Serial number 4 has surfaced in Pennsylvania:What other single-digit was just reported?
1908 Colt Pocket Hammerless 380-acp Serial Number 4 $.01 Start-No Reserve - Semi Auto Pistols at GunBroker.com : 874502279
I would have provided the link in my earlier post, but I took it for granted that the word would be spreading like wildfire through Colt collecting circles since noon on Saturday.
This pistol is interesting in more ways than one. Most startling to me is that it obviously has not been a safe queen for the last 112 years, or at least not for a good deal of that time. Pretty amazing to think of a single digit Colt being treated just like any other carry pistol. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but number 4?
I would guess that the original recipient of this pistol would not have been your average Joe. Then again, I have seen the letters for some (non-number 1) single digit Colt autos and been surprised at the apparently unremarkable destinations. Seems like the charm wore off quickly after serial number 1, and these pistols may very well not have been regarded with any special attention.
Judging from the seller's description, the "nothing special" attitude taken toward this pistol - at least by the current owner - is reinforced by the fact that the consignor visited another gun shop in the area who offered him $75 for it! I don't know what shop he went to, but the mere fact that the guy walked into the kind of place that would try a sleazy move like that suggests that he wasn't (initially, at least) seeking out reputable, high-end dealers who would be interested in a mutually profitable arrangement to sell an important collectible pistol. It seems he knew enough to refuse the offer, but that he placed himself in a position to receive it is a little cringe-worthy. If the story is true, I'd bet that he didn't know, or much care, what he had.
This auction will be a fascinating field study in the endless "condition vs. rarity" debate. How much will the rough condition affect the hammer price? On the one hand, I can picture financial adjustments being made, breastplates being buckled and loins girded as collectors prepare for what probably is, without exaggeration, a once in a lifetime opportunity. On the other hand, I can imagine level heads refusing to pay crazy money for a heavily worn, abused (the frame was, according to the seller, squeezed in a vise and the safety screw is missing) piece of iron, serial number be damned. It's a pretty ugly duckling to be sure.
Grab the popcorn. I know I'll be watching on the evening of the 1st.