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I went to a haunt today and they had this one in the case. I immediately loved it. Looked totally original to me after about 10 minutes of handling. Grips are Mother of Pearl and look like they have been there for 100 years. There was no caliber marking on the side of the barrel but it on the bottom it had a small "44". No rampant Colt also. I'm definately not an expert but I figured if it was factory then these two things might not be there. I put it on layaway and jumped on the phone and called Colt. While waiting on the return expedited service I got anxious and went back and picked it up. Just got the call from Colt. Left the factory April 12, 1884, 4 3/4", 44-40, rubber grips. The finish is listed as "Soft" for engraving purposes. Shipped to Hartley & Graham. Bore is 8 of 10. Nickel is turning yellow. Grips have a little chip but beautiful. What do you guys think? How bad does the "soft" finish affect the value over "factory" engraved. What do you guys value it at?
 

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Shipped "Soft" doesn't hurt it a bit in my view! Terrific find and those steerhead pearls are to die for! As you know "shipped soft" means it was shipped without any finish from Colt, to be engraved by H&G. I suppose that if instead it was done at Colt by their big name in house engraver that would help it some over what the value is now. Those steerheads are worth $1500 by themselves, even with the chip.
 

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That is really beautiful..!

Sure be fun to know where it went from H & G.

In 1884, there was still a lot of Wild West to head out into.
 

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Shipped soft does make it more valuable than a standard gun, but not nearly as valuable as if it had lettered as factory engraved. The difference, all things being equal, is an order of magnitude. At Tulsa, there were guns shipped soft to H&G for well under $10K. Factory engraved will be five figures all day long, going into six figures if the condition is high enough and/or depending on the engraver.
 

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I forgot to mention earlier that on the frame there are two names that have been etched there for a long time. One of the names is Jim Lucie I believe and the other I can't tell. Looks like Gordon Kathy but I can't tell for sure. Do any of you guys know how to find out who engraved this thing. I found one on GB that the seller says Nimschke engraved but letter doesn't say that. How would someone have any idea? BTW, the guy was asking $15k for it with no bids of course.
 

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I went to a haunt today and they had this one in the case. I immediately loved it. Looked totally original to me after about 10 minutes of handling. Grips are Mother of Pearl and look like they have been there for 100 years. There was no caliber marking on the side of the barrel but it on the bottom it had a small "44". No rampant Colt also. I'm definately not an expert but I figured if it was factory then these two things might not be there. I put it on layaway and jumped on the phone and called Colt. While waiting on the return expedited service I got anxious and went back and picked it up. Just got the call from Colt. Left the factory April 12, 1884, 4 3/4", 44-40, rubber grips. The finish is listed as "Soft" for engraving purposes. Shipped to Hartley & Graham. Bore is 8 of 10. Nickel is turning yellow. Grips have a little chip but beautiful. What do you guys think? How bad does the "soft" finish affect the value over "factory" engraved. What do you guys value it at?
Great gun! Shipped "soft" for engraving outside the factory is the next best thing! Unfortunately the "next best thing" is a far cry value wise, from "factory" engraved. Still a high 4 figure gun maybe 5 figures on a good day. Grips are outstanding but considerably later than 1884. I think the pearl wooly headed steer by Colt would have medallions. I believe these are aftermarket but from the fit were made for the gun after the turn of the century.
What a great find! Congrats!
 

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Believe it or not, this is my first SAA. As much as I love Colt's I can't seem to find a somewhat original gun. I took a gamble on this gun at 4k and may have to sell something else to keep it but I think it will be hard to EVER find another engraved gun this gorgeous and affordable. I am gonna do so serious research and see if I can find out more about the engraver. There has to be some characteristic marks for different engravers. I'm gonna try the sight Hopalong refered to.
 

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There's a Dr. James B. Lucie who authored a book about Randall knives. Saw his book on Amazon. I don't believe these names are the engravers. Much too crudely signed.
 

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I have repaired pearl grip jobs as bad as that, some undetectable, some almost. I'm not interested in doing the job but would coach a knowledgable grip person in how to do it. I have MOP to do repairs. Nothing for sale, just an accommodation.
 

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Believe it or not, this is my first SAA. As much as I love Colt's I can't seem to find a somewhat original gun. I took a gamble on this gun at 4k and may have to sell something else to keep it but I think it will be hard to EVER find another engraved gun this gorgeous and affordable. I am gonna do so serious research and see if I can find out more about the engraver. There has to be some characteristic marks for different engravers. I'm gonna try the sight Hopalong refered to.

At $4K, you did extremely well. Paid half price for it, basically.

Hartley & Graham had a number of master engravers who worked for them over the years. Usually, the guns shipped soft to them are unsigned and who their engravers were and who did each individual gun is lost to history. That is one reason the term "New York engraved" or "New York engraving" came about to describe the particular school of engraving done by them and other area engravers at the time. You may get lucky and get this gun attributed to someone particular, but don't get discouraged if you can't find anything else out about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the replies. What do you think is the best way to preserve the nickel? The more I look the cooler this thing gets!
 

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I am GLAD you got the the old Colt and at great price ! Let us know if you find out anything new !

Ronin
 

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Nice find! Are the sides of the front sight blackish looking as the pictures appear to show? Nearly looks like tarnished silver.

Those grips are certainly nice and you see H&G buying guns with standard rubber grips and then they used their own artisans to carve fancy grips. They could farm the work out cheaper than paying colt for fancy grips. I had a factory engraved single action shipped to H&G once and it lettered "shipped without stocks" and apparently H&G had put a very special carving of an entire steer on a set of pearls and that is what it was wearing when I found it in Texas back in the 90's.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The finish does look a little different than most nickels Ive seen. How would I find out? Jeweler? What would that do to the value? Whatever it was I imagine H&G did it. All of the finish including cylinder pin have the unpolished silver look. I have seen this style engraving on two others that claim to be nimschke. See what you guy come up with.
 
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