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I have a 2nd. gen. python (1967) and would like to find an authentic box for this fine revolver. One of the problems that I have is that I wouldn't know one if I saw it. Does anyone have some photos of a 2nd. gen. box including the end flap. Not looking for a repo.

Tom
 

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A 1967 Python would probably have been shipped in a two piece box with lift off lid, with woodgrain outside and dark green inside. The Colt logos would be printed in the outside top, inside top and inside bottom in gold. The label would be on one end of the box and the serial number would have been written on the outside bottom (not on the label) in black marker. (The box shown in the photos below is for a Frontier Scout, but is visually the same as the box described, just a different size.)
The reason I say "probably" is that sometime in the late 1960's Colt switched from the above described box to another two piece box with wood grain top. The bottom of this box was made of folded cardboard and was black and red. Again, the label would be on one end of the top and the serial number would have been written on the outside bottom, this time in white marker. There are many reproductions of this box being offered for sale on eBay and GunBroker these days. This type of box was used from sometime in the late 1960's until about 1973-74. I don't have a photo of this type of box.
The styrofoam boxes with woodgrain paper shells were introduced in about 1973-74. The first of these boxes used tan styrofoam but this changed in 1975 to white. Labels were gold foil and the serial number (along with other information) was written or printed directly on the labels.

- - - Buckspen

View attachment 22869 View attachment 22870
 

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I wish there was a sticky somewhere in this forum for Correct Colts Boxes. We have all been fooled.

Attached is a picture of a correct 1967 Colts box and a fake 1969 Box. The difference is the use of dots (dot matrix) vs. a solid looking gold for the colts logo. The only green inside box that I have that is correct is from a 1960 revolver.

Again, would it be possible to start a sticky somewhere for pictures of real and fake boxes so we can all learn and not be taken in?
 

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I have posted my observations about box styles before. It is still a work in progress, but here is what I have so far on boxes not older than the "black box" era. If anyone sees any errors in what I write, please point them out.

Pre-War boxes, probably from the early 1900s (not sure when picture boxes ended) were black (or dark maroon and all subject to fading to different hues) and had glued-on end labels listing the model, chambering, barrel length, finish and stock material. They had hinged lids. The interiors were light buff to coarser, darker buff in later years. Guns with special features, like engraving or special sights, had an extra sticker identifying the feature. The end labels were blue (two shades depending on vintage, with earlier being a lighter shade of blue, almost a royal blue, and later having a darker, almost navy blue) with white lettering. Nickel guns usually had a white end label. Serial numbers were written on the bottom, usually in lead pencil but sometimes in grease pencil. These black boxes were used briefly Post-War.

Beginning in about 1948, the next style of box for guns without adjustable sights was a dark-brown, pebble-grain, hinged-lid box with a dull gold end label with green lettering (changed to black near the end of the run for this style), identifying the model, chambering and barrel length. The interior is buff. Stickers identifying special features and nickel finish were glued on the end of the lid. Serial numbers were usually written on the bottom in orange (probably red) grease pencil. I think this style was in general use up until 1950-1951, but I have seen later guns with that style of box.

Beginning in about 1948 for all guns with adjustable sights and in about 1952 for all other guns, the switch was made to the finest box ever used by Colt, the medium-brown, leather-grain, hinged-lid box with the green interior. The end labels are dull gold with black lettering identifying the model, chambering, finish and barrel length. Stickers identifying special features and nickel finish were glued on the end of the lid. I have never seen one of these boxes with an original serial number on them anywhere. I think this style was in general use up until 1954-1955. Very early Pythons were shipped in this style of box.

Next came the telescoping lid, wood grain box with the yellow end label with black lettering. Label logos and the like varied during the time this style was in use. The label identified the model, chambering and barrel length. The interior is dark green. Stickers identifying special features and nickel finish were glued on the end of the lid. Serial numbers are written on the bottom in black marker or grease pencil. The earlier ones had gold Colt logos on the inside and outside. Sometime during the early 1960's the inside logos were eliminated. This style of box was in use into the mid-1960s.

