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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone tell me any thing about this revolver and its possible value.
NOTE: There is no serial number on the butt.

The top of the barrel has the following:
Colt's PT F.A. MFG Co Harford Ct. USA
Patented Aug 5 1884, Nov 6 88, Mar 5 95.

Number on barrel release K6420.
Number on frame inside barrel area 1259.

Thanks
 

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Sure looks like a Marine Corps Colt, complete with checkered round butt grips and lanyard ring. The cylinder should rotate counter-clockwise like a S&W. There SHOULD be a number on the butt and that is quite a mystery. The condition seems a bit too good though, as the 800 of these that ever existed tended to be USED by the Corps.
This is the very first 38 Special ever adopted by the US Armed forces. The Corps soon replaced it with a USMC 45 Colt DA, also with the checkered grips.
I'll need more pictures of any markings, to include what may be on the inside panels of the grips and inspector markings on the frame. These guns are rare and valuable, thus have been known to have been faked. A Colt Historical letter, showing shipment to the USMC, is a must.
 

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Vincenzo, that is a nice looking revolver. I am far from an expert on these models, but I've got one that is very close in vintage to yours. In fact, mine is serial number # k6726, and this number is stamped on the cylinder release, yoke, on the frame under the yoke, and bottom of the grip frame. In the "Blue Book," it says that the number on the yoke and latch are assembly numbers, and the serial number is only on the bottom of the grip frame. But on mine, the numbers on the yoke, frame, and latch, match the serial number on the bottom of the grip frame, so I'm not sure on this point... On the bottom of the grip, above the lanyard ring, it is marked U.S. Army Model 1901. As gkitch notes, they normally have the serial # marked below the lanyard ring (again, mine is marked as, No. k6726).

It may be that your gun has been re-furbed at some point, as many of the early Colt DAs were updated from earlier guns. And that may be why the number on your yoke does not match the cylinder release (although it could be an assembly number...). Why it does not have a serial number on the bottom of the grip frame, I'm not sure. It could be a USMC-specific thing, or it could have been re-worked to make it look like it is a USMC gun; not sure... From what I've read the USMC guns were serial number range 10001 to 10926... So, given your serial number, I would be concerned. It does have the 'rampant Colt' mark right above the left grip, as I've seen with other USMC Model 1905s; my Army Model has the inspector mark (RAC) above the left grip panel.

Where the USMC guns are very rare (e.g. valuable), I would definitely want to get a letter to be sure what you've got there. Unfortunately, many fakes exist where values are high... I can say that the stamping/font on the bottom of you grip frame is 'heavier' than mine, to me, it just does not look 'right,' but again, could just because it's a USMC gun. Also, the grips do not look right to me, either. They are the correct style, but again, they just don't look 'right' to me. Certainly, an expert could tell you for sure. I point these things out, as they are things to look for...

There is another member on this board, that is an expert on these revolvers, and hopefully he can point you in the right direction. Good luck, and I hope it turns out that you've got the 'real deal,' it would be very cool to have one!
 

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Can anyone tell me any thing about this revolver and its possible value.
NOTE: There is no serial number on the butt.

The top of the barrel has the following:
Colt's PT F.A. MFG Co Harford Ct. USA
Patented Aug 5 1884, Nov 6 88, Mar 5 95.

Number on barrel release K6420.
Number on frame inside barrel area 1259.

Thanks
You have an interesting Model 1905 there! .... It is NOT one of the 812 guns shipped to the USMC between 1905 and 1909. There are no Navy acceptance markings or inspector's markings that would have been on a contract gun and the serial number has not been added to the butt under the "No." marking... also the National Archive records and Colts shipping records show exactly what guns were shipped and to where and no unnumbererd frames were in the contract.

It is most likely a civilian production gun assembled from parts that were left over from the several military contracts produced between 1905 and 1909 as it has the USMC frame with no Marine Corps number added. There were 929 civilian production guns produced by Colt for the civilain market and all had serial numbers in the 10001 to 10929 on the butt of the gun. This is from a detail study of the Colt shipping records.

It was probably produced after 1909 as that is when the last of the Model 1905 guns were shipped out. Colt is known to do "parts clean up guns" where they assemble the last remaining batches of left over parts from a model run and sell them at a discount to dealers. Your gun has a mixed bag of assembly numbers which shows it was made up of misc parts. The "k" on the cylinder release shows it was a military part and does not match the assembly number inside the frame and crane... It is in nice condition and appears to have original finish. It would probably bring about the same amount in an auction as any other original finish M1905... Possibly a little more to an advanced collector as it is an oddity and it would have to appeal to the buyer ... Just my opinion on the value ...

The Model 1905 is actually chambered for 38 Long Colt not 38 S7W Special as an earlier poster stated. The USMC, Navy and Army used the 38 Long Colt Service Cartridge rather than the 38 S&W Special in their Contract guns until well past 1909. The Civilian Guns were also chambered for 38 Long Colt but after 1904 Colt advertised them as being able to shoot any 38 caliber cartridge then on the market.

