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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, everyone, I appreciate the help with this. I recently purchased a Colt SAA (serial #357629) from a distant relative who is serving as the executor of her uncle's estate. The uncle had some cool Colts, and I grabbed this one. According to the Colt website, if I'm reading things correctly, the pistol was manufactured in 1940. I ordered a certificate from the Colt historian, however, that states that the SAA was shipped in 1954. That seems like quite the gap. Can someone educate me? I'm new to Colt SAA collecting. What am I missing? Again, thanks for the help.
 

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I am surprised that you would be getting any letter at all, with shipping date. Colt SAA's in this late serial range would have been in that last (Stolen) Shipping Ledger that covers 1934 and later.

What you may get is a letter composed from assembly records, giving Caliber, Bbl length, and Finish. However, if the gun had to be modified in order to make a final sale, then the description in such a letter will be outdated (and wrong).

We do know that Colt SAA's from the 357xxx serial range were often sold or shipped very late, when compared with the estimated manufacturing year. I seem to recall that the last one in stock sold in the 1970's.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I am surprised that you would be getting any letter at all, with shipping date. Colt SAA's in this late serial range would have been in that last (Stolen) Shipping Ledger that covers 1934 and later.

What you may get is a letter composed from assembly records, giving Caliber, Bbl length, and Finish. However, if the gun had to be modified in order to make a final sale, then the description in such a letter will be outdated (and wrong).

We do know that Colt SAA's from the 357xxx serial range were often sold or shipped very late, when compared with the estimated manufacturing year.
Okay. Thank you! (I'm learning things already. Brand new to Colt collecting.) So, if I hear what you're saying correctly, nothing about what I said previously,(i.e. the 1940 manufacture and the 1954 shipment date) would surprise you. Is that correct?
 

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The frame was manufactured in about 1940. I would still request a "Colt Letter", as some info may be better than none. Also there is a slim chance that somewhere Colt may have your serial number. This happened recently on a factory engraved Colt SAA that normally would be another "lost shipping record" gun.

I have a Colt SAA 38 Spcl x 7-1/2" blue #35728x. It retains 99% original blue, including the face of the cylinder (where the partial SN is located). This would be among those lost shipping record SAA’s during 1934-44. Assembly records show that it was assembled on 11-29-1940 as a 357 Magnum & Moved to shipping room on 12-6-1940. No doubt, prior to eventual sale and shipment, this gun was changed to 38 special as proven by that matching cylinder SN. Interestingly, there is no thread relief cut under the topstrap, a feature of the strengthened 357 design, so it likely was intended to be a 357 as the assembly records indicated.
 
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The frame was manufactured in about 1940. I would still request a "Colt Letter", as some info may be better than none. Also there is a slim chance that somewhere Colt may have your serial number. This happened recently on a factory engraved Colt SAA that normally would be another "lost shipping record" gun.

I have a Colt SAA 38 Spcl x 7-1/2" blue #35728x. It retains 99% original blue, including the face of the cylinder (where the partial SN is located). This would be among those lost shipping record SAA’s during 1934-44. Assembly records show that it was assembled on 11-29-1940 as a 357 Magnum & Moved to shipping room on 12-6-1940. No doubt, prior to eventual sale and shipment, this gun was changed to 38 special as proven by that matching cylinder SN. Interestingly, there is no thread relief cut under the topstrap, a feature of the strengthened 357 design, so it likely was intended to be a 357 as the assembly records indicated.
Very interesting. Thank you. And just so I'm not missing anything.... the "colt letter" you reference above is the Archive Letter, right? Or is there another I'm not aware of?
 

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Yes the archive letter which as said, would be a long shot. You very desireable Sa is whats commonly referred to as the pre-war, post-war. Manufactured before but not shipped until after.
 

