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Discussion Starter #1
I never thought it would happen, but I got tied up in the box craze. As I was searching my regular haunts for a pre-war DS, I came across a nice ca 1920's DS box. It is marked "2 Police Positive, Blue" and then has another label on the top marked "Detective Special". This time, I purchased the box before the gun. I'm embarassed to say what I payed. What do these boxes go for? I come across pre-war police positive boxes every so often, but never a DS. Thanks for the help.
 

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Boxes are "ONE" addiction I don't have. Now you are going to have a find a square butt Detective Special,or even rarer,one of these unmarked,or marked P.P.S. with 2" bbl,made between 1927-1933.

Have no clue what the box is worth,and I hope if you paid over $100 for it,it is in good shape,with no rips,or missing pieces.

Bud
 

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Bud, Tell me more about the unmarked DS's. I've heard of a 20's model nickel that is unmarked and I don't know what to make of it. It appears DS all the way and even serialized as such. Thanks a bunch.
 

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Welcome to Box Addicts Anonymouus! I love boxed guns and try to get boxes for any guns that do not have boxes. I also buy boxes for guns I do not have.

If the box is marked "Detective Special," a DS is needed, not a PPS in 2-inch. Of course, if one found a rare 2-inch PPS, one could remove the label and sell it. I see these boxes generally sell for over $100 and usually over $200.

While I was not asked, I can offer some information on the "unmarked" PPS-style revolvers mentioned. There was a group of 100 special order (work order 12032/100) PPS-style revolvers made in 1926 with 2-inch barrels. (I consider them DS prototypes, but Colt does not verify.) They have the small frame not found on the square butt DS. The guns are serial-numbered in the 1928 serial number range, but were shipped in 1926. Mine is in the 340,000 range, which is a mid-1928 range, but it was shipped December 28, 1926. I am told that when Colt wanted to make a special run of guns, for reasons unknown, it would select a serial number range not yet reached. Strange. The guns do not have the word "Colt" on them anywhere. The barrel is hand-stamped "38 Special" and nothing else.

What is the serial number on the bottom of the box in question? Since the DS was introduced in 1927, late in the decade, the box in question would have to be fairly early to be a 1920s box.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
JudgeColt,
The box is number in the 372,000 range (1929?). The label marked "Detective Special" is not the regular blue label, but is a white label with black lettering. Thanks again for the info., I'll continue my search for a DS from this era.
 

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I understood what you said about the label. The early DS boxes are 2-inch PPS boxes with the "Detective Special" white label with black lettering glued to the lid just above the blue PPS end label.

A 1929 DS box is very desireable box, if in good coondition. If you eventually find a later DS and want a later DS box, I have one I could trade for your DS box.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
JudgeColt,
Thanks for the offer. A 1940-41 DS with a US ordnance mark is sitting in her now, until I can find a DS closer to the serial number on the box. You never know, there is a gun show here tomorrow and I've been very fortunate at local gun shops over the past year! I was not so smart in passing up on a Banker's Special with pearl grips about two years ago for $650. Bank account, knowlege and judgement are all a little healthier now.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
While I was not asked, I can offer some information on the "unmarked" PPS-style revolvers mentioned. There was a group of 100 special order (work order 12032/100) PPS-style revolvers made in 1926 with 2-inch barrels. (I consider them DS prototypes, but Colt does not verify.) They have the small frame not found on the square butt DS. The guns are serial-numbered in the 1928 serial number range, but were shipped in 1926. Mine is in the 340,000 range, which is a mid-1928 range, but it was shipped December 28, 1926. I am told that when Colt wanted to make a special run of guns, for reasons unknown, it would select a serial number range not yet reached. Strange. The guns do not have the word "Colt" on them anywhere. The barrel is hand-stamped "38 Special" and nothing else.

[/ QUOTE ]

Thanks JC for the info. I have my eye on one of these DS proto's in nickel. I spoke to you about it once before. This gun is my most desired to purchase at this time. Did your factory letter tell you all this information or did it come from another source?
 