The first 38 Special guns chambered for the Military actually goes to Smith & Wesson. The 38 Special cartridge is a propriatary name owned by S&W at the time and the reasons for Colt not using the 38 S7W Special designation on their guns resulted from a lawsuit won by S&W. Also Colt did not like to have a competitor's name on their revolvers.... Hope that helps! Bob
 

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^^ There's the expert advice; good information, Bob! Would a Colt letter help the OP get more specifics/authentication on his gun; is it worth him getting one...?

Also, any idea why my example would have matching numbers in all locations (same # as the serial number on the bottom of the grip frame...)?
 

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^^ There's the expert advice; good information, Bob! Would a Colt letter help the OP get more specifics/authentication on his gun; is it worth him getting one...?

Also, any idea why my example would have matching numbers in all locations (same # as the serial number on the bottom of the grip frame...)?
Your gun ... #6726 ... most likely started life as an earlier Army contract model with a different serial number on the butt. Most of the Model 1892, 1894 and 1896 contract guns were brought up to Model 1901 specifications between 1901 and 1918 by the Army... A number of guns lost their full serial number in the rework process so Colt or the Army would use the assembly number found on other parts and put it on the butt of the gun as the Army serial number... Serial numbers were not a big deal in those days ... nobody really cared what the number was... You see a number of the reworks with just 4 digit serial numbers and in a lot of cases the other assembly numbers are mis matched which indicate a use of parts cannablised from other guns.... the mismatched ones were generally done by the Army Arsenals ... Colt tried to match the numbers when possible...

The only Army contract model with a four digit serial number was the Model 1892. It would be marked Model 1892 on the butt ....

Regarding the Colt letter.... In this case I don't believe that the serial number would be found by the Colt Archive people. The reason is that it probably went out some years after the last of the Model 1905s and it was randomly logged into the records in some other gun's section and the chance of finding the number (maybe the assembly number???) in the records is close to nil. I just did some research with Beverley Haynes on the civilian guns back in August. We checked the serial numbers on the civilian production and there was no mention of any outside the 10xxx numbers ... so I would think they would give him a "No Record" letter on it. The assembly number is too high for the 812 USMC guns and too low for the civilian guns.



Hope that helps...

Bob
 

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Is there a Star encircling a W in the left front bow of the trigger guard, where on a civilian gun the triangle VP is ?

As the grip shape of the frame is different to the usual Army / Navy revolvers at that time, could it be that it is a replacement frame done by the Corps as a replacement ? But then surly markings would be there,
like on the NS 1917 models.

A Colt worker doing with a left over frame a "lunch box special" ?

A letter would help and the opinion of an expert after close examination.

Otherwise, it would be the discovery of the year.

Beat
 

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Is there a Star encircling a W in the left front bow of the trigger guard, where on a civilian gun the triangle VP is ?

As the grip shape of the frame is different to the usual Army / Navy revolvers at that time, could it be that it is a replacement frame done by the Corps as a replacement ? But then surly markings would be there,
like on the NS 1917 models.

A Colt worker doing with a left over frame a "lunch box special" ?

A letter would help and the opinion of an expert after close examination.

Otherwise, it would be the discovery of the year.

Beat
Hi...

The Star W marking and also the Trident Marking are Navy inspection marks found on the Model 1905 which one depends on the contract and the time period. The VP marking is found on the Civilian production guns after about 1904....

On the Model 1905 grip shape question. The USMC was a very small unit of the Navy during the 1900 to 1910 period with just a few thousand members. They had no ordnance or production capabilities at all and generally relied on the US Army for support in many of their activities. This is all documented in the Annual Reports of the US Navy that are prepared each year and submitted to congress. The reports are in the National Archives and can viewed there. I have copies of a number of these reports for the years in question. Also I have access to the Colt shipping records. No unnumbered frames were purchased for the USMC and the Army did not make any up for them in the Army Arsenals.

You might check my comments on the colt letter in my post ... There is no number in the range he listed in the Colt Shipping records as this is an assembly number not a serial number so it would most likely return as a "No Record" gun ... The original poster is welcome to try writing for a letter if he wishes.... I just doubt he will get any information...

I doubt it is a "lunch box special" ... more likely a parts clean up gun that was sold some time after 1910 ....
 

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Your gun ... #6726 ... most likely started life as an earlier Army contract model with a different serial number on the butt. Most of the Model 1892, 1894 and 1896 contract guns were brought up to Model 1901 specifications between 1901 and 1918 by the Army... A number of guns lost their full serial number in the rework process so Colt or the Army would use the assembly number found on other parts and put it on the butt of the gun as the Army serial number... Serial numbers were not a big deal in those days ... nobody really cared what the number was... You see a number of the reworks with just 4 digit serial numbers and in a lot of cases the other assembly numbers are mis matched which indicate a use of parts cannablised from other guns.... the mismatched ones were generally done by the Army Arsenals ... Colt tried to match the numbers when possible...

