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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I want to buy an original Colt 1888 SAA in 38 Colt cal, but I do not know what would be a fair price. According to the seller, the revolver is all matching, works good, good bore. Most nickel remaining with some frosting. It do come with a Colt letter. I only have 1 picture of the Colt, but I could ask for more.

what do you think about the revolver (condition, rarity,value, caliber...)?

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We will need more and very sharp pictures to truly evaluate the gun but based on the one poor picture the gun looks very good. The overall condition of the gun and grips match. The edges appear to be crisp and the lettering crisp as well.
 

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From an enlarged photo the area around the frame holes are lower. They should not be slightly dipped in the least.
An original gun from that era they would be flatter than flat. That area receives no “usual wear” from handling.
If the seller is adamant and wants full value for a righteous, original finish gun, take out the hammer, trigger and bolt screws and lay the edge of a razor blade across each hole. If they dip in...it’s a refinished SAA.
Unless the gun exhibits exceptional Nickle condition it is suspect to being refinished and priced accordingly.
 

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I want to buy an original Colt 1888 SAA in 38 Colt cal, but I do not know what would be a fair price. According to the seller, the revolver is all matching, works good, good bore. Most nickel remaining with some frosting. It do come with a Colt letter. I only have 1 picture of the Colt, but I could ask for more.

what do you think about the revolver (condition, rarity,value, caliber...)?

View attachment 699498
You might want to check with Colt Archives for the shipping records. Being renickeled, it may have had some other alterations. I have a Colt SAA 38 Colt x 4-3/4" in the 1295xx range that won't letter (records lost or unreadable). My gun was never messed with and has "38 Cal" on left front trigger guard bow. Mine has no caliber on the barrel, as is proper for the period of manufacture.
 
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As others stated, please post many more photographs.

I think this one has been refinished, but more photographs will probably solve that mystery. The appearance of dished out screw holes could be an optical illusion or evidence of refinishing. Also, the interfaces between the triggerguard and frame and backstrap and frame are not as subtle as I would like to see, and this could indicate buffing in the past prior to refinishing.

As others stated, the grips look good.

.38 Long Colt, while uncommon, adds little value to this revolver. It's simply an unpopular cartridge. I had the opportunity to buy a Single Action Army revolver in .38 Long Colt at a local auction last year and I did not because .38 Long Colt is such a mediocre cartridge. Now, historically, that was the case, leading to the emergency refurbishment of existing Cavalry Model revolvers into Artillery Model revolvers so that .38 Long Colt could be taken out of service, and service revolvers could be utilized as chambered in .45 Colt.

From reports such as these: "Antonio Caspi, a prisoner on the island of Samar, P.I. attempted escape on Oct. 26, 1905. He was shot four times at close range in a hand-to-hand encounter by a .38 Colt's revolver loaded with U.S. Army regulation ammunition. He was finally stunned by a blow on the forehead from the butt end of a Springfield carbine." Source: .38 Long Colt - Wikipedia

Whether the reputation was ill deserved or not, the reputation has persisted to this day. You can purchase a Colt New Army or New Navy revolver, which was chambered in .38 Long Colt to this day in nearly new condition for a mere fraction of a Colt Single Action Army revolver even with virtually no condition chambered in calibres such as .45 Colt or .44-40--well under $1000.
 

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Of interest is that the earliest shipped 38-40's were called in the colt letters "38/c - rifle cartridge" Here is a snippet of a factory letter in the 127,000 serial range.

I guess colt couldn't bring themselves to say "38 winchester centerfire cartridge"


Font Text Handwriting
 

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Hi everyone. I uploaded a couple more pictures. I will ask for more.

any comments on these?
I assume that no caliber appears on the left side of barrel. Noting the finish loses on the barrel and cylinder, and the sharpness of all markings, this may be original factory nickel (or original dealer nickel, as Hartley & Graham were known to do).
 

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The last photograph depicting the base of the backstrap is troublesome. You have blemishes which could be pitting or from use of the gun as a hammer, with nickel finish over it. This suggests a renickel. If the blemishes are from using as a hammer, unless the grips were removed prior to using as such, which is unlikely, one should see like marks on the base of the grips as well; this is often seen on the base of walnut grips. With rubber grips, being brittle, they could be damaged, leading to cracks or fractures. This suggests that the grips are replaced. Do the grips smell like burnt rubber? This would mean they are the original gutta percha.
 

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Maxi5566.
I don’t think anyone wants to see that gun as something you hope it’s not. Sometimes when questions are asked about a SAA answers often times seem to discredit the gun or the poster - but that’s only due to such a high degree of fakery and misrepresentation in these SAAs.
There’s a lot of money to be made by unscrupulous sellers.

The photo of the bottom of the grip frame with the dents shows it was used as a hammer. And that use was common enough that we see plenty like that.
Of course we know the grips weren’t on the gun when that was being done or they would be broken.
I’d have to believe the nickel would have flaked and chipped, it appears the Nickle was applied over the dents, which would result in the nickel not being chipped and certainly be evidence of a refinish.
We’re just all trying to save you hundreds, maybe thousands and some disappointment.
In the long run, it’s up to you. It’s your money and you can buy what you like.
We’ve all bought ugly cars, dogs and guns that no one else liked.
Beauty truly is...in the eye of the beholder.
 
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