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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here is a sampling of some recent Gun Broker Python listings that include reproduction / fake / counterfeit boxes, labels and packaging materials. Some of the listings are worded carefully while others suggest "Factory original" or "NIB". None describe the packaging materials as reproductions. I just can't imagine how sick some of these buyers must feel when they find out what they actually have.

Watch out for those fakes!

1.

4" Nickel Python - Stunning Bright Nickel Colt Python 357 4 Inch Box : Revolvers at GunBroker.com - Sold for $3,551! A nice used 4" nickel Python with modified stocks and reproduction everything. This is a perfect example of why these reproduction products are used; in this instance it appears the seller gained as much as $1,500 because he included these bogus materials in the auction.

- Photo # 1: Fake wood-grain box. "thumb" cut-outs above end flaps were not present on original boxes in this serial number range. I can also see a tell-tale difference in the texture of the boxes' surface. Fake Hang-tag... wrong string color. I think the stocks have been modified. They are originals stocks but have been sanded and refinished in the thumb rest area on both panels.

- Photo # 4: Fake Label. Colt utilized more than one style of Python gold foil label but this one is an obvious fake with incorrect wording. Also notice the color and style of the hand written information. No original label looks like it. Keep a photo of this label handy and trust that every one you see like it, is a reproduction.

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2.

8" Nickel Python - Colt Python 8 inch Nickel 357 in box : Revolvers at GunBroker.com

Photo # 1: This is an early counterfeit box with a maroon color that gives it away. This early box did not have a wood-grain pattern that resembles Colt's authentic box styles.

Photo # 18: Colt "congratulations" letter is about 13 years too early; obvious reproduction.

Photo # 19: Fake label. Colt never produced one like it and I have never seen a gold foil Python label for this serial number range.

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3.

4" Blue Python - Colt Python Royal Blue .357 Mag 4? w Box Papers*NR : Revolvers at GunBroker.com

Photo # 1: Fake box identified in a number of ways. In 1979, Python boxes did not have "thumb" cut-outs above end flaps. Wrong size box (too short) for a 1979 Python and the wood-grain pattern is not consistent with authentic Colt boxes. Also see reproduction hang-tag with wrong string color.

Photo # 2: Further indication that box is reproduction. See red "warning" stamp on side of box. These warning stamps were not present on Colt's wood-grain boxes in 1979.

The red insert front sight on this 1979 Python would have been an aftermarket modification.

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4.

2 1/2" Blue Python - Colt Python Blue1975...21/2...Mint...Box : Revolvers at GunBroker.com

Photo # 1: There is a lot to cover in this first photo. Fake box, fake Styrofoam inserts, fake hang-tag, fake manual, fake safety disc. Box has the "thumb" cut-outs and "warning" stamp on side. Both are not found on authentic boxes in 1979. Also wrong box wood-grain pattern. Hang-tag is wrong color with wrong string color. 1979 Pythons did not ship with this style manual... its a fake. I have never seen Styrofoam inserts that were structured like this. The safety disc is at least a decade too early.

Photo # 5: I recently offered a thread on fake labels and stated then that the label was the counterfeiters' weak link. Well, I strongly believe this, whether it is a gold foil or computer generated label, they are all obvious fakes. The one on this box is simply not seen on any original Colt Python boxes. From the pre-printed words on the label to its color and the handwritten information, no authentic Python label looks like it.

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5.

6" Blue Python (1960) - COLT PYTHON -6"- ROYAL BLUE-1960-VERY NICE IN BOX : Revolvers at GunBroker.com

Photo # 1: Pythons were not packaged in boxes like this in 1960. This particular style box is many years into the future. In addition, this box is an obvious reproduction. Notice the colors of both the interior and exterior. Manual is a reproduction as this style of Python manual did not show up for many more years.

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6.

6" E-Nickel Python - COLT python RARE E-NICKEL EXCELLENT : Revolvers at GunBroker.com

Photo # 1: This is a new generation of fake box with an improved wood-grain pattern, but not good enough to pass as an original if one would compare the two side by side. When I see a supposed 30 + year old box, in factory crisp condition, with a fake label on it, I assume it too is fake.

Photo # 9: Here again is the fake / reproduction Python label with incorrect pre-printed lettering, wrong color foil, and filled out with incorrect hand written information with incorrect pen type and color. All "K" prefix serial numbered Pythons that I have owned or I have seen photos of, did not have a gold foil label. Some will remember that these Pythons were labeled by Colt in two very different styles, neither of which is of the gold foil type. I suggest when you encounter a "K" prefix Python that is packaged with a gold foil style label, first presume it is a fake.

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7.

6" Nickel Python - Colt Python Nickel 357 Magnum 6? w Box Papers *NR* : Revolvers at GunBroker.com

Photo # 2: This photo shows a reproduction box, hang-tag, Styrofoam inserts, and other very likely reproduction paperwork and manual. First, an "AL" prefix serial numbered Python would not have been packaged in the "Craftsmanship" maroon box, which came along several years later. The hang-tag is the wrong color. The Styrofoam inserts are reproductions as they are not molded correctly. Given the obvious fake box, one could reasonably assume all of it is fake.

