Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1481: U.S. Army Second Contract Colt Model 1900 "Sight Safety" Pistol

Auction Date: September 11, 2021

Scarce and Desirable U.S. Army Second Contract Colt Model 1900 "Sight Safety" Semi-Automatic Pistol

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $9,500 - $16,000

Scarce and Desirable U.S. Army Second Contract Colt Model 1900 "Sight Safety" Semi-Automatic Pistol

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1900
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 38 Colt auto
Barrel: 6 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 1338
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 376
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

Manufactured in 1900, this is a scarce example of one of 200 Colt Model 1900 pistols manufactured to fulfill the second contract for the U.S. Army. These 200 pistols were ordered by the Ordnance Department to further augment the initial 100 pistols ordered for testing in 1900 and was partially due to the high demand by officers stationed in the Philippines for automatic pistols. These 200 pistols ordered were serial numbered 1501 through 1700 and incorporated only two of the plethora of recommendations submitted after initial field testing, these being longer and deeper slide serrations moved to the front of the slide and coarsely checkered, thicker grips. This pistol was part of the second shipment of 50 pistols which was sent to Springfield Armory on 11 January 1901 and included the serial numbers 1551 through 1600. While most of these second contract pistols were then inspected by Rinaldo A. Carr at the armory and stamped with his "R.A.C." mark on the right side of the trigger guard bow, these second shipment pistols were not, which is discussed and pictured (pistol number 1582 pictured) on p. 33 of "U.S. Military Automatic Pistols 1894-1920" by Meadows, where it is stated that the reason for this second shipment of pistols not being inspected is unknown. Apart from three of these 200 second contract pistols, which were retained for cartridge testing, all were sent to New York Arsenal on 9 February 1901 in preparation for their shipment to the Manila Ordnance Depot for issuance to officers stationed in the Philippines for further field trials. The pistols received more mixed reports from officers in the field, including a multitude of complaints and recommendations. In May of 1909, 126 Model 1900 pistols (not all second contract) were turned in at Rock Island Arsenal for inspection. On 18 June 1909 the Commanding Officer of Rock Island Arsenal was approved to sell the pistols, with the price being set at $7.50 for a pistol, magazine, and holster. Of these 200 second contract pistols, only 49 known surviving examples are listed on p. 35 of the previously mentioned reference, making this an incredibly rare U.S. military automatic. This example is marked with the correct two-line, two-block "Browning's patent" and Colt address followed by the circled Rampant Colt on the left of the slide, while the right has the standard two-line caliber marking. Both sides of the slide feature the forward oriented, longer, and deeper slide serrations, as previously mentioned. The left side of the frame is marked with the serial number "1577" and the trigger guard bow is marked "U.S." It is fitted with a blade front sight and notch rear sight in its original "sight safety" configuration, spur hammer with arched bottom checkering, coarsely checkered grips, and it is furnished with a full nickel magazine with base marked "PAT'D SEPT.9.1884" Provenance: The Dr. Robert Azar Collection

Rating Definition:

Very fine, retains 70% of the bright original high polish blue finish, the balance showing some thinning, primarily on high spots and handling areas. 60% plus of the original nitre blue and vivid original case colors remain with some light wear showing a smooth grey patina. The grips are also very fine with some scattered light ding and scratches, and a minor dent on the upper left. Mechanically excellent. This is an opportunity to own an incredibly scarce and highly desirable U.S. military Colt Model 1900 "Sight Safety" Pistol that will greatly enhance any U.S. military collection!

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