Next came another version of the wood grain telescoping-lid box, but the wood grain was darker and had a bit of texture to it than the earlier wood grain box. The end label is yellow with black lettering identifying the model, chambering and barrel length. The interior is black, as is the entire lower portion. Serial numbers were usually written on the bottom in white grease pencil. I think this style was used until the later 1960s.

Next was a box that looks much the same from the outside in that it has the textured wood grain lid and black bottom, but the serial numbers are written in white marker. The end label is yellow and black, but the model is printed in a black band at the top of the label in yellow, while the chambering, barrel length and finish are printed in black on a yellow background. The surprise is that the inside of the bottom is mostly red with the entire bottom formed out of one piece of corrugated paper. I think this style was used into the early 1970s.

Next came the wood grain box with the dirty yellow inside and instructions written inside. The end labels are dirty yellow, with black lettering. The only box I have of this style is for a .25 Automatic, so it may not be representative. It has the model, chambering and a TYPED (!) serial number on the end label. I believe it was used until about 1972-1973, when the first wood grain sleeve boxes with Styrofoam interiors came into use.

The first Styrofoam inserts were tan, with the change to white coming about a year or so later. The color of the wood grain exterior sleeve also changed a time or two. The first ones had a pinkish cast. The UAW logo was added at some point. The end labels on these boxes changed several times. The first ones were foil with the model pre-printed on the label and the other variable information being written in brown marker (looks like a Sharpie to me). Probably in the late 1970s, the computer-printed, bar-coded tan end labels began to appear on the wood grain sleeve Styro boxes. Sometime later the box color changed to maroon, with special 150-year boxes appearing in 1986 for one year. Sometime after that, the "newsprint" sleeves for the blue plastic cases appeared. I am not very sure about this era.

There are some exceptions to these general observations. One is the “Trophy” boxes used on National Match pistols beginning with their introduction in 1957. The boxes had a picture of a “Gold Cup” on the box, and the boxes were gray with red accents.


The boxes for Single Action Army revolvers were a hinged-lid black box when reintroduced in 1956 and changed to the “Stagecoach” street scene style in the late 1960s. That box was replaced with a tan box that I am at a loss to describe without seeing one in front of me. Scouts were packed in the same style of tan box, as were early Peacemaker and New Frontier .22 revolvers before the Styrofoam insert boxes came into use. Spanish Juniors were packed in red boxes that varied in size and insert style until production was stopped by the 1968 Gun Control Act.

I know from having sent Colts back to the factory in the 1980s that they usually were returned in a Styro box with a totally blank end flap with no end label. Later return boxes had a blank white area on the end flap. I have seen boxes where someone has "completed" the end label in marker, but I do not believe any ever were done that way at the factory. (I have seen a Series 80 Conversion Unit with a hand-written label the owner swore was original. Could be a few.)

At this point, I am out of knowledge (or lack thereof) about boxes. Anyone who can add or correct anything, please do.
 

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I am in the same situation and since any box I buy , even an original, would not be serial numbered to the gun I decided to have a custom box made. For my Python you might still be able to see Gunbroker auction 284361198 which Is a Colt custom case in light blue. It looks beautiful and this seller has more.
 

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I have posted my observations about box styles before. It is still a work in progress, but here is what I have so far on boxes not older than the "black box" era. If anyone sees any errors in what I write, please point them out.
thanks for taking the time to type all this out.
i saved all of it for future reference. :)
 

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Judge, I question Colt's use of the Leather grained box for very early (2 and 3) digit Pythons. I would very much like to see a box like that with a Python end label so that we would know for sure. I always question this box's use when it comes up in discussion only because that box is never pictured and in my research I can find no proof. Personally I hope it is a correct box for a Python! I have an unlabeled Leatherette box that my 3-digit will fit in nicely!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you Buckspen and Judge for sharing your knowledge with us. I guess this was the easy part, now I have to actually find one of thesen boxes. If I do happen to find one, I hope I don't have to sell more then one or two firearms to pay for it.
I also will save this info to maybe help someone else down the road.
 

