Question for the 1911 experts.

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by HBG, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. HBG

    HBG New Member

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    Being new to the forum and old to collecting, I had a question for the experts.
    I have a Colt with markings of four patented dates of 20 April 1897, 9 Sept 1902, 19 Dec 1905 and 14 Feb 1911, behind the dates is Colts PT.F.A. Mfg Co. Hartford CT, USA. The circled rampant colt on the aft left side of the slide. The monogram with lettering WGP below the slide lock. There is not a serial number on it at all. No, none of the metal has been removed. The leather hoster has stamped 1913 also WGP lettering.
    The question: is this a protype or a lunchbox special? Is there any value there?
    Look forward to hearing from the best.


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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    sounds like you have one of the firsts. Until military contracts geared up and manufacturing processes were standardized all the early colts to my knowledge were machined with all the patents on the weapon, Im not the most collector savvy and someone will be along shortly with more precise information, but it sounds to me like you may have a real gem on your hands...
  3. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    i aint got a clue.
  4. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Well, obviously a military arm. Does it have the United States Property marking? The lack of a serial number may or may not be a problem. Would be difficult to date the year it was made. The inspectors marking may give a clue as to the date of manufacture. I will try to find my inspectors list and tell the dates this inspector worked.
  5. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    the wgp stands for walter g penfield, the first inspector ( ? ) the fact it doesn't have a serial number is odd. all colts had one. now it may be a arsenel rebuild . look for a letter stamped on the gun,
  6. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Major Penfield inspected the Colt pistols from serial #1 to #101,500 so a wild guess on my part would be your pistol was made 1912-1913 but w/o a serial number impossible to do. Incidently, serial numbers were never removed from pistols by the military. If there is also no United States Property marking on the pistol, it was removed by someone other than the military.
  7. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    i suspect a rebuild by either the gov't at one of the many arsenels or a kitchen gun smith replacing the frame some time during it's life. very early in it's life. prior to 1968 since it doesn't have a serial number. but no colts left the factory without one. now it maybe a lunch box special but colt kept a very close eye on these since they coudn't produce them fast enough to suit the army
  8. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    It couldn't be a lunch box special with the inspector's cartouche on the frame.
  9. HBG

    HBG New Member

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    OK gentlemen, I found new markings and took some more pics. There is a single letter "H" right above the firing pin. Also a number "2" stamped under the aft rear of the slide.

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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
  10. yellerdawg

    yellerdawg Former Guest

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    Howdy HBG, you sure have an intersesting pistol there.


    It is possible you have mixed parts and the serial on receiver has been removed......

    The stop at the firin gpin that has the " H "..above it...if you remove the stop, there is good chance of a number stamped on reverse..this was common...however your pistol is far from common.


    here is one link I use for ID areas of 1911/A1...back to serial # 1...

    Regards and good luck.......clean it and shoot it..:) ...no P or +P though:D

    http://www.coolgunsite.com/pistols/1911infopage.htm
  11. Ed K

    Ed K New Member

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    Try posting info on the Colt forumn real colt x-perts
  12. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    On the frame, immediately below the patent dates, there should be "UNITED STATES PROPERTY". Does yours have this? If not, then my guess is that this inscription and serial number have been removed from the pistol. Many of these were done this way as the owner feels that the government will come take it away from him as a stolen gun. I've heard pros and cons on whether this makes the gun illegal. I've heard that a chosen serial number may be stamped on the gun by a gunsmith making it legal. I'm not implying or advising you to do this however. Looks like a nice gun and probably a good shooter like my 1918.
  13. HBG

    HBG New Member

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    OK, Took the gun apart, cleaned the best I could, and found some more numbers. Here it goes, there is a "5" stamped under the barrel, under the slide there is a "T" stamped on the forward part, and on the aft end a number "2" is stamped. On the frame where the slide rails are is another "H" and a larger "V" stamped. I have exausted my eyes and glasses. I'm probably going to let it go with some of my other collection, Thank every one in advance for all the help.

