Colt Model of 1911

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by boydbrain1, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. boydbrain1

    boydbrain1 New Member

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    This weapon was left to me by my Father upon his passing a few years ago. Serial # 179xxx I believe indicates it was manufactured in 1917. I was hoping you could give me some idea of the value of this beautiful piece.

    Thanks in advance for your time in this matter.

    Attached Files:

  2. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    I am not a 1911 collector, but have a little knowledge.

    You are correct that the frame was made by Colt in 1917 for the USA.

    The slide and magazine appear likely correct for Colt in 1917. The mainspring housing is an A1 type as well as possibly the grip safety. Grips are not original, and It will take a complete disassembly to tell if other parts like the barrel, barrel bushing, etc. are original or replacement.

    Then the is the matter of the blue finish. From your photos, I have no firm opinion if it is original or re-blued, but strongly suspect re-blued because the finish on the obvious non-original parts appears to match the rest of the pistol. In the collector world, details like just mentioned can add up to very big differences in what one of these guns will fetch at a collector auction. Small original Colt parts, to restore it to as issued condition (if it is not re-blued) can sometimes be found, but usually at very dear prices.

    As to certain minimum value, I hesitate to opine, based on what I can see here, in today's crazy market. I have seen low end refinished (nickle plated) early military 1911's go for as low as $400.00 in the last two years, and refinished guns, as nice looking as yours, sometimes sell for in excess of $1000.00. If your gun has not been not re-blued and and does not need but grips, mainspring housing, and grip safety to restore to as made configuration, then it might fetch upwards of $2000.00 or more.
  3. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I am gonna say somewhere between 800.00 and 1200.00 to the right person. Thats my ROUGH estimate. That being said, I will send you 600.00 today. :)
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    FWIW, GHS is Maj. Gilbert H. Stewart, Inspector of Ordnance Sept 30, 1914 - Jan 12, 1918. His initials appear on both M1911 pistols and Colt M1917 revolvers.

    Jim
  5. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What do you think the value is Jim?
  6. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    deleted
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
  7. boydbrain1

    boydbrain1 New Member

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    My father has had this weapon since sometime in the 50s. He stopped much of his shooting in the mid 60s. To the best of my knowledge, he never had it in a shop for any reason. I really don't think he used it very much, as his favorite was always his 1926 Enfield 45 cal revolver, which was the weapon he always kept at ready. What I am saying, I guess, is that if anything was done to the Colt, it would have been before he bought it. I inherited 7 handguns, 3 shotguns (1 was my grandfather's) and 5 other long guns. If he had changed the grips, I feel sure I would have found the originals in his stuff when he passed.
  8. boydbrain1

    boydbrain1 New Member

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    I am new on this site and thought I had set up for email notifications of replies to my posts. I didn't get anything. Anybody point me in the right direction? Thanks
  9. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What were you looking for in an email? If someone sends you a PM, it will show up at the top of your page that you have a message and you click on it to go to it. I will send you one so you can see.
  10. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    If you click on Thread Tools at top, then select Instant Notification by Email and click Subscribe it should work, and I'll try it now.

    EDIT: Didn't work for me either...

    EDIT #2: It didn't work when I posted but did when Jim K posted later.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  11. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Maybe this is a dupe; I thought I posted but it seems to have gone away.

    FWIW, I don't think that gun has been reblued; it looks original to me except of course for the mainspring housing and the grip safety. Those might have been replaced in service; parts were often replaced as necessary without the gun being rebuilt or refinished. The grips and magazine guide are of course not original or even military, but they also can be swapped out.

    Value if it were all original, probably $2000. With the non-original parts, $1600 or so.

    Jim
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  12. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    It is my understanding that (with a very few possible exceptions for General or other high rank officer pistols) pre 1920 1911's were converted to parkerized finish by the military in the 1920's. Many were also converted to 1911-A1 configuration.

    Therefore, relatively few blued military WW I period 1911's survive with their original finish in the condition seen here. Most blued military 1911's from the WW I time period, that do survive intact, were likely stolen from the military in the first quarter of the 20th. Century.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  13. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    I would not have thought that was the case. I did not think parkerizing was a standard US Army finish in the 1920's, in the 1930's the Army had no money, and during the run-up to Pearl Harbor, the Army had better things to do than refinish serviceable pistols.

    It seems to me I have seen photographs of examples of the small batch of 1911A1's Colt made in the 1930's, and of the small batch of pistols made by Singer Sewing Machines around 1940, and both were blued.

    Probably every 1911 the Army had in 1945 was refinished in the decades after WWII, but during or before the war? That would be very surprising to me. Perhaps I have misunderstood what you meant.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  14. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    I may well be mistaken about what I think I remember reading in something like and old "American Rifleman" article or a book devoted to collecting the 1911, relative to the fate of most WW I 1911's. I am not a collector or serious student of the pistol's history and numerous variations.

    The oldest licensed Parkerizing shop is in Cleveland, OH and dates to 1918. It is well known that the Army was not fond of shiny guns during WW I but bluing was all that was practically available for wartime production. The army did adopt the 1911-A1 on June 15, 1926. I have personally seen Parkerized 1911's sold by the DCM in the 1960's; and other military 1911's that had their frames rather crudely modified to A1 configuration with a die grinder before being Parkerized. i have never seen a blued 1911 sold by the DCM.

    It is my understanding that the 500 prototype frames and slides manufactured by Singer and apparently mostly assembled by Ithaca were blued. I am unsure as to what other parts Singer did or did not make. Cadillac motors made many of the A1 mainspring housings. Colt and S Buckley were big WW II barrel producers.

    In any case, all of the variations (especially the rare ones) makes for interesting collecting and study.
  15. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

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    Its a very nice Colt. Personally, I would do what I could to make it correct ( grips, mainspring housing and grip safety) and hang on to it. The finish is original. I've seen enough to be able to tell that much. If the barrel's original I'd have to agree with Jim K. $1600... Maybe more.
  16. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Hammerslagger, you're quite right about the Army not liking shiny guns. I believe that during WWI, they made a request to Colt to reduce the glossiness of the finish on 1911's. Presumably the gun in this thread has the later finish, since it is a 1918 piece. It does not look reblued to me, but I have given up trying to tell that. The refinishers have gotten too good for me.
  17. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Nope, older pistols were NOT Parkerized routinely, only if returned to depots for rebuild. I had a 1915 or 1916 Colt M1911 in the arms room in 1957 that had never been altered in any way and was the most accurate pistol in the place. I now forget the serial number but it was in the low six digits. It still had the original blue-black finish, and all the original M1911 parts.

    Jim
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