Colt 1911 built in 1918

This is a discussion on Colt 1911 built in 1918 within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I know what price the local gun shop has put on this weapon, but I'm curious as to what some of you might think it's ...

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Thread: Colt 1911 built in 1918

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    Colt 1911 built in 1918

    I know what price the local gun shop has put on this weapon, but I'm curious as to what some of you might think it's really worth. I'd post this on a Colt or a 1911 forum, but I feel like I'd get skewed results/responses on a forum like that.

    The LGS has a 1911, stamped US PROPERTY, that came from an elderly gentleman that was issued this gun when he went into the Army in 1919. From the serial number, it's a good bet that the gun was built in either October or November of 1918. The gun is obviously worn, including the grips, but is 100% original and comes with the original holster issued with the gun. Quite frankly, holding it in your hand is priceless.

    What do you think it's worth? How much should I be willing to pay for it? It's not pretty, but it looks very good for it's age, and it is 100% original.
    I'm in favor of gun control -- I think every citizen should have control of a gun.
    1 Thess. 5:16-18

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array INccwchris's Avatar
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    I would say it would be worth anywhere from 3-4000 dollers, based on some manufactured in the 30's that I saw go for 2400
    "The value you put on the lost will be determined by the sacrifice you are willing to make to seek them until they are found."

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    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    If the seller went in the Army in 1919 at 18 years old, he was 110 years old selling the gun. I bet the LGS is shining you on.
    I'm not a lawyer or a LEO, just a pantload with a computer.

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    "...it's a good bet that the gun was built in either October or November of 1918."

    I have one of those. Serial number is 510XXX so it is close to the same age as the one you found. I'd estimate mine is worth about $800 due to the fact that it was rehab'ed at Augusta Arsenal some time around World War II, was quite worn when I acquired it 33 years ago, and has been fired many thousands of times since I got it. Mine's Parkerized, that is what is left of its external finish shows to be Parkerized. It is still in good "fightin' trim" mechanically but is pretty low end as a representative collectible specimen but I still love it. There are many thousands like it still remaining, even after all these years. Lots of World War I 1911s were refurbished before, during, and after World War II. I'm of the opinion that a bunch of these Augusta Arsenal rebuilt World War I 1911s were released through the DCM in the 1950s. I have personal knowledge of several WWI rebuilds with the characteristic "AA" mark that were acquired during the 1950s and very early 1960s. Purists aren't much interested in them but but oh, the stories they could tell. Of many years service and several big, hairy conflicts. They are still a perfectly good fit in a U.S. military collection. Sometimes they are found for less than $1000 on GunBroker. Many times they are grossly overpriced though, sometimes by thousands of dollars.

    Here's my old faithful clunk of a 1911, shown with my Colt Gold Cup.



    Now a original blued or "Black Army" U.S. military issue 1911 from the World War I era in any kind of reasonable condition is another story. They may be found in shabby condition for around $1000 on occasion but rapidly rise in desirability and value from there. Run-of-the-mill good used condition tops $2000 and "sky's the limit" on really cherry examples, especially if they are from some more uncommon subcontractors.

    You will need to become educated enough to determine what "100% original" really is. Original as it left the factory 90-something years ago with all original internal parts, original as it emerged from World War II, Korea, or Vietnam as a rebuild, or original as returned from the foreign aid supplied around the world since 1945? Or could it be as "100% original" as a shyster could make it appear to be? Lots of garage-assembled mongrels abound, some with commercial Parkerizing jobs that look inviting to the uninitiated but are really only a compilation of used parts. Many of these were assembled years ago just to make up a "shooter." In more recent times some of these have been assembled just to make a buck at the expense of the ignorant. At any given time some of these mongrels may be found lurking at gun shops, gun shows and on auction sites like GunBroker, inappropriately priced for several thousand dollars. U. S. military .45 automatics can be a minefield for the interested party who really doesn't know his stuff these days. Shame really, as it used to be fun. Study hard for the test (of making a purchase).

    Photographs would be your friend in this instance. I'm fair at identifying military contract 1911s for originality and OD* and others here on the Forum are first rate at pegging a proper 1911 when they see one. A few sharp photographs would be appreciated along with the most detailed description of all markings including the most minor of proof markings that you could provide.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Ex Member Array hamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigmacque View Post
    I know what price the local gun shop has put on this weapon, but I'm curious as to what some of you might think it's really worth. I'd post this on a Colt or a 1911 forum, but I feel like I'd get skewed results/responses on a forum like that.

    The LGS has a 1911, stamped US PROPERTY, that came from an elderly gentleman that was issued this gun when he went into the Army in 1919. From the serial number, it's a good bet that the gun was built in either October or November of 1918. The gun is obviously worn, including the grips, but is 100% original and comes with the original holster issued with the gun. Quite frankly, holding it in your hand is priceless.

    What do you think it's worth? How much should I be willing to pay for it? It's not pretty, but it looks very good for it's age, and it is 100% original.
    Unless you know the elderly gentleman very well and you also know he never changed-out the gun's parts for newer ones - you need to have the gun field-stripped and check the that the components are all original and ID numbers on each match as specified. The best way to know if you were thinking of buying would be to have the store field-strip the gun, you take good photos of each part and post them on Colt Forum. Some of those people really know and can spot parts that don't fit. I did this with one, half the gun was from far later than the rest of it. Old Colt 1911s are often not all original by the time you see one.

  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    LGS has had the gun for quite some time, I've been going in there for ten years and just never asked about it until Saturday.

    Good points on knowing the history and determining "100% original", though sure the old guy is not still alive, so probably can't ask about it. That's probably the best point made in this thread; chances are not good that it is and I'm only taking the LGS owner's word for that. The serial number is in the 46XXXX range, but it has to have been fixed somewhere along the way if it's lasted this long and been fired at all.

    I have researched the holster that is with it, and that does look like the right holster for the date and era that the serial number points to, but again there's no real way of knowing if that's really the original or one that's been paired up with it. I am going to make the trip down there, state my definitive interest in the gun, and request some photographs, even request some with the slide off and looking down into the gun. Based on your input bmcgilvray, it's either the Black Army or blued version, not a parkerized version, and the general wear on the slide and the frame would seem to indicate to me that they are a matched set.

    Thanks for all the input. I surely won't be paying what he's asking for it.
    I'm in favor of gun control -- I think every citizen should have control of a gun.
    1 Thess. 5:16-18

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