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Auction Date: December 6, 2015

Lot 3593: Colt - 1903 Pocket Hammerless

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Historic Documented U.S. Property Marked Colt Model 1903 Hammerless Semi-Automatic Pistol as Issued to Brigadier General Joseph L. Bernier with Original Wooden Shipping Crate
Estimated Price: $6,500 - $9,500
Item Views 164 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Colt - 1903 Pocket Hammerless ManufacturerColt Model1903 Pocket Hammerless
TypePistol Gauge32 ACP Catalog Page211
Barrel3 3/4 Inch Round FinishParkerized GripWalnut Checkered
Stock ClassCurio & Relic Handgun RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is an outstanding example of a late production U.S. Colt Model 1903 General Officer's pistol rig as produced in 1944 that comes with complete the original US Army letter dated Jan 1965 issuing this pistol to BG Bernier. Joseph L. Bernier lead a very distinguished Medical career in the U.S. Army. He was born in Chicago in 1909 and received his Doctorate in Dental Science (DDS) from the University of Illinois in 1932 and his Masters of Science (MS) in 1934. He entered the military that same year and was assigned to Walter Reed Hospital for four years. He became the Chief of Oral Pathology from 1938-39 and then the Chief of the Dental Laboratory in the Canal Zone in 1941. He served in numerous posts throughout his military career and eventually became the Chief of the Army Dental Corp and Assistant Surgeon General from 1960-67. It was during this time that he established the new Army philosophy of Preventative Dental care for all the US Military. This focus on "preventative dental care" became most noteworthy in the 1964/65 time frame during the dramatic build up US Military forces in Vietnam, as thousands of personal were withdrawn from military service due to "emergency dental" both while in country and on their way overseas. With his newly established focus on "preventative dental care", the number of emergency dental cases dropped by 50% within a year, which dramatically increased the available troop strength. This is the same general practice still in use today within the Military as well as almost every dental clinic the US. He eventually went on to serve as the President of the American Academy of Periodontology; the American Academy of Oral Medicine and on the American Board of Oral Medicine. These were the standard U.S. General Officer's pistols as issued from 1942 until 1975, when the supplies ran out and Rock Island Arsenal started producing the M15 GO pistol. Although a standard WWII era Colt manufactured pistol, they have always been highly desirable and highly collectable as a US martial pistol. Interestingly this rare pistol comes with its "original" wooden shipping box/crate, that was mailed from the Commanding Officer Letterkenny Ord. Depot to Major General Joseph Bernier with the original paper label still glued to the lid of the box. The pistol itself has the standard Colt two-line address and patent dates on the left side of the slide, with the caliber marking and "U.S. PROPERTY" roll-stamped on the right side of the frame. The left side of the trigger guard is marked with the Colt "VP" verified proof and "7" on the right sides. It is fitted with checkered grips with Colt silver medallions on each side and comes with one all-blued Colt magazine marked on the base: "COLT 32 AUTO" and 1 box of Western 32 ACP ammunition, an original disassembly manual and ownership papers.

ConditionExcellent plus to as new condition with 99% plus original parkerized finish overall. The walnut grips are in near new condition with nice, distinct sharp checkering overall with only a couple of minor handling marks on the right side. As noted this pistol comes with the original wooden shipping crate from the Depot. An extraordinary General Officers pistol from a noted Dental/Medical pioneer.
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Premiere Auction Terms

Terms and conditions regarding Premiere Auctions. Revised : 08/29/2014


SHIPPING CHARGES. All shipping charges must be paid by the successful bidder prior to delivery of the firearm. If Rock Island Auction (RIAC) is asked to ship the purchased lots, there will be a separate charge for such shipping. Shipping charges will be based upon what it costs RIAC to ship the purchased lots to the purchaser. All items must have shipping insurance; this insurance is mandatory. RIAC will not charge any labor charges for shipping. RIAC is not liable for any acts of omissions in packaging or shipping. Purchased lots handled by outside carriers or packers, including those RIAC may have recommended, may carry their own insurance and any claims for losses or damages should be addressed directly to the outside carriers or packers. RIAC will arrange for packing and shipping at RIAC’s earliest possible convenience. RIAC will attempt to ship as soon as possible; however, due to RIAC’s high volume of absentee bids, shipping can take up to two weeks after full payment is received. In the case of crating or any exceptional packaging, the purchaser will be charged RIAC’s cost from outside agents. Purchaser pays shipping, packing materials, and insurance charges. The shipping of any purchased items outside of the United States is hereby classified as “foreign export”. All foreign export is the sole responsibility of the purchaser.