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My factory letter only told me the usual basic information: serial number, barrel length, finish, stocks, shipping destination and shipping date, plus the work order number quoted above. The rest I learned from various Colt collectors. The reference to the absence of Colt markings on the gun is based on examination of my gun, and confirmed by correspondence with other owners. If the nickel gun you mention is owned by a woman, I believe I corresponded with her and verified the markings as the same as mine. (I seem to recall the gun was up on GunBroker or GA and did not reach its reserve. Is this the gun?) I do not recall the serial number off hand, but I think it was close to mine. Not sure now. I think I made a copy of the correspondence, but I do not have it at home as I write.
 

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Hey Guys;
Heres a photo of my very early, 340,500 serial number range of the square butt DS/PPS. There are no markings except for the Ramapant Colt trademark on the sideplate and the barrel stamp "38 SPECIAL" on the latch side of the frame. The MOP stocks shown were a standard offering from Colt, but I don't know if these were aftermarket or Colt factory offered through a vendor...and of course I have the original factory production checkered walnut with medallions. My elephant ivory stocks cracked some years ago...before I had time to shoot a picture of them. They really dressed the gun up for that classic look...and pumped up the value considerably. It was quite unfortunate.
Lefty
bellcharteroakholsters.com
 

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JC, You’re thinking of the same gun. Strange thing, the gun was on GA and was sold. The buyer was an a-hole and it pissed the seller off. She backed out of the deal and kept the gun. She says I'm first in line when it comes up for sale again. This gun is number one on my wish list. I'll send you photo's upon purchasing and I beg you to not compete on the purchase. You have one sir and I do not. I'm sure someday we will compete on a purchase but not this one. The sellers name is Sara.

Others: JC and I don't go a long way back but I've gained a lifetime of knowledge. Without his help I'd still be directionless. I'm still a newbie but gaining knowledge every day. I've weaned myself and now it's trial and error. (like the bastard Shooting Master /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif and the bastard 3" Python /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif JC once said "anyone can place their money on the counter and walk away with a gun. What's exciting about that? The fun is in the search, locate and purchase of a unusual variation and get it for a good deal".

I've purchased 3 Colts in the last 3 weeks and I'm again gun poor. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif A nickeled Marshal, a blued Commando and a pump shotgun. It'll be interesting how the letter comes back on the Commando. It is documented that very few Commando's left the factory as blued and most went to upper brass. One went to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
 

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BCO, you should letter your gun. It appears to be within 500 guns of mine, which is very near 340,000. I would be curious to know the shipping date.

I disagree that non-original stocks increase the value of the gun, although perhaps you refer to the value of the stocks themselves. If the ivory and pearl stocks are factory Colt, they would have considerable value by themselves, but putting them on the gun instead of the correct original stocks would not increase the value of the gun in my opinion.

Everyone, notice the small butt frame.
 

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JC;
Thank you for your informed remarks. Although I do not entirely disagree with your view in general, arriving at values based solely upon entirely original factory condition (i.e. in this case, factory stocks) seems somewhat simplistic. Rationalizing values are complicated by issues of rarity, demand and condition. Additional factors to consider, such as historical significance or attribution to a famous person for example, will influence the price dramatically, often with very little regard for condition. Personally, I am persuaded that a dollar is a dollar whether it's counted in quarters, dimes, nickels or pennies. The value of elephant ivory stocks in themselves, generally, significantly increase the value of most commonly found handguns. For those which are rare, obsolete and rather obscure collectibles, that is certainly the exception as you point out. That value, as you opine, would be relative only to their inherent premium. These are the original and correct period factory production stocks with ironclad provenance to Colt's. When this DS/PPS was acquired, a very long time ago, it came as pictured here. It was not especially valuable then. The elephant ivory stocks I refer to, came off of a very early 4 inch barrel PP, that cost me less at the time than a box of .38 Short Colt cartridges. The ivory grips were worth far more, even back then, than the three Colt revolvers I bought that day, combined. Thanks for the information, I appreciate it!
Lefty
bellcharteroakholsters.com
 

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bellcharteroak;Is that one of your holsters that you have pictured with your last post,with the square butt D.S??

I have one of the Jaypee brand,that is very similar.You probably know that Jaypee used the old Audley/Folsom design,with the spring clip inside the trigger guard for security. The Jaypee does have a slightly longer belt loop than yours.