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​8.

4" Brt. Stain. Python - Colt Python 4" Bright Stainless "Ultimate" : Revolvers at GunBroker.com

Photo # 1: This one has come up in prior threads but since it hasn't sold, I thought I would mention it here. This is the relatively recent attempt to counterfeit the labels that Colt affixed to its foam-lined blue plastic cases. I see two clear opportunities to understand this label as a reproduction. One should remember that during the '90s Colt utilized two styles of blue plastic boxes for its packaging. The earliest version of the blue plastic box was not foam lined and was shipped in the outer "picture box" sleeve with label affixed to the sleeve. Next came the foam-lined blue plastic case with the label affixed directly to the case. A check of serial numbers of known New-In-Box Pythons tells us this particular Python would have been shipped in the non foam-lined blue plastic case with label affixed to the "picture box" outer sleeve.

Secondly, the label's printed letters, numbers, symbols and characters do not resemble those found on authentic double action Colt labels of this era.

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As I put this list together over the weekend, more and more of these fake packages popped up on Gun Broker. We are seeing an epidemic of counterfeiting that will only get worse as values increase. Remember to first pay attention to the label, for it has been impossible to fake and remains the weak link for those that want to take your hard earned money.

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Edit on 9-26-13: See elric's post number 24! He has noticed a very revealing fact about US Postal Zip Codes and Warranty Cards!

*****
 

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Thank you for your hard work. Much time went into this thread to help educate the buying public. I tip my hat.
 

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Agree with Marc; this is extremely helpful. It really is an epidemic and at this point it appears the public is simply unaware that such fakes exist. All this counterfeiting is hurting the value of the legitimate guns out there by saturating the market with 'NIB' equivalents. I'm unsure of what can be done but at least here, on the Colt Forum, we have someone who is dedicated to helping us all out. Thanks for the post.
 

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Thanks for the info! I am amazed at the number of Pythons for sale on GB that have "issues". I have three Pythons, one I'm pretty sure has an incorrect box and per kanatak the wrong stocks. I will post the other two soon for some expert evaluation. If they also have issues I would rather know of them vs miss representing them.
 

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Thanks Kanatak.Always good to get the right information.At least three of the sellers are known to me to have fake packages for most if not all Pythons that they sell as originals.I guess that's why I don't buy many because I bid on the gun not what it comes with.I never overpay I just don't buy many.The old saying is never wrong " buy the gun not the story ".D*
 
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This is awesome, though I admit I got tired of trying to decipher between real and fake and if I am going to buy a python for $3K I am going to do it through a reputable dealer like the good folks on here (Fugate, Keystone). Rather pay a little extra and get the real thing, than deal with fake boxes etc and get seriously burnt.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
All this counterfeiting is hurting the value of the legitimate guns out there by saturating the market with 'NIB' equivalents.
71firebird400, I have to agree that the counterfeiting must be hurting the value of legitimate NIB Colts. If we consider there are at least 20 fake packages for every authentic piece, the laws of economics have to be considered. I believe there are relatively few, pristine, one-owner, NIB 30 to 50 year old Pythons out there. On any given day I might see as few as two to five out of about 500 online sales listings I view. Among these same 500 listings, one will see dozens of fraudulent packages.

However, there are quite a few very informed collectors out there that really know their Pythons. I have found that when a very well photographed and documented 40 year old, authentic, NIB Python is listed, it still attracts a lot of bidders and a very high price. How much higher would it go without the artificial saturation from the cheaters? I don't know.

I remain optimistic that the authentic packages are still recognized and appreciated and the fake materials are no where close to being "good". I also believe that laziness is a common characteristic among these counterfeiters. Practically all of their fake packages are pieced together without regard for chronological accuracy. Every fake package has its incorrectly authored "Congratulations" letter, or incorrect manual edition (or manual where it doesn't belong), or fake gold foil label in wrong serial number range, and so on. The cheater has never gotten it right and I don't expect he will anytime soon. I remain bullish on NIB Colts.
 

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Kanatak is the only one I go to when I'm uncertain about a Python package for sale. I would have voted for this thread to be one of the stickies if I could, but those GB links will soon expire and photos become unavailable to see in the near future. Kanatak spent a lot of time creating this thread to educate us here, so save those photos and make notes for future references. Thanks Kanatak :)
 

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Awesome, awesome, awesome information. I just hope that the sleeze bags that do this sort of thing don't ever get as thorough as you. I just bought a NIaB (new in "a" box)SAA made in 2003. The guy was up front and did not advertise incorrectly. A very careful inspection revealed a perfect finish. If it has been fired, I couldn't tell. That is why I won't buy anything off of the internet. I always insist on the seller letting me sit down with the gun and allowing me to take my time with my inspection.
My best advice is patience. No matter what you are looking for, most of it is out there from more than one source.
Collecting Colts is not a cheap hobby, so I never mind a little drive to put my hands on something instead of some yahoo posting a pic of it. What's another couple of hundred dollars in gas compared to a $3,000 gun? If that matters, maybe another hobby will suit you better. Especially if you get burned.
Nope, I'm for hands on inspection and increasing my knowledge by paying attention to guys like Kanatak.
Just my 2 cents.
 

