I'm looking for help on the possible value of this gun. It was made in 1970, appears unfired and the grips are real ivory. I'm assuming the engraving is factory, however I haven't ordered the factory letter as of yet. I'm not really sure of it's value. Thank you for your help.
This is where you need something like gunbroker. One person will puke when they see it and another will pay a large amount. I would not have a clue what it is worth, but it is a very nice pistol. I think you will have to pay for the factory letter.
You really need to find out who did the engraving on that. Colt should be able to help verify if it's factory engraving, in which case the value will go up. If some aftermarket engraver then you'd want to know who, but without a name it likely won't help the value. In the end it is what it is, and while blinged-up pistols aren't my cup of tea I can imagine there are some folks who would consider that to be a really gorgeous pistol.
The owner says that he's seen engraving priced at roughly $1000 per 25% of coverage. Yours looks similar in that it is perhaps 75% coverage, meaning it must have cost the last owner $3000 not counting the cost of the pistol plus refinishing. Of course good luck ever getting anywhere near that much for it, as few people would spend $4000 on a niche-market pistol. I'd try insuring it for that much since it would be considered replacement value, but a realistic market value is probably going to be closer to $2000-$2500.
1) Was the gun engraved by/for Colt? You will absolutely need to contact Colt to find out if you do not know the gun's history.
2) If done by/for Colt, is it standard engraving, or was it done and signed by an expert or master engraver?
3) Have the patience to wait for the "right" buyer (one willing to pay a fair price for what you have) once you have obtained the key information about the pistol.
I just checked the 34th Ed. of the Blue Book of Gun Values. The Blue Book states (p. 570) that Colt's Custom shop price for "C" [75%] level standard engraving is $1,700. and over $5,400. for a master engraver's signed work. The ivory grips should add a couple hundred $$ in value.
A quick search just now on Guns International reveals sellers (mostly dealers) are routinely asking $2,000. and more for "regular" blued Series 70 GCNM pistols in excellent [99-100%] condition with original box and papers, test target, etc.
IF (a BIG IF) the engraving was done by/for Colt and you get a Colt letter so stating AND have all the original goodies then I think you have a pistol that will bring far more than $2,500. given the "right" buyer.
If Colt has no record of the engraving and you cannot determine the engraver then price will go down accordingly, at least as far as "informed" buyers are concerned. (There is one engraved GCNM on GI right now, with coverage similar to yours done by an individual who is named and stated to be a "Master engraver" [apparently this pistol was NOT done by/for Colt], with an asking price of $3,995.)
If the box and paperwork are missing (which alone is a bit suspect for a gun that looks as nice as this one) then the price a collector would pay would drop further.
Serious collectors are your best "target" buyer group but they will not be inclined to pay for a pistol that cannot be "authenticated" and which lacks all the associated items.
From the pictures, it appears to be a very pretty pistol. Good luck establishing its history.