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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all - I found this site earlier today and it's really awesome in terms of all the info you guys share. My grandfather passed away recently and I now have his old Colt revolver. It isn't in the greatest shape but it's an awesome memory of him. He and I were the only USMC vets in our family and I also received the flag the Marines presented to our family at his funeral. I'm trying to create a display in my home office with his Colt, the flag and his boot camp portrait. I know the Corps, but I don't know the Colt - so I'd obviously like to educate myself a little better on it. (For clarity in case it's not obvious, his Colt is not tied to his service in Korea as far as I'm aware. Also I'm not sure if it was passed down to him, he bought it himself, etc.)

I've been scouring the internet for hours, trying searches on this site as well as several others including Colt's site where you can lookup serial numbers but I haven't had any luck yet. I've attached several pictures and provided a few details re: serial number, patent dates, etc.. Not sure if they're all 100% correct, I used question marks based on what I'm able to see and notes from what I found online.

On barrel - Colt PT ?A MFG 0? HARTFORD CT USA
Serial # - 87772
PAT SEPT 19 1871
? 2 - 72 (month may be July based on other research)
? 19 - 75 (month may be January based on other research)

Finally, is it possible to clean / restore it on my own with some type of cleaning solution?

Thanks in advance for any help or insight you guys might be able to contribute.
Wood Air gun Trigger Rectangle Gun barrel


Revolver Wood Gas Telephone Metal




Finger Bicycle part Gas Bullet Electric blue

Automotive tire Wood Tread Font Tints and shades

Plant Wood Trunk Automotive tire Font
 

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Hi all - I found this site earlier today and it's really awesome in terms of all the info you guys share. My grandfather passed away recently and I now have his old Colt revolver. It isn't in the greatest shape but it's an awesome memory of him. He and I were the only USMC vets in our family and I also received the flag the Marines presented to our family at his funeral. I'm trying to create a display in my home office with his Colt, the flag and his boot camp portrait. I know the Corps, but I don't know the Colt - so I'd obviously like to educate myself a little better on it. (For clarity in case it's not obvious, his Colt is not tied to his service in Korea as far as I'm aware. Also I'm not sure if it was passed down to him, he bought it himself, etc.)

I've been scouring the internet for hours, trying searches on this site as well as several others including Colt's site where you can lookup serial numbers but I haven't had any luck yet. I've attached several pictures and provided a few details re: serial number, patent dates, etc.. Not sure if they're all 100% correct, I used question marks based on what I'm able to see and notes from what I found online.

On barrel - Colt PT ?A MFG 0? HARTFORD CT USA
Serial # - 87772
PAT SEPT 19 1871
? 2 - 72 (month may be July based on other research)
? 19 - 75 (month may be January based on other research)

Finally, is it possible to clean / restore it on my own with some type of cleaning solution?

Thanks in advance for any help or insight you guys might be able to contribute.
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This Colt SAA was made in 1883. It was likely shipped "soft" to such as Hartley & Graham of New York for engraving and grips. This was not a shipment to fill a military order. But it may have been ordered by any individual or group.

This gun might be properly cleaned to look better, but I AM HERE TO ASSURE YOU, that if some inexperienced person cleans this gun, it will be irreversibly screwed up. And the damage may be in multiples of $1000.

An experienced person is not one with just decades of "gun experience", but one who knows how to clean an antique engraved Colt to a result that any veteran collector can accept as attractive. And that can be a tall order to fill!

From your pictures, the left side of the frame is most concerning. It may be bubbling old plating, but may also be pitting in the underlying steel. Pictures often deceive.

At this point, I advise that you get a letter from Colt Archives prior to doing anything. Doing nothing at this point to the gun's exterior is the correct action.
 

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This Colt SAA was made in 1883. It was likely shipped "soft" to such as Hartley & Graham of New York for engraving and grips. This was not a shipment to fill a military order. But it may have been ordered by any individual or group.

This gun might be properly cleaned to look better, but I AM HERE TO ASSURE YOU, that if some inexperienced person cleans this gun, it will be irreversibly screwed up. And the damage may be in multiples of $1000.

An experienced person is not one with just decades of "gun experience", but one who knows how to clean an antique engraved Colt to a result that any veteran collector can accept as attractive. And that can be a tall order to fill!

From your pictures, the left side of the frame is most concerning. It may be bubbling old plating, but may also be pitting in the underlying steel. Pictures often deceive.

At this point, I advise that you get a letter from Colt Archives prior to doing anything. Doing nothing at this point to the gun's exterior is the correct action.
Wise words

Follow this advice OP
 

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Hi all - I found this site earlier today and it's really awesome in terms of all the info you guys share. My grandfather passed away recently and I now have his old Colt revolver. It isn't in the greatest shape but it's an awesome memory of him. He and I were the only USMC vets in our family and I also received the flag the Marines presented to our family at his funeral. I'm trying to create a display in my home office with his Colt, the flag and his boot camp portrait. I know the Corps, but I don't know the Colt - so I'd obviously like to educate myself a little better on it. (For clarity in case it's not obvious, his Colt is not tied to his service in Korea as far as I'm aware. Also I'm not sure if it was passed down to him, he bought it himself, etc.)

