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I have a Single Action Army from 1994, It is engraved "D" and on the grip frame is stamped "JC" could this be the initials of the engraver and if so who may it be? Colt custom shop, Black powder frame, Nickle plated, engraved "D" with the hammer and front site engraved, fitted with one piece ivory grip with Colt gold emblems. I have done a lot of searching and have not come up with the engravers during this period. any help would be appreciated.
 

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I have a Single Action Army from 1994, It is engraved "D" and on the grip frame is stamped "JC" could this be the initials of the engraver and if so who may it be? Colt custom shop, Black powder frame, Nickle plated, engraved "D" with the hammer and front site engraved, fitted with one piece ivory grip with Colt gold emblems. I have done a lot of searching and have not come up with the engravers during this period. any help would be appreciated.
Pictures, please.
 

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Master Engravers Steve Kamyk and Dennis Kies were both engraving for Colt in the 1990s. John Adams and Denise Thirion also. Tom Freyburger and John Pease are more recent and I am not familiar with their work but have seen guns factory engraved by them. I don't recall an engraver with the initials JC.
Do you have an Achive letter on the gun? An Archive letter will usually name the engraver if it was Master level engraved, but not always. Lesser levels of engraving are usually not named.
- - Bruce in Ohio
 

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If you order a "Custom Shop" engraving job the engraver is not named for obvious reasons. Colt does not release this information even on the requested letter from the Historian. This has been the policy for quite a while now.
 

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Master Engravers Steve Kamyk and Dennis Kies were both engraving for Colt in the 1990s. John Adams and Denise Thirion also. Tom Freyburger and John Pease are more recent and I am not familiar with their work but have seen guns factory engraved by them. I don't recall an engraver with the initials JC.
Do you have an Achive letter on the gun? An Archive letter will usually name the engraver if it was Master level engraved, but not always. Lesser levels of engraving are usually not named.
- - Bruce in Ohio
When was Ben Lane engraving for Colt?
 

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I don't know offhand when Ben Lane was engraving for Colt. The books I have are not clear on that.
Jan Gwinnell was another Colt engraver. I have one by him that was shipped in 1986. JG could be mistaken for JC, I suppose; however, my Jan Gwinnell engraved gun is signed with his full last name under the grips on the left side of the trigger guard at the bottom.
TriggerTripper - I am curious how you know that the grip frame is stamped "JC" if you are not willing to take the grips off. When I get a Colt with factory engraving, the first thing I do is to take the grips off to see if there are any stampings on the trigger guard/back strap (serial numbers and/or engraver's name) and, if the gun has ivory grips, to treat the ivories with mineral oil.

Second generation factory engraved Single Action Army revolvers were almost never signed by the engraver. Exceptions might be some of those engraved by William Mains who used a small "buffalo" figure on his guns. A factory Master engraved 3rd gen Single Action Army will usually, but not always, be signed under the grips and Archive letters on such guns will usually, but not always, name the engraver. Expert and lower level engraved guns will be marked "COLT ENG" on the left side of the trigger guard at the bottom, are not signed and not usually named in an Archive letter.
- - Bruce in Ohio
 

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I don't know offhand when Ben Lane was engraving for Colt. The books I have are not clear on that.
Jan Gwinnell was another Colt engraver. I have one by him that was shipped in 1986. JG could be mistaken for JC, I suppose; however, my Jan Gwinnell engraved gun is signed with his full last name under the grips on the left side of the trigger guard at the bottom.
TriggerTripper - I am curious how you know that the grip frame is stamped "JC" if you are not willing to take the grips off. When I get a Colt with factory engraving, the first thing I do is to take the grips off to see if there are any stampings on the trigger guard/back strap (serial numbers and/or engraver's name) and, if the gun has ivory grips, to treat the ivories with mineral oil.