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Very interesting. Thank you. And just so I'm not missing anything.... the "colt letter" you reference above is the Archive Letter, right? Or is there another I'm not aware of?
The Archive Letter and Colt Letter are the same, as you have surmised.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I can't tell you guys how much I appreciate your input here. I'm sure it's basic stuff to you, but I know next to nothing about these pistols. I only knew enough to know that this one (and the other I bought with it) were worth a little something. So... thank you guys! Here's a picture...
IMG_3470.jpg
 

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I am reminded that since that "Colt Letter" was at least 10 years ago, that I might not have a 100% memory of it. So I am posting an image of it, with some needed corrections to what has been said/implied earlier in this thread. First, if the Shipping Records don't exist (as expected) you may not have to pay $100.

Also the "Colt Letter" will read more like an apology, with a few known pieces of info inserted from the Production Record. A snippet of that type of Colt Letter is attached, along with some pictures of the subject Colt SAA in 38 Special.

On receiving this letter, I did ask if the "357" actually referred to caliber or bore size. I was told that it was the recorded caliber in those production records. Again, what is entered in the production records is not necessarily how the gun appeared when sold later. This Colt SAA has some handling marks, but the front of cylinder suggests that it is unfired. On the front of cylinder is "83". And the chambers are 38 Special, not the longer 357 Magnum.
 

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Don Wilkerson described guns like this in his book "Colt's Single Action Army Revolver Pre-War Post-War Model" (Broughton Printing, 1991). The gun described by the original poster is in the serial number range quoted by Don on page 52 of that book. Also, there is a photo of one of these guns in the same type of box on page 75.
When I have time, I will look through the book and see if the original poster's serial number actually appears in the book.
This could potentially be quite a valuable gun.
- - Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Don Wilkerson described guns like this in his book "Colt's Single Action Army Revolver Pre-War Post-War Model" (Broughton Printing, 1991). The gun described by the original poster is in the serial number range quoted by Don on page 52 of that book. Also, there is a photo of one of these guns in the same type of box on page 75.
When I have time, I will look through the book and see if the original poster's serial number actually appears in the book.
This could potentially be quite a valuable gun.
- - Bruce
Thanks, Bruce. If you get around to it, I'd love to hear what you find!
 

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Yelljack - First, if I were you, I would purchase a copy of Don Wilkerson's book. It's very interesting little book and a good read for a collector. It is still in print, but copies are limited, available from Carol Wilkerson here for $30. Lots of very specific information there about these guns.
Colt?s Single Action Army Revolver ? Pre-War Post-War Model | Carol K Wilkerson

I looked through the book and did not see your specific serial number. Most of these pre-war post war guns were blue & case hardened finish with 5 1/2 inch barrels and either .38 Special or .45 Colt calibers. What is the caliber of your gun?
I tried to photograph the page in the book with the gun in the "leatherette" box (like in your photo). Usually, Woodsman pistols or Officer's Model or 3-5-7 revolvers were shipped in these boxes but, obviously, some SAA's were shipped in them, too. Photos attached. Does your box have a label like the one in the photo? Click on a photo to enlarge it.
I am sure that other SAA collectors would be very interested in seeing the Colt Archive letter you got for your gun. We would appreciate it a lot if you would post a photo or a scan of it.
- - Bruce
DSCF0001.JPG DSCF0007.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Hey, Bruce, thanks again for taking the time to respond with such valuable information. I really appreciate it. The pictures from the book that you posted look quite familiar. I've posted pictures below of the original box. And, yes, this SAA of mine is a .38 Special. Now, for the pictures....
IMG_3615.jpg
IMG_3616.jpg
 

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Well, look at that! Very nice. You have a great gun there! Thanks for sharing this with us. You should get a copy of Wilkerson's book and read up on these interesting Single Actions.

- - Bruce
 

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What the heck? Have the "lost" shipping records been found?
 

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Well, look at that! Very nice. You have a great gun there! Thanks for sharing this with us. You should get a copy of Wilkerson's book and read up on these interesting Single Actions.

- - Bruce
Just got off the phone with Carol Wilkerson. Sending her a check tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion. This is getting more and more interesting. I had no idea. Thanks again for all of the recommendations and the insight. I very much appreciate it.
 
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