Page 322 - Auction84-Book1
P. 322

 The Rarest U.S. Inspected 1911A1 Semi-Automatic Pistol Produced
 Collector’s Fact
One of 500 manufactured by Singer in World War II for U.S. Contract, produced as part of order number W-ORD-396, awarded April 17, 1940.
LOT 551
Rare and Highly Desirable World War II U.S. Singer Manufacturing Co. Model 1911A1 Semi-Automatic Pistol with NRA Letter -
Serial no. S800256, 45 ACP cal., 5 inch round bbl., blue finish, plastic grips. 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.

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