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Questions to the group:
1. Does having Colt refinish a Python in the original finish (like Royal Blue) increase the value significantly or keep the same or decrease it? If you have a worn python, is it a good investment to have it refinished by Colt?
2. In general is it better to get a Python refinished by Colt vs. another vendor or does it matter when it comes to resale?
3. Which would be worth more (i.e. sell for more on GB ) - a 1963 blue 4" colt python with original finish with slight wear OR the same python after refinish and tune from Colt?

Thanks!
K​
 

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There are going to be a number of responses to your questions. What I'm writing is my opinion, and will likely be at variance to others.
  1. From a collector's perspective, any refinish, whether by Colt or anyone else, will diminish the collector value of the gun. Collectors, as a rule, like guns that are factory finished, no matter the condition of the gun.
  2. Refinished is refinished, regardless the source.There are other refinishers besides Colt, and their quality ranges from Earl Scheib, up to museum quality.
  3. Colt's refinish of a Python will restore it to the original "specs", although the newer Royal Blue has a blackish cast to the bluing.

From a pure collector's perspective, the original finished Python will be worth more than one even refinished by Colt.

The owner is the ultimate arbiter of what he/she wants to do with the gun.

Colt does not mark guns as being refinished the way that Smith & Wesson does. So it's up to the owner, or potential buyer to identify the history of the gun. Colt will provide information on the original finish of the gun.

I own a 1973 Python that was refinished to nickel at some point in its life. The roll marks were buffed out a bit by the refinisher. I opted to send the gun to Colt, and have it refinished, and restored to its original Royal Blue finish, and have the roll marks redone. However, the original roll marks can't be restored, since those dies are long worn out and scrapped. The new "roll marks" are laser cut, and readily identified by anyone who can identify them. The stocks were sent to SWAMP RAT, and refurbished, since they were badly worn.

My gun is refurbished and refinished. It is not an original gun, by any stretch, but it's what I wanted.

YMMV
 

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1963 4" Colt Python with wear $1500-1700

Same 1963 4" colt Python Refinished by COLT $2200-$2500.

Tell the Collectors to beat it and sell it to the guy that wants a Awesome looking Python in pristine condition. There are Millions of them out there. The only people who feel that refinishing hurts value are the "Collectors", we're not selling to them.

Only trust Colt for Royal Blue.
 

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Your welcome. This is my opinion on a '1963 with wear. There are some guns out there you would never consider touching ie a '55 Python. In your case though Maximize!
 

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Nowhere even near accurate.

The 2 1/2" Blue was pitted to Hell and the bore was pitted. It was not a candidate for refinish.

The 2nd gun is a aftermarket finish. If it were refinsihed at Colt it would've sold for $3k.
 

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Great responses! This will always be a pro & con topic; not only for gun collectors but collectors of all forms. It always puts me in mind of collector cars.

For years I have collected sports cars and centered my focus on Corvettes. At one point the quintessential 'collector' was the 1967 Sting Ray convertible with big block engine, outside pipes and every option the car originally came with. The prices went through the roof - not unlike the Python pricing we're now seeing.

Most of the more valuable '67's were 100 point NCRS restorations. Basically, that means they were refinished! It's only now that the original un-touched relic is selling for more than the total restoration car.

Bottom line to me is; if it's yours and you want to refinish it - go for it! :cool:
 

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1. Original is always worth more.
2. Lots of great organizations out there, though it may give future buyers more peace of mind knowing it was done right by seeing the words "factory refinished."
3. See #1

That said. It's your gun so do what makes you happy with it. If value is your primary concern, then leave it original. If you want the gun to look the way it did when it left the factory and can better appreciate it that way and/or extend its life, get it restored. However, if you're going to have it restored and then sell it (which I don't recommend), make sure you disclose the gun as refinished.
 

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1. Original is always worth more.
2. Lots of great organizations out there, though it may give future buyers more peace of mind knowing it was done right by seeing the words "factory refinished."
3. See #1

That said. It's your gun so do what makes you happy with it. If value is your primary concern, then leave it original. If you want the gun to look the way it did when it left the factory and can better appreciate it that way and/or extend its life, get it restored. However, if you're going to have it restored and then sell it (which I don't recommend), make sure you disclose the gun as refinished.
This coming from the mind of a Collector. There is no way you would ever get the $$$ out of the firearm on Gunbroker with the wear on it as you would with it refinished.

That perfect jet black finish with some good photos and guys will get their wallets out. Trust me, I've made my living for the past 5 years eating, breathing, and watching Gunbroker.
 

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Unless the firearm is in desperate need I would tend to stay away from refinishing something that is no longer produced by Colt. You can't undo a refinish and people will buy "pretty guns" but that doesn't make them the experts. A refinish will devalue a Python in the eyes of a collector. A little muzzle wear versus terrible pitting and rust are two separate issues where the later would be a candidate for refurbishment.
A good friend in New Jersey had his Python refinished, if I recall, but it was in dire need of help. He's happy and the gun looks terrific but I suspect he'll hold on to that Python until he's called upstairs. I prefer my Colts original, period, but I don't buy pitted and misused pieces either. Every firearm I own is original and they'll stay that way. My opinion and I'm the only one that has to look in the mirror concerning it ;)
 

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I would agree that the decision to reblue or not is something to ponder. Like MtnSpur says, they are not making them anymore and what constitutes a refinish or not is going to vary person to person. The Subject of the OPs first post was which would bring more money. The answer is very easy the Refinished gun will. Weather or not it should be refinsihed or not, that is another bees nest.
 

