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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1902, and a 1903 SAA in 45 Colt. I sent off for the factory letters, and here is what I have:

1902 - 38/40 Caliber, 4-3/4, Blue finish, shipped to a hardware store in Missouri.
1903 - 38/40 Caliber, 4-3/4, Nickel finish, shipped to Paris, TX.

Both of these I purchased fairly "cheap" as a pair, even though I know they aren't really a pair. Both are chambered in 45 LC, and are marked as such on the barrel. Both are nickle, even though the letter on the 1902 says it was shipped as blued. Both came with hard rubber eagle grips, but the grips are warped and don't fit at all. Both have imitation stag horn grips, from a popular grip maker in the early 1920's to 50's.

I know they aren't huge collector pieces, but they are my first SAA's and I love them anyway. (I also received a 38/357 1980's blued 4-3/4 and paid pretty much what the 1980's SA was worth for all three, so I didn't lose money!).

Does the ship to help me out on value? Does the caliber conversion and/or nickel on the blued from factory pistol kill the value? On the 1902, the Colt letter has no mention of factory nickel plating, and neither are chambered in 38/40 anymore.

I'm still keeping them, but may consider a trade (at some point) if it would be worth it to trade both for a really nice SAA that would be worth collecting. Otherwise, they look awesome in my gun room.....
 

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It does help. I guess I really don't care (that much) about the value - they are still my pride of my collection even though I know they aren't worth what they could be. I am more just curious about the "value" on the market to collect. In reality, I'll probably never sell them, but instead look to add to them. I personally am happy with their history, or what it could have been. One can speculate where they were, why they were together, why they were re-chambered, etc. And just the fact (to me) that one was shipped to Missouri, the other to Texas in that time period, tells me that more than likely someone carried them on horseback. I also assume that they were both owned by the same person who converted them to 45. The person I purchased them from did not know any history on them other than her husband bought them used and always called them "his 45's", so all I have to go by is the letter and my imagination. Which isn't a bad thing...
 

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MY first Colt SAA is from 1909. It was nickle plated after it left the factory. Almost all of the collectors here wouldn't touch it with a 10 ft poll because it is not factory nickel. It doesn't matter since I plan on keeping it until I give leave it to a grandchild. So yes all non factory changes do hurt the value to collectors. Shooters don't seam to mind as much but they won't pay collector prices either.
What does a Colt factory letter cost these days?
 

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Geo, welcome to the forum!

Value of your guns? It really depends how well they were refinished and what parts were used during the 45 conversions. I wouldn't get into a hurry thinking about trading them for something better. You might have a really nice set of guns that would be very difficult to replace. Pretty common to change calibers after WWII and later when ammo was hard to find in the WCF calibers.

The forum membership can tell you a lot more about the details of your guns if you post some good high definition photos of them. Many folks consider the production time frame of your Colts to be the "golden age" for Colt SAAs. No worries about shooting them with modern smokeless ammo.
 
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