NEW!! Documentation was recently found that confirms Howard Dove was the Master Engraver and the Grips were done by Leonard Francolini. The letter has been scanned and added at the end of the auction. Scroll to the very bottom
Make: Colt’s PT. F.A. MFG. Co.
Serial Number: 99237B
Year of Manufacture: 1978 (http://www.proofhouse.com/colt/index.html) Letter indicates the work was completed around 1986.
Caliber: .357 Magnum
Action Type: Double Action and Single Action Revolver with Swing Out Cylinder
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “PYTHON .357 / * 357 MAGNUM CTG *”. The crane and the crane cut are marked “99237B”. The left side of the trigger guard bow is marked with a Triangle “VP” proof. The right side of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A.”. The left side of the grip frame is marked “HMD”.
Barrel Length: 6” with Full Length Underlug and Matte Vented Top Rib
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a Gold plated ramped blade pinned to the top rib. The rear sight is a gold outline square notched leaf, pinned to the top strap, adjustable for windage and elevation.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The two piece oversized wrap around bone grips are adorned with a gold oval with a forward facing Rampant Colt and a gold fleur de lis on the left panel. The right panel is adorned with a gold shield depicting two running colts and a Rampant Colt. A small breech in the material of the top edge of the shield is evident below the Colt’s hind leg. A gold fleur de lis is also affixed to the right grip panel. A steel oval grip end cap is screwed to the butt of the grips. A stars and stripes shield entwined in a gold snake appears on the end cap within an engraved border and against a finely pebbled background. The inscription “UNITED WE STAND / DIVIDED WE FALL” appears on the circumference of the oval. A gold band encircles the edge of the grip cap. Finish thinning is evident on the right side of the end cap, certainly from contact with the case. Only minute evidence of handling can be found on the grips. The end cap is in Very Good condtion. The grips rate in about Excellent overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 99% of its metal finish. The finish is rich and deep. The revolver has been engraved by master engraver Howard Dove. The majority of the work is an intricate scroll pattern. The left side of the barrel is adorned with a gold inlayed American Eagle with a banner which reads “CREATED BY GOD” and the right side of the barrel is adorned with a Gold Eagle with a banner which reads “PROTECTED BY COLT”. A gold Liberty Bell is visible on the left side of the frame with a Gold Statue of Liberty on the right. Gold borders the cylinder and forward part of the frame as well as the trigger guard. A gold design is present at the muzzle. A gold Colt logo is apparent on the underside of the trigger guard bow. An engraving of the Iwo Jima flag raising adorns the right side of the cylinder, with the Marines and Flag pronounced with gold. A gold fife and drum line with and original American flag is present on the left side of the cylinder. Except for the finish thinning on the butt plate and a faint drag line on the cylinder, little evidence of handling is present. The frame screw heads and grip screw head are sharp, the butt plate screw heads are moderately distressed. The markings and engraving are crisp and clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Excellent condition.
Mechanics: We did not fire this handgun. There is no evidence that this revolver has been fired. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: PLEASE SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE LISTING. A letter documenting the work and value is Included and scanned at the end of the listing. The revolver is housed in a beautiful walnut display case with a gold Colt logo and a gold border visible on the lid. Only light evidence of handling is apparent with a fissure along the grain emanating from the right edge inwards about 1 ½”. The interior of the lid is filled with a red velvet cushion. The floor of the case is filled with a red satin covered inset with form fit compartments for the revolver and the included accessories. A cleaning rod, two screwdrivers, a brush, an oil jar and a box lay in their compartments. The handles all bear Colt logos as do the top of the box and the top of the oil dipper. Two nickel keys are contained in the box. The handles, box and oil jar are white Corion and all the accessories are all in Excellent condition. The case is in Excellent condition.
Our Assessment: This is a Colt Python which has been exquisitely engraved by master engraver Howard Dove. Howard Dove was one of only two men in the modern era to be employed as a master engraver by both Colt and Winchester and was known as the Official Engraver to the Colt Collector’s Association. A Single Action Army he embellished for the CCA’s 1992 meeting and gun show brought the highest price ever paid for a new, non-commerative firearm sold at auction. Howard Dove passed away on November 1, 1994 in Christiansburg, VA. The revolver features a fine scroll pattern over most of the metal surfaces with gold inlayed patriotic images on the barrel, frame and cylinder. This stunning Python is in Excellent condition and exhibits only some case wear on the butt plate. The finish and engraving unparalleled and the revolver is housed in a lovely wooden case. This is a rare opportunity to add some of the best engraving work from the 20th century to your collection.