Had African American Master Sgt. when I was in Air Force Base Security in the 60's,size of an NFL linebacker, who carried his pearl handled D.S.in a similar type of black holster,with a black belt and equipment. Looked sharp with his dress uniform that he habitually wore.

I recently "retired" my 1932 Square Butt D.S. from a carry gun,to a desk drawer piece,as I got my 2" O.Police back from my wife as a carry gun. Put the Jaypee up for sale here,but no takers,even though it is mint. A lot of younger members probably have never heard/seen the Audley clip. What do you use for retention in your holster(s),as ther is no strap.

Thanks,
Bud
 

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No sooner did I read this post that I just acquired a Det Special 2" nickel, square butt serial number 3605XX It is a retired Detroit Detectives gun and is stamped inventory #5516 and "Detroit Police". Any idea when this one was made?
 

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You've got yourself a 1928 model. How's the quality of the nickel? A nickel square butt is a good find.

Mine is a 1932 model and I've posted pictures of the poor finish. It's a awesome shooting gun. I'm still looking for original stocks.
 

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A truly excellent question... This is what I know...
Jay Pee, a NYC holster making enterprise with a long history as a principal equipment vendor to the NYCPD, specialized in large volume police sales of holsters and police leather accessories, was owned by John Parlante Sr. They produced gunleather (some good and some not so good) for decades. His son, John Parlante Jr. founded it's successor company, COBRA GUNSKIN, also a mass manufacturer popular in the NYC area. Their products are very different from a custom shop like ours, in many respects, but that's another issue. Anyway, the design of that Audley-Folsom I posted was produced by Jay-Pee, Greenblatt and many, many others for decades. The actual designer is of dubious origin. The holsters, in retrospect, were poorly designed, typically of 3 or 4 piece construction, with canvass or flannel lining which among other things, attracted moisture. Not ideal for carbon blued steel revolvers carried exposed to all kinds of weather. The holster mainseams were prone to rot with their linen thread stitching and many NYC cops found out the hard way, that it could be ripped out of the holster in a take away snatch, after a few years of service.

I never use the spring loaded trigger block feature. It promotes accidental discharges by placing the finger below the trigger when drawn and retards overall drawing speed. At the time it was thought to be a positive retention feature, but failed miserably in that respect because it caused more accidents than it prevented. My rigs cover the triggerguard entirely and are wet cased friction formed to the gun.... and tight. The holster is one piece construction, with a reinforced double row stitched drop shank. Unless you expect to be turned upside down and repeatedly shaken violently...the piece ain't goin' nowhere. For the unfaithful disbelievers...we offer a hammer or triggerguard river style strap.

This is definitely a vintage rig...not designed for the modern policeman's use. However, for field use, or a collectible it is definitely a keeper! 100 years of use suggests it has had a honorable service life for many policeman. Thanks for your very kind remarks and feel free to ask any questions I can help with.
Lefty
bellcharteroakholsters.com
 

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Lefty;thanks for the great answer.Always nice to learn something about another aspect of the firearms field.

Can't find any hint of canvas in that JayPee of mine. I have 2 older Audley Folsoms. One for a 4" O.Police(or Marshall). The other was for a 5' O.P. or Army Special,but previous owner modified it from a swivel duty rig,with the ammo loops on the belt loop, to carry a 4" ".357 Model" or Trooper",cutting holster for the rear sight and removing the belt loop,and "slotting" the holster backside to weave a dress belt through.

These were NOT generic holsters! My 4" "357 Model" with its ramp front sight and adjustable rear,wont even "fit" in the holster for the fixed sighted O.P.

I tend to agree about the "dangers" of that "metal safety tab,especially if one was "in a hurry"! Would probably rate it just a tad less dangerous than the putting of a wide trigger shoe on a gun carried in a holster!

Thanks again!

Bud
 

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My DS is about 95% nickel and the original grips were wood checkered with the larger Colt medallion, but the right grip is worn smooth. I spent all afternoon cleaning it in Ed's Red and using Fitz to polish it and its really nice under all that gunk. Still had the six RP 158 gr rnd noses in it when I got it. I would like to post a picture of it but do not subscribe to any photo service. I think you fellows are turning this old boy into a Colt collector.
 
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