Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1437: Documented Russian Contract Colt Government Model Pistol

Auction Date: December 5, 2020

Exceptional and Rare, Documented, Russian Contract Colt Government Model Semi-Automatic Pistol with Factory Letter

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

Exceptional and Rare, Documented, Russian Contract Colt Government Model Semi-Automatic Pistol with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Government
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 5 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 883
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 310
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

Originally ordered in 1916 and 1917, the Russian Contract Colt Government Model pistols were ordered by the Imperial Russian government from Colt. When placing the order, the government of Great Britain acted as an intermediary, using a line of credit established by the Russians and backed by hard gold reserves held in Britain to cover the bill. Britain's role as go-between is the source of the signature marking on the left side of the frame, "ANGL. ZAKAZIE"(transliterated) for "English Order". The Russian Contract pistols as-issued otherwise bore only standard Colt markings like this example. By 1916, the situation on the Eastern Front was already getting well out of hand for Russia, and in 1917 they went through the February and October Revolutions, which brought about both the fall of the Imperial government and the successor Provisional Government, which led to the rise of the Soviet Union. Additionally, some reports of the final assassination of Tsar Nicholas II and his family put a pair of Colt .45 ACP pistols among the weapons used by the Bolshevik party, in particular one used by Yakov Yurovsky, leader of the squad who is noted as having fired the opening shot directly into the Tsar's chest. Russian Contract Government Model Colts are very rare on the American market in any condition, as virtually none were ever exported by the Soviet Union. The included factory letter notes it as part of a 5,000-piece grouping earmarked for shipment to "Government of Russia" on 2 September 1916, with the grips "Not Listed" and the other main features confirmed. The left side of the slide has the two-line, two-block address and patent dates with the Rampant Colt behind the serrations and the caliber marking on the right side. The left side of the frame is marked with the aforementioned contract marking and "VP" and "y" on the trigger guard, with the model marking and serial number on the right. It is fitted with the standard blade and notch sights, long smooth trigger, wide checkered hammer, long grip safety, smooth mainspring housing, diamond pattern checkered grips, lanyard loop, and an unmarked two-tone magazine with a lanyard loop.

Rating Definition:

Excellent, retains 90% plus original blue finish with the balance a smooth grey patina, primarily in the form of light holster type wear near the front of the slide and some light handling wear on the grip straps. The grips are excellent with a few minor blemishes in the overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. Russian contract Government Models are difficult to find in any condition, but one in such outstanding original condition like this are a true rarity!

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