Chaper 3.2 – The Texas Ranger Commemorative Miniature of 1973

With Austin's announcement of August 4, 1823 written on the back of a land document (below) he would supplement the Mexican government's militia patrols with his own force of 10 men, whom he paid out of his own pocket. 

The history of the Texas Rangers is as complicated as the Texas history itself. It all began with American politician and empresario Stephan Fuller Austin known as the founder of Texas. He led the second, and the successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States to the region in 1825.

Stephen F. Austin aka "Father of Texas" *Nov. 3, 1793 in Wythe County, Virginia, †Dec. 27, 1836 in West Columbia, Brazoria County, Republic of Texas

As students of this subject know only too well the rest of the (hi-) story is complex and sometimes also contradictory1, 2). But our initiates will gladly confirm that the Texas Rangers are the largest and oldest film, radio and television franchise. Songs and novels3, 4) date back to the 1840s, films to 19105, 6, 7, 8), radio programs to 1933, and television to 19499, 10, 11, 12, 13).

Incidentally, did you know that more than 200 movies have been made featuring Texas Rangers? The first known movie with a Texas Rangers character was the 1910 silent film THE TEXAS RANGER'S BRIDE starring Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson. During the 20th and 21st centuries there have been few years without at least one film portraying a Texas Ranger.


The Story of the Texas Ranger Commemorative Commission Colt 1851 Navy Miniature: Here is what little we could find out about this Colt 1851 Navy miniature project. Because the records of the Texas Ranger Commemorative Commission (Commission) are incomplete. No specific information on the manufacture of this little Navy exists.




3. Michener, J.A.: TEXAS, 1985

4. Shrake, E.: THE BORDERLAND, 2000

5. Comancheros (movie), 1961

6. The Outlaw Joysey Wales (movie), 1976

7. Extreme Prejudice (movie), 1987

8. Texas Rangers (movie), 2001

9. Lonesome Dove (TV mini series), 1989

10. Walker Texas Ranger (TV series), 1993 – 2001

11. Streets of Laredo (TV mini series), 1995

12. Dead Man's Walk (TV mini series), 1996

13. Comanche Moon (TV mini series), 2007

14. Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum


Many more movies and TV films on Texas Rangers are listed over at the website of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, check this link:


March 3, 2020/WDN

Stephen F. Austin's order of August 4, 1823 creating the first Ranger force led by Lieutenant Moses Morrison

Austin tasked the Rangers with patrolling the roads and wilderness around the colony for "errant thieves united with Indians." Thus, the Texas Rangers were originally born to protect the men and women living in Austin's colony. 

… or stamped on the saddle flap …

The most common commemoratives, aside from coins, were a Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357 cal. revolver and a Bowie knife. These were sold in sets or separately.

Unofficial commemoratives i.e. not sanctioned by the Commission were common, however. Most of them had a general statement like Texas Ranger Commemorative without a reference to the Commission. They are not considered "fakes", just unauthorized which was not illegal.


The official Texas Ranger Commemorative Colt 1851 miniature #451 of the Hunzinger Collection: These miniatures are in ¼ scale. The manufacturer or manufacturers of the revolvers, accessories - powder flask, two cavity bullet mould, nipple wrench - and the wooden display cases were not recorded by the Commission nor was the exact date of their making.

… details of the accessories: Note two-cavity mould for a round and a conical ball

Right side view of the Colt 1851 Navy miniature: Note round triggerguard

Two close-ups of the left and right side of the barrel lug/cylinder/frame assembly

… or attached to sets of Daisy BB guns for the kids

The official seal of the Commission as medallion …

… the set clockwise: Pistol pointing to the right with proper octagon barrel contour, nipple wrench, powder flask and bullet mould … 

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas, U.S.A. in 2017

On February 25, 2020 Mr. Byron A. Johnson, Director of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum shared some of the important facts. Johnson advised that the Commission was established in 1971. They sold items to raise funds for the building of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum at the historical Center in Waco, Texas, U.S.A. While the event - 150 year founding of the Texas Rangers 1823 – 1973 – was in 1973, the building project was completed in 197614).

The official commemoratives included the official seal either as a medallion like you find on the lid of the display case of the Navy, carved into presentation boxes or leather such as a saddle flap. But accurate records such as serial numbers of the Navy project were not kept by the Commission.

The serial number #451 stamped on the pistol's butt strap is the only mark visible anywhere. The accessories are not marked at all.

A total of 550 of these Colt 1851 Navy commemorative sets were made, 500 in sterling silver like #451 here, and 50 in 14 K gold. 

Two personal comments should be in order: If I were to speculate about the maker I am certain he or she was a jeweler not a miniature gun artist. When scanning through the close-ups the workmanship of this sterling silver set appears to be a bit on the "rough" side. This can be attributed to the small ¼ scale selected for the making.

… or cut in the lid of the wooden presentation case of the Commemorative S&W .357 cal. revolver …

… or fixed to this tomahawk together with official card …

The wooden case with the sterling silver Colt 1851 miniature of the Hunzinger Collection closed and proudly displayed on the Texas State flag: Note the seal of the Texas Ranger Commemorate Commission, it is a true 1823 – 1873 commemorative of the Commission …

… and open: Note the plaque on the inside of the lid with serial number #451 and the Colt 1851 miniature with accessories

Three close-ups of the official seal …

… the silver plaque with the in three lines text in script includes the serial number #451

… the miniature Colt 1851 Navy, powder flask, nipple wrench and bullet mould: Note the English fit of the case lined in blue velour 

The Colt 1851 Navy miniature of the Texas Ranger Commemorative Commission features the typical octagon barrel but has no front sight. It is fitted with a round triggerguard of later 1851 Navy models, a spring loaded hammer but it does not cock. The trigger is fixed. 

Six chambers are bored into the plain cylinder. It rotates, loading lever and plunger are functional. 

All metal parts are sterling silver with the exception of the springs.

The grips are historically correct of the one piece kind with straight grained walnut.

The set comes complete with the original hinged top walnut case with partitions lined in blue velour.

Three more close-ups of the set: Pistol displayed on the seal for size comparison …

The top of the case is inlaid with the official round silver medallion of the Texas Ranger Commemorative Commission. It reads



The interior of the lid of the set of the Hunzinger Collection is fitted with a rectangular silver plaque reading

Texas Rangers

1823 – 1973

Serial #451

in script. 

No barrel markings and front sight

Only marking of the pistol is #451 on the butt strap