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Old July 6, 2004, 10:43 PM   #1
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Join Date: July 6, 2004
Posts: 2
New here, need help indentifying Colt SAA.....

The gun is in decent shape, nickle plated, no SA suffix or prefix. It has stag grips and is chambered in 38 special. patent #'s are on the side of the frame and read as follows:

PAT SEPT.19.1871
JULY2.72 JAN.19.75

No horse on the side of the gun.
It is stamped on the left side:
Colt Single Action Army 38 Special
Right side:
Colts mfg. CO. Hartford CT.USA
Serial number is stamped in three places that I can see, in front of the trigger guard, then again in front of that on the frame and on the toe of the butt.
I'm guessing this may be a first gen gun but I'm getting too confused over all the differences I read up on. Any help would be appreciated. I'm looking for approx age and value. It was left to my wifes son by her father and it's been around for awhile.
Again, thanks for any info you can provide.

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Old July 7, 2004, 12:43 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 16,317
It is hard to pinpoint an age by things like placement of markings.
Blue Book says all but the frame serial number were concealed after 1919. No doubt you could look up when the .38 Special was introduced.
But why bother? Colt first generation SAA serial numbers are consecutive from No 1 in 1873 to 357859 "pre-war/post-war" without prefix or suffix.

What's yours?
What percentage of nickel plate remaining?

I don't know what a factory letter costs, but it would probably be worth it for a first generation gun in good condition. Especially if it shows factory nickel. Factory stags? Wow.
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Old July 7, 2004, 03:16 AM   #3
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Join Date: July 6, 2004
Posts: 2
Thanks for the reply....the number starts around 294000, already put it away for the night so I can't be real acurate on the last 3 digits. Percentage? 97% of the gun still shines. Couple spots that it flaked off, 1 around the hammer, and a rough spot on the cylinder. Whats a factory letter?
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Old July 7, 2004, 12:11 PM   #4
Paul B.
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Join Date: March 28, 1999
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 3,396
You can get a factory letter from Colt that will tell you when the gun was shipped from the factory, to whom it was shipped. whether it was originally a blued gun or nickel. usually they don't say what grips the gun had, at least on the ones I've seen. I don't know the cost of the letter today, but the last I heard it was about $150. However, the letter will add at least that much or more to the value of the gun. It's a worthwhile investment in my opinion. My first generation Colt is a real beater in .45 LC, but the letter brings the value up quite a bit. I know I can get a lot more than I paid for it. In my case, the letter came with the gun.
Paul B.
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