Revolver worth only a few hundred dollars goes for tens of thousands
Fairfax, Virginia - There's an old saying in the con game — go big or go home. When it comes to this week's edition of Red's Firearm Fakes, the creator of this bogus beauty definitely went big. Almost six figure big. For what this scoundrel professed to hold in his hot little hands was an Colt Tiffany Revolver.
"We all know what happens to our wives and girlfriends when you pull out one of those powdered blue boxes," said NRA Museums Senior Curator Philip Schreier. "You want to see my heart skip a beat, pull out one of these from a powder blue box."
That's because a Tiffany Colt goes for a healthy six figures these days. And yes, that's before the decimal point.
What you should see when looking at a Colt Tiffany Revolver is the immaculate work of Colt engraver Louis P. Nimschke. Detailed enough to count the feathers on the grip's eagle facade, the silver shining and impeccable engravings.
"What you see here is a truly amateurish attempt," said Phil. "It's gaudy at best. The eagle is bulbous, the engravings are off and there's just a hint of some silver plating over a brass base. Tiffany Colts were silver, not silver plated."
As fakes go, it's not a bad one. It would probably pass as genuine to the untrained eye. In fact, Phil had one poor soul who fell for an identical phony.
"It was 1982. I took a collection of Red's fakes, including this Tiffany Colt, to the Texas Colt Collection's Association show. That's when this one guy walked up and asked what's wrong with this gun?"
Phil explained the problems with the engraving and silver plating. But the man wouldn't budge.
"I know the gun is real because I paid $80,000 for it.
"$80,000? Sir this gun isn't worth $800 much less $80,000."
The two went back and forth until Phil came up with an idea. Why not show the man the real thing. Walking the aisles, he finally came upon a respected dealer from New York City.
"Marty I said, could you show this gentleman your '62 Tiffany Colt?"
With a smile on his face, Marty pulled out the revolver.
"When he saw the brilliance of the silver, the detail in the eagle, the color drained out of him like a thermometer diving to subzero temperatures. He looked at me, looked at the gun, and left. Didn't say a word."
To see more of this fabricated fraud, and learn a few things to look out for when you're in the market for a classic gun, tune into NRANews on Sportsman Channel tonight around 6:40. With any luck, you'll keep your money, save your pride and maintain that