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Thanks for clearing that up with the last statement. From my other antique collecting hobbies, I have to agree; polished and "prettied up" antiques typically will sell for more. When you are trying to sell to the typical buyer. By that, I mean one who doesn't know any better. The ones that miss the fine print that a gun was refinished, or weren't told. The ones that hope their friends, or the next person they sell it too, won't know either. However, in all antique fields, the true, knowledgeable collectors are the ones who will consistently pay the best price. The "suckers" with money burning a hole in their pockets only sometimes will.

I'll stick with the ethics of collectors, who care about the history of the antique more than the almighty dollar that can be made.
 

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Thanks for clearing that up with the last statement. From my other antique collecting hobbies, I have to agree; polished and "prettied up" antiques typically will sell for more. When you are trying to sell to the typical buyer. By that, I mean one who doesn't know any better. The ones that miss the fine print that a gun was refinished, or weren't told. The ones that hope their friends, or the next person they sell it too, won't know either. However, in all antique fields, the true, knowledgeable collectors are the ones who will consistently pay the best price. The "suckers" with money burning a hole in their pockets only sometimes will.

I'll stick with the ethics of collectors, who care about the history of the antique more than the almighty dollar that can be made.
Amen brother
 

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I have a 2 1/2 Inch Python that I had refinished, and I am very happy with it. My decision to refinish the piece was based on the fact that original owner did not take care of the gun. It was scarred in a couple places very badly. But it was all original and the action and timing were outstanding. I also picked the gun up for a very very small price. I found a really good gunsmith who did a very fine job on the gun. I ended up with a very beautiful Python that I can shoot, and carry and not fret. The amount I have in the gun is extremely minimal. I have been offered a lot more than I have invested in the gun. So for me it was a good choice. I have other guns that have good honest wear on them and I would not refinish them. Good honest wear on a vintage gun just gives the piece character.
 

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I have to agree with the "prettied" up crowd. Lately I've been grabbing up every extremely rusted and pitted Colt I run across. Now I'm talking about the 'drug behind the pickup down 30 miles of gravel road, then dropped in salt water and found just in the nick of time' gun. The type of gun your buddies won't touch, and laugh at, down at the range. If it's a Colt DA revolver and the timing and lockup are good, it gets a total redo in duracoat. Now all of a sudden it's the talk of the range, and the offers come flowing in. Of course, the 'collectors' are quick to point out it isn't original, to which I answer 'I wasn't going for original, just trying for clean and serviceable'. Since I sell every one I do this way, I'm guessing the new owners must agree.
I look at these guns like they are the ugly girl that shows up at the Prom with no date. While nobody brought them, that doesn't mean they don't deserve a dance.
 

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There are a lot of buyers out there who will pay more for a Colt refinished revolver.

FWIW, I am not one of them though.

I WILL buy a refinished revolver but at a reduced price.

Two weeks ago I bought a 1970 Lawman Mk III for $350. It had not been shot much, innards in VERY good shape but the owner had a cerakote finish applied to cover a scratch and some blueing wear.

It was a professional job but he wanted $550 for it originally. After two weeks he dropped the price to $475 and still no one would take it at the local gun site it was advertised on.

I finally got it for $375, ($350 plus $25 for case and second set of grips). (The shop he got it refinished at charges $195 for a handgun refinish.)

Here's a picture of it.

http://i967.photobucket.com/albums/ae160/larry1964_photo/photo-10.jpg


ETA: I do realize it can be different for a Python. ALOT of buyers want a pristine finish and will pay for it.
 

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My case indicates refinish cuts value in half, although maybe a difference between Pythons & SAAs. Refinished, short story, LGS 20 years ago, full blue, .38 Colt cal, $600, lettered 2012 as original .38 Colt, made 1891, sent frame & barrel to Turnbulls for color case. Now offered $3K. If all original in near like new condition, twice that.

Before & after -
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Now the whole 9 yards: opinion LGS it was someone's hobby piece that had been converted to .38 Colt & reblued including frame. Nobody interested for weeks but me. I finally decided it was the best prep for refinish I'd seen, markings sharp, edges sharp but none AS sharp as original. Perfect bore as unfired, perfect grips as never handled. I guess I'm not as picky as Colt gurus, so I bought it.

Safe queen till couple years ago I got it lettered - original in somewhat rare .38 Colt caliber. Colt gurus opinions it was Colt refinished in the 19-teens when Colt wasn't doing case color on SAA refinishes, but no actual evidence of that. Phone call with Colt unable to confirm due no records kept on guns returned for work, other than military contracts. I wanted the color case & had it done by Turnbulls.

Cost numbers $1100 total: purchase $600, Colt letter $100, Turnbulls $300 color case plus $50 remove & reinstall barrel, postage, etc $50.
 
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