What's this Colt Detective Special Worth?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Hanwei, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. Hanwei

    Hanwei New Member

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    Hello Experts!

    This is my first post here. I've found a Colt Detective Special .38, New in box, never fired, 99.99% condition if not 100%. Comes with original box. And I'm almost ready to snatch it up!

    What is this worth?

    I've seen used ones go start at ~$350 and NIB ones up at $699. I'm just wondering what I should expect to pay for one in 100% condition, NIB.

    Also, Can you indulge me and tell me what generation Detective Special it is? Maybe also a date of birth? I understand that there are 4 generations. And how do you tell?

    Thank you all very much in advance! I appreciate all of the information you guys are willing to share.

    I'm the kind of person that likes to know exactly what I'm getting before getting it. :cool:

    A photo is below.

    Hanwei

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  2. 22WRF

    22WRF Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a 3rd issue mfg 73-86
    Blue book $450 but to me worth more
  3. Hanwei

    Hanwei New Member

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    So... maybe $550 tops? More? Less? :)

    Thanks for your info!

    Hanwei
  4. 22WRF

    22WRF Well-Known Member

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    I would say less than $500.
    I lightened the pic looks like a couple of rust spots on the cylinder and the screw slot over the trigger looks buggered.

    Don't think it's 99% but then I'm just looking a pic
  5. Hanwei

    Hanwei New Member

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    Thanks again! Yeah, the picture is not so great, as there are plenty of fingerprints and smudges to try and see through.

    I thought those might look like rust spots as well but then again, it could just be a reflection from the indoor lighting (depending on the camera's white balance).

    I'll be checking the gun out this coming week and will definitely give it a thorough check. Especially the screws.

    I'll put up an update here once I've seen it. Thanks!

    Hanwei
  6. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Hi Hanwei......welcome to TFF. :)

    For what it's worth, here's the current Blue Book value:

    Detective Special (Third Issue):

    100% - $450
    98% - $425
    95% - $400
    90% - $300

    Add $50 for nickel.
  7. Hanwei

    Hanwei New Member

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    Thanks!

    So... is Blue Book value telling me what it should sell for in a private sale? Or does it tell me what a dealer would use as consideration to estimate a trade in value or sale value?

    What I'm trying to get at is this... If the same (similar condition) gun is being sold at an average price of $575 across the country (on the internet and stores) then I usually assume that that is the current market value of the gun. I've also been told by 2 avid collectors/shooters that the gun is worth between $525-$625. In my mind this just further validates my research in ascertaining a current market value.

    But then there's the Blue Book value. Which sometimes tends to be a bit lower than "market" value. Does this mean that in those instances when market value is higher than blue book value... people are simply overpaying for the gun? Or does it mean that sometimes the blue book value is just a base point of reference, ie: the minimum current value? ...and that the actual market value could potentially be higher?

    I hope that all makes sense.

    Anyway... all everyone keeps telling me is that the value of this gun will only increase as time goes on... so I may snag it after all, if anything, to be a safe queen/collectors piece.

    Thanks for your info!

    Hanwei
  8. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Well, here's what the Blue Book says on it's prices......

    "The pieces listed in this 28th Edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values are based on national average retail prices for both modern and antique firearms......"

    A lot of people think that Blue Book prices are a bit low (expecially if they're trying to sell a gun).....and, in the case of some collector firearms, the prices of certain guns is climbing so rapidly the the prices in the BB are outdated quickly (look at the prices of unmolested GI M1911s & A1s), but in general, they seem pretty good to me.

    The only real way to judge the value of a gun is "what a buyer will pay for it".

    Go to the gun auction sites and look at the completed auctions and see what guns like yours have sold for recently. That's the true market value.
  9. Hanwei

    Hanwei New Member

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    Thanks Xracer!
  10. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

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    With the Blue Book at average you probably can expect to pay more in the Northeast and certainly more in Mass. Good luck with it I had a chance several years ago to buy one just like that one but passed on it. I own a couple of Ruger snubbies and they are excellent but the Det Special is a classic.
  11. Hanwei

    Hanwei New Member

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    Thanks Terry...

    It looks like we're meeting up on Thursday for the visual inspection and exchange. So if everything looks good with the gun, I will be posting photos of it for you guys to see when I get it home. I'll also share the final price I end up paying.

    Thanks for everyone's input so far... if anyone has more to share... please share!

    Hanwei
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