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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have this Colt experimental, I suppose Official Police, .38 Special, absolutely new never fired, totally free of any markings except some kind of Colt ID number on the forward lower flat of the frame - which is used as its s/n. It is lettered as sold to Greg Martin Auctions for $1200. I have maybe $1000 in it & wonder if it would sell for more as-is or properly marked. From my experience with my re-creations of old Colt autos, I think marking it would cost maybe $250. Any comments, advice or info appreciated. If needed I can post a copy of the Colt letter.

 

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Bob, as long as the Colt experimental OP is already marked, no other markings are ATFE required.
I would not put any other markings on it. It would reeduce the value a lot if you put any extra markings on it.
Just my opinion.
 

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Adding ANY marks not put there by Colt would absolutely fry the value.
The value of the gun lies in it being an experimental Colt.

Many Colt experimentals were not marked with standard stamps, or had whatever stamps the base model they were using had.
 

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I am curious and maybe this is a dumb question and the answer is obvious, But , what is the experimental detail that is different from a regular OP? The ejector rod knob looks a little longer than usual. The grips look like late 40's early 50's,the sight looks like a relatively modern Colt with the ramp and not the half moon shape.
Is the internal action different than the standard V spring/rebound lever or ????? Have you taken it apart to see what is different? This is very interesting. Thanks for any info. you can share on this gun.
 

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Is there anything stamped inside the usual Crane Knuckle area

Do it lack the Barrel top Stamps, and the Colt 'Rampant Colt' Logo?
 

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I absolutely agree with Malysh and dfariswheel Bob; I wouldn't add a thing to that wonderful gun. And like capstan, I would wonder the difference, if any, between it and the production run OP's. But as a lettered gun it may just certify it as a prototype of the line. REALLY exciting gun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oye-- no marks except those in photos, lower right frame & logo left side plate.

Here is the Colt letter & hang tag that came with it - not a lot of further info.




Nobody has ventured a value guestimate but mine is $1500. Not for sale but if someone covets it I'd entertain a trade for a 80-90% New Service, Colt 1902 Mil, Sport or lesser S&W TL or ?? big frame.
 

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rhmc Thanks for posting this. So is it possible that this was the experimental first Official Police from which all others were made? Very interesting., Seems like this would be quite valuable to a serious Colt collector. I have no idea what the worth is but if this is the prototype from which the OP's were made I guess several thousand dollars is not out of the question.
 

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I don't think this was the prototype for all Official Police revolvers, since they were merely an update to the Army Special that occorred around 1927. It does have, however, a pre-war style hammer but the single crane lock screw which came into use after WWII, so that may be the experimental characteristic, or it may be the "straight barrel thread" referenced in the letter.
 

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I don't think this was the prototype for all Official Police revolvers, since they were merely an update to the Army Special that occorred around 1927. It does have, however, a pre-war style hammer but the single crane lock screw which came into use after WWII, so that may be the experimental characteristic, or it may be the "straight barrel thread" referenced in the letter.
Good points.
In addition, the semi ramped front sight was also a post war standard feature.
The Coltwood plastic stocks also became a standard post war feature from 1947-1954. The plastic stocks used for Commados during WWII were a little different. The WWII types had brass liners in the screw hole and eschutcheon nut hole and I think they may have been a different plastic type.
 

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I don't think this was the prototype for all Official Police revolvers, since they were merely an update to the Army Special that occorred around 1927. It does have, however, a pre-war style hammer but the single crane lock screw which came into use after WWII, so that may be the experimental characteristic, or it may be the "straight barrel thread" referenced in the letter.
One or both of those features makes sense.
 

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Good points.
In addition, the semi ramped front sight was also a post war standard feature.
The Coltwood plastic stocks also became a standard post war feature from 1947-1954. The plastic stocks used for Commados during WWII were a little different. The WWII types had brass liners in the screw hole and eschutcheon nut hole and I think they may have been a different plastic type.
Yes I noticed the ramped front sight, and the single screw for the cyinder detent and the plastic grips but I guess ignored my own observations in thinking it might be a prototype. I just checked one of my colt books and it said the OP was made from 1927 to 1969 )Idont know if that book is right but probably not off that far. So it sure doesn't look like it was made in 1927 or before.

It's too bad that these Colt letters don't say more. Especially since it is an experimental gun-wouldn't you think they would at least say what was experimental about it(e.g. the barrel threads or cylinder detent change or???)
 

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This experimental Official Police was sold in the first Colt Archive auction at Greg Martin Auctions on January 18, 2009. The hammer price was $800.

- - - Buckspen
 

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Stocks, front sight and single screwhead for crane retention, date it in 47-53 period. Might measure the cylinder chambers. They would have been experimenting with 357 Magnum revolvers in that time frame. Might be a prototype of that.
 

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Stocks, front sight and single screwhead for crane retention, date it in 47-53 period. Might measure the cylinder chambers. They would have been experimenting with 357 Magnum revolvers in that time frame. Might be a prototype of that.

Hmmm!

Interesting possibility!

I am finding it hard to understand what aspect or detail is the 'experimental' one ( or more ) on it.


I am still confused about passing mentions of there being 'Straight Threads' and 'Tapered Threads' for Colt Barrel to Frame connections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Not that this sheds any light on the issue in which I'm still interested --- but ---

Maybe the 'taper thread' experiment issue is about abandonment of the taper in favor of a parallel thread -- me with no info as to whether it went anywhere. I'm still in the dark about whether taper thread was practiced across the board or only on some models and some periods of production. Several years back I shortened a Pocket Positive bbl by cutting it off at the b/c end and did a common thread, no notice of whether original thread had taper.

We had a taper thread question on another thread, my experience in coping with the needed taper when I was threading a barrel blank to put in a 1904 New Service. Tapered thread apparently was common on earlier Colts, SAAs & New Services because I have put a 1880s SAA bbl into a 1904 New Svce.
 

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This experimental Official Police was sold in the first Colt Archive auction at Greg Martin Auctions on January 18, 2009. The hammer price was $800.

- - - Buckspen
I think it would be fair to say the gun is worth about 50% more than today than it was in 2009. You can bet at Gregg Martins auction in 2009 nothing was left on the table when the hammer fell at 800. Its hard to predict what a gun will bring at auction "especially in the last two years" but I think a realistic price would around 1200 give or take based on the 2009 bona fide comparable where the gun was put in front of the masses.

John
 
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