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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Hmm. Well, not acceptable to me, just how I feel, no apologies.
Well, some can afford to be snobs about it, others can't. I certainly wouldn't cast aspersions on someone willing to accept the "sin" of an enhanced stamp on the butt of a pistol if it means they get the personal joy of owning a genuine antique Colt pistol. Perhaps someone who can afford to be so picky should take stock in the fact that they are living a life where they likely don't have to worry about much else.

That's just how I feel, no apologies.
 

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According to whom?
Not according to me for sure, anything restamped is a recreation if on a new part or an obliteration if done on an original. But overall, there doesn't seem to be the negative connotation and even a general acceptance of enhanced parts and markings in SAA's.
 

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What are guys doing with all their US SAAs that Kopec says have "enhancements" and "facsimilies"? I think most guys just accept the flaws, and say "those things happen" or "it's part of the guns history". Many guys here have posted letters from Kopec and the letters indicate fake barrel addresses, US marks, and cartouches. Along with reproduction parts. I see guns with Kopec letters like that for sale. And people buy them, warts and all. The guy with the nickel US that had a facsimile US and facsimile 45 cal markings decided he was satisfied with the gun as is, and other people said they would be proud to own it.

People on this forum have paid restorers large amounts of money to fabricate SAAs made with new non Colt parts, all new markings, and a new non Colt refinish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Not according to me for sure, anything restamped is a recreation if on a new part or an obliteration if done on an original. But overall, there doesn't seem to be the negative connotation and even a general acceptance of enhanced parts and markings in SAA's.
Speaking as someone who has worked professionally as a museum artifact preservationist and conservator, I can tell you that using the term "obliteration" is a bit of an overstatement. For the most part, artifacts don't get much more treatment than what is known in the business as "arrested decay", in which the condition of the artifact is not enhanced or in some cases even cleaned, it is merely put in an environment that will stop whatever decomposition is taking place in order to preserve it as it is. For instance, I as a conservator would never clean the bloodstains or dirt off of a battle used piece of Civil War accoutrement, I would however do whatever I could to remove any environmental condition that would allow the acids and alkalines in the blood to continue to slowly degrade the object. But, many artifacts are not only cleaned but are reversed in their aging process as much as is deemed necessary in order to help preserved them or in some cases, enhance their historic properties. This can mean things like resewing seams on a 18th C. F&I shooting bag, using UV light to fade stains or, yes, carefully deepening worn or faded markings or hallmarks on an object in order to keep the important provenance of them visible. Carefully deepening or sharpening the stock markings for instance on grips of a classic SAA isn't forging or falsifying the provenance of the piece, it is merely reversing the fading of the important benchmarks for that particular weapon. If it is done carefully and with discretion, I don't see how it is such an unforgiveable sin.
 

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What are guys doing with all their US SAAs that Kopec says have "enhancements" and "facsimilies"? I think most guys just accept the flaws, and say "those things happen" or "it's part of the guns history". Many guys here have posted letters from Kopec and the letters indicate fake barrel addresses, US marks, and cartouches. Along with reproduction parts. I see guns with Kopec letters like that for sale. And people buy them, warts and all. The guy with the nickel US that had a facsimile US and facsimile 45 cal markings decided he was satisfied with the gun as is, and other people said they would be proud to own it.

People on this forum have paid restorers large amounts of money to fabricate SAAs made with new non Colt parts, all new markings, and a new non Colt refinish.
This one, for example, is a complete fabrication or facsimile. The clue is the factory letter which describes shipment to Simmons Hardware.


Discard the factory letter and fool your friends and neighbors…

Edit: Okay, the “D.F.C.” on the frame is a particularly poor facsimile, but to the unknowing, it might pass muster.
 

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Original parts that are restamped in the original style are acceptable to me. Id rather be able to read whats actually on the barrel or frame than see numbers and letters that are worn or buffed away. I'll pay up for an all original gun but I wont turn my nose up at one that has been restored properly as long as it was not done to deceive anyone. A lot of crazy thing have been done to some of these guns in the past 100 plus years and sometimes you have to take them back to what they should look like if they had been left alone.
 

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This one, for example, is a complete fabrication or facsimile. The clue is the factory letter which describes shipment to Simmons Hardware.


Discard the factory letter and fool your friends and neighbors…

Edit: Okay, the “D.F.C.” on the frame is a particularly poor facsimile, but to the unknowing, it might pass muster.
I'll ask because I have little knowledge of these guns but am curious. Are there no examples of US guns that were purchased by the government from any hardware stores or distributors or were they all purchased directly from Colt?
 

