Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 567: Two-Digit Serial Number 95 U.S. Colt Model 1911 Pistol

Auction Date: December 3, 2021

Very Fine Early Production Two-Digit Serial Number 95 U.S. Colt Model 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol

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

Very Fine Early Production Two-Digit Serial Number 95 U.S. Colt Model 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1911
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 5 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 1942
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 337
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

Assembled very early in 1912, this is a very fine example of an extremely early production U.S. Contract Colt Model 1911 pistol. This pistol was also included in the second shipment of 50 pistols sent to Springfield Armory on 18 January 1912. The pistol was then subsequently shipped from Springfield Armory on 2 April 1912 to Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia, near its border with Tennessee. The fort was originally established as a cavalry post in 1904 as an effort to move a previous military post/training facility away from the Civil War battlefield of Chickamauga. Various cavalry regiments were stationed there during the fort's early years, with the 6th Cavalry eventually becoming the most permanent resident. The fort was expanded greatly with the outbreak of World War I to process and train the vast numbers of recruits coming into the Army. During World War II, the fort initially continued in this role; however, by September of 1943, all men had been relocated from the base which was converted into the largest training facility in the country for the Women's Army Corps (WAC), bringing in 1,000 women a week to begin their four week training course. These women were then sent to perform various roles within the Army allowing more men to be moved to combat roles at the front. By the end of the war, roughly 150,000 women had served in the WAC, with famous generals like Dwight D. Eisenhower stating, "their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit, and determination are immeasurable." The pistol itself bears all the extremely early features one would expect to see on an example with a serial number this low. The left side of the slide has the two-line, two-block patent dates and address, with the address in a slightly larger font as normally only seen on pistols below serial number 83 (Meadows). The Rampant Colt marking on the left rear is lightly struck and very fine (writer believes this to be a factory error in that a worker used a heavily worn roll die stamp). It is possible that this slide was switched from a pistol with an earlier serial number. The left side of the frame has the large size "UNITED STATES PROPERTY" marking, which was switched to a smaller font around serial number 115. Walter G. Penfield's "WGP" monogram inspector's mark is also on the left of the frame in its early 90 degree clockwise rotated format, which was seen on only the first 100 Model 1911s produced. The serial number is in the early "No.95" format and forward location on the right of the frame which were changed at serial numbers 4501 and 7501 respectively. The right side of the slide is marked with the iconic "MODEL OF 1911. U.S. ARMY". The pistol shows the early lustrous, high polish, mirror-like blue finish and fiery niter blue small parts. The early production replacement barrel is fully blued and marked "N" on the bottom in front of the lug. It is fitted with fixed blade and round top notch rear sights, the early hand-checkered slide stop and thumb safety which were only seen on the first 150 pistols, the "dimpled" magazine catch which was seen on pistols up to serial number 3189, wide checkered hammer, short grip safety, smooth flat mainspring housing with a lanyard loop, a pair of double-diamond pattern checkered walnut grips, and a slightly later pattern replacement two-tone "keyhole" magazine with a lanyard loop.

Rating Definition:

Fine, retains 60% plus of the early, bright, original high polish blue finish and 75% plus of the original niter blue with the balance having mostly thinned to a smooth grey patina, primarily on the edges and grip straps. The grips are also very good showing some moderate wear and a few scattered minor blemishes in the overall well-defined checkering. Mechanically excellent. Two-digit serial number U.S. Colt Model 1911 pistols are rare in any condition; with this example being better than most, it is certainly a piece of Colt and U.S. military history that could become a cornerstone of your collection!

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