of the trade to Mr. Andrews. Up until the time of that trade the serial ranges of those ten Mikado Colts were unknown. Since that time another has surfaced, serial number 10158, which was also brought home from Japan after WWII by a returning GI but he had it reblued and the bbl shortened. Therefore there are now four of the ten serial numbers known: 10158, 10233 (extrapolated from the four digits found on cylinder of the single action being offered), 10373 & 10386. Also accompanied by a 2-page letter from John Kopec detailing some of the above information and completely authenticating this revolver as an orig "Mikado" Colt. He states that it appears to be "in virtually unfired condition with blue in the chambers and interior of the bore". He also states that the grips appear to be hand selected burl walnut and he refers to it as a "national treasure". Also accompanying is a copy of a 2-page article by Sam Maxwell from an unidentified publication with the subject being this revolver which reiterates much of the above information. Additionally accompanying is a letter from Sam Maxwell to "John" (apparently John Kopec) regarding the two Mikado Colts from Mr. Rasmussen. CONDITION: Very fine, all matching except cylinder as noted above. Bbl retains 60-70% thin orig blue with storage pitting on left side. Frame retains about 80% strong orig case colors, brilliant in sheltered areas with some storage pitting on left rear of frame and a little on left recoil shield. Right side of frame & hammer are absolutely brilliant. Ejector rod housing retains about 75% orig blue, strong in gullets, thin on outer radius with some storage pitting. Cylinder retains 60-70% thin orig blue, strong in the flutes also with some storage pitting. Back strap & trigger guard have "candy striping" striation lines with a few spots of pitting about middle of back strap and on trigger guard, again from storage. Grip has a chipped right toe with a few minor nicks & scratches and its clear "OWA" cartouche on left side and the first chrysanthemum on right side. Mechanics are crisp, very bright shiny bore. 4-32985 JR214 (175,000-250,000)"
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