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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About two years ago a friend sold me an early SAA that had been severely buffed/sanded and had been chrome plated. The gun was unique in that it had a '1' below each serial number and it had original one-piece ivory grips (with the SN on the backstrap portion of the ivory grip). I decided to try to salvage the gun due to its early SN and the '1' marking and the ivories. I asked for a factory letter, but was told that the serial number fell in the range where the records had been lost. I asked a friend (Bill Tayloe) who is an engraver to help with the project. Below is the end product. Please comment!








 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
LEO918: Both the engraver, Bill Tayloe, and I wish we had taken pictures of 'the before.' Hindsight is 20:20. Believe me, it was a 'basket case.'
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
don62: Excellent question! I wondered when some sharp person would notice that.
When I first obtained the gun, I called a longtime SAA collector, Bill Dascher, to ask him about that. I explained to him that the gun had one-piece ivories that were numbered to the gun in the backstrap grove (which is proper). He said that on the 1860 Army revolver, the guns that were designated to have ivory grips were generally marked with an "I" in the same way my gun is marked with a "1". He felt that the "1" was put there by a older worker who had worked on 1860 Armies probably because this worker was not issued letter dies. Bill gave me the name of a famous author/collector of Colt SAA's who lives in Yorba Linda (I believe it was Ron Graham), CA to call. I cannot recall him name, but I called him and he told me that he had seen one other early SAA with ivory grips that was marked the same way.
That is the information that I have, but at any rate this marking is extremely rare. Maybe some other Forum member has seen a SAA with this marking. I look forward to others' comments.
 

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While I admire the engraving, if I was going to that trouble and expense, I'd have had the markings restamped. Just mi dos centavos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
PonyLover: I have a 'like new' 7-1/2" barrel of that time period that I could have put on the gun, but I wanted to leave it with most of its original parts. All bbls. of that period were 7-1/2" (I believe), so this one was obviously cut and 'had a front sight installed.' I would have left it the way I found it , but the former owners had filed and buffed the receiver where the bbl and ejector rod attach so much that it was quite distorted. They also did much mis-shaping to the topstrap. After talking with my engraver friend he agreed to do the tedious reshaping and engraving if I would remove the chrome plating.
Since I have other engraved SAA's that are perfect, I wanted this one to look like an aged engraved SAA. He did a great job of doing that, I believe.
I did consider having the bbl address re-stamped like you suggested, but I did not. In retrospect, that would have been a good thing to have done. The patent date area on the frame is pretty much like one sees on these early guns. In my reading, I believe the experts feel that the original 'two-line roll die' became a one-line roll-die' very early on due to damage to the top line. I have a couple Cavalry SAA's of that same period that have the same 'one-line appearance'. Only a bit of bottom of the top line can be seen on those SAA's.

To roll die mark the bbl. I think it has to be removed from the frame. I believe that is how Dave Lanara explained it to me.
I also realized that since the receiver was thin where the bbl. is screwed into it, I might risk cracking the frame in attempting to remove the bbl. Frames of that period were not made of steel, they were worked (wrought) iron and were quite a bit weaker than steel that was used later on.
 

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I can see where it probably looks 100% better than it did especially if it was chrome plated! Is it in the white? I think that was a great decision rather than put a new finish on it (other than the engraving of course)! But please lose the blue trigger and ERH screw. A little Naval Jelly will take if off instantly and leave a matching, no shine patina like the gun.
 

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My chief interest is in restoring and re-creating old distressed guns - below is buffed a lot & rusting cold blue, before/after example of mine. Also a shot of Colt s/n wirh 'I P' on one with ivory grips -- meaning of P unknown. I'm guessing the 1 on yours was a simple worker ID mistake not using the I instead of the 1. Old Colts often seen with stamping errors.


 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hondo44: The finish is a very light silver plating that I put on using a battery-powered electro-plater. I did not want a beautiful even finish on such a well worn gun. My effort was to make it appear like an old SAA with a worn finish. Your observation about the screws is good. The screws that were in the gun were in horrible condition, so I replaced them with new ones. They do look 'out of place.' I may correct that later on.
rhcm24: That is outstanding work on the double action revolver. Also, thanks for posting the "IP" that must be from a 1860 Army or a 1851 Navy. The "I" must mean Ivory and maybe the "P" means Plated. I have seen an "E" on many for Engraved.
 

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I've recently sold an 1862 Police with ivories that had 'I.P.' under the numbers. I was led to believe it stood for 'Ivory-Presentation'.

Rio
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Rio: Your interpretation is as good as any. I would not bet against you. It was a pure guess on my part when I said "Ivory, Plated."
 
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