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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I know a few people here are aware of my presence now, but I just wanted to make it known to everyone (whether that is a mistake, we will soon find out :p). I'm Paul from the Colt Archives, and i've noticed a good number of threads which have factory letter & record questions, which I have seen answered correctly and incorrectly. I'm happy to answer any questions anyone here has about either our process, what kind of records are available, and even try to answer questions on some of the inconsistencies or oddities that you all may have seen in factory letters. I won't be able to answer questions on "does this gun look right" or anything like that (as there are FAR more knowledgable people than myself when it comes to the physical characteristics), but anything related to the documentation contained in the archives at Colt I'll be more than happy to answer. I'd prefer if any questions come through this thread rather than through private messages, or maybe we could make a sticky thread for it, that way any questions & answers can be shared & available for the entire community to use.

Please view the attached link to the Colt Archive Services Website for general information, sample letters, and ordering information.

http://www.colt.com/Customer-Services/Archive-Services

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My question is on the Colt Super .38 Automatic, and why the Colt letter calls it a .38 Super. The pistol was a Super .38 and the ammo .38 Super.
Excellent question. Best answer is that the shipping ledgers are recorded as ".38 Super Auto". I believe that advertisements do refer to the model as the "Super .38" which of course leads to inconsistencies (thank you, record keepers!), but when it comes to factory letters, we use a very strict interpretation of the information contained in the ledgers. Hope this helps,

Paul
 

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Excellent question. Best answer is that the shipping ledgers are recorded as ".38 Super Auto". I believe that advertisements do refer to the model as the "Super .38" which of course leads to inconsistencies (thank you, record keepers!), but when it comes to factory letters, we use a very strict interpretation of the information contained in the ledgers. Hope this helps,

Paul
Makes perfect sense and thank you for wading into the swamp Paul. I've talked to you a few times in the past and I applaud your courteous and professional manner in which you dealt with my queries. An asset to the Colt Forum.

Jeff
 

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I've gone on the Colt Site trying to find the year of mf'g (sometime in the 1980's)
But the site says it shows no record.
What's the cut off date for late 3 gen.?
Nice to have you on board.
 

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The pistols themselves were stamped Super .38, and advertising as well as correspondence of the day refers to them as a Super .38. Whether the scribe that entered the information in the ledger was referring to the caliber we will probably never know, but nonetheless a mistake carries on.
 

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Hi Paul,
Very nice of you to offer help on the forum for people interested in lettering their guns.
I want to personally thank you for the help you have provided me over the phone with simple questions I have needed answering in the past.
I have a letter I am patiently waiting on now that I called and ordered from you 829 on 8-26-14, it's a simple one just basically wanting configuration verification on a 2.5" Python as I am seeing more and more on the auction sites with what looks like changed barrels to add value
thanks again for the offer of help to the forum and keep up the good work :)
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've gone on the Colt Site trying to find the year of mf'g (sometime in the 1980's)
But the site says it shows no record.
What's the cut off date for late 3 gen.?
Nice to have you on board.
I don't think there is a cutoff on the website. It is just an incomplete database that does not contain every model, or serial number, and there are also some errors in there too that we have found. Its a work in progress, but our more technologically inclined people at Colt are working on completing it. I have received many a panicked phone call from people who don't think their gun exists.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Paul,
Very nice of you to offer help on the forum for people interested in lettering their guns.
I want to personally thank you for the help you have provided me over the phone with simple questions I have needed answering in the past.
I have a letter I am patiently waiting on now that I called and ordered from you 829 on 8-26-14, it's a simple one just basically wanting configuration verification on a 2.5" Python as I am seeing more and more on the auction sites with what looks like changed barrels to add value
thanks again for the offer of help to the forum and keep up the good work :)
Joe
Should be coming soon. We are wrapping up most of the stuff that came in around that time period.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for putting yourself out here for us Paul. Your bravery knows no bounds! Now, WHERE'S MY LET...? Nah, just kidding.
Thanks again.
I will second you on the bravery! We'll see if i regret this post soon! I figured that since I have learned plenty perusing the forum over the last few months, that sharing some knowledge from my little niche of expertise can only help everyone. Since I started here this has not only been my job, but I've developed an insatiable interest in collecting, and whatever I can do to help the collecting community I am happy to do.
 

