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Auction Date: September 12, 2014

Lot 1599: Colt - Government

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Rare Documented Factory Engraved, Gold Inlaid Colt Government Model Semi-Automatic Pistol with Factory Letter
Estimated Price: $55,000 - $85,000
Item Views 243 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Colt - Government ManufacturerColt ModelGovernment
TypePistol Gauge45 ACP Catalog Page277
BarrelFive Inch FinishBlue GripCheckered Walnut
Stock ClassCurio & Relic Handgun RatingSee Condition
DescriptionColt Government Model .45 Automatic pistol with factory "Grade C" engraving, gold-inlaid monogram and deluxe checkered walnut grips. The pistol was manufactured in 1917. The Colt factory shipping records reprinted on page 265 of "THE GOVERNMENT MODELS" by William H.D. Goddard has two entries for this pistol, serial number "C99158" the first of which states "Green" for J.B. Shannon H. Co., on June 19, 1917. The second entry has it noted as "Mod. Eng. W.H. Gough, Chgd. June 1917" and states that the pistol was shipped to engraver William H. Gough on October 13, 1917. William Gough worked as a contract engraver for Colt and other manufacturers and executed factory engraving on Colt firearms from 1910-1940. The included factory letter corroborates the dates and the pistol's specifications. This pistol is profusely engraved with deeply cut floral designs on a line-shaded background. The background shading that covers the frame and slide markings including the serial numbers is typical of Gough's work. The safety lock and slide stop have bordered floral engraving on a shaded background and the grip strap, main spring housing and grip safety have zig-zag borders. The top of the slide has a gold inlaid monogram between the rear sight and the ejection port. The grips are select walnut with small checkered, bordered panels. A similar example, serial number C93183 (also gold inlaid) is photographed on pages 156-157 of "THE GOVERNMENT MODELS" by William H.D. Goddard. It also was shipped to J.B. Shannon. The pistol has the Colt commercial blue finish, blued barrel with polished chamber top and two-tone, flat base magazine. In "THE BOOK OF COLT FIREARMS" author R.L. Wilson states that approximately 140 Government Model pistols were factory engraved prior to World War II and 160 pistols were inscribed or monogrammed. Only four of the monogrammed pistols featured gold inlays. The right side of the frame is marked "GOVERNMENT MODEL" above the serial number "C.99158". The right side of the slide is roll-stamped "COLT AUTOMATIC/CALIBER 45" below and ahead of the ejection port. The left side of the slide is marked with the 1897-1913 patent dates in a two-line block followed by the two-line Hartford address. The Rampant Colt trademark is located behind the left grip serration. The Colt "VP" commercial proofmark is stamped on the left side of the trigger guard bow. The combination of factory engraving and gold-inlaid monogram are very rare on Colt Model 1911 Government Model pistols.

ConditionVery fine. The pistol is all original and retains 60% plus of the slightly faded original blue finish. Most of the wear is concentrated on the grip strap, grip safety, main spring housing and edges of the slide. The grip and mainspring housing have a dark patina. The polished barrel chamber top has a dark patina with traces of pitting. The elaborate floral engraving on the slide, frame and other components is sharp and deep. All of the gold inlay on the top of the slide remains intact. The grips are in fine condition with moderate handling wear. This is a rare, documented, example of a factory engraved Colt Government Model Semi-Automatic pistol with gold inlaid monogram.
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