Colt Automatic Pistol and Revolver Information - 25 years of Service to Colt Firearms Collectors


Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32 ACP & Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless .380 ACP - Factory Gold Inlaid Examples

The very first factory engraved and gold inlaid Colt Model M .32 ACP, blued finish with Type I slide markings, six gold inlays and gold monogrammed grip safety with the initials "D.H.P.". This gun was shipped to Browning Brothers in Ogden, Utah in December, 1903.  This is also the first Model M produced with mother-of-pearl grips. The engraving, inlay and monogrammed grip safety were masterfully performed by Colt engraver, Cuno Helfricht. Perhaps the most unique aspect of engraving on this pistol is that when the work was performed, no pre-defined styles of engraving existed for the Model M. Just 17 of the Model Ms (in both .32 and .380 calibers) are noted as having any type of gold inlay work.

This is the first Model M with factory gold inlay and was featured as a past Gun of the Month.  Additionally, this pistol is also the very first Model M shipped with mother-of-pearl grips.  The pistol has six areas of gold inlay and is factory inscribed with the gold inlaid initials "D.H.P." and engraved on the grip safety.  This work was performed by Colt master engraver Cuno Helfrict, who also did the first gold inlaid Model N (also featured as a past Gun of the Month.)  The gun was shipped to Browning Brothers in Ogden, Utah on December 15, 1903, just a few months into production.

I've researched the initials and have written an article about the original owner of the gun which appears in the Spring 2003 issue of The Rampant Colt.  Click the photo or the link to read the article.

1903 Browning Brothers catalog

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Right side showing gold inlay work on the frame.

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"D.H.P." monogrammed and engraved grip safety in gold.

Private Collection

The very first factory engraved and gold inlaid Colt Model M .380 ACP - Serial number 6580, .380 caliber. Blued finish. Factory Engraved Gold Inlaid Colt Model 1908 .380 Semi-Automatic Pistol The factory letter shows that this gun was engraved with the initials "WBW" inlaid in gold on the left side of the gun. It was sold to E.L. Benson and shipped to Stauffer, Eshleman & Co. of New Orleans, LA. February 9, 1911. The letter does not mention the grade of engraving (B) or the grips which are pearl with a raised carved eagle on the right side.

MG George C. Marshall's Factory Engraved & Gold Inlaid Colt Model M

General George C. Marshall's Model M .380 Pistol Serial Number 135631- This spectacular and most important pistol appeared in a Colt internal newsletter in the 1940s.  The pistol is documented as having a wartime blue finish and standard checkered walnut grips and as being shipped to Springfield Armory on November 9, 1944.  The shipping book gives no indication of engraving.  The pistol is factory engraved and gold inlaid, featuring a facsimile of Gen. Marshall's signature "G.C. Marshall" on the left side of the slide.  Presumably, the left side roll markings have been relocated to the right side of the pistol.  (For an example of this type of work, see the Model M .32 presented to 1st LT. A.W. Norrie listed on the page of Inscribed pistols.)

Perhaps the most elaborately engraved and inlaid Model M .380 pistol.  Serial number 97482 features full coverage Gough engraving (with distinctive lined background) and gold inlaid monogram (left side of frame) as well as extensive gold inlay scroll work on the frame and slide.  The pistol has factory mother-of-pearl with flush medallions that are gold plated. This pistol sold at the November 9, 1999 Little John's Auction in Anaheim, California.

Top of Model M .380 serial number 97482.

Right side of Model M .380 serial number 97482

Gun of the Month

January 2022

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