1.5 Colterization

Chapter 1 – Myth and Motherload

1.5 „Colterization“











The Sophisticated Form of Flattery – Centaures Turned Colt 1860 Armies

Thomas Haas and Horacio Q Acevedo

„Colterized“ Regular New Model Armies (RNMAs)

„Colterized“Civilian Model

„Colterized“Cavalry Models



The Sophisticated Form o Flattery – Centaures Turned Colt 1860 Armies


William B. Edwards and Sigmund Shore shared a fine sense of humour. While they liked to make deals with the big boys under the Blue Dome in Hartford (see the story of the first Single Action commemorative in chapter 3.6 on the Pocket Army page); (But – omit) they also pulled their legs from time to time and got away with it. As was only discovered at the end of February of 2010, they had master gunsmith and restorer Horacio Q. Acevedo of Thomas Haas’s Guns Unlimited, Kankakee, IL, colterize a couple of different Centaure models for their personal collections, for sale to the public and possibly also as presentation guns.

Thomas Haas and Horacio Q Acevedo


The story goes that Tom Haas was the undisputed Colt restoration expert back in the days. He regularly visited Shore Galleries and became friend with Edwards and Shore. He accomplished this colterizing program of the Centaures by applying new period correct finish, COLTS PATENT marks as applicable, stamping with serial numbers of proper font in 1st generation number ranges on the frame, butt and all. Their barrel markings read


This line is engraved with the correct type dies. A few of these Centaures were custom engraved or otherwise embellished in the style of famous Colt engravers of yesteryear. All these Centaures-turned-Colt known are unique in one way or the other.


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Thomas Haas Sr. *1915-2004


That is the generally acknowledged story. Are all parts of the story true? The colterized Centaures are out there in the Shore Collection – I saw them, handled them and took pictures of them – and some exist in private collections, too. But was it really Mr. Haas who did this work? Since the end of 2010 and early 2011 more and more information has surfaced giving reasonable ground for suspecting that Thomas Haas was not the one who transformed these Centaures into colterized pieces of art.

The restoration and engraving work on Tom Haas’s pieces is attributed to Horacio Q. Acevedo.

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Horacio Q. Acevedo *1924-2010


Who is this Horacio Q. Acevedo? This exceptionally gifted goldsmith and engraver was born in Cordoba, Mexico. Aged 12 Acevedo began working for a jeweler in Puebla, became full-fledged jeweler, silver- and goldsmith and engraver by 13. A few years later he and his family moved to Mexico City, where he worked for a major jewelry manufacturer who was often commissioned to custom design and create chalices, crowns and frames for various churches in Mexico City. Mr. Acevedo collaborated in the design and craftsmanship of the silver and gilded frame that currently holds the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Mexico City.

His gift extended to creating exquisitely detailed, precisely crafted firearms. From age 14, he was making fully functional miniature firearms in various models. In 1959, he was hired by Tom Haas of Guns Unlimited, and moved his wife and children to Kankakee, IL, U.S.A. He worked as a chief gunsmith and engraver and collaborated in the creation of a pair of left-handed Colt pistols. They are considered being among the most distinctive of Colt collectibles and memorabilia.

Eventually, Mr. Acevedo began working as an independent contractor for a number of collectors and dealers. This included commissions from Colt Firearms Manufacturing Company as well as creating original custom works and restoring antique pieces for Mr. Haas. According to a note from Horacio Q. Acevedo’s son Horacio F. and his grandson A. Acevedo dated May 16 2011 Thomas Haas Sr. funded the projects but Horacio Q. Acevedo did the work since the late 1950s.

After this lengthy sidestep let’s look at a few colterized Centaures from the Shore Galleries‘ Collection.

„Colterized“ Regular New Model Armies (RNMAs)


#17562: This Centaure left Belgium as a run of the mill Regular New Model Army (RNMA) 1st variation 2nd sub-variation. Note Acevedo’s beautiful engraving, the domed and fire blued screw heads and the period low profile front sight.


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Left side view of #17562


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Close-up of barrel and cylinder of #17562: Note barrel marking and fine details of engraving


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Bottom view barrel lug, frame and triggerguard of #17562: Note Colt-style of font of visible serial numbers, engraved and silver plated triggerguard


#17568: At first glance this Regular New Model Army (RNMA) looks like #17562’s twin but the difference is in the fine details. She has the Colt New-York address on the barrel, Colt dies were used for serial numbers. Note the beautiful case colors of the wedge and the stylish engraving of the silver plated triggerguard!


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Top view of #17568: Note exquisite details of quality of engraving; New-York address on barrel


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Close-up bottom view barrel lug, frame and triggerguard of #17568: Note Colt-style of font of visible serial numbers, details of engraving of silver plated triggerguard


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Butt view of #17568: Note Colt-style font and location of serial number

„Colterized“ Civilian Model


#18618: Compared to the two nicely embellished Regular New Model Armies (RNMAs) above this Civilian looks like one off the rack at first glance. However, the cylinder was exchanged for one roll-engraved with the Colt/Ormsby naval scene. Instead of the Centaure logo the forward left side of the frame there is now the mark COLTS PATENT in two lines, in addition to all the other Colt-style marks and markings.