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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a WF marked Police Positive Special marked WF & Co A. 253 on the butt:



Apparently I have been under the wrong impression that this was sort of another Wells Fargo serial number. I was just flipping though RL Wilsons book "The Peacemakers" and on page 248 there is a picture of several WF guns. One of them is a Police Positive special also marked WF & Co A.253. The one in the book is serial number 16729, mine is 23773. This makes the one in the book from 1909 and mine is from 1911.

So my question is what do these numbers mean? Is it just the number of whatever office of WF the gun was issued to?
(I really need to get this one lettered)

 

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I would letter it to find out. I know on the Schofields the correct stamp is W.F.& CO EX. I bet one of the two guns you mentioned has incorrect spurious markings. After some of the older collectors pass, shady stuff turns up. For instance, there is an engraved, nickel plated, two barrel set, M&H, in 44MH that is in the Merwin book. It was owned by some doctor, I forget his name. It reads possible prototype in the picture heading. I just saw the gun at the Missoula Montana gun show. It is a buffed, engraved and polished Spanish first model. The proof is, the telling barrel address that ends in 1881, and the flat hammer stud, all US Merwin first models end in 1877. The short barrel is a cut US barrel that had the numbers re-stamped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would letter it to find out. I know on the Schofields the correct stamp is W.F.& CO EX. I bet one of the two guns you mentioned has incorrect spurious markings. After some of the older collectors pass, shady stuff turns up. For instance, there is an engraved, nickel plated, two barrel set, M&H, in 44MH that is in the Merwin book. It was owned by some doctor, I forget his name. It reads possible prototype in the picture heading. I just saw the gun at the Missoula Montana gun show. It is a buffed, engraved and polished Spanish first model. The proof is, the telling barrel address that ends in 1881, and the flat hammer stud, all US Merwin first models end in 1877. The short barrel is a cut US barrel that had the numbers re-stamped.
So do you know for a fact that there are no repeat Wells Fargo numbers? I'm inclined to think that the Wells Fargo number is not a serialized number but perhaps a number for whatever the agency the gun was issued to. If my gun was made 20 or 30 years later than the one in the book I might wonder a little more but its within 1 1/2 to 2 years from the gun in Wilson's book.
But again, I don't know this for sure. I'd like to know exactly what the number refers to.
While genuine WF markings make a gun more rare, it doesn't seem to me to make them rare enough to be worthwhile to fake.

I will get a check off to Colt soon and get the thing lettered. Then by Christmas I might know :)
 

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One of the largest number of faked weapons are the 'Well Fargo' guns.

These spurious markings started appearing in the 1950's on pretty much everything that'd shoot - likely as a result of the popularity of the Western.

Several types exist, attesting to the attempt to add 'value' to otherwise mundane firearms.

By the time your particular Colt appeared on the scene, Wells Fargo had turned into a basic courior, like 'Railway Express' did.

For more information you can contact:

Wells Fargo Historical Services
420 Montgomery St. A0101-026
San Francisco, CA 94163

Before you contact Colt, try the above.

Looking at the stamping, there's a 'bounce' in the application of the stamp.

If it were done at Colt, the stamp wouldn't have that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So should a Police Positive made in 1909-1911 actually have an abbreviated version of "Railway Express agency"?
 

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twaits...I don't think so, as Railway Express Co started in 1917, I believe...Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One more question, were all Wells Fargo Colts roll marked by Colt or were some done after they left the factory by WF or a distributor selling to WF?
 

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QUESTION: With all the lettered guns we collectors have, does anyone have a factory letter stating it was shipped to Wells Fargo?.......Jim
 

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QUESTION: With all the lettered guns we collectors have, does anyone have a factory letter stating it was shipped to Wells Fargo?.......Jim
Hi Jim,

I have a couple of lettered "W.F.&Co." marked Colt New Army model revolvers that letter as sold to Wells Fargo Company by Colt. The "W.F.&Co." marking is mentioned in the letter as applied by Colt to the butt. There is no "A" letter or number with it. My guns date from 1906.

There is at least one New Army revolver with a spurious "WF&Co A. 79" marking running around ... There are many fakes out there ... Best advice if you are paying a premium is to have a factory letter ... no letter consider it a fake .... Just my opinion here ... Hope that helps. Bob Best
 

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Erik. I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I don't know if Wells Fargo used any numbers more than once but they did have Colt mark there company insignia on the guns. Here is an example:





 

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Hi Jim,

I have a couple of lettered "W.F.&Co." marked Colt New Army model revolvers that letter as sold to Wells Fargo Company by Colt. The "W.F.&Co." marking is mentioned in the letter as applied by Colt to the butt. There is no "A" letter or number with it. My guns date from 1906.

There is at least one New Army revolver with a spurious "WF&Co A. 79" marking running around ... There are many fakes out there ... Best advice if you are paying a premium is to have a factory letter ... no letter consider it a fake .... Just my opinion here ... Hope that helps. Bob Best
Thank you for your response, Bob...How do your markings compare with the original post? I have one early gun with Fargo markings. It is a Navy Pocket (Type 2) Conversion from the 1880's. Very different stamping design. If in the early days Wells Farge did themselves or had local dealer stamp there logo, I don't have a documented sample to compare it to. But it doesnot look very original Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you for all the responses. I'm wondering if some guns were roll marked by Colt and some were roll marked by the dealer or distributor?
I think I'm just going to have to spend the money and letter mine just to see. If it's a fake I'm out $75 but I won't lose any sleep over it.
 
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