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I'm mostly into S&W's, but a few Colts have been finding their way into my safe lately. I've had an old Police Positive .38spl that was willed to me that I shoot once or twice a year.

Recently, I was at a shop that took in a box of revolvers from a PD that they have had sitting in their station for the past 20+ years. They were all duty weapons at various times. I picked up three S&W revolvers, but I just couldn't turn down one of the Colt Official Police .38's that was in the box.

I looked up the numbers on it and it was manufactured in 1936. The other two Colts he had were made in the early/mid 50's. What I don't understand about the one I got is that the PD's name starts with an "A", but on the butt of the Colt, it's marked "C.P.D. No. 104". Is it possible that it started out in one department and later ended up in another?

I know you can letter guns from Colt, but I don't know what information you would get from it. It's not rusty at all, but it only has about 50% of its blue left, and the wood grips are not damaged, but they are worn. I know it doesn't have any real collector's value to it, but would a factory letter usually state what department the gun was sold to? Also, back then, did PD's usually buy directly from Colt, or did they purchase through a dealer/distributor? I'm just trying to decide whether it's worth spending the money on a letter. If getting the department it was sold to is not probable, I wouldn't bother with a letter.

Thanks.
 

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I've always been a rabid Smith & Wesson fan but only noticed that I'd accidentally acquired quite a few Colt products after I first found the Colt Forum. This forum is no help as it's caused me to acquire more Colts.

Anything is possible with a Colt letter. I really enjoy them. They're pricey these days.

I posted a copy of a Colt letter here recently so I'll add a link so you can see one.

http://www.coltforum.com/forums/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=38222&page=2&fpart=3&vc=1

I like the old Official Police revolver. A work horse of a revolver. I obtained one from a Colt forum member R. M. Vivas so I'd have an example. I really like the pre-war OP's like yours with their half-moon front sights.
 

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In this case, a factory letter is a straight crap shoot.
Police agencies bought from distributors and direct from Colt, so it's a 50/50 chance the letter will show shipment direct to a department.

It's very possible the gun was bought by one department and sold to another, possibly when the first department converted over to another model or brand of gun.

There are cases of police departments trading in guns to a distributor for new guns, and the distributor selling the old guns to other departments looking for a bargain.
 
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