I am inclined to believe original finish based on non-polished metal appearance.Something(s) is really not right about this. Why would the archives letter mention the orange safety disc as part of the package? That was a standard thing across the revolver line for a few years...it merits no archives mention. Plus the "FerDeLance" lightly inscribed on the barrel while the roll marks on the other side look normal and deep?
It looks like someone took a buggered up Python, put some kind of filler where the "Python" roll mark would be and inscribed something different...gave it an inexpensive refinish to cover the flaws it and counterfeited an archives letter. It could prove out to be a good shooter but that's about it.
It is 100% legitimate. The gun was sold in the March 29, 2009 Colt Archives auction at Greg Martin in California. It was lot number 517 and is shown on page 91 of the catalog of that date. It sold for $1800 (hammer price).
It is interesting to note that the "historical letters" for the Archive auction guns were somewhat different than the usual ones. The descriptions for the auction letters were written by R.L. (Larry) Wilson and he actually had the guns in hand when he did the work. The information in the regular historical letters from the Colt Archives is taken from shipping ledgers. Paul S. and Beverly H. generally do not have access to the actual firearm when preparing a letter.
- - -Buckspen
Good eyes! I didn't look at it that close, but after your comments I'm glad I went back to check it out again.After looking at it again, I actually think it's authentic. It is extremely straight and crisp, every edge is clean and even the cylinder stop (the bump on the side plate) is nice and square.