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I'll stick with original guns, no matter how worn. Modern enhancements on antique artifacts do not appeal to me. But, in this hobby, everyone gets to set their own standards. I have no right to tell other people what they should find appealing.
 

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I'll ask because I have little knowledge of these guns but am curious. Are there no examples of US guns that were purchased by the government from any hardware stores or distributors or were they all purchased directly from Colt?
None would have been purchased by the government from hardware stores or distributors. If they were, they would not have been manufactured to military specifications nor would the inspection marks of various inspectors and sub inspectors have been applied.
 

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Speaking as someone who has worked professionally as a museum artifact preservationist and conservator, I can tell you that using the term "obliteration" is a bit of an overstatement. For the most part, artifacts don't get much more treatment than what is known in the business as "arrested decay", in which the condition of the artifact is not enhanced or in some cases even cleaned, it is merely put in an environment that will stop whatever decomposition is taking place in order to preserve it as it is. For instance, I as a conservator would never clean the bloodstains or dirt off of a battle used piece of Civil War accoutrement, I would however do whatever I could to remove any environmental condition that would allow the acids and alkalines in the blood to continue to slowly degrade the object. But, many artifacts are not only cleaned but are reversed in their aging process as much as is deemed necessary in order to help preserved them or in some cases, enhance their historic properties. This can mean things like resewing seams on a 18th C. F&I shooting bag, using UV light to fade stains or, yes, carefully deepening worn or faded markings or hallmarks on an object in order to keep the important provenance of them visible. Carefully deepening or sharpening the stock markings for instance on grips of a classic SAA isn't forging or falsifying the provenance of the piece, it is merely reversing the fading of the important benchmarks for that particular weapon. If it is done carefully and with discretion, I don't see how it is such an unforgiveable sin.
I spent a decade collecting M1 Garands, and deepening the cartouche marks on a stock were a definite no-no across the board as far as acceptability. It becomes important when you are looking at a pre 150,000 serial number gun and a intact buttstock with the "SA over SPG" marks and two equal sized holes in the stock will bring almost $10,000 to the right person. There are guys on this forum who can tell the difference between a restamped barrel and an untouched one. Mostly, the people who know keep the knowledge close to their sleeve so as not to further empower those who make things and try to pass them off as original. Dave Lanara (jplower on this forum) is probably one of the top in the restoration field, and he carefully permanently marks guns he restores on the frame so they can't be passed off as original. Because the Colt SAA is prolific, and early guns were very heavily used as tools, restorations are acceptable by-and-large within the community. When I started collecting Colts, the figure I commonly heard was that 90% of first gen guns have had something done to them to enhance their value. It's common knowledge that there are few "virgin" first gen guns. One's like the no-finish gun in 45 and a beat up base pin are interesting to me because there is a chance it might actually be unenhanced beyond some breakage parts replaced along the way.
 

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This does bring up the future of collectors as w/ common wear all the marks fade so to speak & you will see older restorations that patina where they look good but let them fall into the hands of an unscrupulous dealer & after the buyer finds out too late, it can cause a bitter taste in the mouth that can snuff out the desire to collect. In looking over the the revolver in question I do wonder wy the mis match serial # & inspector mark have that new look & in reality shold look like the rest of the revolver as the cylinder pehaps recieved most of the wear being removed from the holster. As to people enhancing original U.S. Colts. I guess they own it & is theirs to do what ever, but when they do, it can't be undone & have forever killed historical value of revolver, considering what U.S. marked Colts bring. IMHO, why not go buy a quality reproduction. This is mine to compare wear to cylinder & note number & Ainsworth initials, show no bluing as do the inspector marks
750121


750122


750123


750124


750125


750126
 

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What are guys doing with all their US SAAs that Kopec says have "enhancements" and "facsimilies"? I think most guys just accept the flaws, and say "those things happen" or "it's part of the guns history". Many guys here have posted letters from Kopec and the letters indicate fake barrel addresses, US marks, and cartouches. Along with reproduction parts. I see guns with Kopec letters like that for sale. And people buy them, warts and all. The guy with the nickel US that had a facsimile US and facsimile 45 cal markings decided he was satisfied with the gun as is, and other people said they would be proud to own it.

People on this forum have paid restorers large amounts of money to fabricate SAAs made with new non Colt parts, all new markings, and a new non Colt refinish.
The gap in the value between altered and original condition pieces will continue to grow. As more collectors enter the field they will become more discerning and demanding of authenticity in terms of condition. It happens in every area of art and collectable objects.
 