Second generation factory engraved Single Action Army revolvers were almost never signed by the engraver. Exceptions might be some of those engraved by William Mains who used a small "buffalo" figure on his guns. A factory Master engraved 3rd gen Single Action Army will usually, but not always, be signed under the grips and Archive letters on such guns will usually, but not always, name the engraver. Expert and lower level engraved guns will be marked "COLT ENG" on the left side of the trigger guard at the bottom, are not signed and not usually named in an Archive letter.
- - Bruce in Ohio
I have known Ben Lane since he lived in Amarillo, TX in 1970. At one point he moved to Estes Park, Colo and continued doing engraving work. What I recall, as he told me, was that Colt contacted him for engraving work and offered him a full-time job. Ben, not surprisingly, refused a move to Hartford. But eventually Colt did cave, and sent him work to Estes Park. The last time I saw Ben was five years ago, and he was back in Texas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Master Engravers Steve Kamyk and Dennis Kies were both engraving for Colt in the 1990s. John Adams and Denise Thirion also. Tom Freyburger and John Pease are more recent and I am not familiar with their work but have seen guns factory engraved by them. I don't recall an engraver with the initials JC.
Do you have an Achive letter on the gun? An Archive letter will usually name the engraver if it was Master level engraved, but not always. Lesser levels of engraving are usually not named.
- - Bruce in Ohio
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Colt factory archive letter states " Class "D" standard engraving " I guess I will never know. It is a excellent job of engraving so I guess it does not matter who engraved it just that it was done at COLT. It would be hard to duplicate this gun unless you had deep pockets. I have one other engraved SAA, that gun was a huge mistake, from 1883, marked US inspected by DFC, BUT engraved and nickle plated in the 1970's. all number match, what a shame. Purchased at the Las Vegas Antique arms show in 2016. At least I Bought it right paying less then the engraving would cost. Thands to all on the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't know offhand when Ben Lane was engraving for Colt. The books I have are not clear on that.
Jan Gwinnell was another Colt engraver. I have one by him that was shipped in 1986. JG could be mistaken for JC, I suppose; however, my Jan Gwinnell engraved gun is signed with his full last name under the grips on the left side of the trigger guard at the bottom.
TriggerTripper - I am curious how you know that the grip frame is stamped "JC" if you are not willing to take the grips off. When I get a Colt with factory engraving, the first thing I do is to take the grips off to see if there are any stampings on the trigger guard/back strap (serial numbers and/or engraver's name) and, if the gun has ivory grips, to treat the ivories with mineral oil.

Second generation factory engraved Single Action Army revolvers were almost never signed by the engraver. Exceptions might be some of those engraved by William Mains who used a small "buffalo" figure on his guns. A factory Master engraved 3rd gen Single Action Army will usually, but not always, be signed under the grips and Archive letters on such guns will usually, but not always, name the engraver. Expert and lower level engraved guns will be marked "COLT ENG" on the left side of the trigger guard at the bottom, are not signed and not usually named in an Archive letter.
- - Bruce in Ohio
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I had the grips off years ago but did not photograph the marks that also included the last 4 digits of the serial number. I do treat the grips with mineral oil and keep them wrapped up to eliminate shrinkage. When I got this gun I researched the care of Ivory so as to preserve the beauty of the grips. I would love to have them carved ( steer or eagle ) but would be afraid of sending them off. thanks for the input.
 

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Victorio - Thanks for the information about Mr. Lane. He is mentioned in many of my engraving books, but I haven't seen any statements as to when he was doing Colt factory engraving. I know from talking with the folks at Colt Archives that he did some but the dates are hazy.
- Bruce in Ohio
 

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TT - I am at a loss as to what the "JC" letters might mean. It's a very nice gun and you should be proud of it. I agree about not sending the grips off somewhere. It would be a tragedy if they got lost or damaged. They look really great they way they are. One-piece ivories are the best in my opinion.
 

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Victorio - Thanks for the information about Mr. Lane. He is mentioned in many of my engraving books, but I haven't seen any statements as to when he was doing Colt factory engraving. I know from talking with the folks at Colt Archives that he did some but the dates are hazy.
- Bruce in Ohio
Books are not going to be accurate with who engraved guns at Colt since so much is done outside of Hartford. Has been for many years.
 

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Well, that may depend on what books you look at. I recently went through all of my Colt books and listed ALL of the FACTORY engraved Single Action Armys shown. I did not consider a gun factory engraved unless it was stated to be so or there was corroborating evidence of some kind (reference to a Custom Shop order number or something similar). Most of the general engraving books (i.e. those by R.L. Wilson) showed many non-factory engraved guns, but Wilkerson's books were usually very specific about it. It was a great project for these days of shelter-in-place. It was fun, educational, and kept me busy for a week or two.
- - - Bruce in Ohio
 

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Victorio - Thanks for the information about Mr. Lane. He is mentioned in many of my engraving books, but I haven't seen any statements as to when he was doing Colt factory engraving. I know from talking with the folks at Colt Archives that he did some but the dates are hazy.
- Bruce in Ohio
If I had Ben's phone number, would you call him and get this information - and post it on the ColtForum? Or maybe I should try to call Ben. My phone number for him will be at least five years old.
 

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Interesting. I doubt this is new info for anyone. A 1994 gun that is simply "Colt Engraved" should be marked on the trigger guard under the grips as "Colt Engraved" and no engraver's initials or signature. On the other hand a "Colt Master engraved" gun should have both the engraver's signature and "Colt Engraved" under the grips on the front strap of the trigger guard.

Th archives letter should be specific on both counts. No engraver listed for a "Colt Engraved" gun. Master engraved will generally have the engraver's name on the gun (often in more than one place) and on the Colt letter.

4 years ago ...which clearly is not 1994.... a "Colt Engraved" SAA gun at a D level just for the engraving was $3600. A master engraved Colt @ D level, engraving only was $13,000.

I'd likely want to check and then photograph what is under the grips.

 
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