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Discussion Starter #21
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
Ha! That day could be today...as far as WOW shipping destinations, there are plenty. I think one day perhaps I will post some of the really unusual ones I have seen. A recent one was a Colt Commando that shipped to the Chemical Warfare Service in WWII. That was a really unique destination to me.
 

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Y'all DO realize you are delaying letters by taking up Paul's time on the forum? While he was gracious to say hi and identify himself, the man has a lot of work to do. I applaud him taking the time to answer some questions but he's a busy fella.

Yeah, I'll take flak for this as well. It's what drives me ;)

Jeff
 

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.....we use a very strict interpretation of the information contained in the ledgers. Hope this helps,

Paul
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.....
........whatever I can do to help the collecting community I am happy to do.
Thank you, Paul, for the honest, straightforward and unselfish answers with no apologies about what was or what shoulda/coulda/mighta been before you came on board. When I pause and think about it, I find it quite incredible the caliber of work done by the Archives Services. Many millions of Colts have been made for many years with many different people doing the ledger work, much of it by hand. Your operation has made a lot of Colt folks happy all these years. You're a real blessing here, Paul, and I thank you again for sharing. Now I'll let you get back to work. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #24
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?
Well, square footage I do not know, but we have in the archive office about 15 six and a half foot high filing cabinets that contain the original shipping ledgers ranging from the civil war records up through the 1940's. The majority of these records up to that point have been digitized (aka scanned) for preservation - as many on this forum know, the condition of some of the records results in the dreaded "no record" gun, so preservation was important. In addition to our office, there is a second room that contains the 1950's through the mid 1990's, and that room is about the size of half a gymnasium, 6 shelves high, stuffed to the brim with invoices. There are also multiple areas with custom shop orders, factory orders, and various other records that have been accumulated over the years. This is an ongoing process that we personally work on continually - many people have asked why we can't get them all digitized and organized, but with the extreme variations in the style of record keeping (some are nice and easy and logical, some are an absolute nightmare), the sheer amount of the records, etc. you would need someone very familiar with the records to scan these in a way that would be useful for myself, Bev, Joe, etc. The process is done by us in between researching . We also have to account for which models take the most time vs. demand for letters on that gun - this is why SAA's are quick and organized (these were done a while back, well before my time), and an open top pocket .22 makes us cringe every three months when we get a request for one (sometimes hours of research for a $200 gun...). After getting everything scanned / preserved, then we have the process of trying to link serial numbers with pages in books so that some lookups that used to take hours can now only take minutes. I'm sure this is clear as mud....
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Y'all DO realize you are delaying letters by taking up Paul's time on the forum? While he was gracious to say hi and identify himself, the man has a lot of work to do. I applaud him taking the time to answer some questions but he's a busy fella.

Yeah, I'll take flak for this as well. It's what drives me ;)

Jeff
LOL don't worry - the weather is crap here in CT today so my usual lunch and 15 minute breaks have taken place at my desk today instead of my the park down the street.
 

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I'm sure this is clear as mud....
I could only have imagined this, Paul. Thank you for the Herculean effort and dedication to service and the love of all things Colt!
 

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Paul,

Thanks for starting this thread. We have spoken on the phone and I really appreciate your help.

What can we as customers do to make your life a little easier and your work more efficient? Is it easier for you all if we request letters by mail, fax or phone? How long should we wait to call if we think a request has been forgotten?

What models of firearm constitute your most frequent requests?

Thanks.
 

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Paul;

You may have opened a can of worms for yourself, but thanks for posting here.

My question is during you time of being employed by the archival dept. ,Have you ever seen a letter sent out attributed to a Colt family member?---- ie: Caldwell Hart Colt, son of Sam & Elizabeth Colt
 

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Paul
Thanks for sharing your time with us. My question is do you have any memory of
lettering an Official Police Model, or know if any early Official Police Models were produced
in .41 Colt?
 

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Paul, it was nice to meet you at the CCA show last month; nice to see that Colt is bringing in some young-blood! :D

And, thanks for helping me with my Waco, Texas shipped Single Action; that updated letter netted me enough profit to buy a new turntable; which was made in the good old USA, just a little south of you. :cool:


 

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Discussion Starter #32
Paul,

Thanks for starting this thread. We have spoken on the phone and I really appreciate your help.

What can we as customers do to make your life a little easier and your work more efficient? Is it easier for you all if we request letters by mail, fax or phone? How long should we wait to call if we think a request has been forgotten?

What models of firearm constitute your most frequent requests?

Thanks.
Any way of requesting is fine. They all end up in the same place. As far as turnaround time, right now we are at about 100 days on the standard service, and some have been getting done in 60 (but I wouldn't count on that!). Most of the stuff we are completing right now has either come in at the end of August to the middle of September. We never forget requests, but there are some that will take longer to research. For instance, If you have a nice, straightforward 1st generation SAA, you could get that back pretty darn quick. If you have a rare or unusual configuration, or prototype, or someone made a boo boo writing a number down in 1920, you could end up being a lot longer, because a lot of unusual things ship quite far out of sequence. Anyone who has a Bankers Special on the forum has probably seen like a 1938 shipment for a 1932 serial number and done a double take. I remember having an expedited order for a .44 Russian nickel New Service that had a date to the shipping room in 1929, and didn't ship out until 1940. So, that took almost a week to find, mixing it in with the phone calls and other requests just because the configuration was unusual. We do not give up easily on requests. If you get a no record letter, well, that is the truth.

SAA's are still the undisputed king of factory letters. Pythons probably second. After that, really couldn't say. Maybe US marked 1911's and 1911A1's. Also, surprisingly, i seem to get a lot of requests on New Army & New Navy, because there seems to be a lot of them still around for one reason or another.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Paul;

You may have opened a can of worms for yourself, but thanks for posting here.

My question is during you time of being employed by the archival dept. ,Have you ever seen a letter sent out attributed to a Colt family member?---- ie: Caldwell Hart Colt, son of Sam & Elizabeth Colt
Ha! I was thinking that, but I like talking about the stuff. I haven't seen one letter PERSONALLY, while I have been there, but there is a letter framed outside the office for an 1877 that was Caldwell Colt's.
 

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Ha! I was thinking that, but I like talking about the stuff. I haven't seen one letter PERSONALLY, while I have been there, but there is a letter framed outside the office for an 1877 that was Caldwell Colt's.
Thanks Paul, By chance was the letter sent to a requester from Arizona?
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Paul
Thanks for sharing your time with us. My question is do you have any memory of
lettering an Official Police Model, or know if any early Official Police Models were produced
in .41 Colt?
I don't recall any letters, but they exist. I'm not aware if they are rare, and if i have seen them, probably just passed them through as an Official Police. Since they were pretty much a continuation of Army Specials, i probably wouldn't have paid a .41 OP too much attention at research time to be honest.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Paul, I was wondering if you were going to do this, you are a brave man lol. Nice job. This weather does suck!
I figured my identity may be revealed at some point, so what the hell... Brutal weather. I'd rather have it snow than be 35 and pour buckets on me.
 

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I don't recall any letters, but they exist. I'm not aware if they are rare, and if i have seen them, probably just passed them through as an Official Police. Since they were pretty much a continuation of Army Specials, i probably wouldn't have paid a .41 OP too much attention at research time to be honest.
Thanks for confirming they exist, I would say they are very rare......Not many members of this Forum have seen one.
 
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