Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 551: World War II U.S. Singer Manufacturing Co. Model 1911A1 Pistol

Auction Date: December 3, 2021

Rare and Highly Desirable World War II U.S. Singer Manufacturing Co. Model 1911A1 Semi-Automatic Pistol with NRA Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $55,000 - $85,000

Rare and Highly Desirable World War II U.S. Singer Manufacturing Co. Model 1911A1 Semi-Automatic Pistol with NRA Letter

Manufacturer: Singer
Model: 1911A1
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 5 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: plastic
Stock:
Item Views: 2236
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 319
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun
Description:

This is both an exceptional and rare variation of a World War II production U.S. Model 1911A1 pistol that was manufactured by the Singer Manufacturing Company, who previously had become a global leader in the manufacture of sewing machines. Singer Model 1911A1 pistols certainly need very little introduction, and their desirability in the 1911 and 1911A1 collectors market is unmatched. There were only 500 of these extremely rare pistols produced as part of Educational Order No. W-ORD-396 awarded April 17, 1940. The pistols were to be produced alongside a set of gauges, jigs, fixtures, machines, patterns and other equipment necessary for mass production. The total cost of the educational order amounted to $278,875.67, or about $538 per pistol, a princely sum for 1940, and the equivalent of approximately $9,945 per pistol today. However, much of this cost would be recuperated by the government as the extremely valuable production equipment made by Singer would immediately become government property upon completion of their contracts. Most of this equipment would later be utilized by Remington-Rand. In June of 1941. They completed the initial order for 500 in December of 1941, which were then shipped to Springfield Armory for distribution. Singer was awarded a larger order for 15,000 pistols, a contract which would never be fulfilled. Shortly after that, it became clear to Singer and the government that their specific talents of manufacture could be far better utilized elsewhere. For the remainder of the war, the company would be manufacturing more intricate materials such as the M5 Artillery Fire Control Directors. It is reported that almost all of the 500 pistols that were produced were issued to the Army Air Corps in various theatres early in World War II. Some are even reported to have been issued to Army Airmen stationed at Hickam Field in Hawaii on 5 December, just two days before it was "suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." Given the terribly high casualty rates amongst the Army Air Corps early in the war, especially amongst bomber crews fighting the Luftwaffe in Europe, it is clear that far fewer than 500 of these pistols survived in any condition, let alone the exceptionally fine condition this one is in. The left of the slide on this example has the standard "S. MFG. CO./ELIZABETH, N.J.,U.S.A." address, the right is unmarked, and there is a "P" proof on top just in front of the rear sight. The right side of the frame has the "JKC" inspection mark of Colonel John K. Clement, which is found on all government accepted Singer manufactured pistols as well as the production equipment, and another "P" proof. The "P" inspected barrel and the bushing are both incorrect non-factory replacements. The right side has the standard U.S. property markings, "S" prefixed serial number, and "M 1911 A1 U.S. ARMY" marking. It is fitted with blade and notch sights, stamped trigger, long grip safety, checkered wide hammer, checkered slide stop, magazine release, and thumb safety; arched checkered mainspring housing with lanyard loop, correct non-reinforced back checkered plastic grips, and an unmarked, non-factory replacement, full blued magazine. Included with the pistol is a 1978 dated National Rifle Association letter signed by C.R. Suydam stating that he believes the pistol is all original. These Singer 1911A1 pistols have truly become the "holy grail" of 1911 and 1911A1 collecting for a variety of reasons. Their quality of manufacture is without question, even surpassing that of some of the best Colt manufactured automatics, and certainly being the finest of the World War II production 1911A1 pistols. There is the fact that these pistols were issued and carried by young men of "the greatest generation", many of whom were flying high over Europe and the Pacific, and many of whom never returned home. And finally, that they are a palpable piece of the awakening of American industrial might, and an enduring symbol of this country's ability to adapt and overcome. If the Singer sewing machine company could make a weapon as fine as this, then there was nothing we couldn't overcome in World War II. Provenance: The Dr. Robert Azar Collection

Rating Definition:

Very fine, retains 60% plus of the original Du-Lite blue finish with the balance having mostly thinned to a smooth grey patina, primarily on edges and the grip straps, and a few scattered patches of very light pinprick type surface pitting. The grips are also very fine with a few scattered light blemishes in the overall crisp checkering. Mechanically fine as the slide does not lock open. A Singer Model 1911A1 in this exceptionally fine condition would easily become the centerpiece of all but the most extensive U.S. military automatic pistol collections!



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