View Full Version : Evaluating Condition of 1st Generation SAA

May 4, 2002, 03:25 PM
I recently inherited a 1st Generation Colt SAA (serial no. 19xxx). I've done enough research in the past week to recognize that I don't know anything about these pistols insofar as determining its "blue book" condition (10%, 20%, 30% etc.)

The cylinder has a fair amount of "play" or "slack", and there is a fair amount of rust/pitting on the finish. But I don't know how much of this is to be expected in a handgun made in 1875.

Any help would be appreciated.


May 6, 2002, 09:31 PM
A Colt SAA made in 1875 will have been USED, so some pitting and rust would be expected. Although the Colt is the Model "P" of 1873, few were available to civilians until 1875 or so. I would expect a very early model to have little original finish, and probably to have at least some mechanical wear.

To determine percent condition, you look at the TOTAL gun and take a guess as to how large a percentage of original finish is left.
The NRA standard is the commonly agreed upon measure.

Since an early Colt SAA has the potential to have a high collector's interest, and monetary value, you might want to take this to an expert for an appraisal. DO NOT sell it without being sure of it's value. Even a well worn early SAA can have a surprisingly high value, and there are armys of "sharpies" who will gladly give you several hundred dollars for a gun worth thousands.

Also DO NOT attempt to "restore" it. Applying preservative lube is Ok, but don't attempt to remove any corrosion or refinish the grips, until an expert has seen it. There have been a number of cases of somebody "cleaning up" an old gun, only to find they "cleaned away" hundreds or even thousands of dollars in value.

My Standard Catalog of Gun Values is several years old, but a 1873-1877 model SAA runs from $3000.00 in POOR condition, to $8000.00 in Very Good condition.