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I have a mint condition (perhaps unfired)1st generation SAA, serial #226XXX. It has a 5 1/2" barrel, mother of pearl grips, and is chambered in .38 Colt. The Colt archives note that the firearm was shipped to Hibbard, Spencer, and Bartlett in Chicago on 17 May 1902. The firearm was, however, originally chambered in .41 Colt and had a 4 1/2" barrel. The ampersand mark on the trigger guard indicates that the firearm was returned to the Colt factory sometime after the 1902 shipping date, and the firearm was given a new cylinder and was rebarreled for the .38 Colt. The Colt archives, however, do not include information on their work on the firearm.

My question is how much of an impact on the firearm's collector value does the change in cylinder and barrel have? According to the Colt archivist, the impact is "significant." I'm not interested in a specific dollar amount. I am interested in a rough percentage figure (e.g., 50% decline in collector value).

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
 

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I've heard of things like this before but never asked this question. How does anyone know that Colt did the work if they don't have a record of it ?. All the ampersand means is that it was returned, but maybe not for a caliber change.
IP


<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jbrett:
I have a mint condition (perhaps unfired)1st generation SAA, serial #226XXX. It has a 5 1/2" barrel, mother of pearl grips, and is chambered in .38 Colt. The Colt archives note that the firearm was shipped to Hibbard, Spencer, and Bartlett in Chicago on 17 May 1902. The firearm was, however, originally chambered in .41 Colt and had a 4 1/2" barrel. The ampersand mark on the trigger guard indicates that the firearm was returned to the Colt factory sometime after the 1902 shipping date, and the firearm was given a new cylinder and was rebarreled for the .38 Colt. The Colt archives, however, do not include information on their work on the firearm.

My question is how much of an impact on the firearm's collector value does the change in cylinder and barrel have? According to the Colt archivist, the impact is "significant." I'm not interested in a specific dollar amount. I am interested in a rough percentage figure (e.g., 50% decline in collector value).

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



[This message has been edited by Ira Paine (edited 04-12-2004).]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mr. Paine:

Thank you for the reply. The information I provided in my original posting came from Ms. Beverly Haynes, the Colt archivist. She explained the ampersand marking on the trigger guard and felt the new cylinder and rebarreling was the reason for the marking. I wish I could give you a more precise answer to your question. Perhaps when the written documentation arrives in a couple of weeks from Ms. Haynes, I will be able to give you a better answer.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ira Paine:
I've heard of things like this before but never asked this question. How does anyone know that Colt did the work if they don't have a record of it ?. All the ampersand means is that it was returned, but maybe not for a caliber change.
IP




[This message has been edited by Ira Paine (edited 04-12-2004).]
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

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look for vice marks on the barrell and frame.. colt would use perfectly fitted grasping jaws to do the change.. i had some barrel work done on my 1926 and there are marks on the frame done by a competent gunsmith..i was livid. most smiths dont realize how soft these old guns were.. check the barrel cylinder gap and see if it is in tollerence.. the factory work would be within tolerences. so this could prove that maybe it was not factory done, but would not prove if it was factory done.. as to value i dont think factory work decreases value to terrible much.. i would not pay full value for it, but what is going to hurt you is the fact that you cant prove it was factory work without a bill or some kind of factory reference.. the old barrel and cylinder seems like it should have stayed with the gun.. not being with the gun makes one wonder if this was changed to increase the value of another gun by a non factory smith..or two bad guns were swapped to make one good one.. newer good barrels are put on older guns with none the wiser, i dont know the stamping differences between the pre war guns, but im sure its done quite a bit some times. just last summer i saw a pre 1900 saa with a 2nd generation barrel and a brass trigger guard.. an appraiser in town valued it at 700 dollars.. it was in better condition than my 1926 matched numbered .45 and he wanted to trade.. i said no way and he wanted to throw in another pistol that seemed like an expensive gun but they varied in value tremindously if you researched it.. i cant remember what it was a luger or what.. but anyway the two of them was a streach to be worth 1000 dollars.. he was a professional trader specializing in crap for good guns.. the odds are actually high that the gun you have is not as good as it seems.. buyers who pay top dollar will also take this position even tho it could be a very collectable piece.. .. good luck dave..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dave:

Thanks for the information. No vice marks are on the barrel or on the frame (the barrel is a 1st generation barrel with single line Colt information). I don't know what the factory tolerances for the cylinder-barrel gap would have been/are for 1st generation SAAs. I can call Colt to get this figure.

Perhaps a copy of the factory billing (if the work was performed by Colt) will be included in the documentation being sent by the archivist.

Here are two questions for any of you who have had the Colt archives searched for information: Would a bill for the work described in my earlier post be kept within the archives? When the Colt archivist sends the documentation on a specific revolver, would a copy of the bill (if it exists) be included in the documentation?

Again, thanks in advance for your help.
 

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The refinishing work Colt did on my National Match was noted in the archive letter with a work order number and date but did not include the actual work order. I did not pursue getting an actual copy of the work order.

Scott
 
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