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Antique Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA

Colt Single Action Army Outfit from Miles City, Montana

Circa 1882

​A true piece of Western lore is this Antique Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA. This fantastic “shootist” colt single action army comes with a Miles city marked belt and holster.

Although the actual history of this outfit is unknown, it truly is a piece of the western era. This is not a rig an average cowboy would have had, as it would have been a very expensive outfit in its time. Most likely, this rig was used by a law man or an outlaw.  Maybe both, as each frequently operated on both sides of the law.  The outfits much worn condition shows decades of use from many years of service.

Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA with Miles City marked Belt and Holster

Nimschke Engraving

This antique Nimschke engraved Colt SAA was shipped to Schoverling, Daly & Gales, New York City in 1882, in the “soft” for engraving, per factory letter (included). The Colt SAA was engraved by Nimschke, nickel plated, with installed checkered ivory grips. Most noteworthy, the engraving is identical to the sheriff’s model SAA, #80118. This sheriff’s model is pictured in The Colt Engraving Book (2nd edition) by R.L. Wilson, under “L.D. Nimschke”, page 342.  Also, that particular gun was shipped to Schoverling, Daly & Gales in the soft.

The patent dates are completely worn away.  Similarly, the barrel address has only the “USA” vaguely showing.  But, all serial numbers match and are still readable, as well as, the “45 CAL” on the trigger guard. The engraving is extremely worn on the recoil shields (nearly gone). Also, the cylinder engraving is very worn, but visible. Although worn, the frame and barrel engraving still shows nicely. The checkered ivory grips show a great deal of wear and period repairs, but no major losses. Only about 10% of the nickel plate is left in protected corners and on the trigger guard bow.

The rest of the gun has gone to a dull grey metal color. The mechanics and the bore are good. All parts appear to be original except for some screws. In addition, the 7 ½” barrel has been cut down to 5 ½”, fitting the needs of “shootist” requirements for quick draw and fast shooting. If we only knew by who and where.

Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA full view pic 2
Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA showing worn engraving on the cylinder
Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA with checkered grips

Miles City Marked Belt & Holster

The mark of “Al Furstnow, Miles City, Mont” with his early rectangular stamp show on both the holster and belt. The holster stamp is readable, but only the outline shows on the belt. Both decorated with the same spots, they have definitely always been together.

The belt is 2 ¼” wide x 38” long with its original nickel plated buckle. The belt shows use, wear and some crazing, mostly on the cartridge loops. The double loop holster has a few holes punched for tie down thongs.  Along with a drain hole in the “Cheyenne” pattern plug. Both pieces match in color. Also, intact is all the original stitching in the holster. The belt has 38 loops for .45 caliber cartridges.  Re-locating the tongue billet required some loops being removed in the holster location. The loop stitching is starting to come apart. But the loops forward of the holster have been hand re-sewn, as seen from the back. The loops are fragile and I wouldn’t recommend putting .45 caliber bullets in them. The photos show 44-40 cartridges in the forward, re-sewn loops. The rig is dark brown in color and has been oiled at one time, but that probably helped preserve it.

There is a “HOP” stamped on the back of the belt, photo on request. It has come to my attention that this outfit could have come from the historic HOP Ranch in Colorado. Other guns and related items have shown up on the collector’s scene with the “HOP” stamp and it’s a good assumption they came from the ranch.

The HOP Ranch was established in Colorado Territory in 1871 during the times of “open range” and no fences. HOP was the initials of the three original owners. All three were wealthy investors from the East. The ranch was located 35 miles southeast of Colorado Springs and was in operation for 58 years. All three of the owners were very wealthy and could easily afford a nice rig of this quality. The ranch was sold in 1929 to the Horse Creek Land & Cattle Co. of Denver.

Top view of Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA with Miles City marked Belt and Holster
Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA with Miles City marked Belt and Holster showing decades of use

A great old antique Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA with an outstanding makers mark belt and holster, from the early days of the Old West. Certainly, worth further research.

*Will not ship guns or any items with ivory to California, Washington State, New York, New Jersey, Oregon or Hawaii because these states have a total ban on ALL ivory sales – new or antique.

Clarks Antiques Firearms – Antique Nimschke Engraved Colt SAA – Price $15,000.00

Item #1484