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OK now that you are asking, there has been a debate for quite some time regarding a Python finish from the early 80's "Royal Coltguard" which you told me on the phone was the same finish as e-nickel.
Brochures from the 80's say its the identical process as the standard Coltguard but at a much higher polished finish. So out of curiosity I have seen boxes both marked "Coltguard" and "E-NICK" and my letter shows "Coltguard" not Royal Coltguard and I saw another letter from someone here sent back to them as E-Nickel, was the "Royal" just for marketing and why the inconsistency on boxes and letters.
Just wondering
RoyalColtGuardAd_zpscede25bd.jpg
 

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Thank you for "appearing" here in the Center of the Colt Universe and offering to answer archive letter questions!

My question is, how many letter requests, as an average, come in per day, week or month?
 

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Good Monday to ya Paul....you may mark up this date as"when did I ever think that was a good idea".....but you are a bright young man....and a great resource for the forum....your offer and effort is much appreciated by all ......Being a long time collector of the SAA....lettering a gun is like a treasure hunt....needle in the haystack for that WOW letter.... in your look ups for letters....have you ever had one of those WOW moments....when you saw where it was shipped ?.... Thanks again for your above and beyond call of duty..... Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK now that you are asking, there has been a debate for quite some time regarding a Python finish from the early 80's "Royal Coltguard" which you told me on the phone was the same finish as e-nickel.
Brochures from the 80's say its the identical process as the standard Coltguard but at a much higher polished finish. So out of curiosity I have seen boxes both marked "Coltguard" and "E-NICK" and my letter shows "Coltguard" not Royal Coltguard and I saw another letter from someone here sent back to them as E-Nickel, was the "Royal" just for marketing and why the inconsistency on boxes and letters.
Just wondering
View attachment 72701
Another good one (and relatively common question). It is another matter of what was recorded. Early e-nickel / Coltguard guns letter as "Electroless Nickel" - thats what all of the invoices say (they provide a standard blued model number, ie I3660 with a separate line item charge for "special nickel finish", being the Enickel), just a guestimate from 1979 until maybe 1981 or so. There could be, of course, stragglers in there. Then, after using the finish for a while, the invoicing then turns to "Coltguard" (including coltguard specific model numbers, ie I3860 for a 6" coltguard python). As far as the "Royal Coltguard", I have never seen any actual invoicing using that terminology before (if there are invoices that say it, I haven't encountered them), but my guess is that the "royal" designation refers to the level of polishing specific to your Pythons vs, say, a Trooper or Lawman.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you for "appearing" here in the Center of the Colt Universe and offering to answer archive letter questions!

My question is, how many letter requests, as an average, come in per day, week or month?
Not including expedited researches, we get anywhere between 75-100 a week. Of course, we also get our 15, 25, 50, and the occasional 100 letter orders also.
 

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I have a few general questions I'd love to have answered: how "big" is the Archives in actual physical size; how much square/cubic footage in space does it take up? (I don't know if the company would be interested in making such, but I'd love to see something like a short video showing how a typical Letter request is handled, seeing the actual records and how the research is done would be neat! It could be a good "sales promotional" measure bringing in more letter requests, so while we get "entertained" the company would be helping to promote more sales.)

How much of the records has been digitized (I know it has been discussed here, and some have stated that certain amounts of the records have been digitized), and are there efforts to digitize everything? What's the time-frame on any digitization efforts?

And follow up to that, will digitization help make the turn-around time for letter requests faster, or is there still a lot of "tedious" work reviewing written records and looking at the electronic pages won't really speed the process?
 
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