Re: What's a WWI 1911 Worth?
I suggest splurging on a copy of Clawson "Collector's Guide to Colt ,45 Service Pistols...."
Get the Third edition if possible, but either the 1st or 2nd will do. And study them, lincluding the pictures. Then go to gun shows if possible and look at as many pistols as you can, regardless of the era. It might be a good idea to take along someone knowledgeable to help and guide you. Go easy and just look at first until you know what you are looking at.
There are a lot of fakes out there, some good, but most so atrocious they would fool only the most naive novice. Yet, they apparently sell. I was at a fairly recent show with a friend who wanted to buy a 1911 and found what he thought was a good one. I was able to point out that 1) the slide was from a Colt 1911, while the frame looked like a 1911A1, but 2) the serial number and marking on the frame were bogus with some of the marking put on by individual letter stamping and the rest missing, while 3) the parts were a combination of wrong era and repro parts. It took literally one look to dismiss the gun as junk and point my friend at another genuine gun for not much more money,
But knowing the things that were wrong did not come by magic; I own a number of those guns, have worked on many more as a GI armorer and gunsmith, have seen and studied hundreds, and have books for reference if necessary.