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  1. #1
    Senior Member Karl is on a distinguished road

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    Colt Refinishing

    Colt offers a refinishing service for any Colt firearm. Typically, a refinishing an old, collectible, firearm is a real no-no in terms of hurting it's value.... but if you buy classic firearm that had work done to it at the factory, it doesn't hurt the value. So does having Colt refinish a classic revolver really hut the value?

    I'm sure the answer is yes.... I have an old 1917 in 45acp that I'm going to get refinished. When I got it, it had some serious pitting and someone "painted" it black. From where I'm standing, the damage is already done... if not by the pitting, by the paint. I don't know if I'll have Colt reblue it or if I'll send it off to Ford's.
    "God created man, Sam Colt made him equal."

  2. #2
    Senior Member sixgunshorty35717 is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    Colt offers a refinishing service for any Colt firearm. Typically, a refinishing an old, collectible, firearm is a real no-no in terms of hurting it's value.... but if you buy classic firearm that had work done to it at the factory, it doesn't hurt the value. So does having Colt refinish a classic revolver really hut the value?

    I'm sure the answer is yes.... I have an old 1917 in 45acp that I'm going to get refinished. When I got it, it had some serious pitting and someone "painted" it black. From where I'm standing, the damage is already done... if not by the pitting, by the paint. I don't know if I'll have Colt reblue it or if I'll send it off to Ford's.
    If you like the gun, want to shoot it and don't plan on selling it anytime soon, by all means have it refinished.
    Factory refinish is always preferable over aftermarket.
    Bear in mind that Colt outsources their nickel plating, but all prep and polishing and blueing and case hardening is done at the Factory.Colt used to mark the frame on a factory refinished gun but i am not sure they do that any longer, which was a nice touch and provides collector provenance to the fact that the gun was factory Refinished. Even a Colt Archival Letter won't necessarily(in fact, rarely if ever do) state if a gun was refinished. On a gun such as you described, refinishing will not materially affect the value.
    All depends on the gun
    An 1875 Peacemaker, as an example, in original, functioning,unmessed with condition, should never see a refinisher(or a bath!), but that's a whole different realm of gun collecting when you get into true antiques and historic arms.
    Personally, I think that restoring classic, older arms(not speaking of true collectibles like antique SAA's,etc) is a very good thing as it helps keep more specimens of a particular model functioning and intact and helps preserve our firearms history by keeping classic guns out of the trash bin!

  3. #3
    Senior Member gunpoor is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by sixgunshorty35717 View Post
    An 1875 Peacemaker, as an example, in original, functioning,unmessed with condition, should never see a refinisher(or a bath!), but that's a whole different realm of gun collecting when you get into true antiques and historic arms.
    Personally, I think that restoring classic, older arms(not speaking of true collectibles like antique SAA's,etc) is a very good thing as it helps keep more specimens of a particular model functioning and intact and helps preserve our firearms history by keeping classic guns out of the trash bin!
    With all due respect to Sixgun I feel to a certain degree it is the same thing. The reason way an original, all be it rough, 125+ year old Peacemaker is worth so much today is not because there wasn't many made it's because there aren't that many around in that condition anymore. A lot of them got refurbished over that period making the original pieces rarer. One thing some folks don't seem to grasp, and there's no way around it really, is you can always refinish a firearm and once you do it's simply a refinish to most collectors. And as time goes on there are more and more refinished pieces and fewer and fewer original pieces. Most collectors will not deal in re-finished arms, that's just how it is. There are newer models like the Python or Diamondback which today draw substantial prices (original finish or not) because they are still popular but as time goes on patterns show re-finished pieces will be less likely to appreciate in collector value. You can see the same trend with New Services and 1903 Pocket hammers to some degree to this day on auction sights. Original pieces with honest wear or even harsh/serious wear are commanding the same price or better than refinished pieces. To me I’ve never truly understood the logic of refinishing. Most people who buy a piece to refinish it got it at a good price and plan to use it. So why spend the money (most of the time on a poorly executed refinish) to have a used/worn refinished piece 5-10 years down the road rather than just leave the piece original and having a used/worn original finished piece?

    Sorry if I got off topic, but from what I’ve seen the “Colt Refinishes” seem to hold there value better than other “corner gun shop refinishes” for both quality and authenticity reasons on certain period firearms. However, pre-war and even 1970 and earlier Colts had different bluing processes/coloring and polishing methods so the finish cannot be easily (or cheaply) recreated. Also, the last I heard the New Service was one of the models Colt will not work on do to its age and parts availability.
    Last edited by gunpoor; 12-06-2009 at 09:24 AM.
    Colt Revolvers: Elegant Weapons For A More Civilized Age

  4. #4
    Senior Member sixgunshorty35717 is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunpoor View Post
    With all due respect to Sixgun I feel to a certain degree it is the same thing. The reason way an original, all be it rough, 125+ year old Peacemaker is worth so much today is not because there wasn't many made it's because there aren't that many around in that condition anymore. A lot of them got refurbished over that period making the original pieces rarer. One thing some folks don't seem to grasp, and there's no way around it really, is you can always refinish a firearm and once you do it's simply a refinish to most collectors. And as time goes on there are more and more refinished pieces and fewer and fewer original pieces. Most collectors will not deal in re-finished arms, that's just how it is. There are newer models like the Python or Diamondback which today draw substantial prices (original finish or not) because they are still popular but as time goes on patterns show re-finished pieces will be less likely to appreciate in collector value. You can see the same trend with New Services and 1903 Pocket hammers to some degree to this day on auction sights. Original pieces with honest wear or even harsh/serious wear are commanding the same price or better than refinished pieces. To me I’ve never truly understood the logic of refinishing. Most people who buy a piece to refinish it got it at a good price and plan to use it. So why spend the money (most of the time on a poorly executed refinish) to have a used/worn refinished piece 5-10 years down the road rather than just leave the piece original and having a used/worn original finished piece?

