FRIENDS OF THE CENTAURE SOCIETY

3.3 Second or Civilian Model

Chapter 3 – Models & Variations of the Centaure

3.3 Second or Civilian Model

 

 

1-FIL06905-001

 

 

 

3.3

3.3.1

3.3.1.1

3.3.1.2

3.3.1.3

3.3.1.4

3.3.1.5

 

 

Second or Civilian Model

Common Characteristics of the Civilian Models

Civilian Models 1st Variation – Key Features

Civilian Models 2nd Variation – Key Features

Some Thoughts on the Civilians

Eyewitness Reports from Downrange

Civilian Models – Pricing, Serial Number Ranges

 

 

3.3.1

Common Characteristics of the Civilian Models

 

Fabriques d’Armes Unies de Liège (F.A.U.L.) finished the Civilian models with a brilliant deep blue and case colour finish, „round“ recoil shield, i.e. without notches, silver plated triggerguard and backstrap without notch for a shoulder stock and mostly varnished grips. They are the „Rolls Royce“ of the Centaure New Model Armies (NMAs).

The Civilians were launched as the second model after the Regular New Model Armies (RNMAs). First shipments to the USA were probably made during the early summer of 1960 already.

As of  December 2023 we had the data of 69 regular production Civilians registered in the Centaure data bank. One “colterized” Civilian is recorded and 3 custom embellished ones.

 

Barrel

8″

Frame

3-screw, recoil shield and buttstrap without notches

Cylinder engraving

Centaure proprietary naval engagement scene similar to Colt/Ormsby scene but less background details

Cylinder marking

NEW MODEL 44

Finish

blue & case colors (b cch), triggerguard and backstrap silver plated

Chambers

large

Co. of origin mark

MADE IN BELGIUM on buttstrap

Prefix C

C in front of the serial number (C for Civilian)

Comments

The Civilians were manufactured from early summer 1960 until sometime in 1963 in a separate block of serial numbers beginning with C1.

Officially the models were imported into the U.S.A. only.

 

Two variations of the Civilian Model are recognized today. Production of the 2nd variation seems to have ceased during 1963 due to limited market acceptance leading to unsatisfactory sales. For more details scroll down to 3.3.1.3.

 

D:\FAUL Civilian 1V #C418 1V\1-P1010715.JPG

3.3.1_1 Two typical specimens of Civilians: Top 1st variation  #C418, bottom 2nd variation #C489, both of 1960 production: Civilians have no toe on the butt and their grips are mostly varnished

 

Serial numbers of the Civilians were placed in the locations like you find on other Centaure models of the same period of production. Therefore, the majority of the Civilians‘ cylinders inspected have their serial number with prefix stamped on the front not on the breech side.

 

3.3.1.1

Civilian Models 1st Variation – Key Characteristics

 

Cylinder legend

ENGAGED 16 MAY 1843

Logo

none

Barrel marking

„1960 NEW MODEL ARMY“

Arbor

1st version

Hammer spur

1st and 2nd version

Comments

Produced a few months only in 1960.

 

Typical Civilian 1st variation #C418 pictured below was discovered in January 2010 in the pre-owned drawer of a gun shop in the outskirts of Las Vegas, NV., together with RNMA 1st variation 1st sub-variation #87. In line with the unwritten FROCS SOPs both were liberated on the spot. The RNMA found a new home in Texas.

