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Colt SAA - 38 Special - what did I find today?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by dhcustomwork, Feb 3, 2013.

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  1. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I wouldn't argue that someone didn't pay a lot of money to restore the revolver to the condition that it's in today, nor that the quality of the work isn't top drawer. What I will question is how much someone would pay to buy it.

    The only way to tell this would be to put it up for auction on one of the better houses that specialize in high-quality collectables. I note that when a figure of $4,000 was hinted at no one jumped in with a counter offer. Of course it may be that this particular thread probably isn't being followed by serious potential buyers.

    At the other end of the scale I have a black powder era SAA of which the only remaining original parts are the frame (including the gate), backstrap and trigger guard. I think I might have the ejector tube somewhere. These parts are in good condition, but no original finish remains. I got it for a yet unfinished project, and didn't pay anything close to $1,500. No way could I sell it for that figure to anyone who was sober.
     
  2. highpower

    highpower Member

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    While that may be a very nice restoration, it is still not an original gun. In my experience no matter how nice a restoration is, they just don't bring the same money as a gun that still has most of the original finish.

    So what is it worth???? If I was looking at it and was in the buying mood I wouldn't pay more than 3-3.5K for it. For me that would be absolute top dollar for a restored SAA that has no special provenance. Others might be willing to give more, but not me.

    I do know the difference between a refinished gun and one that has been professionally restored. I agree that whoever did that one was one of the best. Perhaps Eddie Janis?

    Those two 1911's are nice. and they would easily sell for more than the revolver is worth.
     
  3. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Is it going to be worth whatever an original gun in the same condition would be, of course not. That's kind of the whole point. To have an old gun that is like new without paying the massive premium a like new gun that old would command. Is it worth more than it was? Probably so. Is it worth more than an original but well-used, well worn and pitted gun? Absolutely. There are cheap old guns and there are nice old guns but there are no cheap, nice old guns. The restoration meets somewhere in the middle and is typically worth every penny invested. Take a well worn $1500 gun, invest another $1500 in it and you have a very nice, $3000 sixgun that looks like a $10,000 sixgun. You guys act as if it's worth less than the $1500 after the restoration and that is just not true. IMHO, there's far too much myth and legend surrounding this issue.
     
  4. dhcustomwork

    dhcustomwork Member

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    I spoke with a few of the top resto/refinish guys out there, as well as a few collectors. One thing that they all had in common in their assessment was that in no uncertain terms ... this is NOT a restoration. No matter how well it was done or how much the work cost, it was a re-chambered and refinished gun. There is no arguing that some out there are willing to pay up to $3k for this kind of work to be done ( otherwise there would be no Turnbull and such). That does not mean that they are willing to buy this kind of work second hand. I'm sure over time and with the right marketing or auction site, it may well have brought $3000 or a little more. But that would take time and money just to find out. Even with all of that done, I doubt I would have made enough to buy the two 1911s.

    Funny thing is; I really wasn't planning on selling or trading at all. This particular offer came up and is something I didn't feel I could pass up. I may or may not ever shoot the 1914, but know I will shoot the commercial a few times a year. There is no chance I would EVER have fired the SAA. When I'm ready or when I find one; I would much rather have an honest all original SAA anyway; and one that I could actually shoot as well.

    As a note; not one offer for more than $2k cash was presented, but more than one trade offer with values over $3k came up. This just happened to be the most intriguing and fun. I've always wanted a US ARMY M1911 and have the history of it in my hands. Oh man, the stories it might tell if only it could.
     
  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    dhcustomwork

    When all is said and done concerning the Colt SAA, if I had an offer such as yours I would make the deal, provided of course both M1911s checked out as represented to you. I love single action revolvers and as nice as it would be to have that Colt, the two M1911s in their original condition would be an offer I couldn't pass on either.
     
  6. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    In t his context, the chambering and new parts have zero to do with it being a "restoration". In a refinish, parts are polished and reblued or color case hardened. Perhaps some minor imperfections are removed. We will never know without learning exactly what was done but we can safely assume a few things.

    1. People typically don't replace the barrel and cylinder of a 1st generation SAA unless they are pitted and beyond repair.

    2. Assuming the barrel and cylinder were bad enough to replace, the frame would've been in bad shape too. Be it from age, rust and pitting or from poorly done refinishes.

    Based on those two things, it is safe to assume that the frame was not simply refinished but that it had to be restored. Which means you are not just giving it a good polish and re-coloring it but that pits have to be filled in or removed. Old refinishes which were poorly done have to be corrected. Which could mean welding and a lot of filing and hand polishing to bring back what was lost. The lettering would have to be redone and this sixgun obviously has a 2nd generation style rear sight notch. So there was potentially a lot of work done and that makes it a restoration, not a refinish. That the barrel and cylinder were replaced and the chambering changed from original is irrelevant. IMHO, the only issue with the restoration is that it was finished in modern hot salt blue, rather than period correct carbona blue.


