Page 208 - Auction84-Book3
P. 208

 Outstanding & Extremely Rare - Earliest Known U.S. Colt Model 1902 Military Pistol
  LOT 3385
Outstanding Third Produced U.S. Inspected Colt Model 1902 Military Semi-Automatic
Pistol Serial Number 15003 with Factory Letter - Serial no. 15003, 38 Colt auto cal., 6 inch round
bbl., blue finish, hard rubber grips. Manufactured in 1902, the first year of production, this pistol was
in the first shipment of 100 Military Model of 1902 pistols sent by Colt to Springfield Armory on 15 July 1902
as noted in the included factory letter. It was the third Military Model
of 1902 produced and was one of the first 200 pistols ordered by the Ordnance Department for testing in their continued efforts to find
an automatic pistol suitable for military adoption. They incorporated many of the recommendations from officers in the field that were submitted during testing of the Model 1900, including very similar
slide checkering to the sketch submitted by Lieutenant Odus C. Horney, which is pictured on p. 34 of “U.S. Military Automatic Pistols 1894-1920” by Meadows. The purchase of these pistols had been approved by the Board of Ordnance and Fortification on 11 January 1902 after a sample pistol had been tested in December of the previous year. After receiving and inspecting these 200 pistols at the armory, they were sent to troops at Forts Riley and Leavenworth in Kansas, as well as Jefferson Barracks
in Missouri for field trials. Again, the feedback given from the field trials was mostly negative, and they were deemed “...not as satisfactory a pistol as the revolver.” In 1909, 62 of these pistols that were deemed serviceable were sold off as surplus alongside some of the older Model 1900 pistols. A few Model 1902 pistols were retained for Ordnance Department historical collections. This example is marked with the two- line Browning’s patent and Colt address markings on the left of the slide arranged in two blocks, with a circled Rampant Colt at the rear. The right side is marked “MODEL 1902” and with the two-line caliber marking. The
right side of the frame and trigger guard have the “R.A.C.”inspection mark of Rinaldo A. Carr and the “J.T.T.” acceptance mark of Captain John
T. Thompson.
The left side of
the frame and trigger guard have the serial number and “U.S.” marking. The slide has the forward checkering on each side and blade and
notch sights. It is fitted with a rounded checkered hammer, checkered hard rubber grips with “COLT” banners and Rampant Colts, the lanyard loop on the left of the grip frame, and a later production replacement magazine with “CAL 38 COLT” on the base. A list of the known surviving examples of the Military Model of 1902 can be found on page 46 of the previously mentioned book by Meadows, this particular pistol is not listed, but is the lowest serial number of any of the known examples. CONDITION: Excellent, retains 95% plus of the bright original high polish blue finish, 80% of the original nitre blue, and 97% plus of the original case colors on the hammer with the balance having minor edge wear and some scattered light handling marks. The grips are also excellent with a few scattered light handling marks and crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. A unique opportunity to add possibly the earliest surviving example of the U.S. Colt Military Model of 1902 to
your collection!
Provenance: The Milan J. Turk Collection.
Estimate: 20,000 - 30,000
Collector’s Fact
The U.S. Contract Colt Model 1902 pistols began at serial number 15,001, making this exceptional pistol the third produced.

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