I have an early 1900's model Colt Police Positive .38 Special. My wife and I found it in a box that was part of her inheritance, and we were curious as to what its worth.
A quick rundown of the story behind this weapon: Her Great Uncle was a Marine Officer with the 2nd Marine Division during the Invasion of Saipan, in June 1944. He was killed in action in the Mariana Islands during the invasion.
He served in many other conflicts as well. In 1923 he was given Nicaragua's highest military Medal of Merit, by the President of the country. From what we have gathered this pistol came with that award.
Where my problem lies is that Ive only been able to find "Blue" revolvers of similiar make/model. Ones that come from this timeframe also have hardened rubber handles. This pistol (at one time) was "Chrome" or Nickle-Plated. It also has a very nice Mother-of-Pearl Grip.
Its in pretty bad shape with the rust, but its expected because nobody really knew it was there to take care of it. Its been sitting in an old box wrapped in a cleaning cloth for the better part of a century. We also have most of the original awards and newspaper articles from all of the conflicts he was involved in. We believe we have the award documentation that came with this pistol, which is certified and stamped by the Navy.
Here are some pictures. Im not sure how to post multiple pictures on a single topic so I will create a few replies with pictures. Thanks for any help.
hello,,it sounds like a real peice of history with the provanance you have with it ,is there any actual documentation stateing the pistol was awarded to him ?,,or pics of him receiveing it ?this greatly will increase the value ,,but condition means alot to a collector looking for a gun with history ..and in poor condition it will hurt the value to an extent..but a colt collector may overlook the condition somewhat if you have the proper provanance to document the historical value of the pistol..a standard plain jane comercial model of a police positive brings around 200-250 in my parts.. but with the information documenting this one it could be double or more those prices ,,there is a chance that a colt factory letter would increase the value IF there records show it as being ordered by the government that awarded it to your wifes uncle ,,a letter from colt will cost you around 200-250 but if it shows special historical value it's worth the investment ,,sorry i can't give more of an exact value but some of these types of weapons definattlty need professional appraisals by a colt collector ..
Well I appreciate it BigCurt. Ill do what I can to dig up the documentation. We do have the actual awards given to him from the Nicaraguan Government through the US Navy. I dont have eyes on the papers because theyre in San Diego (Home to both me and our families), and I am stationed in Virginia. I have a ton of paperwork documenting the things he did, including the official document and flag given to his wife when he was killed in Saipan. He is buried at the Punchbowl Memorial in Hawaii. We have that document too.
The award states something similar to (not word for word): Awarded to Ralph Forsythe, LTC United States Marine Corps, 5th Battalion, 2nd Marine Division - The Nicaraguan Medil of Merit for Valiant Services rendered to the Republic of Nicaragua. Signed by the president and some Navy Admiral.
I love military history, especially involving family. Honestly I want an estimate so I can include it in my insurance plans.
One more question... I know there was more than 750,000 Police Positive/Special models (and other models derived from the PS) manufactured. Was it common for Colt to nickel plate and add pearl grips to them? I cant find any pictures with these modifications that were actually done by colt. They are all aftermarket.
I finally was able to get the pictures posted. They were originally too large. I pretty much already have my answer but I figured I would post the pictures so you can get an idea of the item that goes with the story. Enjoy!
Stamped M inside crane under ser# civilian model.Could been order from colt nickled with pearl grips.
I also am in possession through inheritance of my mother's 38 police special, in excellent condition with the pearl grip handle. I also would like to sell it but need to have an idea of its value. Any comments?
The Colt Police Positive Special is valued at $600.00 USD in excellent (95-98%) condition and $450.00 USD in very good (80-95%) condition. They were made from 1907 to 1973.... The pearl handle grips are probably after market.
Hope this helps too,
I saw a colt police positive 32 cal, blued, at a pawn shop today for 695.00. The tag said MFG from 1911 to 1927. I have a 38 cal, same model left by my grandfather.
Colt Police Positives with factory nickel plating are not rare at all. Factory pearl grips are quite uncommon, however. If the gun came from the Colt factory with mother of pearl grips, then the grips should have the round Colt emblems inset at the top of the grip.
Not knowing the condition of the gun (the pictures you posted will not load on my computer) it is difficult to make an intelligent guess as to its' value. But the combination of the documents, the nickel plating, and the mother of pearl grips (if both are factory original) could very well make it worth 5 to 10 times what an ordinary Police Positive in the same condition would be worth.
Pretty common colt...half a million made...Sold mine for 500