Manufactured towards the end of 1905, this is one of only an estimated three "pilot series" Colt Model 1905 Military pistols that was produced before full production of the Model 1905 Military began. During standard production only 6,210 Colt "Military Model of 1905" pistols were manufactured over a period of six years, making even a standard production Model 1905 quite scarce. The "pilot series" pistols are believed to have been numbered internally 0 through 02, with this example being numbered "02" on the top of the frame ahead of the hammer and rear underside of the slide. The barrel is numbered "1" on the top between the locking lugs. The Model 1905 is an extremely important evolutionary step in the development of Colt automatic pistols and the Model 1911, as they were the first production Colt automatic chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge, making this specific pistol the third ever Colt production pistol chambered in the legendary cartridge. This exact pistol is pictured and discussed on p. 88-89 of "The Government Models: The Development of the Colt Model of 1911" by Goddard, where it is stated that it was likely one of these three "pilot series" pistols that was used for the for the advertising in the 1906 Colt catalogue, an example of which is also pictured. The example pictured in the catalogue shows a three-line patent date marking on the left side of the slide, but otherwise appears almost identical to this example, which Goddard explains. He states that, as with many other prototype examples retained by the Colt factory, this pistol was factory refinished, with the slide likely being restamped at that time with the newer, two-line patent date roll die ending in "1905". Goddard also notes that the markings on the right side of the slide also show pre-production characteristics with "45" in the caliber marking being hand struck deeper than the remainder of the marking which was rolled on. Upon thorough examination, writer believes the aforementioned statement to be incorrect in the terms "refinished" and "restamped", in that the pistol has never been refinished or restamped, but rather finished for the first time by Colt for display purpose in their museum as the pistol is absolutely original! Along with these less-than-standard markings, the pistol carries the standard two-line Colt address on the left of the slide and the circled Rampant Colt behind the serrations with no visible assembly, inspector, or proof marks. It is fitted with a blade front sight and rounded top notch rear sight, a rounded checkered hammer, fully checkered grips without diamond patterns as seen on the production examples, and is furnished with an unmarked full blue magazine. Provenance: The Dr. Robert Azar Collection
Excellent, retains 97% plus of the original high polish deep blue finish, 95% plus of the vivid original case colors, and 90% of the nitre blue with some scattered light handling marks and some very light edge wear in a few areas. The grips are excellent with a few scattered light blemishes in the overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. This is an incredibly rare opportunity to add a piece of Colt, Model 1911, and .45 ACP developmental history to your collection that you don't want to miss!
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