Some of the newer limited edition Custom Shop guns are rumored to be even lower than the Border Patrol(the 38 cal version). One that comes to mind is 200 total of the the 40 cal Gold Cups. It took me five years to just find the one I have, so I tend to believe the low number.
I normally avoid commenting on these types of questions since the the parameters are not defined, and maybe cannot be. For instance, what is "modern?" By "modern," I would assume it would mean 20th Century models, since after 1908 when the Army Special was introduced and a bit later when the Police Positive was introduced, the most popular frame sizes, which formed the basis for all Colt revolvers to follow, were in production. I think what the poster means is what "models" have the lowest production, which, to me, would eliminate the "one-off" Custom Shop guns and prototype guns such as the .22LR and .256 Win. Pythons, etc.. By "models," would it might also eliminate barrel lengths and finish variations? Would it eliminate chambering differences?
If one considers chambering differences as qualifying for this discussion, I suspect the .22 WMR Diamondback would be a contender. I do not know how many there were, but I suspect it has to be in the hundreds only. I have a .22WMR Officers Model Match, which is said to be one of 500 in some sources, but which still puts it behind the original Border Patrol said to be 400 guns, and even with the Grizzly at 500 units.
If one allows barrel lengths in the discussion, the 8-inch Camp Perry (technically a single shot and not a revolver) at about 500 units is a contender, Of the 3000 Marshals, some estimates of the number with 2-inch barrels is 10%, which puts the number a 300. How many .38 SF-VI or .38 DSII revolvers had 3-inch barrels? Very few from what I have seen.
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So with those low numbers for those models, does that equate to higher prices for them? Collector value wise.
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In my case, Yes.... /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif ...Low numbers will usually demand a higher price, but not always. To name a couple, the Colt Marshal is a very rare bird, but doesn't seem to command prices equal to other "rare" guns. SAA prices are in the stratosphere and there are thousands of them available anytime and anywhere.
Interesting that we were typing at the same time and without seeing the others post, we both chose the Marshal as an example. I too, was assuming the question was directed at specific models without going into the rare versions within what would be a large volume production run, like the lone .256 Python.
In my case, the Grizzly and the 22 WMR OMM were surprisingly easy to locate and reasonably priced when compared to other "rare" stuff. Another sleeper, in my opinion, is the OMT .32 long version. If I recall correctly, slightly over 800 produced, but still available at reasonable prices.
Sometimes easy to find and being in the right place at the right time go hand in hand.
What actually defines RARE ?
I would say there are a lot of hard to find items out there, but what really defines RARE ?
If you went to 2 or 3 gun shows a month and never saw an item after going for 2 or 3 years would that then be a RARE item ?
Since the advent of the internet, items that were once a rare find are now common to see listed a few times a year on the auction sites.
If that item is now available every couple months, is it no longer rare ?
It may now seem to be a common item because thousands of people saw the same gun on the same auction site.
At that point, thousands of collectors could say they see them come up for sale every couple months.
Which in turn, now sounds like it's a common item.
Even though, everyone is seeing that same item.
It's an interesting thing when you really think about it.
Someone mentioned that the Grizzly was an easy find.
How many collectors here have seen one or more in the local gunshops or gunshows that they go to every week ?
I've been to at least one gun shop a week and 2 to 3 gunshows a month for the last couple years and have only seen 1. And I'm always looking at all the modern double action Colts. That does not sound like an easy find coming from hundreds of trips to places that sell guns. Arizona has some pretty decent sized gunshows by the way.
If a fellow collector had 5 sets of the Double Diamond set, 5 Silver Snake Pythons and 10 Combat Pythons, they may look to be pretty common if you saw his collection every time you went to his house. In the real world though, they are still something the average person would not see in a long time of searching.
So what exactly defines the word RARE ?
It's probably different for each one of us.
Is there a correct answer ?
Just my 2 pesos worth.