If you look around there are deals to be had. Although with Colts you kind of have to define "deal". I picked up this Python a year and a half ago for $850. Not exactly cheap, but a bargain for a 1964 production gun in 97% condition.
I was thinking in terms of $350-400 when I recomended the Official Police 38 earlier, and it's still a good choice, but HP-06 is right about this. A lot of people get scared off the idea of buying a Python by the $1500-2000.00 price tags on the boxed, perfect guns you see around, but there are still good "deals" to be had on Pythons.
I found this one just a few months ago, October I think, maybe September last year for $800.00. Also made in 1964, it's got some holster wear, and grips are worn from use, but it still locks up and shoots just fine.
So don't rule out a Python off the top. You might have to look hard for one in that price range, and most importantly I think is you have to be ready to strike as soon as you see one. If you don't, someone else will.