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What's a WWI 1911 Worth?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Blimp Edwards, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. crockett007

    crockett007 New Member

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    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.
  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    "some serving into WWII before the A1's were issued..."

    Actually many 1911's served until replaced by the M9. The 1911 was never formally withdrawn from service, though technically they were issued in lieu of (ILO) M1911A1's.

    Jim
  3. Blimp Edwards

    Blimp Edwards New Member

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    I thought the 1911 was replaced by the 1911A1 in 1924, well before WWII?

    Thanks for the info, crockett007. I'm really just looking for a good working pistol that has at least a slide and frame that were originally from a WWI era 1911 (pre A1).

    I restore cars for a living so I'm used to the idea of things being refinished and having new/replaced parts. Plus, I don't have thousands to spend, so I just want the best bang for my buck. I'm not interested in how much it may be worth one day or how collectible it is. A gun that started life as a WWI 1911 is pretty collectible in my book, even if it's not worth much in the real world!

    Dan
  4. Archie

    Archie Member

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    The 1911A1 DID replace the 1911 as the 'standard gun'. But the government didn't just throw away all the older guns. As time went on, many were 'rebuilt' with 1911A1 parts, like the newer sights (slightly bigger and the rear notch square) and the shorter trigger and so on. But the frames were not (to my knowledge) milled out for the trigger access.

    Some weren't fiddled with hardly at all.

    Many were surplused out and sold on the civilian market, back when the government tried to save tax money instead of waste it willy-nilly. (Of course, that hacked off Colt, who didn't get to sell as many new commercial made pistols - but somebody is always crying about something.)

    I have one such. It is a 1911 frame and slide, with Remington - UMC markings; but it has been remade into a hardball target gun. It still has the wide beavertail hammer and long trigger. I removed the adjustable sights and put fixed sights back on it - they are however a bit wider and just a bit higher than the originals. It shoots very well and will shoot hardball, wadcutters and Federal Hydra-Shok very well.

    I've had it for years and the price would be meaningless.

    I have a second 1911 I recently purchased for about $1000. The serial number runs in the 50,000 range; but it appears to have been arsenal refinished; it is the gray color of parkerizing rather than the commercial blue of the early pistols. Also, the rear sight has been replaced, but the front seems to be the original thin version. The original grips were gone and replaced with the brown plastic GI grips of the 1911A1. I found some replica diamond grips and put them on for old time's sake. It still has the original style hammer and short tang grip safety. It has been carried and used. The edges and high spots are worn from being holstered and carried. This picture is the second pistol, still with the plastic grips. (By the way, the plastic grips work well, even if not 'cool'.)

    It shoots well and I'm proud to have and carry it.

    Attached Files:

  5. Blimp Edwards

    Blimp Edwards New Member

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    The line "some serving into WWII before the A1's were issued" seems to suggest that the A1 wasn't issued at all until sometime during WWII is all.

    A local gun store is selling what seems to clearly be a WWI era 1911 that was overhauled, likely during WWII, but judging from the description I'm not sure if they know it. I'm tempted to go take a look, though it's a little out of my price range.

    http://millerrodandgun.com/Colt1911RockIsland-45_132455.htm

    Dan
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  6. Archie

    Archie Member

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    The only way I'd go $1500 for that pistol is IF it was marked as an arsenal refinish, AND, it seemed to be 'new' from the arsenal. The picture is pretty unfocused; hard to see if there's finish wear around the edges and high spots. Wonder what the bore looks like, too.

    Probably someone with a bit more expertise will sound off.
  7. Blimp Edwards

    Blimp Edwards New Member

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    About how much is it to have a gun refinished? I've been shopping around for a few weeks and it seems like I can get one pretty darn cheap but with a fairly bad finish.

    Dan
  8. Blimp Edwards

    Blimp Edwards New Member

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    I just went down to check out the gun for sale at my local gun store. Seems like a legit 1911 to me with a 19XXXX serial (1918?) that was probably reissued by Rock Island Armory for WWII. I didn't field strip it but here's some photos of it and any markings I saw. If you don't see a picture of a marking, that's because there was none there (I searched long and hard). Forgot to photo the clip but it is not a two-tone one. If it had the original 1911 clip and wooden, diamond grips I'd be a lot more interested. What's your opinion on the gun and its worth?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Note the A A, barely visible.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks,
    Dan
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    It was probably at one time rusted and with most of the finish gone, which is why it was sand blasted and Parkerized by RIA. The stocks are WWII Colt stocks, themselves desireable. The value would be as a shooter, not a collectible, as the originality is pretty well gone.

    BTW, "FK" is Frank Krack, head of small arms inspection at Rock Island during and after WWII.

    Jim
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