1851 Navy letter...anybody have one?
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    1851 Navy letter...anybody have one?

    I see Colt can letter some 1st gen 1851 Navy's. I have one in the range that can letter but at $300!! Yikes!!! Are these letters like the SAA letters that rarely have useful historical info? Or at this time period do the letters show WHO the gun was sold to? Anybody have a letter they would like to post?
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    Colt sold to dealers/jobbers, who commonly sold to gun shops, hardware stores and other retailers - with the number of available purchase points, there was little need to order directly.

    Military orders went to a Officer, who signed for the delivery - then on to a gaining unit - Colt's interest stopped at the shipping dock with that signature.
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    I lettered my 1849 pocket model, as it fell in the range they still had letters for. Nothing earth shattering, although it at least confirmed it was still the factory 6" barrel 6 shot version as original. It went to a dealer in NY if I recall correctly.
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    I lettered an 1861 Navy which turned out to be one of the 1861 Navy's shipped to the Navy.

    Jim
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    Okay, so for $300 its probably not worth it then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dandak View Post
    Okay, so for $300 its probably not worth it then.
    I agree with that statement. I am aware that the records require some deciphering in original ledger books, but that price is stratospheric in my opinion.

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    Jpn
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    What is the thinking of the forum as to whether a factory letter adds to the price of the gun and, if so, how much? Is a letter likely to add $300?

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    If shipped to a unique or interesting location or has historical value, then I'd say so. Otherwise, not worth it probably.
    A shame that these letters are so expensive. Half the price would have been more appealing to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jpn View Post
    What is the thinking of the forum as to whether a factory letter adds to the price of the gun and, if so, how much? Is a letter likely to add $300?
    Most people dont care about them. I sold a lettered Winchester 1873 with the letter that documented the sights were special ordered. The buyer was uninterested when I gave him the letter. Saw the gun on a table at a gun show a few years later, different dealer. No letter with it. When I sell old Winchesters and Colts with letters the result is always the same.....they just dont care. I guess that is good as they are buying the gun and not the letter but still....
    Letters can be faked. If I bought a very high end gun with a letter I would reorder the letter to verify it, and if low end it would not really add to the price I would pay.

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    Jpn
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    I got a factory letter on an engraved ‘49 London Pocket and, as I recall, they charged a premium ($50, I think) because it was engraved. I thought it was justified since it documented that it was a factory job. Still pretty pricey, though.


 
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