Colt Peacemaker

.45 colt peacemaker
Updated on August 19, 2013
3 Star Rating: Recommended

This gun shipped to St. Joseph, MO on Jan. 2, 1931:The Colt Peacemaker pictured here is a "First Generation" gun chambered in .45 caliber. "I learned something very important when I purchased this gun online and I will share it with you on this page, it may save or earn you hundreds or even thousands of dollars."

I paid $3,600 and sold for $2,000 with re-finish disclosure (2006).

Gun Collecting: All original, good condition first generation Single Action Armys, (those produced between 1873 and 1941), are among the most valuable to the collector. These guns are distinguished by the serial numbers below 375000 and with no letters.

Bat Masterson special ordered a Colt SAA in .45 caliber, with nickel finish, 4¾ barrel and ivory grips. This is not that gun, but the appearance would have been very similar.

After this gun arrived I checked the serial numbers and immediately picked up the telephone to call the Office of the Historian, Colt Archive Properties, LLC in Hartford, Connecticut to order a letter of authentication. The letter I had ordered for my Colt Python had taken a full 125 days (4 months) to arrive. To my surprise, the very nice lady on the phone, after taking my credit card information, asked "would you like to hold just a moment while I check that serial number?" I said, "sure", thinking when she returned she was just going to tell me that it was a valid serial number.

When the lady came back on the phone in less than a minute, she gave me all of the pertinent information that is contained in their letters of authentication. I was astonished! I ask her how that was possible. She said that Colt's Single Action Army records are more readily accessible than the records for the Python.

Had I known that obtaining this information by phone and in less than a minute was possible, I would have invested in the letter before making the purchase. I discovered that the finish of my gun was originally blue when shipped from the factory. The fact that the gun had been nickel plated (refinished) at some point in it's life greatly affected the collector value.

Although the gun is very valuable, it could be worth three times as much with the original finish! Life Lesson #118: Get the Colt SAA's serial number and call 1-800-962-COLT before making the purchase. This is certainly worth it, when you are considering purchasing one of these guns. NOTE: Colt's website says the phone service is available for first generation SAA's up to the 343,000 serial number range (although mine was slightly higher) and the fee is $150 which includes the letter in two to three weeks.

Now, it is true that had the lady told me the gun was nickel, I still would not have known whether it was the original finish or not, because I was buying this gun online from a dealer three states away who assured me the gun was original. But, I would have been a far better informed buyer. Who knows? She could have came back to the phone and told me it was special ordered by Bat Masterson.

My free advice (take it for what it's worth): ask the seller before buying a First Generation Colt; Do you have an authentication letter from Colt? If the answer is YES, send it to me, (mail, fax or email), if NO, you should factor in the cost of the letter in your offer.

an old west cowboy gun

Left side view of the cylinder, frame and trigger.

the gun that won the west

Close up of the .45 Colt on the left side of the barrel.

colt .45 ssa single action army

Right side view of the First Generation Colt

colt peacemaker, .45, 4.75 inch barrel, nickel plated and ivory grips like the bat masterson gun

Left side view of the First Generation Colt Single Action Army .45.





question or comment

Comments and feedback welcome ...

I gave the Peacemaker a 3 star rating because this is a gun that I lost money on. I was actively building my collection at the time. I would have just kept the gun if it had been one that I would shoot, but it didn't fit that category, being a first generation gun. The younger generation are not exposed to the western movies we were and as time goes by the memory of the truly historic value attached to these guns will fade (regrettably). This is just my opinion and I'm sure it will fall on deaf ears, but cowboy gun values (excepting those with historic provenance) will fade.

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six shot cylinder up close with view of cartridges

.45 colt

ivory handles on colt saa

Note how the Elephant Ivory appears to be smaller than the pistol frame (ill-fitting) in this close-up picture. This is a good sign on a pistol of this age! Why? Because real Elephant Ivory that dates to this gun should shrink with age.