What's it Worth? Automatic Colt, Calibre 38 Rimless Smokeless

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by E. Ted Seitz, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. E. Ted Seitz

    E. Ted Seitz New Member

    Oct 23, 2011
    Serial Number 3264. 6 inch Barrel.

    Below is the writing that is on the barrel.

    Side 1: Automatic Colt, Calibre 38 Rimless Smokeless

    Side 2: "Browning's Patent", Pat'd April 20, 1897. Colt's Patent Fire Arms Mfg Co, Hartsford, Conn USA.

    Ammunition Clip has the following engraved on it:

    PAT'D SEPT 9, 1884

    Rubber Grips in good to very good condition.
    At least 50% of the blueing is gone.

    I think it is a Sporting Model. Got it from my grandpa. Just curious "what it is worth"?


  2. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2006
    Interesting that the magazine would have a patent date 13 years before the gun was designed....:confused:

  3. E. Ted Seitz

    E. Ted Seitz New Member

    Oct 23, 2011
  4. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Maybe Browning's the one that invented the detachable box magazine, and he patented that in 1884? So then the magazine for any pistol, whether the 1902 Browning or the 1905 Browning or the 1911 or the 1922 Browning, would all fall under that patent.

    I don't know if he did, but that would certainly explain it.
  5. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Not listed here:


    Photos are needed to determine if Model 1900 or 1902, as there's a significant difference in value.

    And a separate photo of the magazine showing patent date.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    That 1884 patent was by one Louis D. Diss for a detachable magazine for rifles, assigned to Remington. Colt paid a royalty to Remington for each magazine until the patent expired in 1902.

  7. E. Ted Seitz

    E. Ted Seitz New Member

    Oct 23, 2011
    Thanks for all of the insight. I will attempt to figure out how to load a few pictures to further determine the model and year range.
  8. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    If you have digital photos on your PC, click on the Go Advanced tab below the reply screen, then under Additional Options click on the Manage Attachments tab, and browse to find and upload your photos.
  9. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Active Member

    Dec 1, 2010
    Ardmore, OK
    According to Goddard's book, those of 3200 serial number range were 1900 Model, not 1902. It should have either the combo rear sight, safety or evidence of it having been modified, as most were due to it being something less than a success. A 1900 in 50% condition would likely be in the $2k or more value range, maybe a lot more.

    You can tell for sure. The standard 1902 slide has one cross-pin that holds the firing pin. The modified 1900 has the same plus another cross-pin just below the rear sight, plus evidence just behind of a little steel inlay between the rear sight and where the hammer strikes the firing pin. The original sight-safety pivots the rear sight and is obvious. Original magazines are usually nickeled.

    Also, If you can pull the slide back and look at the same time, or remove the slide, the same serial number as that on the gun can is below, near where the hammer strikes.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  10. dellcom

    dellcom New Member

    Dec 23, 2011
    I have bought a home a couple years ago and just recently was putting something away in a cabinet. In the very back of the cabinet I have found a Colt 38 Smokeless Rimless with the serial # 452xx, In my opinion it is in satisfactory condition. It has some pitting but I cleaned it up "somewhat". I do know how to take a gun apart and after doing so, everything on the inside looks solid. I am curious on the value, any help?

    Attached Files:

    • colt.JPG
      File size:
      58.2 KB
  11. EAnthonyD

    EAnthonyD New Member

    Aug 27, 2012
    I also have a 1902 Colt 38 Automatic. The serial # is 2051, with a mfg date of 9/9/1902. It belonged to my father, who served in the Illinois Nat'l guard in the late 30's and early 40's. He also carried this automatic when he was a bodyguard for my great uncle, JC Petrillo, in the late 30's and 40's.

    I estimate that at least 65% of bluing is in good condition. Original wood grips, with a raised metal stamped emblem with "small urchin or angel sitting in a wreath", screwed into the right grip.
    Would be interested in the recommended, secure procedure to have this weapon evaluated and priced.

    Thank you,

  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Just noticed again this old thread, and thought I would add that the magazine patent mentioned in #6 was for the Remington Lee rifle. The patent number is 304,712 and the gist of it is the construction of a magazine with feed lips to keep the cartridges in when the magazine is removed from the rifle and also the method of manufacturing such a magazine. Since the patent applied to magazines, not rifles, Colt had to pay royalties on Browning's pistol magazines until the patent expired in 1901 (17 years). Apparently the agreement between Colt and Remington was that Colt would put the patent date on their magazines until the patent expired. (Of course, a gun made after Sept. 9, 1901 could have a magazine made before that.)

    FWIW, Louis P. Diss, the inventor who assigned the patent to Remington, worked for the Remington Typewriter Company and had several patents in the typewriter field.

    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  13. sean0880

    sean0880 New Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    i have a colt 1902 with a nickel finish with pearl grips. just really curious what kind of value it has. serial number 26101
  14. sean0880

    sean0880 New Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    these are a cpl of pics of my colt.

    Attached Files:

  15. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    IMHO, neither the finish nor the grips are factory, and I don't think there were any nickel plated 1902's. The gun is in poor condition and I would estimate value at $500 or so to someone who just wanted an example of the 1902.

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