WOW - and WOW again. What a find if it turns out as Chet suggests. Got me all excited just hoping it's true. Ruger history resurfaces. Can't wait to see some pictures!
I'm not sure why it wouldn't check out with the factory. In fact, every one of those plated Blackhawks should letter as plated.
oldiron1 gave the serial number 26001 which is documented as being plated.
If on the slim chance the factory won't letter it as plated, then there is an invoice out ther somewhere (JD has obviously seen it) that has these guns listed as plated.
I've always held the belief that if a Ruger was factory plated and shipped that way, then it will letter as factory plated. Can't wait to hear what you hear back from Ruger!
Can everybody say "Creme-de-la-Creme"?
Also, I would be very interested in knowing if there are any records telling of how your father got this revolver originally. You said he got it from a collector, but that individual must not have known what it was, or its a good chance that it would have been discovered by the "collector circle" long before now. Also, I'll bet Sloan's knew these plated flattops were somewhat special so I wonder if this collector friend of your father knew somebody who was pretty well placed at Sloan's?
May I ask what state your dad was from??