Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1486: U.S. Army Colt Model 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol

Auction Date: June 6, 2020

Highly Desirable Documented Early 1912 Production U.S. Army Colt Model 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol, Three Digit Serial Number "393" with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $20,000 - $35,000

Highly Desirable Documented Early 1912 Production U.S. Army Colt Model 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol, Three Digit Serial Number "393" with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1911
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 5 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut checkered
Item Views: 2312
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 338
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

This is a highly desirable documented three digit number U.S. military contract Colt Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol with Colt factory letter. These very early 1912 production pistols have the early slide markings, nitre blue finish, early parts with the rare and very desirable early small serial number markings. This pistol was actually shipped to the Commanding Officer of Springfield Armory on Feb. 15, 1912 in a shipment of 200 pistols. The pistol has the lustrous high polish Colt commercial blue finish with the niter blue finish on the thumb safety, slide stop, hammer, trigger, mainspring cap and barrel bushing. The high polish finish was replaced by the military "dull finish" blue at approximately serial number 2400 on April 24, 1912. The pistol is fitted with checkered walnut stocks. This fine pistol has the desirable, early two-line, two-block Colt factory address and patent dates markings of "PATENTED APR.20.1897/SEPT.9.1902. DEC.19.1905. FEB.14.1911." followed by "COLT'S PT.F.A. MFG. CO./HARTFORD.CT.U.S.A.", with the circled Rampant Colt trademark behind the slide serration. The right side of the slide is stamped with the early small stamped "MODEL OF 1911. U.S.ARMY". The right side of the frame ahead of the trigger guard is stamped with the very early and highly desirable, Type 1, small serial number markings of "No. 393", with the left side stamped with the early small size "UNITED STATES PROPERTY", with the circled "WPG" monogram of Ordnance Inspector Walter G. Penfield above the magazine release. This pistol has the following early original parts: the short hammer with border-less checkering to the edge, the round top rear sight and the narrow front sight with the smaller stud on the underside, a first pattern recoil spring guide with the bevel on the front edge and the lower rear points, a third pattern recoil spring plug with the round nose profile, the first pattern slide stop with fine checkering and no dimple on the backside, the original Type 1 magazine catch lock with concave head and the early thin thumb safety lever with the sharper edges and undercut on the back and underside of the thumb piece. The rear face of the slide as well as the top of the receiver are all correctly stamped with the "H" provisional inspection mark of Frank L. Hosmer, the U.S. Government inspector who started inspecting these at approximately pistol serial number "400", making this example one of the very first to have that mark. It is fitted with a later pattern replacement Colt all blued barrel that is stamped with the separated "H and P" proof on top of the chamber area. The top of the frame is also stamped with a "5" Colt assembler's mark to the right of the disconnector hole. The pistol is fitted with a later style replacement type 2 "Saw Cut" Colt half tone magazine with the ground flush base plate pins and the lanyard loop on the underside of the base.

Rating Definition:

Fine with 50% bright original high polish blue with blue loss on the underside of the trigger guard bow, front grip strap, face of the main spring housing and grip safety, with flaking of the blue finish mixed with a spotting brown patina on the underside of the frame extension. The top and sides of the slide and frame retain the majority of the strong original high polish blue finish mixed with some spotting and light wear. 60% of the bright original nitre blue remains on the small parts. The markings are all clear and distinct. The grips are in very good condition with nice distinct checkering and diamonds on the sides mixed with some light handling marks and wear across the checkering. Mechanically excellent. A fine looking, highly desirable, early 1912 production Three Digit Number U.S. Colt Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol. This is the example you have been waiting for!

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