Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3492: Colt - 1903 Pocket Hammerless

Auction Date: September 11, 2016

Historic Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless General Officer's Semi-Automatic Pistol, Documented to Major General Raymond Wiley Curtis, Chief of Staff of the IV Corps in Italy with Papers, Book and Box

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $4,500 - $7,000

Historic Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless General Officer's Semi-Automatic Pistol, Documented to Major General Raymond Wiley Curtis, Chief of Staff of the IV Corps in Italy with Papers, Book and Box

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1903 Pocket Hammerless
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 32 ACP
Barrel: 3 3/4 inch round
Finish: parkerized
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 1081
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 205
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

Originally manufactured and delivered in December 1944 on a U.S. military contract, this pistol was retained in Army inventory following World War II and was issued as a General Officer sidearm. Though the date of issue went unrecorded, multiple sources verify that #568309 was issued to then-Brigadier General Raymond Wiley Curtis of the United States Army. Born in Montana in February of 1904, Curtis attending a teaching college for one year before receiving an appointment to the United States Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1927 as a Second Lieutenant in the Cavalry. In the years leading up to World War II he alternated between standard cavalry duty and exhibition riding, serving with the Army Exhibition Team and two trips with the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team in 1932 and 1936, meeting his wife in California during the first and competing in Nazi Germany itself in the second. The '36 Olympics were controversial, with the Nazi delegates accused of having advanced knowledge of abnormal track conditions and a Japanese horseman suspected of being ordered to take a dive in order to not show up the Germans. In the early 1940s, as America geared up for war he transitioned to the Mechanized Cavalry, fulfilling a number of staff and training roles in Fort Knox and Fort Riley in Kansas and Fort Meade in South Dakota. In 1944 he would travel to Europe to serve on the G-3 (operations) staff of the IV Corps in Italy, later ascending to Chief of Staff in the same unit. During his tenure, the Corps saw active fighting on the Gothic Line and during the 1945 Spring Offensive, and would have components of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force under its command and British elements above it in the chain. After the war he would alternate between staff and command roles, serving as Assistant Chief of Staff and Chief of the Plans Section for the Caribbean Defense Command, and postings to U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) including as Commanding General of the Advance Section of the Communications Zone in France, which would have been the core logistics connection between America and NATO forces in Germany in event of World War III. In 1957 he would be appointed as Chief of the Provisional Military Assistance Advisory Group-Korea, which was chiefly concerned with upgrading and reorganizing South Korea's logistics systems. During his career Curtis earned a number of awards, including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, the Order of the British Empire, and medals from Italy and Brazil. The pistol has standard commercial markings and features, with the factory stamped "U.S. PROPERTY" on the right side and checkered Colt medallion grips. Included with the pistol is a brown "Kraft" style box with an instruction sheet, a copy of the book "The Colt Pocket Hammerless Automatic Pistols" by Brunner, a 2002 dated Colt factory letter (with additional letter from the archivist on factory letterhead), a Springfield Research Service letter, and a photocopied Department of Defense Office of Public Information biography on Major General Curtis.

Rating Definition:

Excellent, with 98% plus original parkerized finish, showing some light edge wear and handling marks. The grips are also excellent, with a few light dings and dark spots. The box is fair, with a number of stains and masking tape wrapped around most of the exterior. Mechanically excellent.

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