Colt Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,177 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up this Police Positive in .38 Colt New Police marked Railway Express Agency. Serial number is 511491. Gun is in correct dual tone (pictures taken before excessive amounts of grease were removed), has a ramped front sight, and smooth cylinder latch. Gun seems to be in excellent condition. I figured that at $400 I couldn't go wrong, but I do have a few questions.

1. How many post-war Police Positives came in .38 Colt New Police and how many of those went to Railway Express?
2. Is this a 1949 gun? While Colt web site says 1949, my serial number book is confusing and actually does not have the range that includes 511491.
3. What are the correct stocks? Is it the walnut with post-war medallions that the gun is wearing or should they be the colorful Coltwoods that I have on many 1949-1950 guns?
4. Have any of these sold recently to get an idea of value?

Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,277 Posts
The gun should have 1st pattern post war Coltwood stocks on it. The stocks on the revolver as pictured are pre WWII Police Positive or Police Positive Special checkered walnut. They are a mismatch for the gun.

"1. How many post-war Police Positives came in .38 Colt New Police and how many of those went to Railway Express?" I really don't think there is any definitive answer to this question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,277 Posts
1949 was a confusing year for serial numbers of Colt D frames.

I think your SN is probably covered in the 3 distinct Police Positive Special groupings for 1949.

Note that your new revolver has a pre war frame for a Police Positive Special - 2 holes in the right side, for a crane screw and the dome screw. Around this time (1949) Colt changed to one screw with a detent and spring to secure the crane to the frame. They also elongated the mainspring and it's anchoring point within the grip frame, which changed the geometry of the arc between the back of the trigger guard and the front strap of the grip. Your's is missing both changes, and it's definitely a pre war frame.

Colt revolvers dedicated to 32 Colt New Police and 38 Colt New Police were dropped after WWII, hence, no more Police Positives or Bankers Specials. After WWII, these calibers were offered solely in D frame revolvers like a Detective Special, Cobras, and the Police Positive Specials. The exception was the short lived Courier.

All 32 & 38 New Police revolvers post war are somewhat scarce. Kwill is one of our finest luminaries when it comes to military and post office Colt revolvers. Hopefully, he'll see this and maybe he can give you some estimate of numbers made in these arcane calibers, and maybe the value of same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,177 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
This gun is from the same collection that my factory bobbed Pocket Positive came from. I now have a trusted gun shop employee who sends me pictures when something interesting comes in. He told me that these pictures are in poor light and with a lot of grease on the gun. He swears that the gun is perfect after he cleaned it up, meaning original and not refinished. I tend to trust him, in part because everything I've seen coming out of this collection has been pristine. The grips are likely not original, although Paul from Colt suggested in a separate conversation that agency guns may have been ordered with walnut grips and/or other special features. I wonder whether pre-war grips might have been used just as the pre-war frame was. I would need a letter for that. The gun will arrive next week, so I will be able to post better pictures.

Thank you Mike for educational information. Will wait for Kevin now to comment.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top