Colt Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, I've reached the "end" of the journey on identifying what I thought was an aluminum Colt Cobra:

https://www.coltforum.com/forums/colt-revolvers/359019-update-archival-letter-all-aluminum-1950-cobra-38-special-4-barrel.html

I know the thread is long so here's the short synopsis.
Pictures of the Police Positive Special with an aluminum cylinder:

PPS-Cobra.jpg E4274E2F-6D0A-474F-BCB0-F5DAD3C2D2E5.jpeg.jpg 42F5050C-672C-44C2-B356-C6F26B3F318E.jpeg.jpg B79340D6-43C7-42C6-9051-2448C64A2901.jpeg.jpg

The gun was part of an 8 gun shipment (4 all aluminum PPS and 4 all aluminum detective specials) that were sent to Joseph Lorch. Both my PPS and the Detective Special were sold with Cobra marked barrels. Based on feedback on my earlier thread, it's clear that these were precursors for military evaluation and ultimate development of the aircrewman and other potential variant. Here's the archive letter for my PPS, the Fugate Firearms info is accessible from the Guns International and Fugate Firearms website:

Colt Cobra Archive Letter.jpg

https://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-for-sale-online/revolvers/-38-special-revolvers/1951-colt-pre-aircrewman-2-inch-alloy-cylinder-------shipped-to-joseph-a--lorch.cfm?gun_id=100914211

https://fugatefirearms.com/product/1951-colt-pre-aircrewman-2-inch-alloy-cylinder-shipped-to-joseph-a-lorch/

The ad in GI says it was sold. The Fugate Firearms ad says they were asking $8,500.

I'm slowly working my way into a small but nice Colt collection. However, this PPS is by far my most unique and potentially most valuable. Although all my guns are stored in a safe with minimal advertisement, I would like to explore getting additional home insurance. So, the question that begs to be answered - - how rare and valuable is this all aluminum PPS?

Obviously, it's a question that would ultimately be decided by those interested in owning it. There are a number of you with significant experience and knowledge in the collection of these type of rare guns. Is this truly a 1 of 4? Finally, I shoot my guns. Do I want to own something I can't shoot? Obviously, I'm not going to do so with this one given what it's made of and it's rarity. If I were to sell it, would it be best to go through an auction house? Which one would be best able to handle this type of rare gun (a 1 of 4)?

I must admit it's great owning a piece of history that's this unique so I'm not rushing to sell it. Again, just trying to understand it's value. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Jack
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,050 Posts
I must be missing something..???? Letter says PPS, Barrel says cobra. Has barrel been changed? It would be worth FAR FAR more if it letter exactly like that as a Cobra. You need to start with that in my honest opinion. Did the archive Department not give an explanation?? Cause they 2 completely different models. This day in age, with all the fakery everywhere you turn around, be a hard sell unless you can get that question answered, in writing. Jmho.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I must be missing something..???? Letter says PPS, Barrel says cobra. Has barrel been changed? It would be worth FAR FAR more if it letter exactly like that as a Cobra. You need to start with that in my honest opinion. Did the archive Department not give an explanation?? Cause they 2 completely different models. This day in age, with all the fakery everywhere you turn around, be a hard sell unless you can get that question answered, in writing. Jmho.
I had the same concern and pressed Beverly about it. She emphasized it lettered as a police positive special and could not address the Cobra barrel. She noted it was part of a shipment with 4 Detective Specials with aluminum cylinders to Lorch. However, I am much more comfortable with the barrel being a Cobra after seeing that the Detective Special in the same shipment also had a Cobra barrel. The Fugate Firearms ad makes note of this same discrepancy and provides an explanation that these were the precursor to the Cobras and experimental in nature. Makes sense to me given the available information.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
671 Posts
My input would be that something like this will only be wanted by a very select group. Since there are very few, if any, similar items, the only way to get the value is to put it an auction. The problem there is, that someone who really wants it may not be there and it may sell for a very low price. You might try putting a reserve on it in an auction. Other than that this is a tough one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,073 Posts
Somehow I missed the earlier thread, but there is nothing mysterious about these guns. Before the Cobra model was actually catalogued, these left the factory as “lightweight” Detective and PPS revolvers. Apparently the market is not too interested in these. I paid under $1,000 for one of the Detectives from this shipment about 3-4 years ago. Fugate has had his gun for sale for about five years. His asking price is a joke. If you go on Gunbroker you can get it for $5,500, his opening bid in a no-reserve auction. When he was running it at the beginning as a penny auction with reserve, the most it ever got was $4,000, and that was from me before I bought my lightweight Detective. Last time I talked to Fugate about two years ago, I offered him $3,500, and he refused.