    Not true at all. While this may have been the case at some point, I see custom guns going for near replacement cost all the time. You may not get full replacement cost for a restored Colt SAA but you surely will not lose your hat on it. Depending on how much you spent on the base gun and how much the work cost.


    Why??? A restored Colt is the best for shooting. It's a fine sixgun but you know you're not negatively affecting the value of a minty 1st generation gun. IMHO, it's value would be as a shooter.

    I think you lucked into a peach of a SAA with real one-piece ivory and it blows my mind that you would trade it for a couple of freckled 1911's. It's your gun to do with as you wish but do you really think a collector would offer you two 1911's that are worth more than your SAA?
     
  7. Russ Jackson

    Russ Jackson member

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    Heck the grips have to be worth $800. They are real and look flawless. Its a great looking weapon. No way I trade it unless I needed the money. That gun will draw crowds. Someone is always willing to pay for quality craftsmanship. That gun is the finest looking I have ever seen which means somebody would buy it at a premium. No way I sell it for 3K. The case hardening is great and all the stamped numbers and are extremely clean without buffing marks or wear. They are are so crisp and there is so little wear on the case hardening and hammer. There is a story behind that gun you might never discover. I doubt the barrel and cylinder were changed because of wear. Send it to this guy he might have some answers. http://www.johnakopec.com/

    Chances are somebody might have dropped it or hurt the finish on the barrel and they decided to do something special with it. Are you guys sure that barrel was refinished and not original? It shows no signs of it.
     
  8. dhcustomwork

    dhcustomwork Member

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    Well, maybe I'm just getting screwed then. I just can't fathom getting $3k+ cash for this SAA selling on my own; and IMO it would take the right auction house and plenty of marketing to bring in that much or more at auction. Then take off 20-30% commission and I'm right back where I started.

    If someone would have offered more that would have been great.

    And I'll say this - if a collector wants something like this, isn't a 1911 guy, and has considerably less invested in them than they're currently worth; then yes they'd offer them up being equal or slightly more valuable.
     
  9. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I'd say you've come a long way in 8 days. :rolleyes:

    From this:
    To this:
    Have you tried or even considered it? Did you buy it to sell or to keep? Are you just trying to go from one good deal to another? The ink is barely dry on the initial purchase and you're already 3 days deep into trying to trade it away. I don't know if you're getting screwed or not but I don't think you do either. Just seems to me that you're acting in haste on just a few days of research. I would suggest simmering on it for a while. Post it for sale on Gunbroker with a low opening bid to encourage bidding but a high enough reserve that you won't be upset if it sells, just to see where you stand with it. You only have to pay when it sells so it won't hurt to try. Hell, set the reserve for $4000. You surely don't need to send it to an auction house to get top dollar for it. The bids you get will give you a better idea of what it's worth than any internet forum.
     
  10. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    Why plenty of marketing? If you went the auction house route they would assess it, they would place a pic and description of it in a catalog which gets distributed internationally, they would conduct the auction and take their cut. Not much for you to do.

    GunBroker or Auction Arms would both work. Put it up for what you paid for it with a reserve of $3000.00 or whatever, let it set for 30 days watch how many views it gets, questions, and bids or offers.

    tipoc
     
  11. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    It probably makes no difference, but I would make a small wager that the caliber change was done back when Numrich was practically giving away SAA barrel and cylinder sets for .38 Special. Later someone, possibly a subsequent owner, decided to have the gun restored. The restorer, not knowing or caring that the caliber was not original, did his thing, and we have a new-looking SAA in a chambering that Colt didn't use when the gun was made.

    Jim
     
  12. snakeman

    snakeman Member

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    I want one!
     
  13. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I guess what you are saying is that it was a 44/40 but a later owner sent it back to the factory to have it converted to 38 Special?

    How does factory rework effect values?
     
  14. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    It depends on the work done and the factory.

    The gun here is not a factory rework though. It's a caliber conversion, refinish and partial restoration (they restamped the rollmarks for example) done by a custom shop.

    It's value is less than the value of an original in very good condition. It's value is also likely less than if Colt had done the work at some point decades back. Colt would have done the work differently though.

    It's possible this gun was done for cowboy action shooting within the last decade or two.

    tipoc
     
  15. dhcustomwork

    dhcustomwork Member

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    image_zps1e35e9a0.jpg


    I think I did ok. Fair trade, both happy, new friend ..... all good.
     
  16. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Congratulations!
     
  17. Russ Jackson

    Russ Jackson member

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    I hope you do not regret it. It was a bad looking wheel gun. Maybe the sharpest I have seen. I sure would have liked to see it in person.
     
  18. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I think you did okay too and since both parties are happy and satisfied with the deal, then indeed, all is good. Enjoy and thanks for sharing all the pics with us, especially the Colt SAA.
     
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