Colt 1902 Sporting .38 ACP

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by chasescottwill, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. chasescottwill

    chasescottwill New Member

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    Hello all, I was given a Colt 1902 Sporting .38ACP by my Great Aunt. She informed me the gun was her dads and that he was in the CIA. No idea if this gun had anything to do with the CIA though. From my research based on the markings on the side of the gun and on the bottom of the magazine the gun was made in 1902-1903. The thing that puzzles me is that there is not a serial number anywhere on the gun and no sign of it being grinded off. could this be a "lunchbox" gun? Could it be that it was CIA issued and had no serial number? The gun is in good condition. What do you think this gun would be worth? I dont plan on ever selling it and would like to get it cleaned up and restored....is that a bad idea?

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  2. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    The CIA was established in 1947, so I doubt this model was ever issued by them. The CIA's predecessor organization, the OSS, was founded in 1942, so the gun was sort of an antique even then. Of course, a CIA employee could have personally owned that or any other gun.

    Serial numbers were not legally required in the U.S. on civilian guns manufactured before a certain date. Somebody here can pinpoint the date. If your gun never had a serial number, then you're OK - but check under the slide and under the grips to be sure.
  3. chasescottwill

    chasescottwill New Member

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    yea...didnt really think it had any link to the CIA. I have checked under the grips but not taken the slide off yet.
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    No, it is not a lunch box gun:), No, it is not a CIA gun:) To restore it, AKA to return it to the condition in which it came from the factory when new, would cost a couple of thousand dollars To refinish it, which is what most people mean when they say restore, it would lose all collectors value. If it truly doesn't have a serial number, then yes it has been removed because it left the factory with one. The BATFE takes a very dim view of illegal firearms ( which with no serial number , that is what it is ), in easy terms, the 1934 Gun control act states the the possessor is deemed to be the one who committed the crime. Now I think the ATF has better things to do than pursue any action, but you never know, if you became wrapped up in another matter? It might be a good ideal to have a knowledgeable person to inspect it to ascertain the fact.
  5. chasescottwill

    chasescottwill New Member

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    BAM! Took the slide off and there is the serial number! Number 5290! Anyone know what age that would put the gun at? Can you tell anymore about the gun from that number?
  6. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    Colt will research the background of your pistol and give you a written report. For the 1902 Sporting, they would charge $100 for researching their archives: http://www.coltsmfg.com/CustomerServices/ArchiveServices.aspx

    Flayderman's Guide list the value of your early Sporting at $500 in Very Good condition. Without additional photos, it is hard to say for sure if yours would be considered Very Good. Serial numbers started at 3500, so yours with no. 5290 was early. Production ran from 1903-1908, so yours would be from the earlier part of that range.
  7. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    More: If you want to post additional photos, use a camera with a macro setting (not a cell phone) and with indirect lighting (no flash). Your first photo may be a bit out of focus. Take pix of the slide removed and closeups of the grips, etc. Shoot for a least a half dozen photos, covering the entire gun from various angles.

    Is the same serial number on both the frame and slide? What is the condition of the bore? I looks like the two grip screws shown may not match?
  8. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    Goddard's book lists some 1902 Sporting serial numbers but not yours. The nearest is 5301 which was shipped in Feb. 1903. Sportings in condition like yours sell in the $800-1000 range today, maybe a little more.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  9. chasescottwill

    chasescottwill New Member

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    I cannot find a serial number anywhere on the frame....just under the slide. All screws on the grip do match. Bore looks good! Here are few more pics.
  10. chasescottwill

    chasescottwill New Member

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    pics....

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  11. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    Based on what I see, I would classify it as Very Good condition. There are gouges on both grips.
  12. chasescottwill

    chasescottwill New Member

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    Yea, there are two small spots on both grips. Was this gun originally blued or was it nickel color. It obviously has not been cleaned at all in a very long time! What is the best thing to use when cleaning an old gun like this...i would like to get all the grime off of it! Still awesome to hold a gun that is over 100 years old that is still in working order!
  13. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    I would just use a commercial gun-cleaning solvent, such as Hoppe's #9. Follow up with something like RemOil. Originally, the gun was blued, but don't reblue it. And don't scrub off the brown patina with steel wool, etc. - just clean it.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  14. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    That is the early model with the serrations at the front; those bring a bit more than the later ones with the serrations at the rear.

    If there is a patent date on the magazine, it was made before March, 1902, when the Diss patent expired.

    JIm

    Jim
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