Welcome to the Colt Forum. I have one. They were the first Colt double action 22 revolver introduced in 1910. If you believe the Wilson serial number tabulation, there would have been about 45,571 made between 1910 and 1941; 1943 in other references. They had their own serial number range. Not rare, but you don't see nice ones often these days.
In Colts I have 2 Troopers, a 6" and a 4" (perfect) Diamond Back 99%, Python NIB and now the .22. It is a fixed sight model. Blue missing in places where it looks like someone ground off oxidation and it does have import marks. The grip does not appear to be original. They are brown plastic with the gold Colt emblem. I would think it would have been the black rubber type? How rare is "rare"?
The Colt brown plastic grips were something that was used by Colt in the early 1950's. Your PP a 4"? You might list the serial number with the last few digits xx'd. I know there are folks that will be interested in this gun. A photo would also be helpful. Rare is one of those terms that is hard to define since most of the production figures are Colt's secret or unpublished.
I guess you know that the gun dates 1931 using the Police Postive Target serial numbers. The serial number does not match anything that makes more sense. You may have a very rare revolver. I would be considering getting a factory letter on it.
I was looking in one of my reference books which shows a picture of a 4" Police Positive in 22 caliber.( Colt and Its Collectors , Pg 161). The serial number is listed as 6-digit number and is obviously not included in the Police Positive Target serial number range. To quote the book, "It's rare in .22rf caliber." It has a blade type front sight (half moon) vs the type found on the target models which is adjustable for elevation (with a screw). Rear sight is adjustable for windage with a screw.
Go to Colt's web site and you can get information on Colt factory letters. You basically provide all the pertinent information, a photograph, serial number etc. There is a fee. http://www.coltsmfg.com/cmci/home.asp
I would wait a bit before requesting a letter. Folks here may be able to come up with some good information other than me.
Does it have an embedded head cylinder? That would date it after 1930 or so when Colt 22's were approved for high speed ammunition. A photo would be very useful.
Info on Colt letters used to be under "Historical Services" at the Colt website.
Before you spend $75 though, what are the barrel markings and patent dates? And is the front sight a 1/2 moon? Is the groove in the top of the frame rounded, or is the back square with a matte finish on the top of the frame?
If this is the real deal, it's well worth a factory letter. We had a thread on this subject a while back, and as I said then, I have only handled one of these, and seen one other advertised for sale. Very rare...
No dates on the gun. Barrell says" Official Police Positive .22 Long Rifle CTG". Oposite side of barrell says "Colt's MFG. Co Hartfort CT USA. Colt Emblem of left side of receiver. Under serial number is an "F". Front sight is a small half moon with horizonal groves on the back half of the blade. Groove is rounded but has same horizonal lines (maybe what you are calling matted) on each side of the top. Looking down the sites the sight picture is squared. Sides of the groove are rounded up to the top then it is flat on top. I called Colt and they said mgf in 1931 also. Hope this helps.
Like the robot on Lost in Space would say: "This does not compute."
A barrel marking that says Official Police Positive? Unless I'm mistaken that would be very rare indeed. No date on the barrel and only has the address, yet Colt says it's from 1931. That's another mystery to me as it would have a last patent date of 1926 (or something like that if it were made in 1931). And a small half moon front sight?
The photo would really help, but is it possible you read the barrel markings wrong? Could this really be an everyday Official Police in 22 made in 1953? The no barrel date supports this. The Official Police marking on the barrel supports this. The half moon sight supports this. And the S/N makes more sense considering the attributes of the gun.
You said: "No dates on the gun. Barrell says" Official Police Positive .22 Long Rifle CTG". "
Could you check this again and see if it says: "Official Police .22 Long Rifle CTG", rather than "Official Police Positive .22 Long Rifle CTG"?
If it does say just Official Police .22 Long Rifle CTG" you most likely have a .22LR Official Police Model... This fits the other information you gave, with plastic grips, "Colt's MFG. Co Hartfort CT USA." Barrel address and a serial number that fits the OP 1950s vintage guns... Make sure there is the word "Positive" in the barrel marking... otherwise I think you have an OP .22LR model... My opinion... Bob Best
You have an Official Police (I believe). I have two OP 22's and both are 5-digit serial numbers. When I first looked at the photos, I thought it looked like an Official Police rather than the Police Positive. The Official Police is a larger revolver than the Police Positive. The OP frame is larger than the Diamondback frame. It is kind of chunky looking.
You have a great revolver. Take it out and shoot it. With the condition, it is not likely to be a serious collectable in the forseeable future. I'd still keep it though!
You know, I should have looked at the serial number ranges for the Official Police since I have a couple, and with the plastic grips and so forth, it made more sense to consider them. I just kept hearing "Positive" and my mind blanked out with lust. Don't feel bad; it is the kind of thing I did a few years ago.
What are your Diamondbacks? Trooper Mark III's? 22's? Great revolvers!!