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Judge, I question Colt's use of the Leather grained box for very early (2 and 3) digit Pythons. I would very much like to see a box like that with a Python end label so that we would know for sure. I always question this box's use when it comes up in discussion only because that box is never pictured and in my research I can find no proof. Personally I hope it is a correct box for a Python! I have an unlabeled Leatherette box that my 3-digit will fit in nicely!
wbray1966 posted a picture of his 2XX Python in just such a box. I just went back and searched for the thread. When I found it, the pictures are no longer visible. (I assume I found it, but since the pictures are gone, perhaps I did not.) Perhaps wbray1966 would be willing to re-post the very-clear pictures of the box.
 

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Thank you JudgeColt for your observations about box styles. If you add pictures to go along with this, you can publish a book on the subject. :)
 

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The shame of the whole box thing is that if the FBG hadn't inundated the market with repops and only originals were available, think about how much easier the collector's lives would be ;) My random thought for the day. Yeah I know...somebody else would have offered repops and I reckon they do, just not as many?
 

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Ok, I have a 68 Python with the box that has the black and red bottom. Would that be correct?? It does have the serial# on the bottom in a silver/white color marker or grease pen.
 

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Python boxes 001.jpg Python boxes 002.jpg Python boxes 004.jpg Judge, I too remember that Post with the Python next to a Leatherette box, but as I recall there was no end label showing at all. Something like I did here with a couple of early .357 boxes. Gives the hint but not really definitive. I to still want it to be the correct box, it is the best Colt box ever made.
 

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The wbray 1966 early Python box picture DID show the end label very clearly, which is exactly like the label found on the wood-grain telescoping box with the green interior.
 

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Ok, I have a 68 Python with the box that has the black and red bottom. Would that be correct?? It does have the serial# on the bottom in a silver/white color marker or grease pen.
I believe that box style, which I try to describe in the seventh paragraph of my narrative, is correct for your Python.
 

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I believe that box style, which I try to describe in the seventh paragraph of my narrative, is correct for your Python.
Thanks Judge and thank you for the detailed accounting of the progression of the boxes!
 

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I found the wbray1966 early Python box picture! It is NOT gone after all. Here is the link:

http://www.coltforum.com/forums/pho...n-showroom-python-pictures-14.html#post177290

Assuming the box in the wbray1966 picture for Python 2XX is genuine and not made up by attaching a Python label to an Officers Model Match or "357" box of the same style, this should prove that early Pythons DID ship in the medium brown leatherette hinged-lid box with the later yellow end label. The first notice I ever had that early Pythons shipped in the hinged-lid medium brown leatherette boxes was made by Buckspen on these boards several years ago. I know Buckspen is very well-schooled in observing Colt variations, so I take his recollection of seeing such a box as further proof that such a box is legitimate.

Based on the wbray1966 pictures and Buckspen's recollections, I have become convinced that such a box is legitimate for very early Pythons and have acquired one for my 1XX Python that came from the same geographical area where my Python was originally sent. I am indulging in the fantasy that the box I have acquired is my Python's original box. (It is my fantasy and I'll indulge it if I want! Unfortunately, most everything was in the box except the target, which would have been absolute proof.) Perhaps wbray1966 would relate how he acquired his Python 2XX and any history he has about the gun, in hopes that such information would be further support the originality of these boxes.
 

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I got delayed when composing the above post and BigRix found the picture using Google before I posted. (The time stamps do not work on my office computer so I do not know when BigRix posted.)

I wonder if wbray1966 is flattered or offended that his picture has made it into the Google data base?
 
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