The only Army contract model with a four digit serial number was the Model 1892. It would be marked Model 1892 on the butt ....

Regarding the Colt letter.... In this case I don't believe that the serial number would be found by the Colt Archive people. The reason is that it probably went out some years after the last of the Model 1905s and it was randomly logged into the records in some other gun's section and the chance of finding the number (maybe the assembly number???) in the records is close to nil. I just did some research with Beverley Haynes on the civilian guns back in August. We checked the serial numbers on the civilian production and there was no mention of any outside the 10xxx numbers ... so I would think they would give him a "No Record" letter on it. The assembly number is too high for the 812 USMC guns and too low for the civilian guns.



Hope that helps...

Bob
Thank you for the information, Bob, I appreciate it. Interesting information, and It's nice to know why these numbers all match...

DMAR
 

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Bob,

I have read your comments very carefull, but I have the understanding, that a gun made by Colt for Army / Navy / MC has been inspected & approved fit for sevice by placing an acceptance mark on it.

Colt making the gun and selling it would surly made the VP on the front bow left. Likewise on the 1917 .45ACP Parts Guns made in the 1930.

Since the grip frame is having different measures then the Army / Navy guns at the time the frame must be an original MC frame. Either made out of a civilian MC frame, or a left over frame.
I don't know how difficult it would be to adapt a Navy / Army frame into an MC frame but I can not imagen it as easy.

In regards of S/N, we had several cases of Luger Parabellum frauds here in Switzerland and were able to discover with the help of Forensic microscopie the original S/N stamped and later removed.

Anyhow, a very interesting discovery.

Beat
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sure looks like a Marine Corps Colt, complete with checkered round butt grips and lanyard ring. The cylinder should rotate counter-clockwise like a S&W. There SHOULD be a number on the butt and that is quite a mystery. The condition seems a bit too good though, as the 800 of these that ever existed tended to be USED by the Corps.
This is the very first 38 Special ever adopted by the US Armed forces. The Corps soon replaced it with a USMC 45 Colt DA, also with the checkered grips.
I'll need more pictures of any markings, to include what may be on the inside panels of the grips and inspector markings on the frame. These guns are rare and valuable, thus have been known to have been faked. A Colt Historical letter, showing shipment to the USMC, is a must.
gkitch
Thank you for your reply. There no other markings on the gun including the inside of the grips. The cylinder does rotate CCW. When I talked to Colt they said they couldb't help me without a serial number.
Vincenzo
 

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gkitch
Thank you for your reply. There no other markings on the gun including the inside of the grips. The cylinder does rotate CCW. When I talked to Colt they said they couldb't help me without a serial number.
Vincenzo
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for the information, Bob, I appreciate it. Interesting information, and It's nice to know why these numbers all match...

DMAR
DMAR

Thank you for your replies. I talked to Colt and they said they could not help me without a serial number. So a letter is out of the question.

Vincenzo
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi...

The Star W marking and also the Trident Marking are Navy inspection marks found on the Model 1905 which one depends on the contract and the time period. The VP marking is found on the Civilian production guns after about 1904....

On the Model 1905 grip shape question. The USMC was a very small unit of the Navy during the 1900 to 1910 period with just a few thousand members. They had no ordnance or production capabilities at all and generally relied on the US Army for support in many of their activities. This is all documented in the Annual Reports of the US Navy that are prepared each year and submitted to congress. The reports are in the National Archives and can viewed there. I have copies of a number of these reports for the years in question. Also I have access to the Colt shipping records. No unnumbered frames were purchased for the USMC and the Army did not make any up for them in the Army Arsenals.

You might check my comments on the colt letter in my post ... There is no number in the range he listed in the Colt Shipping records as this is an assembly number not a serial number so it would most likely return as a "No Record" gun ... The original poster is welcome to try writing for a letter if he wishes.... I just doubt he will get any information...

I doubt it is a "lunch box special" ... more likely a parts clean up gun that was sold some time after 1910 ....
COLTDAGUY

Thank you for your replyies. There are no other markings on the gun other than the ones I mentioned. You are right Colt can't be of any help with out a serial number. I tried.

Vincenzo
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Bob,

I have read your comments very carefull, but I have the understanding, that a gun made by Colt for Army / Navy / MC has been inspected & approved fit for sevice by placing an acceptance mark on it.

Colt making the gun and selling it would surly made the VP on the front bow left. Likewise on the 1917 .45ACP Parts Guns made in the 1930.

Since the grip frame is having different measures then the Army / Navy guns at the time the frame must be an original MC frame. Either made out of a civilian MC frame, or a left over frame.
I don't know how difficult it would be to adapt a Navy / Army frame into an MC frame but I can not imagen it as easy.

In regards of S/N, we had several cases of Luger Parabellum frauds here in Switzerland and were able to discover with the help of Forensic microscopie the original S/N stamped and later removed.

Anyhow, a very interesting discovery.

Beat
Slainte

Thank you for your replies. There are no other makings on the gun other than the ones I mentioned.

Vincenzo
 
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