As the historical interpreter for the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum in San Antonio, I portray Wild Bill Hickok for the visitors. Were his 1851 Navy Colts silver plated?
Col. T. B. Reinhardt
Canyon Lake, Texas
Hickok biographer Joseph G. Rosa says, “Circa 1866, Hickok replaced his standard Navies, that is with walnut stocks, for a pair of plain (not engraved) 1851 Navies that were blued and case hardened, as per normal, but had ivory grips. The mountings—that is the trigger guard and back straps—were brass silver plated, usually described as ‘silver mounted’ in the press or trade advertisements.”
Hickok was photographed carrying both pistols, butts forward, as per the custom of the time, at Fort Harker, Kansas, in September 1867 and in Mendota, Illinois, in March 1869. The pistols look worn or shiny due to wear, but they certainly were not silver plated.