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Discussion Starter #1
I just got the archival info back from Colt on a Banker Special I have had for several years. It has pearl grips and I wanted to know if they were factory original. The gun was shipped to a private owner in Philadelphia in 1938 and has his monogramed initials etched(?) in the grips.
The bluing is not worn and there is a little freckling on the frame with no ring on the cylinder. What do I need to look at to rate this gun and where do I go to get the value?
Any help is appreciated.
 

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Unless you take it to a professional to have it appraised, the forum members can probably help you out somewhat. First tell us the caliber. Round butt or square butt. What is the conditon? Serial number would help too. Do you have the original box? Is there holster wear on the blue finish?

Start with the Blue Book (current edition). Then check the auction sites for similar guns (Gun Broker and Auction Arms) and listings on Guns America. Search on the past sales or closed auctions for sales price. From there it gets subjective.

I believe Addicted bought a Bankers not so long ago. I assume you mean that they are factory pearl stocks? Then we go from there. Your turn.
 

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When asking value questions, it is important to give full information about all the distinguishing characteristics. Otherwise, it is kind of like asking what my Ford sedan is worth.

If the gun was shipped in 1938, it almost certainly will be a round butt, since the round butt was introduced in 1933. The chambering will greatly affect the value, with a .22 being worth a lot more than a .38.

Does the factory letter mention the pearl stocks are factory? Does the letter mention the monogramed stocks? If both are original factory, it will add greatly to the value, and take away from it if not. I have a .22 Bankers Special with factory pearl stocks that lettered, and most factory stocks will letter so that is a very important piece of information.

Are you sure the finish is original?

You will not be able to "get the value" anywhere. All "values" are estimates of market value, and mean little until a buyer and seller come together, and then "value" can vary greatly from sale to sale.

For instance, I bought a mint 2-inch Commando at auction earlier this year for around $900 as I recall. A week or so later, an essentially identical mint 2-inch Commando went up on the same site with a reserve of apparently $1500 because it went through several auction cycles where several bidders took it to $1400, but it did not sell! Finally, one of those bidders took it to $1500 and it sold! Where were those same bidders when I bought mine? Thankfully, they did not see mine, but it shows how the "value" can change rapidly depending on who is selling and who is buying at any one time. For the record, I thought the "value" might be $1100 to $1200. Also for the record, the "Blue Book" "value" is $862.50, and, like many "Blue Book" prices, seems to be under market.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The pearl grips are factory original on this .38. The monograming is not mentioned in the archival letter. I don't have the expertise to know whether the bluing is original other than that I have owned it for 20 years and the owner before me, a friend owned it for 10 and neither made any changes in the gun. I appreciate the help, I have only recently started viewing the auctions and thinking about buying and selling. It is rather bewildering.

In reading through the posts on this Colt forum it seems you have a great group that is very helpful. I have a friend who is an avid S&W collector who said I could find the most help on the company dedicated boards like this. He was right!
 

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Again, we need more information.

Serial Number: 333xx
Finish: Describe any wear on the blue finish. Scratches? Is there rust? Is the bluing worn off anywhere. Most common location is near the end of the muzzle. Is there a tracing on the cylinder from rotating it?
Box: Do you have the box and paper work?
Caliber: 22 or 38spl?
Condition of stocks (grips)?
Pictures would be very helpful.

Regards
 

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[ QUOTE ]

The bluing is not worn and there is a little freckling on the frame with no ring on the cylinder.

The pearl grips are factory original on this .38.



[/ QUOTE ]

Condition of the grips? Any cracks?

Do you have the box? Any paperwork?

Any chance of pictures?

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok, I think I have got it.


I have the Archival letter only, no other paperwork and no box. The handles are not cracked and there is no drag wear on the muzzle. It is a .38.
 

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Matchshot, Those are some awesome pearly whites. You have yourself a authentic pearl gun. I find the monogram to be unique and I agree that it's been personallized to the original owner. Whether Colt did the monogram is difficult to say. If Colt didn't do it I feel it takes no value away from the gun. In fact, if I were buying the gun it would place more value on the gun.

It's difficult to place value on a unique variation. It's all in what 2 buyers are wanting to pay. The BOCFA's says that Pearl (and Ivory) were available 'at extra cost'. No mention how many left Colt as Pearl. I'd place a $2000 minimum value on this gun. I'm basing this off of nickel bringing a 45% premium. I give the pearl grips a 100% min premium. Just my .02

It's a gun to be very proud of. How long have you owned it?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bought it 20 years ago from a lawyer friend who was moving to NY and didn't want the hassle of owning a gun. Been sitting in a case all that time, never fired, just sat. Got back into shooting recently because my boys wanted to learn how. I appreciate the help. May sell it to finance a long gun for the boys and me to get into DCM competitive shooting.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
May sell it to finance a long gun for the boys and me to get into DCM competitive shooting.

[/ QUOTE ]

The the Colt (forum) boys know when your ready to sell. We can help drive up the price.....and maybe win the bid. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

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Thank you for posting pictures. You're a better man than me as I have never posted pictures. Really really a nice Bankers Special! I enjoy just looking at the pictures.

