Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1478: Colt Model 1907 U.S. Army "Test Trials" Semi-Automatic Pistol

Auction Date: June 6, 2020

Exceptionally Scarce Documented Colt Model 1907 U.S. Army "Test Trials" Semi-Automatic Pistol Serial Number "193" with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $16,000 - $25,000

Exceptionally Scarce Documented Colt Model 1907 U.S. Army "Test Trials" Semi-Automatic Pistol Serial Number "193" with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1907
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 5 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut checkered
Item Views: 2588
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 334
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

This is a rare example of a U.S. Model 1907 semi-automatic pistol that was submitted by Colt for the U.S. Army "Test Trials" in 1907. This pistol was manufactured under the Army Contract of 1907 for field trials and is documented by a Colt factory letter dated May 1991 and also listed in two notable reference books; "The Colt 45 Service Pistols" by Clawson and "U.S. Military Automatic Pistols 1894-1920" by Meadows and Ellis. This specific pistol, serial number 193, was shipped to the Commanding Officer, Springfield Armory on March 17, 1908 in a lot of 2 pistols and was one of 64 pistols issued to Troop H, 4th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Snelling, Minnesota for field evaluation. In June 1909, due to numerous design and/or manufacturing deficiencies found during the initial test firing of the field trials, Colt submitted a letter to the Chief or Ordnance, requesting to withdraw all of their test samples, agreeing to modify them to correct/improve the initial deficiencies and then returning them to the Army for further evaluations. As noted on page 35, in Clawson's book, the "Colt 45 Service Pistol", this specific example, serial number "193" was one of those withdrawn, modified and then was 1 of approximately 60 pistols that was not reissued for further testing. The rational for not reissuing them is unknown; however, it could have been due to the fact that the Government had lost confidence in this design. Eventually in early 1912, most of these test pistols were sold to Francis Bannermann for resale. These 1907 "Test Trials" pistols are extremely scarce and very important pistols for both the Colt and U.S. Martial pistol collector from two aspects; 1) this was the first U.S. Army contract pistol that was chambered in the ever popular 45 ACP cartridge, 2) this pivotal 1907 design and the subsequent modifications lead directly to the development of the all time favorite U.S. Army Model 1911/1911A1 pistol that was in service for over 74 years. This is an extremely important link in any U.S. martial arms pistol collection. The right side of the slide is roll-stamped "AUTOMATIC COLT/CALIBRE 45 RIMLESS SMOKELESS" in two lines, and the left side is marked "PATENTED/APR. 20, 1897. SEPT.9.1902. DEC.19.1905." in two lines followed by "COLT'S PATENT FIRE ARMS MFG. CO./HARTFORD. CONN. U.S.A." The serial number "193" is located on the left side of the frame above the trigger guard bow, which has the initials of Ordnance inspector "K.M." (Major Kenneth Morton). This very scarce and desirable pistol is complete with one original magazine.

Rating Definition:

Very good with 20% of the original blue finish still remaining mostly in the protected areas with the balance of the metal showing a mixed gray/brown patina finish with some areas of fine corrosion. The heavily worn grips are in good condition with discernable checking on both sides showing even wear across the tops of the checkering with a slightly heavier circular pressure dent on the left side, possibly from a holster. Mechanically excellent. A solid representative and fully documented U.S. Colt Model 1907 test Semi-Automatic Pistol.

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