Factory Engraved Colt Woodsman Pistols


Any Colt factory engraved Woodsman is a rarity. In all the years of production fewer than 250 were engraved at the Colt factory, but many more have been engraved after leaving the factory. Regardless of the quality of the aftermarket engraved guns, they usually will not have comparable value to an original factory engraved one. The reason is collectibility based on rarity. An identical gun could be created by a skilled craftsman, but it could never be one of the very few ORIGINAL factory engraved Colt Woodsmans.

The Colt shipping records show that only about 151 first series (pre-World War II) Woodsmans were factory engraved prior to first sale. Those consisted of 126 Target Models, 14 Sport Models, and 11 Match Target Models.

Most post-WWII factory engraved Woodsmans were engraved and shipped several years after regular production ended in 1977. In the early and mid 1980s Colt gathered their leftover Woodsman frames and parts, and even bought parts from outside suppliers, in order to assemble a small number of complete guns. Those guns were sold through Colt distributors as very high end special order items with custom shop engraving and other work. According to the late Marty Huber, the Colt Historian during that period, the total number was fewer than 100.

Virtually any authenticated factory engraved Colt Woodsman will command a 4 digit price, and many will easily reach well into the 5 digit range. Generally speaking, pre-WWII guns are the most valuable. Other things being equal, the Match Target Model is the most valuable, followed by the Sport and then the Target models.

This pair of factory engraved, pre-WWII Colt Woodsman Match Target pistols, serial numbers MT4210 and MT4212, were shipped as a matched pair to two brothers early in 1939. As the only authenticated pair of factory engraved and inscribed First Series Match Target models, and two of only eleven First Series Match Target Woodsmans that were factory engraved, they are perhaps the ultimate Colt Woodsman collectible.

Created on ... October 27, 2007