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  14. HBG

    HBG New Member

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    This is probably a dumb question on my part, but I cant see any evidance of metal removed and if it was how could they fill the areas of metal removed and look like the blueing is all worn evenly. I do have access an Non destructive testing lab to x-ray to see any sub surface markings are present.
    Just curious as to what I have for historical purposes.
    Thanks
  15. WRC

    WRC New Member

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    I believe I'd have it checked by your NDI lab.

    WRC
  16. dbltap

    dbltap New Member

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    The lanyard ring on the mag shows that the mag was issued to a Calvary soldier. One who actually rode a horse. They were only issued two mags and you didn't want to lose one while riding and reloading. The lanyard went through the frame ring and then the mag ring. As for the rest of the gun; I don't know.

    2 cents
  17. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    That gun looks well worn. It is quite possible to remove metal by first adding metal to the area needing to be removed with a welder, then filing it down and working the area back smooth. Its a pretty easy procedure and after its done correctly it will look as if the markings were never there, a little blueing and you have an 'unmarked' piece of hardware. I think JONDAR is onto something thinking someone may have removed the serial number and US property markings in order to keep the gubment from taking it back. Also, 'wearing' a gun only takes some careful rubbing with a piece of leather. Done right and the pistol will look 100 years old... I have successfully 'aged' replacement parts on old guns to match the worn finish when a customer sends one in for repair. Nothing looks worse than an ol' warhorse 1911 with a brand new slide stop...
  18. williamd

    williamd New Member

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    S/N's for miliary production in 1912 started with '1'. If the 2 or 5 were in the proper place .....
    All supposedly had 'United Stated Property', some with oversize lettering and 'Model of 1911 U.S. Army' (or Navy or USMC at alter dates) on right side of frame.
    We know the pistol was worked/reworked for a few years before it was accepted. I can't find much to verify what these pre-productions had on them.
    From the pics I can not believe there was enough metal removed to wipe out anything!
    I recently called Colt on a question and after some time they got me some info. But ... I had a s/n!

    Thanx, I have dug through more books and looked at more things in my safe than is some time! :):)
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  19. williamd

    williamd New Member

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    H or H: Provisional acceptance mark. Located on top of frame by disconnector indicates gun inspected by Ordinance Inspector. Stamped before finish applied. Francis L. Hosmer used this stamp on Colts 1911s and M1917 revolvers from 1911 to 1919. Also found on barrels and slides.

    Appears all magazines through WWI had the lanyard loop. Your magazines is the 'stepped base' that was used through about s/n 4500.

    The serated thub safety appears to be US&S (Union Switch and Signal) but the US&S manufacture dates do not fit. ...Unless the gun has been rebuilt from parts at some time.

    Several references to Colt's Pt FA Mfg (Patent Firearms Manufacturing Co) in Hartford and New York. Also made Gattlings and early Colt revolvers.

    Looking at http://www.coolgunsite.com/pistols/ shows no production from s/n 1 forward without specific patent dates. Begining to think you have a pre-production. Or, lunch box! But, slide seems to be pre-prod.

    Then there are these folks who might have info ... that seem to have 'grown' out of some of Colt's developments and who now make SA revlovers and 1911's with early patent dates. http://www.usfirearms.com/cat/1911.asp

    The USFA 1911 Military Model ~ Specifications
    Caliber: 45 ACP
    Stocks: Standard Walnut
    Metal Finish: High Polish Blue
    Magazine: 7+1
    Special Features: 1905 patent dates, grip safety, small contoured checkered thumb safety and spur hammer with hand cut checkering.

    enough!
  20. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Cant be a "lunch box model" with the inspectors cartouche. The clip which came with my Remington UMC is stamped on the toe with "A" standing for American Pin Co., all 1918 production. It does not have the lanyard attachment ring. What the OP has is an issue 1911 that someone has removed all evidence of military ownership. All but the cartouche.
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