I picked up a Colt .357 Magnum today from LGS. The serial number is three digits which puts it in the first year of production for the gun, 1954. From research I've done on the web, only about 15,000 of this model were produced before they were discontinued in 1961. They were Colt's top of the line .357 magnum until the Python came along. They had the same action and were hand tuned. The finish was top notch, though not as nice as the Pythons. Some call it the "pre-Python."
My model below has some wear at the muzzle and a little on the rear of the trigger. The stock is in good condition, just a bit discoloring on the other side. It has a silky smooth action. I consider this gun to be an occasional shooter, though it won't see a holster.
Sorry for the bad cell phone picture. Perhaps some better ones later: