You can see in the pics at the beginning of the post, that the dates stamped on the frame are only Pat. dates, the seriel # ref shows it was made in 1902. 38 W.C.F. Is stamped on the barrel.nitestalker said:Colt did not stamp the year of production on the frames. The Colt Modl. 1873 was stamped on the frame. The barrel dates refer to patents. I would get the letter from Colt which tells you it was shipped in what caliber barrel etc. Provided none of these things have been altered I would have it restored. And if the letter says it was shipped to the Texas Rangers or Wyatt Earp you just got a boost in your retirement funds.
This is an example of one that started out in 1891 as a 44-40 with a 4 3/4" barrel that is now a 45LC with a 5 1/2" barrel. Visually everything is a perfect match. All stag grips were not original factory. I even have a Bisley mfg in 1906 that was converted by Colt into a SAA and may be the only example. Many things were done to those guns, but there's still value there and in the case of the Bisley increased it.These guns were often returned to Colt. Many were rebarreled or rechambered with Colt Parts by Gun works such as the famous Cheyenne Armory run by the Freund Bros. back in the day. That is why these Colts have to have a Birth Certificate.
Towboater, it's hard to tell value without personally checking it out. I've seen a number of originals with gold, but it's usually the cylinder that's plated. The gold can turn people off and there's no denying that. Roy Rogers had a pair of gold plated Colts that were sold at his auction a year ago that I would've loved to own. I've been to many shows, which includes the Vegas antique arms collector show, which is the biggest, that had people like Phil Spangenberger there and I saw restored SA's in the 2 and 3,000+ dollar range that were nothing special.Gunsmoke. What do ya recon the gold plated one would be worth on gunbroker??