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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is a Colt Single Action Army I bought years ago from a friend whose father had it since the 40s. I have shot this wonderful piece of history and enjoyed the historic significance of the piece. I do have a Colt letter which says it was sent from Colt to Hartley and Graham for engraving. I have no idea who did the engraving but would like any comments. The hammer cocks great and all mechanics are excellent. Bore is good with some roughness but not bad. It has obviously been used but well cared for along the way. All serial numbers match. I'm glad it's .45 caliber. The case is great for this Colt and the ammunition box is an original box of period unopened ammo. And, yes, the Morgan Silver dollar is 1883! Thanks!
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First off, very nice Colt with "extras". The engraving looks good, although it was completely by a new engraver/someone learning the trade, as portions seem out of line and not as precise as expected.

I'm no good for a current value, as I'm not a buyer/seller. I buy what I want and can afford, and then keep it all. That said....pearls worth about 1k, vintage complete ammo box several hundred at least and then the actual Colt. Couple G's depending - can you post a picture of the letter and documentation for engraving?
 

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Nice gun. I never mind buggered screws because that means it was being carried/shot and has a story. I definitely concur that it was engraved by an apprentice level engraver. One with obvious talent but still new.

The box of ammo itself will go $300-$500
 

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Here is a Colt Single Action Army I bought years ago from a friend whose father had it since the 40s. I have shot this wonderful piece of history and enjoyed the historic significance of the piece. I do have a Colt letter which says it was sent from Colt to Hartley and Graham for engraving. I have no idea who did the engraving but would like any comments. The hammer cocks great and all mechanics are excellent. Bore is good with some roughness but not bad. It has obviously been used but well cared for along the way. All serial numbers match. I'm glad it's .45 caliber. The case is great for this Colt and the ammunition box is an original box of period unopened ammo. And, yes, the Morgan Silver dollar is 1883! Thanks!
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I sure as heck wouldn't shoot that gun! If nothing worse happnens, shooting is what chips the pearl grips. Hartley & Graham did the engraving. Was it shipped "soft"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info so far. The pistol was shipped "soft" for engraving to Hartley & Graham directly from Colt. I agree that keeping the buggered screws just celebrates its well-used history. Pistols with wear carry many fascinating stories. Why change that?

Colt letter:

Font Parallel Paper Paper product Letter
 

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Apparently H&G had several different people doing engraving for them because the engraving style on soft guns vary so much as well as the amount of detail and execution. I don't believe anyone has ever identified who all engraved for H&G. This soft gun appears to have it's H&G applied finish but has gotten some rust on it through the years and it was cleaned in areas like on that top strap. You can see the scratches in the finish on the top of the barrel also. Interesting is the detail that this gun has more like factory looking grips on it. Most of the H&G engraved guns have the screw that holds the stocks together lower placed than the screw on yours which is more like a factory or factory type placement. My gut says in the condition and the amount and execution of the engraving job your gun would probably sell in the $7500 range for the condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The grips look original to this Colt with the patina and close fit to the frame. It certainly had been used a good amount early on but not abused.

It would be nice to know a little more of the history of different engravers at Hartley & Graham in the early years. Thanks for the evaluations. Well appreciated!
 

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Generally H&G bought guns with the standard grips of the day such as wood or rubber when they were shipped soft but I've even owned a few soft guns that were shipped without grips as well as one factory engraved gun shipped to H&G without grips. H&G could furnish their own grips for less than what colt was charging so on a fancy engraved gun they tended to put their own grips on them.
 

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Interesting. I have a 4 3/4 "shipped soft" with a nearly identical engraving pattern as yours. Only one or two small details differ. Mine is in the 88xxx range. I like your gun!
 

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Looks to me like someone 'opened' up the rear sight notch, shouldn't it be a 'V' in that time frame. Mine that are close all are.
 

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My uneducated eye doesn’t see any issue with the engraving but I’m glad there are experts here to help further my education on these awesome revolvers. Thanks for sharing an awesome package that many would be proud to own.
So a couple particulars I noticed: if you look at the scallop area at the top of the back strap- the little half moon punches are not consistently spaced at all. The large loop around the hammer screw and matching on the other side- you can easily see flat spots in the large loop.
 

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From my experience I would say that this is pretty good engraving for H&G and it looks similar to some of the engraving that came out of the Colt shop during that period. People who try to analyze this old engraving have to remember that the engravers probably could not spend more than a couple days working on the guns. Modern day Master Engravers spend considerably more time doing their beautiful work.
 

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From my experience I would say that this is pretty good engraving for H&G and it looks similar to some of the engraving that came out of the Colt shop during that period. People who try to analyze this old engraving have to remember that the engravers probably could not spend more than a couple days working on the guns. Modern day Master Engravers spend considerably more time doing their beautiful work.
If I were a master engraver, at that time or any other, I would not be pleased with my work on this gun. I believe this was done by an apprentice. An apprentice with innate talent and who I'm sure became a good engraver, but am apprentice nonetheless. The sloppiness is easy to see from zoomed out photos and I'm a novice at knowing about these things, let alone actually going into detailed photos looking at line width consistency and looking for start/stop junctions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It is interesting that the engravers of this period would turn out work quickly. Thanks for the opinions. I have come to love this Colt SAA!
 

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It is interesting that the engravers of this period would turn out work quickly. Thanks for the opinions. I have come to love this Colt SAA!
A couple more comments here. I think that neither Colt nor H&G "made" pearl grips. These grips were purchased outside according to quality, price, and turnaround time. The screw location was not much of a factor in selecting a new vender. Colt prefered a centralized screw, but some of their venders made exceptions. H&G bought most of their grips from makers who placed the screw a bit low.

The grips on the subject gun have a central screw vertically, but it is closer to the backstrap than "normal". The grip maker, in this case, may have been concerned about interfearing with the mainspring.

H&G was located in a place that I call "the epicenter of engraving" -- NYC. That location not only had a world of skilled German engravers, but also marketed engraving tools and supplies. So when H&G wanted to contract out some engraving work, these jobs were again awarded according to quality, price, and turnaround time. Thus engraving patterns would vary with time.
 
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