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I'm pretty good at determining the "Real" condition of a gun, but the packaging is a different matter. After looking at the images in the listings, I could tell that a couple were bogus, but some of the others would get past me. I'm just not that into the minutia to differentiate that the string colour of a hang tag is wrong. This thread has been VERY informative, and also has reinforced my desire to stay far, far away from old stock NIB guns. If any older gun that I buy comes with a box that's OK, but I sure wouldn't pay any sort of premium for it.

Best regards,
 

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Gary,

I have had this idea for a while, let me know what you think ? I would like to have a reference section on this forum to show original guns in their original boxes. The criteria would have to be a nice original gun in its nice original box. With Sub sections Python, Detect specials, Cobras etc . Any member can contribute a picture if they wish of what they have. Make it simple, no opinions just facts and pics. Example, have a python section if I have a NIB 1963 python, I take a picture of the gun in the box, end label and show the matching serial number this way we have bona fide genuine examples. In the event someone post a bogus or improper box,, the members can flag it. It will be a place if someone wants to see what a 1983 Python in its original box looks like they can go to the python section and find it. this is just and Idea,, but I would be willing to contribute. this section would not be place to post fake boxes or even compare real to fake,,, this section would be only genuine examples. Your thread is good and definitely has a purpose, and I am not trying to take away from that. I am just trying to add a reliable reference section that I feel would be useful for collectors as well,, plus fun for people to add their own personal examples.

John
 

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If the seller is honest,and doesn't hide the fact the box is a repro...what's the problem?...Many of the original owners discarded their boxes like Children on xmas morning!!...why didn't Colt package the Python in a quality box ...like a Smith and Wesson??...the greatest revolver EVER made in styro...come on
 

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Great Thread Buddy!!! It was funny to me to see that #3 Foil Top Orange Warning Label (early/mid 80's "style" with Foil Top) Fake Box Package. I can't remember if I have encountered that particular fake box, that's a bad fake lol. Also its like he put "stuff" (most fake, if not all) from about 3 decades into that one package. I hope if they continue this, they keep on doing them like these.
This is a very informative post to people entering the "Big Bad NIB Python World". Kanatak is the Chief of the Fake Package Police! Thanks for your time helping everyone, like you always have. This is the most time spent and best post I have seen yet on the fakers.
IMO, ANYONE who is thinking about getting into boxed Pythons needs to save these pics with the appropriate number in this thread thread so you will have them to refer back to. Great Job!!!
Also, its not only GB/online. You will be amazed at the fake Pythons floating at the local shows and shops. I probably see AT LEAST 5 fakes to every real correct boxed Python locally. Sadly as high as "NIB" versus non-boxed Pythons have gotten in the past year or so, its getting hard to trust anyone. I had a guy who I thought was 100% legit, a Colt Man for probably as long as I have been living lol and sold legit stuff, tell me he had a NIB BSTS 6 inch Python in the truck at a show and priced it to me. I thought wow that's a fairly good price on it (But puzzled me why it was in the truck instead of on his tables) so I walked all the way out to look at it, and as soon as he pulled it out the truck, it was a VERY POOR FAKE. I told him it was a fake and he said he didn't realize it, but I know he had to, especially as poor as it was. No doubt in my mind he knew it was because he won't hardly buy anything Colt or Smith without the original box. Its like a little kid put it together and picked out the worst fake box and worst fake label they could find. Anyway the point to my little off the track story is NO MATTER WHO you are purchasing from, always do your research, always keep your ears up and your nose to the ground! :)
 

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Gary,
Good job as usual. I look at Gunbroker new listings and sold in the last 24 hours under Pythons about everyday and the amount of fake boxes and also grips is staggering. The hype surrounding Pythons is drawing new inexperienced buyers with more money than knowledge and this can be costly. These threads will educate but some buyers do not do the proper due diligence.
 

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Hi,
New to the board and I can not seem to find a way to view the photos refrenced in the opening posts? Are they still available?
Thanks,
Richee

I take that back Duh ! You made it too simple for me, just click on the link! Fabulous thread, thank you so much for your efforts, good job.
 

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Richee, First off welcome to the forum!
As far as your question about the pics, Kanatak didn't copy the pics and post to the thread. He couldn't because they are not his pics and he would have to have permission to do so. Of course the "Fakers" aren't going to give permission to post their pics. This is why he posted the links to GB which is perfectly fine. Just click on the highlighted links and then you will see which photos he is referring to in that particular auction.
 
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