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The gap in the value between altered and original condition pieces will continue to grow. As more collectors enter the field they will become more discerning and demanding of authenticity in terms of condition. It happens in every area of art and collectable objects.
As I’ve become better at this, I’ve since cleared out problematic examples, save one Cavalry Model and one Artillery Model revolver as”shooters”. Those I even consider for purchase are lesser in number as I’ve become more discerning.

My “shooter” Artillery Model is actually a well above average example. Significant bluing present, crisp markings, etc. Its downfall is later grip replacement.
 

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The gap in the value between altered and original condition pieces will continue to grow. As more collectors enter the field they will become more discerning and demanding of authenticity in terms of condition. It happens in every area of art and collectable objects.

thats true but its one thing to buy something with known warts and pay accordingly and quite another to buy and pay for an original and later find out its not...

I know for me I'd never look at that piece the same.

As for this SAA, IMO the cartouche looks too "fresh" in relation to the pistols overall well worn condition and if the cylinder marks are suspect I'd suspect everything else.

As far as restorations and restamps I would not waste the money. Why throw good money at a gun you are gonna have to explain...everything gets sold at one time or another. OC Young calls em "Aunt Bessie guns" as you have to explain em away just like your old cranky aunt at Thanksgiving :)
 

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The gap in the value between altered and original condition pieces will continue to grow. As more collectors enter the field they will become more discerning and demanding of authenticity in terms of condition. It happens in every area of art and collectable objects.
Good point and an example are the Colt conversions. I can well remember many collectors felt they were the works of talented gunsmiths & you couldn't hardly give em away. But as we educated ourselves & did some indepth research, experts like Charles Pate, almost overnight gave us some new classes of Colts, you had the Richards, Richards Mason, model 1872, the M model & more. What were once bottom feeders, now can fetch as much or more than a Colt SAA. Collectors today, are indeed more informed than they were back in the 60's & 70's. As far as those who enhance an original, that is their business but should expect much less in compensation if traded or sold & that is one less original for future collectors. Collectors are more discerning than 50 years ago. I too, notice some on here put a lot of stock in the letters. While nice to have, they don't enhance the value unless it has some historical value then you pay more. I only letter if it is an original piece & to see if it expands the histrorical history. As the old saying goes, stories w/ guns are nice, but...... that & a buck & a half, will buy you a cup of coffee
 

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Collectors are more discerning than 50 years ago.

I too, notice some on here put a lot of stock in the letters. While nice to have, they don't enhance the value unless it has some historical value then you pay more.
Collectors now have to pay a lot more for premium guns, so it pays to be in the know. Collectors are now better informed because of the internet, and it is easier to find the "history" of a gun. I have a 1905 32-20 that I can find 2 times since 2001 where it sold at auction. If there are pictures, you can find recent changes on a gun - say a nickeled artillery shows up as a blued Cavalry next time it is pictured.

The letters are useful to confirm configuration. Did that nickel second generation 44 really come from the factory that way or not? Was that 45 with a 7-1/2 really once a 32-20 with a 4-3/4" barrel? There can be errors, but it's the closest thing we have to a pedigree for a gun.
 

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In 18 years of membership here no one has ever insinuated I was a snob or my position in life was far above the riff raff that can only afford to collect "watered down" guns. For 43 years I actually swung a hammer every day and in my best earning years probably made less money than 90% of the membership here. I have owned and still own 'watered down" guns. I bought a Casey and a Johnson both with replaced grips because I don't see them often. Legit restorations are one thing but look at what Tommy Haas was doing for years. When Kopec is gone who is going to authenticate? When the gene pool becomes so diluted with helped, enhanced and restored guns that "only" have a piece or two or maybe more that are modern 'facsimilies' none of our collections will be worth squat because every gun and every part will be suspect. JMO!
 

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In 18 years of membership here no one has ever insinuated I was a snob or my position in life was far above the riff raff that can only afford to collect "watered down" guns. For 43 years I actually swung a hammer every day and in my best earning years probably made less money than 90% of the membership here. I have owned and still own 'watered down" guns. I bought a Casey and a Johnson both with replaced grips because I don't see them often. Legit restorations are one thing but look at what Tommy Haas was doing for years. When Kopec is gone who is going to authenticate? When the gene pool becomes so diluted with helped, enhanced and restored guns that "only" have a piece or two or maybe more that are modern 'facsimilies' none of our collections will be worth squat because every gun and every part will be suspect. JMO!
Well spoken. And a Wheeler inspected Cavalry or Artillery Model component—you take what you can get!
 
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