To letter or not to letter...that is the question.... Odds game.
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Thread: To letter or not to letter...that is the question.... Odds game.

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    To letter or not to letter...that is the question.... Odds game.

    Have an 1851 Navy mfg in 1861, in the serial range that Colt can letter. The gun is kind of a beater....finish gone and some dings, but numbers match. It works and times ok. Some replaced screws and the wedge. Grips worn. A repair here and there. In Ohio I would expect this to bring 750$ or so at a gun show. Now, I have lettered both 1st gen SAAs Ive owned, as well as several 1877s. For $100 I figure its worth the chance (nothing interesting in the letters so far). But I wonder...I am sure the historian at Colt can answer this but I wonder how many SAAs or other guns from the 1800s she letters that actually ship somewhere interesting? Maybe 1 out of every 1000? One out of 5000? Better odds than playing the lottery no doubt but still I'd love to know. By interesting I dont mean "It was shipped on my birthday" or "It was shipped to my hometown". I mean somewhere historically interesting or to some historical figure. The reason I ask is that it is $300 to letter this Navy. Wow! Really? The gun is only worth $750. What are the odds it was shipped to...Ft Sumter, or a Fort on the Kansas prairie, or any military post, or a mining company, or some General or Lt or someone like that? I know it wasnt part of a military contract but that didnt stop individual soldiers from obtaining them. Just wondering if I should risk $300. Also, are the 1851 Navy letters like the SAA letters? Ship to and number of guns in shipment listed? Ive never seen a letter from an 1851 Navy.
    Spudee and ei8ht like this.

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    I could try the SRS books to see if US. Need full serial.
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    "I wonder how many SAAs or other guns from the 1800s she letters that actually ship somewhere interesting?"

    Define "somewhere interesting". To someone from Chickenville, KS, a gun shipped to a hardware store there is interesting. To some, a common US Military colt shipping location is not interesting. To someone whose ancestor was Lieutenant Gump, shipped to him would be interesting. To someone unrelated - not.

    To calculate the odds, simply divide the number of that model made, by the number of "interesting places and people". I'm kidding, but certainly military models will be shipped to a military location. Is that interesting? On the famous people chances, pretty slim. They only received 1 gun, but a base, arsenal, or receiving station received hundreds or thousands.
    Last edited by azshot; 02-06-2020 at 08:35 AM.
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    When did Colt stop shipping guns to the south. 1861 may have an interesting letter but for 300 it is a big gamble. Personally I think the prices for their letters are way out of line for the work provided. Colt is much higher then all of the other manufacturers that I know of.
    azshot, Chaparosa, Spudee and 1 others like this.
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    Where it shipped doesn't necessarily equate to where it ended up. I have a Smith and Wesson M&P that lettered as shipped to a store in Salt Lake City, Utah, but ended up in the strong room of the Union Pacific RR in Kansas City, Missouri.

    I also had, but sold, an Army Special that lettered shipped to Baldwin Hardware in New Orleans. It was marked, as noted in the letter, "N.O.P.D. No. 53" on the butt.
    Last edited by up196; 02-06-2020 at 09:24 AM.
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    Just sent for my first letter, on a 1942 Official Police....worth it? probably not ,but, I'm hoping it went to a cool military install and not to Buckyfuddle hardware. Who knows? shot in the dark!
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    Quote Originally Posted by azshot View Post
    "I wonder how many SAAs or other guns from the 1800s she letters that actually ship somewhere interesting?"

    Define "somewhere interesting". To someone from Chickenville, KS, a gun shipped to a hardware store there is interesting. To some, a common US Military colt shipping location is not interesting. To someone whose ancestor was Lieutenant Gump, shipped to him would be interesting. To someone unrelated - not.
    I did define it. Quote from my original post:
    "By interesting I dont mean "It was shipped on my birthday" or "It was shipped to my hometown". I mean somewhere historically interesting or to some historical figure. "
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    "I mean somewhere historically interesting or to some historical figure."

    OK, again, the first depends on the person, like my reply says, some don't find a shipped to "Gov Arsenal, Washington DC" that interesting, when ALL military procurement guns went somewhere like that. But it could have gone to the Navy, or even to a place in the South, early on. Interesting. The second chance that it went to a "historical figure" is to be determined. But most didn't ship to a person, they shipped to a place.
    Last edited by azshot; 02-06-2020 at 12:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BABYSITR View Post
    Just sent for my first letter, on a 1942 Official Police....worth it? probably not ,but, I'm hoping it went to a cool military install and not to Buckyfuddle hardware. Who knows? shot in the dark!
    If it comes back to something other than the military, a police department or commonly known sporting goods company, be sure to research the location a bit more on your end. Mine came back to a rubber supply company, which through research, ended up being a front company name for guns shipped as site security weapons for the atomic weapons program. Pretty cool! Share the info when you get it-
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  11. #10
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    To me, $300 is crazy stupid for a letter! Can buy a lot of other gun-related stuff with that much money.
    gunner5 likes this.


 
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