Colt Model 1855 Pocket Sidehammer Revolver
The Colt Model 1855 Pocket Sidehammer Revolver was the first Colt revolver with a solid frame.
The revolver was designed by American inventor and firearm manufacturer Samuel Colt but was named after the Colt’s factory general superintendent and foreman, Elisha K. Root. It was Colt’s only percussion handgun that featured a side-hammer, a spur-trigger and was produced in one solid frame. The revolver also does not possess a trigger-guard.
Brief history & description
Also known as a Colt New Model Pocket Revolver, the Root Model and the Root Revolver, the majority of models were equipped with one-piece varnished walnut or burl walnut grips. The most sought after models have grips that were made from the famous Charter Oak tree.
Guide to collectors
Colt Model 1855 Root Side-hammer Pocket Percussion Revolvers were manufactured from 1855 through to 1870 and were produced in both .28 and .31 caliber variants. Approximately forty thousand .28 caliber and fourteen thousand .31 caliber revolvers were manufactured. It is estimated that only 3.84% of the original .31 caliber versions of the Colt Model 1855 Root Revolvers have survived today1.
Colt Model 1855 Root Side-hammer Percussion Pocket Revolvers are extremely rare and, at present, have not been sold by international auctioneers, such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s. Collectors are more likely to find examples of this model being sold at specialised firearm auction houses, such as James D. Julia Inc., in Maine, RM Auctions in Florida or online firearm specialists. As a general rule, Colt Model 1855 Root Side-hammer Percussion Pocket revolvers are available between $1,000 and $3,0002, however, rarer versions have sold for over $250,0003.
There is an enthusiastic community of Colt Walker collectors and there is a large supply of information and sources found on the internet that can be used as a reference tool when searching for Colt Walker revolvers and related memorabilia. Examples include Colt-walker.com and Vintageweaponry.com.
For more comprehensive information regarding Colt Model 1855 Root revolvers, collectors should consult “51 Colt Navies” by Nathan L. Swayze or “The Book of Colt Firearms” by R. L Wilson.
In October 2010, at Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati, a Colt Model 1855 Side-hammer Percussion Pocket Revolver realised a price of $1,380.
In March 2009, an extraordinarily rare cased, engraved presentation Colt Model 1855 Root Side-hammer Percussion Revolver, with a Charter Oak grip, was sold through James D. Julia, for a realised price of $253,000.