Blue Book (current edtion) prices 38 Bankers as $1500 for as new, $1100-98%; and $900 at 95%. Blue Book has been running low on pricing on Colts. Looks to me like a strong 98% gun. With the Pearls, I would guess it's worth about $1,500 and it could easily sell for $2,000 to the right buyer. Not having the box would not slow me down from considering the gun. Just my 2-cents.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
Blue Book (current edtion) prices 38 Bankers as $1500 for as new, $1100-98%; and $900 at 95%. Blue Book has been running low on pricing on Colts. Looks to me like a strong 98% gun. With the Pearls, I would guess it's worth about $1,500 and it could easily sell for $2,000 to the right buyer. Not having the box would not slow me down from considering the gun. Just my 2-cents.

[/ QUOTE ]

I feel to be 100% a gun must be mint, boxed with papers and tools. 98% is mint with no box and extras. I see some rust on the trigger and hammer on this gun and that takes it to a 95% gun. The Bankers are a sought after gun. Too bad it's not a .22 cal.

Check out this expired auction. The gun has a lot of wear.

.38 BS on GB
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Posting pictures was easier than I thought. The Forum's instructions were easy and the photobucket is user friendly.
 

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Ok Addicted. I didn't notice the apparent rust marks on the trigger. I change my tune to a 98% gun (versus a strong 98%). This is a really nice gun! The Blue Book percentage rating system is based on remaining original finish. The location of the worn finish is also important. For me, the cylinder ring automatically makes a gun 98%. It has nothing to do with box's or paper work. Read the Blue Book grading system on Page 46 of the current edition. You will also notice that on some Colt's, the Blue Book will add a percentage increase in value for the original box. I would half that percentage for a non-original box of the appropriate year of manufacture. I think we can agree that it is this gun is "Excellent" based on the NRA system.

You will see a note for "New/Perfect" grading equates to 100% WITH OR WITHOUT the box.

I still think it is a $1500 gun and may sell for $2000 or a bit more. I'm usually conservative in my estimates. I'm not sure what the factory pearls are worth other than I suspect they are worth at least several hundred dollars by themselves and mated to the gun (with the letter) adds a premium to the entire gun. The condition of the Bankers in your link appeared to be about a 95% gun. What bothers me about that gun is the silver area (no finish or reflection?) above the cylinder or the frame strap, I believe it is called. If it is silver or no finish, I would lean toward about a 90% gun and the price paid was on the high side.

To look at the value another way, as-new Pythons are selling for $950-$1200 generally. If you throw in the rarity factor and the factory pearls, the gun could sell for $3000 as I would value it at least 2x a Blue Python and 2x my original estimate. Food for thought.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
The condition of the Bankers in your link appeared to be about a 95% gun. What bothers me about that gun is the silver area (no finish or reflection?) above the cylinder or the frame strap, I believe it is called. If it is silver or no finish, I would lean toward about a 90% gun and the price paid was on the high side.

[/ QUOTE ]

Notice the checkering (or lack of) of the stocks. A lot of the blueing is missing. It's been carried a lot and it's been around the block many many times. Some say the percentage is only in the blueing. For me, the entire gun makes up the percentage. I'd go 75%
 

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Discussion Starter #16
There is no silver on the gun, that was a quick shot with a flash and you see the reflection. It is blued without wear. There is a little freckling on the frame. I need a hotter light to get the proper color or should photograph it in the sunlight. I will try that. I will let you know tomorrow.
 

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Man, your pictures are just fine. You have a beautiful gun! I would be very proud to own it and treasure it for the rest of my life.

The business about the reflection concerned the Bankers Special 38 that sold for $1300 (buy it now) from the link in Addicted post. The current Blue Book value at 90% would place a value of $600 on that gun and it sold for twice that price. The buyer paid way too much if the price is based solely on condition. The other markings also add value.

If you sold your gun at an auction site, you would do real well and it would garner a lot of attention.
 

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Wow, beautiful gun, well pictured. Impressive.

Throw out the Blue Book. A gun like this does not come along very often, and it could bring (probably should bring) big bucks for a BS. In my opinioin, a gun such as this could bring double what an average BS will bring. The way it "presents" is striking (the sharp contrast between the blue finish and pearl stocks impresses me), similar to the way a red popular collector car will often bring much more than the same configuration in a dull color.

I note with interest that the stocks have medallions, whereas my .22 BS with factory pearl stocks does not have medallions. The medallions add to the value in my opinion. The stocks alone would probably bring $300 or more on auction.

The Blue Book grading system does not relate to accouterments such as a box. It is based ONLY on the gun itself. An unboxed 100% gun is a 100% gun, and a 98% gun with a box and all papers is a 98% gun. The accouterments are "add-ons," not part of the basic market value.

As my old law professor used to say, "If you read AT all, read IT all." Of course, I forget that from time to time, just as matchshot did.

After making this post, I linked to the BS Addicted provided, and want to respond to the opinion that the buyer overpaid. The BS on the link is an early square butt, which is less common than the round butt guns and probably worth more. The BS linked is specially marked at the factory, and the markings may have value to many potential buyers. The honest wear on the BS linked is not as detracting for me as rust from neglect, etc.. It still "presents" fairly well to me.
 

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Thanks Judgecolt for coming in here. I do use the Blue Book as a starting point, but that is as far as it goes. I agree that this Bankers' really presents well. I'm no Colt appraiser, nor do I claim to be one. My intention was to get this information posted so that it could be viewed if someone does not have the Blue Book.

I guess the bottom line on this beautiful gun is that it is probably at least a $2000 gun and could sell for more depending how it was handled in terms of a sale. I have been shocked by recent auction prices paid and nothing would surprise me in terms of value on this fine piece. It all boils down to a big ? and what someone is willing to pay for it (which defines the value).
 
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