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Hi Everyone,

I've had this handgun in storage for 30 years, occasionally taking it out to oil it. My Dad, a WW2 vet and gun collector, bought it in 1980 from a friend and fellow vet & gun collector.

I decided to do some research and am perplexed by the markings and hoping the experts here can help me out. It's got a gov't serial # dating it to 1913. I've contacted Colt for an archives search to see where it went. It's missing the "US Property" stamp though. There is a "K" stamp on the right trigger guard, which I think means it went back to Colt to be refurbished at some point but not sure. The barrel and interior of the slide are stamped with the same s/n as the frame. There's a block "H" above the firing pin and non-circled rampant colt at the rear of the slide. The slide contains a 1913 patent date which seems inconsistent with the frame s/n though. Based on reading various posts, here's my novice take: original 1913 gov't issue that went back to Colt for refurbishment (maybe just after WW1?), when a pre 1918 slide was fitted and stamped with the s/n?

What do folks think? All comments are welcome. If this is a refurbished, early mix & match by Colt, what does that do to collectibility?

Thanks to all the experts here! Happy to take more pics if helpful.
 

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My scenario is that somebody pilfered his sidearm, deleted the USP and he or a subsequent owner had it reblued.
It looks good but removal of proper markings really knocks the collectability in the head.

Numbering the barrel and slide might point to a Colt refinish to keep customer parts together in with new production guns being blued. I know they once told a potential customer that they would not reblue his gun because they could not be sure of keeping his parts together, but apparently they or somebody had made the effort sometime.
 

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My scenario is that somebody pilfered his sidearm, deleted the USP and he or a subsequent owner had it reblued.
It looks good but removal of proper markings really knocks the collectability in the head.

Numbering the barrel and slide might point to a Colt refinish to keep customer parts together in with new production guns being blued. I know they once told a potential customer that they would not reblue his gun because they could not be sure of keeping his parts together, but apparently they or somebody had made the effort sometime.
I agree that the US Property markings have likely been removed and the gun refinished.

Colt, Winchester etc. were much more accommodating to customer's desires during the Depression years but in times when sales were good, they were less so.
 

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I think it might be re-finished because some of the markings look a little lite. If it is it's a very good one maybe factory done.
 

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I have not seen hundreds of these early Colts, but I have seen a lot and this is the first one I have seen with barrel and slide numbered in this fashion. Implies it was not a factory mark. As Noted, Buffed, reblued, and USP removed. Pretty much destroyed any collector value. ( speaking as a collector) does not mean it has no value, but I would not pay any kind of premium over a parts gun for it. I can take any of my correct 1911s, have them refinished to look better than new. But the gun would lose 30-40% of it's collector value then.
 

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It was your Fathers gun, for me it'd be too valuable as a "family" gun to ever think of selling.
Thanks for sharing with us enjoy!
 

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The pistol looks like a bona fide Colt factory refurb to me. I’ve owned a half dozen or so similarly marked commercials and Military pistols. It was a repair dept practice to stamp the sn on the various components to keep track of them I’d speculate.
As for collectibility....some advanced collectors might think its cool and some won’t.
Personally I think it’s collectible and a good example of the companies efforts to do what a customer needed.
Here is another example with similar markings:
Bumper Automotive tire Wood Grille Composite material
 

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When Colt refurbished ex-military pistols they added the Verified Proof stamp, which this one lacks. It is most certainly a refinished piece, but whoever reblued it did a damn good job.
 

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That is a good looking 1911, refinish or not. Whoever did the work, to include removing the US Property marking, really took their time and did an outstanding job. A real beauty!!

I agree though, as a family heirloom the value of the pistol to you is PRICELESS. Anyone else is just spending money to get a nice looking shooter. You need to cherish it for what it is, clean it, oil it, put it away, bringing it out only to astonish your friends with your good fortune to have your father's pistol.
 

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Yes, '17/'18 transitional: pony at the back, sans-serif on both sides and the intermediate cut between the 'ball cut' and the full curve back to the corner of the frame extension.
That is really a sweet-looking pistol!
 

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How deep would the roll stamping usually be on a pistol of this vintage? If a straightedge was placed across the area where the removed stamping was I'd think you could see a dished out spot.
 

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How deep would the roll stamping usually be on a pistol of this vintage? If a straightedge was placed across the area where the removed stamping was I'd think you could see a dished out spot.
Given that all the markings on the LH side are gone I suspect somebody planed it. The markings weren't very deep to begin with anyway.
 
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