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Discussion Starter #1
Gents,

I am a novice on Colt WWI 1911 but now I need to become an expert. I just came into a Colt 1911 with serial number 10,xxx that places it as being made in 1912. She is quite the honey. I have been taking a crash course on the 'Coolgunsite.com' pages trying to learn as much as I can.

I have gone thru every aspect of information on that site, and indeed almost all the parts appear to be original. All the necessary marks seem to be there, in the way they should be. There are two questions that I am not sure about that I wanted to ask here.

1. I am not sure if the barrel is original. It does not have a Gothic “H” (No serifs) on the rear of the barrel hood as would be expected for serial number 7500 to about serial #19600. Has Roman “H” (with serifs) on the rear of the barrel hood (Roman type has serifs, the bars at the ends of lines, where Gothic type has straight block letters.) Seems like it is a barrel from Serial #500 to about serial #7500. Also has '3' punched on bottom of barrel in front of barel link. Is is possible that this is the original barrel and that Colt just happen to use of left over erarily production run? This is common practice today as they just use what pops out of the bin. There is also a '3' punched on the top of the frame by the disconnector, next to the H provisional acceptance mark. Does the '3' on the barrel somehow match up to the '3' on the frame?

2. The magazine seems to be a Type III - Colt Two Tone with Loop. It does not have the 'key hole' cut on rear of mag. Since the 'story' is that this gun fought in two World Wars (which I am in the process of trying to verify) would it be reasonable that somewhere along the lines the magazine was switched?

My final question is what sort of effect would the two above 'flaws' have on the value of this pistol?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Make sure your magazine is not a PRE-KEYHOLE mag with the exposed base. If it is it is worth double of a keyhole mag. My serial number 99XX came with a pre-keyhole mag even though the "BOOKS" say it should have a keyhole type. As to the "H"s on your Colt; even though the "BOOKS" say all the "H"s should match I would never change a part on that gun to make it like the "BOOKS", the gun probably acquired that barrel during a cleaning process with other 1911s and got switched or the original may have been damaged and an Armorer installed what he had on hand, or it could have even left Colt with it. It is what makes the gun. Regarding the numeral "3" on the bottom of your barrel and the top of the receiver; mine has a "5" in those two places. I do not know if that means they match the gun or not. My barrel does have the accepted style "H" that matches the receiver "H", so maybe that is significant. Congratulations on a good find.
 

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Early 1911

The early 1911 pistols were built at a time when nothing was rushed, and the workers took great pride in their work. The first of the 1911's had such a high polish finish that the Ordnance Department complained to Colt, and wanted the finish less reflective. They didn't just use whatever was laying around. Even at the hurried end of 1911 production the frames and slides were still finished together so that the color would match.
Chances are that your barrel has been swapped at some time, but if it suits you leave it alone. As to value if you are planning on selling the pistol, I doubt that it would make a lot of difference since the barrel that is in it now is highly desirable. If your magazine is a Type III without the keyhold, I would expect this to make a $150/300 difference depending on the condition of the pistol. Most 1911's did not make it through two world wars without being refinished.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the information. Like I said, I am a novice and this is my first 'historic' 1911. I got it as a trade. The trade was worth about $900+-. I don't have a great camera, but I got this picture from the guy that traded it to me.



On the magazine you cannot see the 'missing' key hole. I am not qualified to rate the finish that is left. There is no rust or pitting that I can see. All the other markings are there as documented. The gun was not arsonal refinished. The 'story' is that a father who fought WWI gave it to his son for his use in WW2, so it was 'out' of inventory. I am trying to see if I can locate the son.

I have always wanted one but not knowing the ropes, I was too scared to try and buy one on my own. That and the prices people ask!

Here is some information I gathered on it:

Feature Description
Arsonel Rebuild Not an Arsonal rebuild

Markings
Colt Patent Dates April 20, 1897 Dec 19, 1905 Feb 14, 1911
Rampant Colt Details Circled, rear located
United States Property location Left Side on Receiver, Under Patent Dates
Inspectors cartouche WGP Monogram: Walter G. Penfield, Major
Provisional acceptance mark. H' and '3':Located on top of frame by disconnector indicates gun inspected by Ordinance Inspector. Stamped before finish applied. Francis L. Hosmer
7': Stamped in dust cover on inside of receiver ahead of where slide stop hole is located.

Hammer Short Hammer (Colt Type 1)
MS Housing Smooth and Flat
SN Placement Arial/Block font on the receiver between the stock*and behind slide stop hole on the right hand side.
Thumb Safety Colt 1911A1 style thumb safety
Barrel Not Gothic “H” (No serifs) on the rear of the barrel hood for serial number 7500 to about serial #19600 should. Has Roman “H” (with serifs) on the rear of the barrel hood (Roman type has serifs, the bars at the ends of lines, where Gothic type has straight block letters.) Seems like it is a barrel from Serial #500 to about serial #7500. Also has '3' punched on bottom of barrel in front of barel link. Possible use of left over erarily production run?
Grips Walnut stocks with large diamond shaped un-checkered area around each of the 2 screw holes, and stocks were otherwise fully checkered. 15 rows of checkering between the large diamonds
Mag Type III - Colt Two Tone with Loop (not correct - no 'key hole' cut on rear of mag)
Recoil Guide
Front Sights Measures .058" at base, but tapered to .038 at top
Rear Sights
Trigger Milled long trigger
Finish Fine brushed looking finish, furnace blued. Small parts have a smoky blue finish that appears lighter than the color of the slide and receiver.
Grip Safety 1912 Colt Grip Safety
Mag Release Type 3 catch lock
Serial Number 1912 - 100XX
Slide Stop Colt M1911 - No relief cut under the curve

From what I can determine, the only thing that does not match is the barrel and the mag.

My next question is how should I prevent rust? Dip it in oil?

How did I do?
 

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good deal

You did good, any oldie like yours that is left to a collector is a saved historical pistol. Use Slip2000, Corrosion X or Break Free to keep the pistol free of rust. Nice looking pistol and if you looked at your collectors guide and saw the combination of parts. Then you probably have an idea of how much is original. The safety probably had to be replaced. NATIONALMATCH
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Actually, I have really no clue what this one is worth. The prices of these things go all over the place, which is what scared me away from them when I see them.

The only reason I did the trade was I was thinking of buying a Colt WWI REPLICA (current production). I always wanted a original but could not afford one or feared being ripped off by the gun show vultures. I see them on the auction sites and get scared off by the complicated termonology.

Definately not going to sell it but I would like to have some idea of its value.

Since I occassionally watch the 'Antiques Roadshow', I take it the correct thing to do is just clean it and keep it well coated in oil. Keep the barrel it came with in it and the magazine even though they are not the 'correct' ones. Just let it have all the 'character' it has be as is.
 

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I know you are looking for some numbers, so: (and there are many others here that are more knowledgeable than I and maybe they will jump in if I get it started), I will say $4000.00.
 
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