unusual colt police positive?


February 3, 2011, 05:48 AM
I recently found a Colt Police Positive in 38 SPC with a 2inch barrel. It is in seemingly really good shape. Finish, lockup, timing, grips all seem to be in excellent condition. It has the brown plastic colt grips that are in great shape. The only thing is that it has absolutely NO markings on it anywhere. It is obviously a Colt, I am wondering if it was put together and removed from the factory before it could receive any markings. Has anyone ran into any other Colt PP like this? What would you think it is worth? The guy is asking $600 for it, which I think is a little high, I am thinking about offering him $500 for it.

If you enjoyed reading about "unusual colt police positive?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
451 Detonics
February 3, 2011, 06:13 AM
Are you sure it isn't simply a reblue where someone got a little heavy with the buffing wheel? I had Turnbull remove the book from a Ruger Blackhawk barrel and it looks absolutely factory.

February 3, 2011, 08:23 AM
It is extremely unlikely that a Colt would have left the factory sans markings. Detonics has probably hit on it - someone got happy with the buffing during a refinish.

It's value is significantly diminished if this is the case.

February 3, 2011, 08:34 AM
I'd agree with the last couple of posts. Even the wartime revolvers (Model 1917 and the Commando in the second big fracas) were factory marked. Refinish for sure. Dave

February 3, 2011, 08:40 AM
Another note; if it is chambered for 38 Special, then it is a Police Positive Special. The Police Positive is a smaller frame and not large enough to chamber the longer cartridges like 38 Special and 32-20.

February 3, 2011, 09:41 AM
Just thinking "out loud" but with no markings are you sure it is a Colt? There were knockoffs

(although the ones that I can think of, like Miroku, had markings too)

Ron James
February 3, 2011, 09:48 AM
Does it even have a serial number? With no markings at all, then even with Colt grips ( and no serial number makes it illlegal ) then it could very well be a Spanish copy and the gentleman is taking you for a ride. I would walk away very fast.

February 3, 2011, 09:59 AM
FYI, 600 is way too much

February 3, 2011, 10:01 AM
Even "knock offs" by long standing law must have the manufacturer's name and a serial number. It's a refinish and God only knows what it started out as. I'd run away, not walk. David

Lucky Derby
February 3, 2011, 10:15 AM
dnovo has the right idea.

Just a quick question though, wouldn't a Police Positive Special, with a 2" barrel be a Detective Special, and not a Police Positive Special?

Old Fuff
February 3, 2011, 12:49 PM
Just a quick question though, wouldn't a Police Positive Special, with a 2" barrel be a Detective Special, and not a Police Positive Special?

Not necessarily. The Police Positive Special was introduced in 1908, and prior to the introduction of the Detective Special in 1927 they would make shorter-then-4" barrels on special order. However these barrels were fully marked, and frames were stamped with a serial number and the "pony" trademark.

I got caught on this once when an individual showed me a .38 Police Positive with a 1 3/4" barrel and no front sight. I speculated that the barrel had been sawed, until the owner produced a factory letter that stated this was its original (special order) configuration.

In the present case, the lack of markings of any kind strongly suggest that the revolver has been refinished, with the barrel possibly modified, or it isn't a genuine Colt in the first place. I wouldn't buy it at any price until it was positively identified, and I wouldn't come anywhere near the asking price ($600) unless the seller could prove that this was the way Colt made it.

February 3, 2011, 01:20 PM
I would listen to Old Fuff. He used to shoot skeet with Samuel Colt.

Fuff was used a Colt Dragoon. While he didn't hit many, it made Sam laugh so he stuck with it.

Old Fuff
February 3, 2011, 01:46 PM
Fuff was used a Colt Dragoon. While he didn't hit many, it made Sam laugh so he stuck with it.

Well here you are, wrong again....

It was a .36 Texas Paterson. I was so good that I didn't need a .44 Dragoon. :scrutiny: :D

February 3, 2011, 01:56 PM
I was so good that I didn't need a .44 Dragoon

No doubt you accomplished this with the gun clenched in your butt cheeks while doing handstand push-ups on the back of a moving Stanley Steamer.

No wonder Sam found you so entertaining.


February 3, 2011, 04:24 PM
IMO, This has to be a knock-off or a custom job because a 2'' barrel on a Police Positive Special does not sound correct. No markings is also a turn off, all these older revolvers had some sort of markings, whether it be caliber, company, Serial, etc.

Blue Book doesn't have a listing for a 2'' Barrel on a police positive special- if its a .38 Special, it has to be a Police Positive Special, there is no such thing as a .38 Special Police Positive. However there is a chambering called the .38 New Police, which WAS in a regular Police Positive.
Now if it was in fact chambered in a .32 sized cartridge, then it is possible to have a factory 2.5'' barrel but only in .32'' chamberings like .32 Colt, .32 New Police, .32-20.

Blue Book says the value of any Police Positive, or Police Positive Special in 98% condition is $650, in ORIGINAL condition. Be careful because good re-finish jobs can often be harder to spot against an original, and a gun this old in 98% condition is not that common to come by.

