Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 446: Colt Model 1911 U.S. Army Semi-Automatic Pistol

Auction Date: December 4, 2020

Exceptional Documented Historical Early 1912 Production Colt Model 1911 U.S. Army Semi-Automatic Pistol with Original Box and Ordnance Bill of Sale

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500

Exceptional Documented Historical Early 1912 Production Colt Model 1911 U.S. Army Semi-Automatic Pistol with Original Box and Ordnance Bill of Sale

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1911
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 5 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: varnished walnut
Item Views: 3417
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 342
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

This is a very early, very scarce Colt Model 1911 U.S. Army contract semi-automatic pistol that was shipped in a lot of 350 pistols to the Commander, Springfield Armory in April 1912. This specific pistol is even more desirable in that it is accompanied by the original Ordnance stores purchase document showing that it was purchased by Lt. H.A. Davidson on Dec 19, 1916 along with the original cardboard shipping/storage box. Lt. Davidson had given the gun to his son, Andrew, in 1968, as indicated by a notarized letter. Following family tradition Andrew passed down the gun to his son, Tim, as confirmed by second a notarized letter. In Andrew's 1988 notarized letter he states that his father, Lt. Davidson, purchased this M1911 "while he was down on the Mexican border with Battery 'C' of the 143rd Field Artillery of the California National Guard in 1916." Andrew recalled his father shooting off a few rounds every Fourth of July as a way to start off the family's celebration of the county's founding. A bill of sales indicates that the pistol was sold to USMC Lt. Col. (Ret) Robert M. Calland in 1990 and then sold to Berry Duncan in 1998. This pistol has the very desirable, mirror-like blue commercial high polish finish on the slide, frame and major components. This finish was utilized on U.S. contract Model 1911 pistols until serial number 2,401 (Mar 1912) when Colt was directed to utilize the more durable low luster military blue finish. The various smaller components such as the trigger, slide stop, safety lock, hammer and magazine catch lock all have the highly desirable fiery Colt niter blue finish used on Colt commercial handguns. This pistol has the early distinctive production parts/features that include: a round top rear sight with narrow front sight, first pattern dimpled magazine catch lock (which is extremely rare as approximately only the first 1,600 pistols were equipped with that configuration, with almost all later being replaced with the 2nd style), a second style hand checkered slide stop, first pattern safety lock with thin thumb-piece, short hammer, it is fitted with a later production replacement Colt all blued military barrel with the intertwined "HP" proof on top of the chamber area and no horizontal "H" mark on the rear hood of the barrel, correct first style two tone lanyard loop magazine with exposed pinned base and a rare second pattern recoil spring plug with the rectangular inward punch mark to retain the recoil spring. The left side of the frame is roll stamped with the small "UNITED STATES PROPERTY" adopted at serial number 104. The "WPG" final inspection monogram of Ordnance Inspector Major Walter J. Penfield is stamped on the left side of the frame above the magazine release. The first format serial number "No.2395" is stamped on the right side of the receiver in front of the trigger guard in Roman style (serifed) numerals. "MODEL 1911. U.S. ARMY" is roll-stamped on the right side of the slide. It has the early style short two-line, two block slide markings of "PATENTED APR.20. 1897/SEPT.9.1902. DEC.19.1905. FEB.14. 911" followed by "COLT'S PT.F.A.MFG.CO./HARTFORD.CT.U.S.A.", with the circled Rampant Colt logo stamped behind the serrations on the left side of the slide. A horizontal "H" provisional inspection mark is stamped on the rear of the slide above the firing pin stop and on top of the frame in front of the disconnector hole with a second Colt proof of a small "O". The grips are checkered oil finished walnut with diamond patterns surrounding the grip screws. The cardboard box is stamped on the lid with "P. No. 5,750,013", which is probably a patent number for the design of the box.

Rating Definition:

Exceptionally fine with 85% of the bright original high polish blue finish overall with wear on the edges and high spots with thinning on the grip straps and mainspring housing. 70% of the bright original nitre blue remains on the small parts. The grips are fine with nice checkering on both sides with wear across the checkering and larger diamonds with handling marks and flat spots on the right side. The rare original cardboard box is in remarkable very fine condition with a nice light brown color overall with wear and scuffing on the corners and edges, with all the corners being intact. The fact that this box is even available is extremely rare in itself. A very nice impeccably documented (family chain of ownership), early production U.S. Colt Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol.

Customer Product Questions

There are currently no customer product questions on this lot