It pains me to give this book only three stars when it could have so easily garnered five. This book was obviously a labor of love for the author, but he let his ego interfere with his presentation by inserting costumed photos of himself into what, in my opinion, should have been a strictly informational tome. But that's OK because it's his book. I just would have liked it better if he'd kept it impersonal.
The good points:
1) The photography and arrangements of guns with period holsters and accessories are excellent and well done.
2) The history of Colt and large detailed photographs of early revolvers not often seen in print are excellent.
The bad points:
1) As others have pointed out, there is far too much on engraved and embellished guns that are not typical of what the average enthusiast will see at gun shows or even in private collections.
2) With the supply of originals drying up there is a need for, and a place for, information on modern copies that we mortals can enjoy. A chapter devoted to 2nd gens and another chapter on Italian and even German (Hawes) copies would have been appropriate without detracting from the information on the old ones.
3) I am in my 80's and have handled my share of Pattersons and Walkers before there were copies. Shootable Navies with the cylinder scene still visible could be bought in the 40's and 50's for $20. I held and examined a number of Pattersons from the Phillips collection that Phillip R. Phillips himself showed me at gun shows where we both had tables. Most of his Pattersons still had their beautiful "powder blue" finishes, unblemished by time. There was also the only known cased Walker called back then "the Sheerin Walker," named for the collector, oil man Larry Sheerin, who bought it from a broker who had acquired it from the descendents of the original owner, a Danish ship captain. It was a civilian model and still had 98% of its original beautiful powder blue. And there is also the pristine almost mint Walker that recently sold for just under a million dollars (about $945,000, I think) on auction. None of these famous unengraved guns were in the book. In fact I saw no guns at all with the beautiful original sky-blue finish. Examples aren't that hard to find. I examined a mint baby Patterson myself as recently as the 1983 with this finish.
Printed in China, this is a fine coffee table book appropriate for visitors who collect or love to look at old Colts. It even has some useful information for someone not already familiar with Colt history. This book comes close but for me has flaws that didn't have to happen. It's a beautifully printed picture book of old and second generation (new) Colts, some of which are so gaudily decorated and in such bad taste they're almost jokes. I'm especially referring here to a pair of specially commissioned 2nd gen engraved armies with (now get this) draped bright red, white, and blue US and Confederate flags somehow emblazoned on the tops and sides their barrel surfaces. ... They look like some high school kid painted flags on a pair of fake guns. ... C'mon, now! ... these one-of-a-kind freaks shouldn't be included in ANY serious book, except for perhaps a Franklin Mint Catalog.