    Sorry if I got off topic, but from what I’ve seen the “Colt Refinishes” seem to hold there value better than other “corner gun shop refinishes” for both quality and authenticity reasons on certain period firearms. However, pre-war and even 1970 and earlier Colts had different bluing processes/coloring and polishing methods so the finish cannot be easily (or cheaply) recreated. Also, the last I heard the New Service was one of the models Colt will not work on do to its age and parts availability.
    I actually don't disagree with you in principle.
    But there are folks that don't care about resale,monetary value, or preserving the original condition and just want a prettier gun with no scratches or visible wear and don't want to buy a new one due to "it was grandpa's pistol"
    As a Colt collector and dealer,as a rule, i always attempt to buy the old gun and/or replace it with a new one, whenever a client wants to refinish a collectible Colt or S&W

  5. #5
    Senior Member mike hudson is on a distinguished road

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    the da colt revolvers are generally plentiful and cheap. i know they won't be in 100 years, but i'm content to let the guys of 100 years from now worry about that.

    some have them refinished because they don't like going to the range with something that looks like it was just pulled out of the junk heap. others want a .45 "fitz special" and have their new services all chopped up, sometimes at great expense, in order to have one. still others send their guns off for restoration, which is very expensive, because they want their ancient hogleg looking like it just came from the factory.

    like shorty, i wouldn't do it to a 19th century saa, and won't do it to the 1878 frontier da i do love dearly, though i've had the innerds on that brought up to spec (using all original parts).

    but to me the new army & navy's, army specials and new services you can find all over the place, rusty and pitted, often for substantially less than $500, seem to beg for something to be done with them.

    after doing the research to make sure you don't have blackjack pershing's gun, or pancho villa's, bringing them back to life should be limited only by the owner's imagination and the size of his wallet.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sixgunshorty35717 is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike hudson View Post
    the da colt revolvers are generally plentiful and cheap. i know they won't be in 100 years, but i'm content to let the guys of 100 years from now worry about that.

    some have them refinished because they don't like going to the range with something that looks like it was just pulled out of the junk heap. others want a .45 "fitz special" and have their new services all chopped up, sometimes at great expense, in order to have one. still others send their guns off for restoration, which is very expensive, because they want their ancient hogleg looking like it just came from the factory.

    like shorty, i wouldn't do it to a 19th century saa, and won't do it to the 1878 frontier da i do love dearly, though i've had the innerds on that brought up to spec (using all original parts).

    but to me the new army & navy's, army specials and new services you can find all over the place, rusty and pitted, often for substantially less than $500, seem to beg for something to be done with them.

    after doing the research to make sure you don't have blackjack pershing's gun, or pancho villa's, bringing them back to life should be limited only by the owner's imagination and the size of his wallet.
    Couldn't have said it better myself! I agree 100%
    Life is too short to shoot ugly guns!
    Well stated, Mike

  7. #7
    Senior Member gunpoor is on a distinguished road

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    Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. But, I’ve always gotten more of a kick out of going to the range and out shooting all the new and shiny brass flinger and plastic fantastics with an old New Service, or even Official Police which looks like I drug it behind my truck. It ticks a lot of them off when I say: “Imagine how good it fired when it was new”. I guess it’s just me, I like the character and the prospect of the long term collect ability over the short term “shiny factor”. But to each their own.
    Last edited by gunpoor; 12-06-2009 at 03:12 PM.
    Colt Revolvers: Elegant Weapons For A More Civilized Age

  8. #8
    Senior Member Karl is on a distinguished road

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    As a collector/shooter myself, I'm a big fan of "leave her with all her beauty marks in tact", but in the case of this particular piece, the pitting of the metal itself and the sloppy paint job some bubba did make it look just plain ugly. Short of finding a way to remove the paint and leave whatever original finish is still there, refinishing is the only option. The game plan here is to make her look as original as possible without spending more money on it than I could buy a better one for.

    Bubba's paint job needs to go.
    Last edited by Karl; 12-06-2009 at 06:52 PM.
    "God created man, Sam Colt made him equal."

  9. #9
    Supporting Member Colt75 is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    As a collector/shooter myself, I'm a big fan of "leave her with all her beauty marks in tact", but in the case of this particular piece, the corrosion of the metal itself and the sloppy paint job some bubba did make it look just plain ugly. Short of finding a way to remove the paint and leave whatever original finish is still there, refinishing is the only option. The game plan here is to make her look as original as possible without spending more money on it than I could buy a better one for.

    Bubba's paint job needs to go.
    You could try acetone. It would cut the paint and not harm any blueing that remains. Once the paint is off you can see where you are at in terms of original finish, etc. JMHO.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Karl is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colt75 View Post
    You could try acetone. It would cut the paint and not harm any blueing that remains. Once the paint is off you can see where you are at in terms of original finish, etc. JMHO.
    Thanks! Maybe I'll give it a shot.
    "God created man, Sam Colt made him equal."


 

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