Colt "Cop & Thug" New Police Revolver With Fine Grips
- Product Code: FHG-GB11
- Availability: Out Of Stock
In 1880 Colt introduced a new, upgraded version of its House (Cloverleaf) pattern revolver. The aptly named “New House” revolver was essentially an upsized version of the Colt New Line revolvers currently in production, with a larger frame and grip with a square butt profile. Like the New Line revolvers, the New House series were solid frame, single action revolvers with spur triggers that were essentially intended for pocket carry. Unlike the New Line guns, the New House guns were only made in a single frame size, regardless of caliber. The majority of the revolvers were produced in .38 Colt, accepting either the long or short versions of the cartridge, but they were also produced in .41 Colt, and a few were manufactured in .32 Colt. The guns had five shot cylinders that were of the same configuration as the Second Model New Line revolvers, with long flutes and the cylinder stop slots cut on the rear face of the cylinder. A 2 ¼” long round barrel without an ejector was standard, however various factory barrel lengths could be ordered with the longest option being a full 10”! As with the New Line revolvers, the standard finish was nickel plating with high luster nitre blued hammer and trigger surfaces and screws. However, blued barrels with case hardened frames were available as well as custom finishes including gold and silver washes. Standard grips were two-piece varnished or plain walnut, rosewood, or checkered hard rubber. However, as with nearly all Colt revolvers of the era, other exotic materials like ebony, mother of pearl and ivory were available for an extra charge on a custom order basis. One significant upgrade from the Colt New Line revolver was the inclusion of a loading gate in the New House revolver design.
Standard production New House revolvers, like the New Line guns, did not include an ejector rod. However, one sub-variant of the New House series did include an ejector rod on those guns with barrels of 4 ½”, 5” or 6”. This was the New Police revolver. The other distinguishing characteristic of the New Police model were the checkered hard rubber grips that were embossed with a “Cop & Thug” motif, showing a police officer with a revolver confronting a “thug” armed with a knife. This embossed image is the one that gives this model its collector moniker, the “Cop & Thug” revolver. About 4,000 New House revolvers were produced between 1880 and 1886, with the serial numbers running concurrently with the New Line .32, .38 and .41 caliber pistols as well as the New Police revolvers. Between 3,500 and 4,000 New Police revolvers were produced during a slightly shorter time frame, from 1882 through 1886. Like most of the New Line revolvers, the New House and New Police revolvers were typically acid etched on the barrel with their caliber, although later production guns (usually above serial number 22,000) were stamped, rather than etched. The New House and Police revolvers were popular in England, and it is not uncommon to find them with British proof marks and sometimes with Colt’s London, Pall Mall address on the barrel, rather than the more common Hartford barrel address. Much like the fate of the New Line series of revolver it was the double action Colt 1877 handguns that brought production of New House and New Police revolvers to an end. The newer lock work provided a better and safer revolver for pocket carry than the older spur trigger, single action system of the New House series of firearms.
Offered here is a FINE condition example of a very desirable Colt New Police “Cop & Thug” Revolver. The wonderful condition “Cop & Thug” motif hard rubber grips are what set this model apart from other New House revolvers. Some “Cop & Thug” handguns are marked with a “Colt House” barrel etching, this one carries the “New Police” marking and reads:
NEW POLICE 38
As indicated by the marking the revolver’s barrel, the gun is chambered for the .38 Colt (Long or Short) centerfire cartridge. The top of the 4 ½” long round barrel is roll marked in two lines:
COLT’S PT. F.A. CO
HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.
Due to the barrel length being long enough to install one, a factory ejector rod and housing is mounted on the lower right quadrant of the barrel, complete with the early Colt “Bullseye” ejector rod head. The caliber is stamped on the lower left side of the frame, below the cylinder and simply reads 38 CAL. The serial number 14723 is stamped on the bottom of the grip frame, and the right grip panel is numbered 4723 in pencil in a period hand on its interior surface. This serial number places the manufacture of this gun in the first half of 1882, the first year of production. That year New Police revolvers were produced in the range of #14,450 to #15,000. As noted above, the revolver is in about FINE condition. It retains about 35%+ of its original nickeled finish overall. Most of the surviving nickel is on the barrel and top strap, which retain about 60%+ of their original finish. The loss appears to be primarily from flaking, along with high edge wear and loss, especially around the muzzle. The frame retains bout 15%+ finish which is mostly confined to the protected areas. The exposed areas of metal on the barrel are mostly a medium steel gray patina and show some scattered areas of freckled oxidation and some minor discoloration. On the frame, there is more wear to the exposed metal with has a moderately oxidized gray and brown patina, along with some patches of surface roughness and some moderate pinpricking. The cylinder retains only some minute traces of nickel in protected areas, mostly on the rear face. The cylinder has a medium steel gray patina with freckled oxidation and pinpricking over most of its surfaces, with some more moderate oxidation, discoloration, and some pitting on the face of the cylinder. The backstrap of the revolver still retains some original nickel with about 20%+ present but with essentially no nickel present on the front strap. These areas show some lightly oxidized darkening and freckled discoloration. All markings in the metal are still legible, including the etched panel on the barrel, the roll applied barrel address and the caliber marking on the lower left of the frame. The top side of the hammer retains some traces of the dulled and faded niter blued finish, with the sides showing a lightly oxidized, mottled brown and gray appearance. The bore of the revolver is in about VERY GOOD overall condition and is mostly bright with crisp rifling. The bore shows some scattered oxidation and scattered light to moderate pitting, most notably in the couple of inches near the muzzle. The original front sight is in place on the barrel and remains in very good condition as well. The revolver is mechanically FINE and functions correctly on all positions. The revolver indexes, times and locks up exactly as it should. The two-piece checkered and embossed hard rubber grips are in FINE condition as well, and as noted they are correctly numbered to the revolver. The grips have a wonderful chocolate color to them, typical of 19th century Colt hard rubber grips that have had some exposure to light over the decades. The grips are solid, complete and are free of any breaks, cracks, or repairs. The grips show some minor surface scuffs and some light bumps and dings from carry, use and storage, but show no signs of abuse. The checkering remains quite crisp, and the “Cop & Thug” motif remains very clear and well defined. The desirability of this model of Colt really hinges on the quality and condition of the grips and these grips do not disappoint in any way.
Overall, this is very nice example of the most desirable of the Colt New House (Police) Revolvers, one with a set of wonderful condition “Cop & Thug” grips. The gun is 100% complete, correct and original and retains a nice amount of its original nickel finish. With less than 4,000 of these midsized pocket revolvers manufactured over the five-year period form 1882-1886, these guns can be difficult to find. When they are located the hard rubber grips are often well worn, chipped or cracked. These grips are simply wonderful and are everything you would want to find in a high condition Cop & Thug revolver. This is a great example that is worthy of being added an advanced collection of 19th century Colt cartridge revolvers and is a gun that I am sure you will be very proud to own and display.