TIMES, and tastes change...
High quality (Python) and discontinued add up to collector status. Demand seems high, and prices ARE high, because the supply is limited, and growing every smaller as time passes.
According to some I know (who were there), Colt dropped virtually all their revolvers because of cost vs profits. Colt execs at that time were (according to reports) more concerned with playing golf and their military contracts. They believed they had a lock on making M16s. Turns out they were wrong.
I recall quite clearly in 73 (or maybe it was 74) looking at two revolvers at Moran's Sporting goods in Hudson Falls. One was a Colt Trooper Mk III for $188. The other was a S&W Highway Patrolman for $140. I asked my father what made the one woth more than the other. His answer was "only the letters C O L T". Also at this time, the S&W M29 had an MSRP of $283.50. And you could get one, today, for about $400. OR you could pay the MSRP and wait about 2 1/2 years for delivery.
Colts are nice guns, for the money. The Python is a very nice gun, for the money. N frame Smiths (personal favorite) are great guns, for the money.
Colt let their snakes crawl away, because they didn't think it was worth it to keep making them. Right or wrong, it was a done deal a long time ago.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.