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Colt USN Model 1895 DA Revolver --Very close to Teddy Roosevelt's DA Recovered from USS Maine he used at San Juan Hill in 1898--
This is a scarce 1st Contract US Navy Colt Model 1895 with a desirable pre-1898 antique serial number in the Teddy Roosevelt serial range. Made in 1895, this one was early first year production and was sure to have seen service in the Spanish-American War in 1898 aboard a ship or perhaps with the United States Marines who carried them as well. Standard 6" barrel, caliber .38 Colt, blued finish, and checkered hard rubber grips.
Perhaps the most famous Colt 1895 issued to the US Navy was the one Theodore Roosevelt used during the charges he made with the 1st USV Cavalry, a.k.a. "Rough Riders", up Kettle and San Juan Hills. So how did an officer in the US Army get his hands on a Navy issued Colt? Well, prior to joining the US Army, Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The Colt was given to Roosevelt by his brother-in-law who recovered it during salvage work on the USS Maine after it mysteriously exploded and sank in Havana Harbor. Divers were dispatched to open the safe in the Captain's quarters to see if the keys to the powder magazine of the Maine were still in the Captain's possession. If they were not present, it could have indicated sabotage rather than an external mine destroying the ship. The divers found both keys in the safe along with Colt Model 1895 Revolver, serial number 16334...which was given to Roosevelt. Roosevelt, who was anxious to get into the war brewing between the United States and Spain over Cuba, resigned his position with the Navy and joined the Army to help his friend Leonard Wood form the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry. As Leonard's XO in the 1st USV Cavalry, Roosevelt carried the 1895 recovered from the Maine with him to Cuba with the Rough Riders and used it to kill two Spanish soldiers during the ascent up San Juan Hill. For his actions that day, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001. If you look carefully at the photograph taken of Roosevelt and the Rough Riders standing under the American flag atop San Juan Hill, you'll notice Roosevelt is carrying a gun on his belt in what appears to be the standard US Navy flap holster. In contrast, the second soldier to Roosevelt's right has a standard US Army holster with the Army-style strap going over the handle of his Colt revolver. In spite of being sunk once, helping win a future US President the Medal of Honor, stolen twice and recovered twice over the past half century, Roosevelt's famous Model 1895 is still in existence and kept on display at his home (now Museum) at Sagamore Hill, New York.
This Colt is Colt is from the same batch ordered by the US Navy in 1895 which are in the 16,000-18,000 range. It's serial number is 16,675 which range and 341 numbers away from Roosevelt's 16,334. Overall, this gun grades to NRA Antique Fine Condition with 30% original blue overall. The trigger, hammer show traces of original fire blue. All matching numbers throughout which includes the bottomstrap, barrel, crane, frame, cylinder, cylinder latch, and the inside of the grips. Both grips have the initials "E.H.N" scratched on the inside of the panels below the serial numbers. Barrel has the correct patent dates of 1884, 1888, and 1895. The checkered hard rubber grips are in nearly perfect condition with no cracks or repairs. The butt is marked with the serial number along with the Navy inventory number 7475 and inspector Nathan Twining's "NCT" stamp. Twining also inspected the Winchester 1895 Lee Straight Pull Rifles issued to the US Navy and US Marines. The frame, crane, barrel, cylinder, and latch all have the Navy Sub-Inspector's initial in the form of a small Star with a tiny letter "C" in the middle...believed to be "AP Casey" who inspected the Colt 1873 Single Action Revolvers for the US Army in the 1870's. Nice mechanics with an Excellent bright shiny bore with no pitting.
While we search all over for Colt DA's with early antique serial numbers, one of the most challenging variations to find are these US Navy Model 1895's. The few USN marked 1895's we do come across are usually post Span-Am War with later non-antique production serial numbers. This one is not only antique, but it's 100% all matching, unaltered, and still in nice condition for an early production US Navy DA that was used in the Spanish American War.
Handgun Caliber: .38 Long Colt
Serial Number: 16675