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COLT New Service .38 Special

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by taparaho, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. taparaho

    taparaho New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
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    Location:
    Salt Point, NY
    I have a Colt New Service .38 special with a 6" Barrel. It was given to me by my Grandfather. I am trying to determine if it has any value before disposing of it.

    On the barrel it says "COLT's PTFA MFG CO, HARTFORDT, CT, U.S.A PAT'D AUG 5 1884, JULY 4 1905, OCT 5 1926.

    The serial number is 805XX. There are also three "markings" on the frame -- same side as the Colt Logo. One is located by the trigger and looks like thre e Oars intersecting; The other is by the hammer and looks like bird flyingover a person(?); The last is at the end of the barrel closet the cylinder. My grandfather told me that they were chinese customs markings, but I don't know if he was just pulling my leg.

    I'm assuming it has the original grips and the butt has a loop attached to the frame.

    I'm attaching two pictures as well.

    I'm intersted to know if anyone can give me some info on this handgun.

    I'd appreciate any feedback anyone has for me.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2006
  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Hi taparaho......welcome to TFF.

    Hmmmmm......Yes, the grips appear to be oribinal, but something doesn't jibe here. Are you sure that this is a New Service.....or that the serial # is accurate? According to http://proofhouse.com/colt/index.html (which is a reliable and accurate source), Serial # 805XX was manufactured in 1915.....but then it couldn't have a patent date of OCT 5 1926 on the barrel.

    Does it say "New Service" on the barrel?

    Is the barrel really 6 inches long? It should be 5 1/2 inches.

    Can you post some more pictures? Full length of both the right and left sides, and tell us all of the writing on the gun, exactly as it's written, and where it appears.
  3. taparaho

    taparaho New Member

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    Location:
    Salt Point, NY
    Thanks for the web link. I went to the site and I see what you mean. The serial number is stamped two times on the gun -- On the frame above the "K" and on the Cylinder arm. Yes, it is a New Service .38 Special. I don't know a lot about guns or how tomeasure the barrel length -- but it is 6" from the tip of the barrel to the cylinder.

    As requested, I have attached more pictures.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2006
  4. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Barrel length is OK. As I reread the specs. in the Blue Book, I see that the .38 Specials were made with 6" barrels. The larger calibers were made in 5 1/2 inches. Guess it must be my old eyes.

    Still, the serial # (805XX, manufactured in 1915) doesn't jibe with a 1926 patent date on the barrel. I can't read the patent dates in your photo.....could it possibly be 1906?

    The New Service was made from 1898 until 1942. If that 1926 patent date is correct, then what you have is a gun that was made in 1915, and at some point later in it's life, was rebarreled with a newer, post-1926 barrel.

    Do my eyes decieve me, or does the barrel appear to have a slightly different color than the rest of the gun?
  5. taparaho

    taparaho New Member

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    Location:
    Salt Point, NY
    It definately says Oct 5, 1926 on the barrel. Until reading your comment, I never thought the barrel was darker than the rest of the gun -- but I suppose it may be -- but it just appears that more finish is rubbed off the rest of the frame.

    Do you have any idea about the 3 markings on the gun?

    Do you think the gun has any value? I'm actually considering giving it away to a relative or turning it in to be destroyed.

    I appreciate your thoughts.
  6. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    I have no idea what those markings are. I've never seen any like them before.

    If this was an original New Service made in 1915, in the condition yours is in (about 70% condition), it would be worth about $875.

    If, as I suspect, it has a later barrel, it's still worth in the $4-500 range.

    Please, please, please.....don't turn this in to be destroyed. It's way too nice a gun for that. Since this belonged to your Grandfather, give it to someone in your family who'll appreciate it as a family memento.
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