That's beautiful, classic engraving. Whether or not it's LDN's I don't know, but I have seen where he has used the edge of a dot punch to make the three or four small lines below an element, and I believe his animal heads were more refined. Nonetheless this is a great old piece regardless of who engraved it. I hope you can find a smoke print of it in the Nimschke book. That'd confirm it and increase its value exponentially.
"That's beautiful, classic engraving. Whether or not it's LDN's I don't know, but I have seen where he has used the edge of a dot punch to make the three or four small lines below an element, and I believe his animal heads were more refined." From Sam's post above.
The revolver was made in 1852 so if it were his work he would have been a very young man and he might not have reached his peak. The serial numbers are dotted by the way.
Sorry folks but this is not the work of Louis D. Nimschke. There are many differences between the engraving on this pistol and LDN's work.
Most likely this is the work of Georg H. Sterzing who was trained in and emigrated from Germany in his 50s in 1854. He worked for Colt from approximately 1858 until 1871. For a long time, collectors confused Sterzing's work with that of his contemporary, Gustave Young, They worked in very similar styles because their training in Germany was very similar.
A common theme of Sterzing was the use of grotesque masks or caricatures within his scrollwork. In Germany, at that time, these were known as "komische kopfe."
LDN did sometimes use the edge of a circle punch to create the accent marks along the stem of the scroll. Other times he just nicked with his graver in diminishing size. In this case, and usually, Sterzing was using a graver to nick the accent marks.
Having said all that, further study and research, than I care to devote here, would be required to positively differentiate this work from that of Gustave Young.