So if the gun was indeed orginal with all proper markings, then the seller might be in the ball park according to Blue Book at $600, but thats just Blue Book.

Be Careful with this one, looks like a scam to me, unless there is something the seller isn't telling you about it.

February 3, 2011, 04:44 PM
The PPS was not made with a 2" barrel. This gun is chopped and polished.

February 3, 2011, 08:25 PM
Something wrong... no serial number.... I'd walk at any price. The gun almost has to be chopped up with parts. Hence, no serial number.

Old Fuff
February 3, 2011, 08:44 PM
The PPS was not made with a 2" barrel. This gun is chopped and polished.

So far as this particular gun is concerned I think you are probably correct, but otherwise no.

Over the years the Police Positive Special was made with barrel lengths of: 2, 4, 4 1/2, 5 and 6 inches. Special order length were made in addition with lengths of: 1 1/4, 2 1/2 and 3 inches.

There is a difference between cataloged lengths, special production runs, and special orders.

I learned many years ago to be very careful before saying, "Colt never made..."

February 3, 2011, 09:37 PM
As for no markings, Colt stamped the serial number in three places:

1. Under the barrel on the frame where the cylinder crane seats. There will be a serial number and at least one letter, usually below it. The letter is a factory inspectors stamp.

2. On the cylinder crane, opposite the number on the frame.

3. Inside the side plate.

It's quite common to see old guns which have been polished so much that all markings on the outside are gone, and it's very common to see guns with barrels cut down or replaced with a barrel from a different model.

In any case even $500 is WAY too high.

February 3, 2011, 10:02 PM
Colts did make a 2 inch Police Positive Special. Some call it by the name "Pre-Detective". These guns were shipped around 1926-27 and were in the 33, 34 and 35 serial number prefix range. The only markings on these guns (beside the serial number and proof marks) were the caliber on the left side of the barrel and the rampant colt.


February 4, 2011, 12:41 AM
My dad has, soon to be mine, a police positive revolver. It belonged to my great grandfather who was a police officer in Chicago during the whole prohibition Mafia thing. Its, I don't wanna say chrome, but not blued with mother of Pearl grips. Its in great condition besides a nice sized chip on one of the grips, which happened when my great grandfather had it on duty. I've been trying hard to learn more about my great granddaddy with little luck. My aunt has told me that he was involved somehow in the St Valentine's day massacre, and its believed that he was a "dirty" cop since he sent his children to a private school that a normal cop could not afford on their regular salary. When I inherit this firearm I will never sell it, only pass it on to the next generation. If I can prove the history behind this revolver how much would it be worth? And how could I go about getting proof that the pistol belonged to Edmond Gleason?

February 4, 2011, 09:03 PM
Your first move is to buy a Colt factory Archive letter.
This letter will list everything Colt knows about the gun when it left the factory.
This will include:
The date shipped.
WHO it was shipped to.
How many guns were in that shipment if more than one.
What the finish was.
The barrel length.
The caliber.
Any non-standard or custom ordered features like grips, etc.
If the gun is listed as blued with wood or hard rubber grips, and yours is bright nickel with pearl grips, it was done aftermarket.

Often all the letter will show is shipment to a company or police department, but you never know.
Look under Archive Letters. Cost is about $75.00:


The next step would be to see if the Chicago PD has a historical site or museum. Most big departments do. They can probably give you his official service records and possibly other info.

Get on line to the Chicago papers and look into their archives. Most will have online archives, or may offer searches. You'd look for his name or unit, info on the St Valentines Day incident, and info on police corruption. (Probably a LOT of that).

Some papers are out of business. Check with the Chicago library for their archives.

As an interesting aside, I recently read a new book about how a group of officials in Chicago set out to nail Capone, any way they could.
The author offers the very interesting theory that the St Valentines Day killings were NOT done by Capone, but by a criminal and Chicago policemen.
This hood was the man who was caught a couple of years later in possession of the Thompson guns used in the killings.

Here's the theory.
The hood once killed a man by dressing up as a cop and walking up to his door.
A month or so before the killings, a Chicago policeman's son was shot by members of the Moran gang in a speakeasy.
He lived for six weeks. He told this hood who was a relative who it was who shot him.
On the morning of the killings in the garage, Bugs Moran had driven by a short time earlier.
None of the men in the garage looked or dressed anything like Moran, so it's unlikely the killers mistook someone else for Moran.
The author proposes that the hood relative and the son's relatives on the force decided to get even and killed the men they came to kill.
The hood relative simply kept the two Thompson guns used.

Last, contrary to all the movies, Capone had no reason at all to kill Moran. He and Moran were on opposite sides of a big town with no problems with each other or conflicts with each others territory.
At the time, it was a well-known principle of the Chicago police that things would flow nicely as long as you didn't try to harm a police officer or his family.
As they proved on several instances, if you broke that rule, you'd never see the inside of a jail cell.

If you enjoyed reading about "unusual colt police positive?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!