Originally Posted by Blimp Edwards
I am interested in owning an original WWI 1911 and I'm trying to get a feel for what I need to save up. I know that I can find them online for asking prices in the $1500-$2500 area. However, I was at the local gun shop and they repeatedly scoffed at online prices, saying they often sell identical guns for substantially less.
So if I were to maybe forget the online scene and search for an example at a gun show or get lucky and find one at a gun store, or if I do look diligently enough online for that perfect deal, what can one be snagged for? I'm not made of money, so I'd be willing to buy one that is cosmetically flawed, perhaps seriously so, but of course I'd want one that still functions. Can they be had for less than my initial impression, or is that about the gist of it?
Be very careful here. There are two WW1 variant 1911's that are really woth anything. Those that were made with the carbonia blue finish, and the true "black army" finishes that were made through 1918. The black army Colts are very rare in that most were re-finished and re-issued, some serving into WWII before the A1's were issued. The serial range for a black army should fall in the 300-390K range, and because of the inferior frame polishing and cheap finish, are usually ugly guns with less than 10% of the original finish on them. This, believe it or not, makes them very desireable. The original two tone magazine is also very desireable and can double the collector value. The rampant Colt should be in the center of the slide roll mark, not at the rear. This was a gross error made by Colt with thier recent black army repro guns, in that the rampant Colt is found at the rear LH of the slide.
If the make date was in 1918, and the finish looks too good, then it has probably been US refinished and is only an $800 - 1K pistol, depending on overall condition. A true black army can bring 10K at auction.