1891 Colt SAA U.S - Grading and Value

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by 930s, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. 930s

    930s New Member

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    Nov 23, 2009
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    Need your help with grading and value.
    Have a Colt 45 SAA US
    Serial # 136XXX with RAC near the ser#.
    The gun is tight all around.
    I know very little about firearms.
    Thanks.

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  2. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Well, probably you should have it appraised by a professional at this sort of thing but I may be able to give you an estimate. What you appear to have is an Artillery Model. The Cavalry Model was 7.5" barrell, the Artillery Model was five and three quarter inches, I believe. When the Cavalry Models become worn to the point of being unserviceable they were sent to Colt for refurbishing. There the barrels were trimmed or replaced, and after refurbishing they were returned to the military and re-issued, thereafter designated as Artillery Models.

    I sold one two years ago at Internet auction. Mine was a revolver that once was an Artillery Model, had the barrel replaced with a 7.5 barrel, and the cylinder was also new. All this work was, I believe, done by Colt, and completely reblued. The grips on mine were one-piece walnut. The grips on yours are rubber, but being an Artillery Model may be proper for your gun. When the guns were refurbished, there was mismatching of parts.

    The RAC cartouche is proper for that serial number and could be stamped also on the mouth of the cylinder. Grips on mine were cartouched RAC, but my gun was made in 1882 and the frame cartouched D.F.C. for David F. Clark who inspected it.

    Mine, with all its mismatched parts and changes brought $2200. I think yours will bring quite a bit more than that. Should you decide to sell it, auction would be the way to go.
  3. 930s

    930s New Member

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    Nov 23, 2009
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    Thanks jondar for all the info

    here's some more pics,

    Stamped on the top of the barrel - on the left COLT and at the right end USA. Can't make out what's in between.

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  4. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Yes, excellent pictures. The RAC is (Rinaldo A. Carr) civilian employee of the War Dept. who inspected it, and is properly stamped on the frame. The barrel with the D. F. C. (David F. Clark) cartouche probably indicates that Clark re-inspected the gun when it came back from being refurbished. I don't have the dates that Clark served as inspector, but your gun post dates mine by only nine years. In the case of my gun, the barrel and cylinder were replaced, I'm assuming sometime in the 1930-1940 time frame, leaving the only other cartouche (RAC) on the grip. Definite mismatches, but in the case of your gun everything seems proper.
  5. 45nut

    45nut Active Member

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    The Artillery models were re-issued with the one piece walnut grips, although the owner after it's service time may have replaced them. If they are period replacements, it won't affect the price too much, but they would have had a cartouche.

    look here for reference on appraisal
  6. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Yes, I wondered about that. Where would the cartouche be on the inside of the grip or on the flat at the bottom of the grip frame like the one-piece? And would it be on both or only one?

    Looks like, due to the three matching numbers, the only thing changed on this gun was the barrel. Elmer Keith gave the example of one Cavalry SAA that had the left side front of the barrel worn almost into the bore, due to the rubbing on leather.
  7. 930s

    930s New Member

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    Thanks for the great info.
    This is getting interesting.
    Removed the grips and can't find any marks.


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  8. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Bummer! But not all that great a problem. You could post on the various gun auctions in their Wanted to Buy section for a one piece grip. Wouldn't make any difference who inspected it. Wouldn't be cheap but as long as it was genuine it would make the gun worth that much more if/when you go to sell it. Keep us posted.
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