Colt Banker's Special Fitzed Out


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Spenser
August 27, 2008, 01:53 PM
Since the big move, all my Colt research material is locked up in storage, so I turn to the fourm to answer a couple of questions.

I recently came across a Colt Banker's Special in .22 Long Rifle. The intersting thing about the gun, aside from its age, is that it appears to have been given the famous Fitz special conversion. The front of the triger guard has been removed. It appears to have been done as a factory modification, since it lacks tool marks or any rough edges which would indicate a homemade job.

The gun's quite old, from the serial numbers. It appears to have been made sometime after 1898. The gun is also in remarkable shape.

Is this something that the famous Mr. Fitz did to Banker's Specials?

Does anybody know anything about the history of this particular breed of weapon.

What's the value of it, if it's what it appears to be?

Thanks. Any help would be appreciated.

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rcmodel
August 27, 2008, 03:17 PM
Hard to say for sure.
But the Bankers Special was made from 1928-1943.

Fitzgerald was at Colt's from 1918 - 1944.

SO, it is possible.
But according to my Colt book only about 50 Bankers Specials were made as Fitz Specials, and they give no caliber breakdown.

If it appears the gun you have is factory finish and not a well done re-blue, it could well be worth requesting & paying for a Colt "letter".
http://www.coltsmfg.com/cmci/historical.asp

If it can be proven by a factory letter it was made that way, it would be a very rare & valuable Colt for sure.

rcmodel

Old Fuff
August 27, 2008, 03:49 PM
Mr. Fitzgerald personally owned a Bankers Special with his famous modifications. There is a way to tell if it was a factory conversion, and I will send Spenser a personal message with more explicit details.

A “Fitz Special” was intended to be a pocket gun, carried in the side pocket of one’s trousers. The hammer spur was removed to that it wouldn’t catch on a pocket or other clothing, and the front of the trigger guard cut away so that it would be easier to get a finger on the trigger within the confines of a pocket. Often the ejector rod head was removed and the rod itself shortened. Barrels were seldom over 2” although longer ones are known. Sometimes the butts were shortened, and the lower edges rounded.

Today, documented factory Fitz Specials sell in the $1,000 to $2,500 range, and higher if they can be associated with a famous person or event. They were never carried in Colt’s catalogs, and were exclusively a special order item. Many were ordered through Fitzgerald himself.

Spenser
August 27, 2008, 03:49 PM
Thanks ever so much. I'll go ahead and take the $75 dollar shot at it. The links were extremely helpful.

Much appreciated.

Jim Watson
August 27, 2008, 03:52 PM
Does it have the rest of the "Fitz" modifications?

"FitzGerald cut the revolver's barrel to two inches and reinstalled the front sight. At the same time, he bobbed the hammerspur, rounded the gun's butt, and cut out the front of the trigger guard."

Checkering the top of the bobbed hammer was also common if not universal. The thinking was that you might still need to make an accurate single action shot.

Old Fuff
August 27, 2008, 04:10 PM
Spenser:


You have a personal message.

dfariswheel
August 27, 2008, 08:30 PM
One pretty sure method of ID'ing a real Colt factory Fitz model is whether the Colt "VP in a triangle" or Verified Proof stamp is present on the left REAR of the trigger guard.

Colt always stamped the VP on the left FRONT of the trigger guard, but when the trigger guard was cut off during the custom modification, the "VP" was cut off with it.
So, Colt stamped the "VP' on the rear.
No "VP in a triangle" on the left rear of the guard, it's not a genuine factory Fitz.

Truth is, ONLY a Colt Archive letter will tell for sure if it's a genuine factory Fitz.

Here's a photo of the real thing:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v465/dfariswheel/ColtFitz.jpg

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