I've been scouring the internet for hours, trying searches on this site as well as several others including Colt's site where you can lookup serial numbers but I haven't had any luck yet. I've attached several pictures and provided a few details re: serial number, patent dates, etc.. Not sure if they're all 100% correct, I used question marks based on what I'm able to see and notes from what I found online.

On barrel - Colt PT ?A MFG 0? HARTFORD CT USA
Serial # - 87772
PAT SEPT 19 1871
? 2 - 72 (month may be July based on other research)
? 19 - 75 (month may be January based on other research)

Finally, is it possible to clean / restore it on my own with some type of cleaning solution?

Thanks in advance for any help or insight you guys might be able to contribute.
View attachment 826200

View attachment 826195



View attachment 826194
View attachment 826192
View attachment 826191
Here is a gun that was shipped soft to Hartley & Graham in 1881. The engraving style is much like some of yours. Wexel & DeGress is another New York company that often used these simple engraving features on early Colts.
 

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One Marine to another... Don't *&^% it up by trying to restore it, it's only original once. A simple soaking in a oil bath and wiping away the excess is about the best you can do from here. Otherwise it could cost you big money and a servere loss of value. Best wishes and welcome to the Colt Forum, you'll meet some of the finest Colt Collectors in the world right here and be able to get some advice from them. What's not to like?
 

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....A simple soaking in a oil bath and wiping away the excess is about the best you can do from here. Otherwise it could cost you big money and a severe loss of value.
Soaking a nickeled gun in oil, with some nickel already flaking or lost, is NOT the thing to do.
That "could cost you big money and a severe loss of value" when all the remaining nickel lifts off.
 

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That's a good point. I'd perhaps research the oil aspect. I don't have any poor condition nickel guns. But I've oiled lots of other nickel antiques with no problem. The nickel to iron is fused to be merged together into a solid piece in a normal situation. I'd want to stop any active rust, all that gun's problems started with rust.
 

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Actually it doesnt matter since it already has nickle plating that is seperated, no harm done with oil afterall. The oil will not cause any seperation issue at all.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
This Colt SAA was made in 1883. It was likely shipped "soft" to such as Hartley & Graham of New York for engraving and grips. This was not a shipment to fill a military order. But it may have been ordered by any individual or group.

This gun might be properly cleaned to look better, but I AM HERE TO ASSURE YOU, that if some inexperienced person cleans this gun, it will be irreversibly screwed up. And the damage may be in multiples of $1000.

An experienced person is not one with just decades of "gun experience", but one who knows how to clean an antique engraved Colt to a result that any veteran collector can accept as attractive. And that can be a tall order to fill!

From your pictures, the left side of the frame is most concerning. It may be bubbling old plating, but may also be pitting in the underlying steel. Pictures often deceive.

At this point, I advise that you get a letter from Colt Archives prior to doing anything. Doing nothing at this point to the gun's exterior is the correct action.
Thanks a ton for all the detailed info & specific advice, I really appreciate you sharing your insight and expertise. Especially re: next steps with the Colt Archives and not trying to clean it up myself. Besides, I've screwed up enough DIY projects over the years to know better once I'm told what not to do.

One quick follow up question for you - you mention potential damages in the multiples of $1000 if it was mishandled trying to clean it. This may be a stupid question, but that sounds to me like it's worth a substantial amount (or could've been in better condition) if damages alone could reduce the value by that much. I'll never sell it, but I am curious how much it might actually be worth or a ballpark range if that's something you have a sense of? I'm pretty clueless in this regard and I certainly never would've thought it could be worth thousands +.

Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
And the original box too ;)
Is that a good thing, irrelevant, etc.? The wink emoji threw me off a little and my sarcasm and joke radars are completely useless on this topic. It's been sitting in that strofoam box with what I assume is the original sleeve for my entire life - or at least ever since I remember first seeing it when I was a kid back in the 80s. I've attached a picture of that too.
Road surface Asphalt Motor vehicle Font Rectangle
 

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Is that a good thing, irrelevant, etc.? The wink emoji threw me off a little and my sarcasm and joke radars are completely useless on this topic. It's been sitting in that strofoam box with what I assume is the original sleeve for my entire life - or at least ever since I remember first seeing it when I was a kid back in the 80s. I've attached a picture of that too.
View attachment 826293
Just messin' about ;)
 

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You have what appears to be an original pre-1899 Colt with pearl grips. That makes it a collector's gun. The engraving can increase the value. Trying to wire wheel or sand the surface will radically lower the value and destroy any collector interest. A Colt archives letter may show if the pearl grips were original, who, and where it was shipped to. Certain ship-to locations add value. If it was shipped to a specific person, that helps as well, especially if it was someone of historic importance.
 
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