Lot 3131: Colt - 1911
|Rare Early Production U.S. Colt Model 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol Serial Number 33|
|Estimated Price: $40,000 - $80,000|
|Type||Pistol||Gauge||45 ACP||Catalog Page||226|
|Barrel||5 Inch Round||Finish||Blue||Grip||Walnut Checkered|
|Stock||Class||Curio & Relic Handgun||Rating||See Condition|
|Description||This Colt Model 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol was assembled by Colt on December 28, 1911, during the first week of production of the U.S. Government contract Model 1911 pistols. This is one of the few Model 1911 Pistols completed by Colt in 1911. Pistols number 1-50 were shipped from Colt to the Springfield Armory on January 4, 1912. The pistol has the Colt high polish, commercial blue, finish with niter blue hammer, safety lock, slide stop, trigger, magazine catch and rear sight. This high polish blue finish was changed to a "dull finish" by order of the Chief of Ordnance in April 1912 and was not applied to Model 1911 pistols after serial number 2400. The pistol has checkered, oil finished, walnut stocks with the early style thin stock screws. In addition to the high polish blue finish, this pistol has the distinctive features and markings found only on very early production Model 1911 pistols. The slide stop and safety lock are hand-checkered; machine checkering was introduced on these parts at approximately serial number 150. The magazine catch has the first style (Type I) 'dimpled' lock that was installed on pistols thru serial number 3189. Most of the Type I locks were subsequently modified; pistols with un-modified locks are rare. The recoil spring plug is the early style that lacks the punched lip added around serial number 6500. The rear sight is the early, round-top, pattern. The hammer is the early, short pattern used until 1913. The pistol is complete with the original, Type I magazine that was shipped with the first 2500 Model 1911 pistols. The magazine has a dull, full-blue, finish with exposed base. The barrel is blued with a rough, brush blue, chamber top. The barrel, slide and receiver are not stamped with the "H" provisional inspection mark added about serial number 400 in February 1912. The left side of the receiver has the very desirable, large, (3/32") flat-stamped "UNITED STATES PROPERTY" mark. This marking was replaced with the smaller (1/16"), roll-stamped marking at serial number 104. The circular, "WPG" final inspection mark of Ordnance Inspector Walter G. Penfield is stamped above the magazine release. The right side of the receiver is stamped with the serial number "No.33" in small letters in front of the slide stop hole. "MODEL OF 1911. U.S. ARMY" is stamped on the right side of the slide ahead of the ejection port. The left side of the slide has the distinctive Colt patent markings and logo. The patent marking: "PATENTED APR.20.1897/SEPT.9.1902. DEC.19.1905. FEB.14.1911" is in two unequal lines with letters 1/16" high. The logo: "COLT'S PT. F.A. MFG. CO./ HARTFORD.CT. U.S.A." uses larger, 5/64", letters. The Colt logo was reduced to 1/16" letters at serial number 84. The encircled Rampant Colt trademark is stamped on the left side of the slide behind the grip serrations. According to documentation supplied by a previous owner, this pistol was the property of his grandfather, Lewis E. Moore. Lewis Moore, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate and engineer by trade, went to France as a Captain with the Army Corps of Engineers during World War One, building bridges for river crossings. After the war, he returned to civilian bridge building, sat on the Committee of the Department of Building Engineering and Construction at MIT, and rose to the rank of Colonel in the Army reserve. Lewis Moore's son, Luther Samuel Moore, was, among other distinctions, a NRA Gold Medal winning marksman, held a world shooting record for 50 ft. 22 caliber rifle shooting (3000 consecutive bullseyes in 8 hours, 40 minutes), corresponded with Captain William Fairbairn and in the process helped influence the then-developing "Shanghai" school of knife fighting, which would later inform the techniques and tactics of the Special Operations Executive, presented (along with Samuel S. Yeaton, USMC) the "Shanghai Model" knife to Fairbairn, and served as the wartime commander of Marine Fighting Squadron 211, aka Wake Island Avengers, which would see losses at both Wake Island and Pearl Harbor, participate in the Treasury-Bougainville Campaign, and the Battles of Bismarck Sea and Leyte Gulf.
|Condition||Excellent. The pistol retains 95% of the original high polish blue finish overall. The delicate, high polish, finish shows some minor handling marks from a century of careful use and storage and the finish is thin on the grip strap and main spring housing. The grip safety has some handling wear and the blue finish has faded to a silver-gray patina. The trigger, safety lock and other small components have about 90% of the fiery, niter blue finish intact. The hammer spur, top of the rear sight, stock screws and edges of the trigger show expected handling wear. The barrel chamber has some cycling wear but retains more than 90% of the brush blue finish. All of the markings on the slide and receiver are crisp. The stocks are in excellent condition with sharp checkering. The rare Type I, magazine is in excellent condition and retains at least 95% of the dull blue finish. This is an exceptional example of an extremely early U.S. Colt M1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol from the first week of production. The condition appears to be equal to that of the Model 1911 Pistol (serial no. 39) pictured on the cover of "COLT .45 SERVICE PISTOLS" by Charles W. Clawson. This is the finest early production U.S. Colt Model 1911 Pistol ever offered for sale by the Rock Island Auction Company. This rare and exceptional pistol would be the centerpiece of the most advanced U.S. martial arms, Model 1911 or Colt collection.|
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