Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3530: U.S. Army Second Contract Colt Model 1900 Semi-Automatic Pistol

Auction Date: September 12, 2021

Scarce U.S. Army Second Contract Colt Model 1900 "Sight Safety" Conversion Semi-Automatic Pistol with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,500 - $8,500

Scarce U.S. Army Second Contract Colt Model 1900 "Sight Safety" Conversion Semi-Automatic Pistol with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1900
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 38 Colt auto
Barrel: 6 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 3460
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 280
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun
Bore Condition: Good - Some light pitting or frosted appearance

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 pistols 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 third shipment of 50 pistols which was sent to Springfield Armory on 24 January 1901 and included the serial numbers 1601 through 1650. This pistol, like most of those in the contract, was 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. 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 "U.S. Military Automatic Pistols 1894-1920" by Meadows, 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 "1613" and the trigger guard bow is marked "U.S." It is fitted with a blade front sight and notch rear sight that has been converted from the original "sight safety" configuration, spur hammer with arched bottom checkering, coarsely checkered grips, and a full nickel magazine with base marked "PAT'D SEPT.9.1884". The included factory letter confirms the current configuration (grips not listed) as well as the previously mentioned shipment date to Springfield Armory. Provenance: The Gus Cargile Collection

Rating Definition:

Very fine as factory converted, retains 75% plus of the factory refinished blue finish with the balance having mostly thinned to a smooth brown-grey patina, primarily on the grip straps and top of the slide where there is also some slightly rough brown spotting. The grips are also very fine with a few scattered minor blemishes and dings in the overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent.

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