Snubs generally get greater appeal than longer barrel guns. I think that the only way to find out is to run it in a penny no-reserve auction. My guess is that it would finish in the $2,000-$2,500 range. Generally, when you have to write a long explanation what makes a gun special, you lose 9 out of 10 prospective bidders/buyers. In the case of this gun it can’t be helped. Hopefully you did not pay too much for it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,050 Posts
Winston, so I assume by the way you talk, there are more than 4 each out there or not? The D frames never excited me. I passed on a mint blue viper for 900 when they were bringing 2000. It would have almost certainly lettered because it had the correct stocks too. Good point on the when you have to explain why a gun is special you lose 9/10 potential buyers. Explains much to me.... When it falls into that extremely rare or one off category, price generally does go down. I’ve learned by watching auctions, a good example is the Colt archives auction. I thought some of those guns would be massive but most sold cheap and many still are today when come up, just too rare, collectors don’t know enough about them.
As to this gun, I have no doubt, I’d just send it to one of the major auction house in a premier sell and roll the dice. Very little risk, potentially high reward.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Somehow I missed the earlier thread, but there is nothing mysterious about these guns. Before the Cobra model was actually catalogued, these left the factory as “lightweight” Detective and PPS revolvers. Apparently the market is not too interested in these. I paid under $1,000 for one of the Detectives from this shipment about 3-4 years ago. Fugate has had his gun for sale for about five years. His asking price is a joke. If you go on Gunbroker you can get it for $5,500, his opening bid in a no-reserve auction. When he was running it at the beginning as a penny auction with reserve, the most it ever got was $4,000, and that was from me before I bought my lightweight Detective. Last time I talked to Fugate about two years ago, I offered him $3,500, and he refused.

Snubs generally get greater appeal than longer barrel guns. I think that the only way to find out is to run it in a penny no-reserve auction. My guess is that it would finish in the $2,000-$2,500 range. Generally, when you have to write a long explanation what makes a gun special, you lose 9 out of 10 prospective bidders/buyers. In the case of this gun it can’t be helped. Hopefully you did not pay too much for it.
Thanks for the insight and providing additional information, I appreciate it. I paid $750 so I would say I’m covered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Winston, so I assume by the way you talk, there are more than 4 each out there or not? The D frames never excited me. I passed on a mint blue viper for 900 when they were bringing 2000. It would have almost certainly lettered because it had the correct stocks too. Good point on the when you have to explain why a gun is special you lose 9/10 potential buyers. Explains much to me.... When it falls into that extremely rare or one off category, price generally does go down. I’ve learned by watching auctions, a good example is the Colt archives auction. I thought some of those guns would be massive but most sold cheap and many still are today when come up, just too rare, collectors don’t know enough about them.
As to this gun, I have no doubt, I’d just send it to one of the major auction house in a premier sell and roll the dice. Very little risk, potentially high reward.
Thanks for following the thread and the feedback. Yup, an auction house would be the way to go if I want/need to sell it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
My input would be that something like this will only be wanted by a very select group. Since there are very few, if any, similar items, the only way to get the value is to put it an auction. The problem there is, that someone who really wants it may not be there and it may sell for a very low price. You might try putting a reserve on it in an auction. Other than that this is a tough one.
Auction is the consensus. Thanks for your thoughts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
As has been said, there were 4 guns in that shipment. Is there evidence that ONLY 4 were ever made?
Rick - any suggestions on how I can confirm only 4 were made? WinstonWolfe said he bought his DS off the same 4 gun DS shipment to Lorch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,073 Posts
Rick - any suggestions on how I can confirm only 4 were made? WinstonWolfe said he bought his DS off the same 4 gun DS shipment to Lorch.
I don’t think you can assume that only four of each were made. Someone would have to go through all Colt records from 1LW through at least first several thousand. You can probably arrange that with Colt Archives by going to Hartford and having them let you go through ledgers. Whether the number is 4 or 20, selling will require the right audience. I am not necessarily convinced that RIA and similar who will charge you a huge fee if you only bring one gun is your best bet. I think that a top dealer on Gunbroker who charges a much smaller fee may net you more money. The Fugate gun is a good indicator of both value and interest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I don’t think you can assume that only four of each were made. Someone would have to go through all Colt records from 1LW through at least first several thousand. You can probably arrange that with Colt Archives by going to Hartford and having them let you go through ledgers. Whether the number is 4 or 20, selling will require the right audience. I am not necessarily convinced that RIA and similar who will charge you a huge fee if you only bring one gun is your best bet. I think that a top dealer on Gunbroker who charges a much smaller fee may net you more money. The Fugate gun is a good indicator of both value and interest.
Thanks for the additional insight. I had similar thoughts but didn’t know if I would be allowed to search the archives. I will definitely look into the suggestion and see what is possible. Again, thanks for responding to the thread!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks to Radical Rod, I now have information regarding the value of my gun. RIA just completed an auction on September 7th that is a “ship-mate” to my gun. Talk about synchronicity. Here’s a link to the details:

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/77/1392/alloy-cylinder-colt-cobra-double-action-revolver

Same gun as mine (my serial number is lower), shipment date and the Police Positive Special / Cobra barrel. There is also an archive letter from Colt.

Bottom line, gun sold for $6,900 so I need to insure accordingly. Thanks to everyone who helped me on this journey. This is an awesome Forum!
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top