Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3494: 0

Auction Date: September 11, 2016

Very Rare U.S. Colt Model 1907 Army Test Trials Semi-Automatic Pistol, Serial Number 66

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $14,000 - $22,500

Very Rare U.S. Colt Model 1907 Army Test Trials Semi-Automatic Pistol, Serial Number 66

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1907
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 5 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 2470
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 206
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

One of the final evolutionary steps leading from John Browning's original 1900 semi-automatic pistol design to the world renowned 1911 pistol, this pistol was one of 200 handguns delivered to Springfield Armory in March 1908 for a new series of field tests with the Cavalry. A refinement of the 1905 design, the 1907 was modified to account for feedback from the 1905 trials and further refined in 1909, retaining the heart of the original 1900 design while also showing movement towards the 1911 in the ejector port configuration and the addition of a spur to the grip safety. The Cavalry, notorious for their harsh treatment of and general disdain for every semi-auto they were sent in the 1900s, showed no mercy to the 1907 in words or in actions, beating the pistols to death both literally and figuratively at any chance. Some speculate that this was exactly what Ordnance Chief General William Crozier wanted; he understood that peacetime was the best time to whip the auto-pistol into shape, and knew that the harsh critiques of the Cavalry and the threat of giving the contract to Savage would drive Colt and Browning to deliver the absolute best pistol possible. Seeing as the end result was the 1911, possibly the definitive handgun of the 20th century and the standard by which handguns are measured to this very day, Crozier's instincts look pretty solid. This particular pistol was part of a 65-piece batch (serial number range of 66-130, making this the first in the lot) shipped to Fort Des Moines, Iowa, originally issued to Troop H of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, and then handed off to Troop D of the 6th Cavalry when the original testers were transferred to the Philippines. Fixed sights, with the two-line, two-block patent dates and address on the left side of the slide ahead of the serrations and "AUTOMATIC COLT/CALIBRE 45 RIMLESS SMOKELESS" on the right ahead of the expanded ejector port, with an external extractor and a slot for a chamber indicator. The frame is marked on the left side with the serial number "66" above the "K.M." inspector's mark of Major Kenneth Morton on the trigger guard, with the 1902-style slide catch, sharply knurled spur hammer and grip safety, and checkered grips with German silver escutcheons and nitre blue screws, properly shorter on the left side to make way for the lanyard staple. The magazine is finished in full blue, with no maker's marks.

Rating Definition:

Very good, showing a crisp mixed gray and brown patina overall, with a few traces of original blue in the protected areas, scattered spotting, and mild handling marks. The factory markings are all excellent. The chamber indicator is absent, and the frame shows some light dings concentrated around the wedge and pins. The grips are also very good, with bright nitre blue on three screws and some mild dings. Mechanically excellent. The importance of the Model 1907 to American small arms development can not be understated; the feedback on the 1907 led Browning to make the final breakthroughs in his designs that resulted in the renowned Model 1911 Pistol, shaping the course of global handgun development for the next half century or more. Chances to own a Model 1907 in any condition are few and far between.

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