Colt Archieve Prices
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  1. #21
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    It was also a long, slow and expensive effort to digitize all the existing records (many 100+ years old in handwritten ledgers) plus any ongoing efforts at future records. Those costs that were incurred have to be recovered somehow...and passing them on within the price structure to the consumer is really what they have to do.
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    OK, just kidding...maybe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnidelyWhiplash View Post
    It was also a long, slow and expensive effort to digitize all the existing records (many 100+ years old in handwritten ledgers) plus any ongoing efforts at future records. Those costs that were incurred have to be recovered somehow...and passing them on within the price structure to the consumer is really what they have to do.
    That's a good point, nobody works for free. And while NOW it's easy to click and call up, I know that scanning and lifting those old books around is slow and difficult.

    I went looking for the old post where the Archivist said that all the SAA and many of the others are now scanned. But can't find it anymore. It was 3-5 years ago. I'd asked if they were digitized, and if not, why. Buildings burn, companies are bought out, or go bankrupt. With technology today, there is no reason for paper archives to be at risk. The answer was that yes, they're digitized, and their back log was due to the sheer numbers of Letter requests. It was in the thousands if he quoted right. So at $100 per letter, it's a good business model and worth digitizing.
    Last edited by azshot; 11-13-2019 at 02:31 PM.

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  5. #24
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    I would think that the air where those old ledgers were kept all those years was probably not too healthy as well. It wouldn't be surprising if some areas required wearing some kind of filtered mask.
    Socialism is like a Jedi Mind Trick...it only works on the weak minded. SnidelyWhiplash
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  6. #25
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    Nah, libraries around the world are full of old books.

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    You stated the records were sold by Colt. So who bought the records? Are they now in non Colt hands and available to be bought and sold by the highest bidder in the future like any commodity? And yes, many records are computerized, have been for many years, and the information can be obtained in a matter of seconds.
    I hope Paul jumps in at some point to offer a more accurate assessment that I can. I don't think it was so much a sale as it was putting the historical records into a separate legal entity to protect them. Your concerns seem to be predicated on the assumption that the managers and owners of the manufacturing entity will feel a strong duty to protect the historical records; more so than those managing Colt Archives, LLC. I would argue just the opposite. Colt the manufacturing company has changed ownership and management teams repeatedly over the decades and has generally proven inept in my opinion. There wouldn't be much room for Kimber or Springfield Armory or dozens of others if Colt knew how to meet customer expectations. The situation is similar (although not completely parallel) to Smith & Wesson records.

    Roy Jinks was a very long tenured S&W employee in many capacities, including that of "factory" historian. However, the managers of the manufacturing operation saw the letter services provided as a nuisance. Roy's status changed to that of a contractor on one year agreements for several years. A group of collectors, led by Ray Cheely, formed a new non-profit organization, The S&W Historical Foundation, raised money and started digitizing the factory records. Roy is paid by this Foundation, not Smith & Wesson, to provide archival services. There is no such thing as a "factory" letter from Colt or S&W any more. I don't collect other brands but Ruger letters are widely seen as a joke and my understanding is that the other manufacturers offer no archive services at all.

    In short, as collectors we are much better off with the current situation than if the manufacturing folks--"Colt hands" in your post--were still in charge of the records.

  8. #27
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    "I don't think it was so much a sale as it was putting the historical records into a separate legal entity to protect them" One person simply stated the records were sold. That is what I was trying to clarify. Did a person or persons buy the records, and does Colt no longer manage them. The archives moved, and their site does not use the Colt logo. If the records can be bought and sold by private parties when there is a profit to be made, the credibility of the records in the future could be compromised. Maybe not, but once the records are sold to the highest bidder anything could happen. But if it was not really a sale, that may not be an issue. That's why I was inquiring about the identity of the current owner.

    "other manufacturers offer no archive services at all". Winchester offers factory letters through the Cody Firearms Museum, a very credible source. And I believe those records will never be sold. If the Colt records were actually sold, knowing the buyer would be of interest to collectors. I would just like to know where my Colt letters are coming from, from an ownership perspective. It is all part of knowing Colt history. In the past Colt Historians were very long time Colt employees reassigned at the end of their Colt careers to be historians. I knew Marty Huber very well, and he would tell me stories of the old days at Colt from his vast experience at the factory. Who knows where future "historians", or clerks, will come from. Factory letters are basically records information access, and may simply be done by clerical personnel in the future.

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    John,
    As I understand it the information contained in a letter comes directly from the ledgers. There is no embellishment, editorializing or anecdotal recollections from years at the factory, it's just the facts ma'am.

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    As far as future compromise -MAYBE so . PRESENTLY THOUGH ,Beverly Jean is running the show in Hartford or a subsectionof.
    i strongly believe the letterhead, info, stamp and envelope will still be exactly the same . Beverly has been doing this for at least five years , probably ten or 15 . Everything is still the same , from the same people - with a price increase .

    It’s not like John Doe from Osh Kosh , hit the lotto and purchased Colt Archives ( with name ) . THE SOURCE and THE RECORDS - with the same rapport is the same it has been for decades .

    i think the two main important reasons are for BSTS , or special stock factory options - to be verified.
    Two higher level important letters would be the factory engraved, or unique barrel length variation.

    i will add military or LE issue or use , special destinations, or special individuals.
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    COLT TO THE CORE

  11. #30
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    "Colt" is currently a complex set of interlocking legal entities. Scanning their SEC filings I see no fewer than 7 entities, not counting Colt Archive Properties, LLC. There are agreements between these entities involving manufacturing, leasing properties, management services, financial support, etc. It appears that the entity named Colt's Manufacturing is legally obligated to provide employees (Beverly, Paul, et al) to manage the archives which are owned by another entity that I think is primarily controlled by Don Zilkha and John Rigas. Any asset of any corporation can be bought and sold. The point about Winchester letters coming from the Cody Museum reinforces my point that gun manufacturing historical records are invariably better protected when taken away from the manufacturing entity. Frankly, I think the whole issue is overblown. The option price on Colt Archive Properties was only $5M. A smart play would be for collectors to get together and buy the records, house them away from "Colt" and hire Beverly and Paul to continue to be in charge.
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