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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I inherited a Colt DA 38 and am having a hard time finding information and a value. I can not get good pictures of the markings. The patent dates are Aug 5, 1884; Nov 6 1888 and Mar 5, 1895. On the butt of the gun are:
USN
(Anchor picture)
38DA
(Trident picture)
No
6344
N.C.T
17
078
Also on the release there is a *78.
On the cylinder there is a P * 78.

I have found some information, but I am wondering what the * means and if it is important. Also what the value might be. The condition is probably 35-45%. Any information would be greatly appreciated.




Revolver Firearm Gun Trigger Starting pistol Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Gun accessory
 

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Your pistol was shipped to the Commandant, New York Navy Yard in a shipment of 5OO like revolvers, in May 1895. The "78" on the cylinder and latch is a manufacturers assembly number and the * seems to have been a routinely used marking however I do not know its significance. I suspect that it could be an inspectors mark. As far as value is concerned, you should know that Navy issued pieces always have value but as with all guns condition is the key. Pictures would help greatly. Hope this helps.
 

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I just checked some reference material and noted that in this contract the last two or three digits of the serial number were used as the assembly numbers (not always the case), which indicates that the cylinder and latch are original to the gun. The "P" is a proof-mark indicating that the cylinder passed a pressure test. There should also be a "P" on the underside of the barrel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the great information!! I did not know that about the grips. Will that affect the value? With it being in 35-45% condition, what do you think a fair value range would be? Again, thank you for you time and help!
 

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Unfortunately the grips being incorrect does affect the value. The correct grips are black hard rubber with "COLT" in an oval at the top. A pair of original grips could run in the $200.00 range and would probably not be worth the investment for a 35-40% gun. A pair of repo grips in the correct configuration cost about $35.00 and would look better. As far as value is concerned, I have purchased examples of this model in similar condition with a naval history and the original grips for around $500.00, but these Navy guns don't come around all that often so who knows. There were a total of 2382 revolvers purchased by the Navy from Colt under this contract. The Navy got 2000 and 382 went to various State Naval Militia's. The "N.C.T." on the butt represents the initials of Ensign Nathan C. Twining, who was the Chief Inspector of Ordnance for the "Private Works" Ordnance District at the time of this contract. Revolvers purchased under different contracts often have other inspectors initials on the butt, which tends to make revolvers in the different contracts unique even though the revolvers are very similar in appearance. If you plan on trying to sell this piece I'd like to make a suggestion. Look the gun over carefully and note any other markings you find (there should be several) and let me know what they are. I can then tell you what they represent so you can better authenticate your piece. That along with some close-up photos would help get the most out of your gun.
 

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One more thing, look closely at what you refer to as an asterisk (*). It may actually be a star with the letter "C" inside. If it is, it designates acceptance of the part it is stamped on by an inspector, probably a Mr. A.P. Casey. This Star "C" should be located in several locations. I should have picked up on that earlier but I was in a hurry and didn't make the connection to what you called an * and the Star "C".
 
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