Post-war at least, Colt usually followed the standard of putting gold medallions on the higher quality guns, and silver on the cheaper "service" type guns.
The Colt Python, Officer's Model Match, Trooper Mark III, Government Model, and Commander had gold.
The Trooper, Lawman, and Official Police had silver.
Early post-war guns seem to have all used silver. Even the then, top of the line Colt 357 had silver. I think the "Gold standard" really started with the Python.
A second standard was using figured walnut on the expensive guns, common walnut or hardwood on the cheaper guns.
However, Colt had a habit of using whatever was available when necessary. I've never seen a Python with factory original silver medallions, but it's not uncommon to see better woods with silver medallions.
Probably the fanciest figured walnut Colt grips I ever saw are a pair of standard "J" frame grips. These have an almost presentation-quality figured walnut, but have silver medallions in them, and came off a Lawman Mark III.
When Colt started making stainless steel guns, they also sometimes used silver medallions, EXCEPT, wooden revolver grips on the premium revolvers still used gold.
Usually, the silver medallions with stainless guns were used only on rubber grips, and on some wooden griped stainless autos.
All the mid to late Pre War grips on the OMT were Silver. Most of the Post War grips that I have seen on the OM had more of a crome plate look rather than silver. One other way to tell Pre War from Post War is to look at the inside of the grips, the Pre War will have three holes where the medallions attach, the Post War will only have one hole. I've never seen silver medallions on grips that only had the one hole on the inside.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bigmtnman: Thank you very much for all the good information. I am glad to find out their is some reasoning behind the usage of the two colors.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I have a pair of pistols with "Colt Custom" medallions. The Diamondback, made in '82 has a silver medallion. The Python made in '81 has a gold medallion. They are both nickel plate with Rosewood grips. I was curious why they are different as well.
Does anyone know where I can get Colt walnut stocks for an official police? I have a 1951 model with the original Coltwood plastic stocks, but want to change them for wood. Of course, I'll keep the Coltwood ones so I can bring it back to original.