D:\FAUL Civilian 1V #C418 1V\1-DSC_7916.jpg

3.3.1.1_1 Typical specimen of Civilian 1st variation #C418: Note crowned muzzle and historically correct low-profile front sight (picture courtesy Terushi Jimbo, Düsseldorf/Germany)

 

D:\FAUL Civilian 1V #C418 1V\1-FIL22225.JPG

3.3.1.1_2 Close-up left side of Civilian #C418: Note period Liège proof marks on barrel lug incl. inspector mark * over F sideways, Centaure proprietary cylinder engraving with legend, no logo on frame

 

D:\FAUL Civilian 1V #C418 1V\1-FIL22259.JPG

3.3.1.1_3 Close-up of cylinder of Civilian #C418: Note lack of details of proprietary naval scene typical for this variant, legend close to rim reads ENGAGEND 16 MAY 1843, proof mark ELG in Oval with inspector mark * over F sideways

 

D:\FAUL Civilian 1V #C418 1V\1-P1020982.RW2.jpg

3.3.1.1_4 Another close-up of cylinder of Civilian #C418: Note cylinder marking NEW MODEL 44 between scene’s ends

 

D:\FAUL Civilian 1V #C418 1V\1-FIL04695.JPG

3.3.1.1_5 View of cylinder face of Civilian #C418: Note serial number #C418 in 6’clock position

 

D:\FAUL Civilian 1V #C418 1V\1-FIL22247.JPG

3.3.1.1_6 Close-up of frame of Civilian #C418 with cylinder and barrel pulled: Note 1st version arbor (square ended with separate deep grease groove), frame without logo on forward left side, inspector mark * over F sideways

 

D:\FAUL Civilian 1V #C418 1V\1-DSC_7928-001.jpg

3.3.1.1_7 Clinical view of right side of Civilian #C418; Note varnished grip and capping groove in recoil shield

 

After some easy paperwork regarding import papers Civilian #C418 made it all over the Big Pond to a German Centaure herd.

No rules without exceptions. In early December 2023 #C218 was offered for sale over at French internet auction house Naturabuy. On her pictures a few unexpected features were noted:

# The barrel marking read 1860 NEW MODEL ARMY instead of 1960 NEW MODEL ARMY”,

# While the grip frame was properly stamped #C218 in front of the triggerguard, it was not silver plated as we would expect, and finally

# The country-of-origin stamp MADE IN BELGIUM on the buttstrap was missing.

Go figure!

 

3.3.1.2

Civilian Models 2nd Variation – Key Characteristics

 

Cylinder legend

none

Logo

rampant centaur

Barrel markings

„1960 NEW MODEL ARMY“

“1960 NEW MODEL ARMY” CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK CHICAGO U.S.

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK „1960 NEW MODEL ARMY“

Arbor

1st and 2nd version

Hammer spur

1st and 2nd version

Comments

Produced between late 1960 and sometime in 1963. The legend on the cylinder of the Civilians 1st variation was omitted at the suggestion of the Ohio Gun Collectors Association to inhibit possible use of these cylinders in fakery.

 

#C459 is currently the lowest serial number known of a Civilian 2nd variation. She was offered in January 2011 by Danish gun dealer Bisgaard & Nielsen of Kjellerup in German internet auction house Egun. According to Mr. Nielsen he was selling her for the heirs of her late gun collector owner. Allegedly he had purchased the pistol during the early 1960s in the U.S.A. with the original carton. Unfortunately, the latter has disappeared.

Nielsen mentioned he has been in the gun business for 40 years but has seen two Centaures in Denmark only, namely this Civilian and another variant a few decades ago. They are a rare breed in Denmark!

 

D:\#C489 Civilian 2V MG D\1-P1010628.JPG

3.3.1.2_1 Typical specimen of Civilian 2nd variation from 1960 #C489 displayed on German import papers

 

F.A.U.L. in Belgium exported Civilian 2nd variation #C489 pictured above and below towards the end of 1960 to Mars Equipment in Lincolnwood, IL, U.S.A., for distribution by sister company Centennial Arms Corp. Eventually she found her way down South to a collector in Houston, Texas. Since November 2010 she has now a new home in Germany. Apart from the proof testing procedure at the Liège Proof house 1960 she was probably never fired.

 

D:\#C489 Civilian 2V MG D\1-P1030201.JPG

3.3.1.2_2 Close-up of cylinder and frame assembly of Civilian C489: Note visible serial number on barrel lug, frame and triggerguard, 1st version hammer spur