1911Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
recently found a 1911. in 80% range. dirty, but all correct with correct markings. odd, but no serial number anywhere. no evidence of removal, two 'colt smiths' agree, there has never been s/n on the frame. from their exams the manufacture date is in the 1915-1917 range (initials stamped on frame, ect.)
has anyone ever ran across anything like this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
Coyote - there are several reference books for the 1911's (Hallock's; Hoffschmidt etc)that give details as to correct markings, inspector initials, proof marks, serial number ranges etc. What are the specific markings on your 1911 and initials, etc?

The only 1911 I know of that did not have a serial number on it (on the frame, in the traditional sense) was a contract 1911 made by the North American Arms Company of Quebec, Canada. (The slide is marked with that makers name - and there is a 'serial number' cut into the slide just behind the serrations on the left side, usually only 2 digit). The 1911's produced by NAA are only thought to be around 100 pieces. There are less than 100 of these known to exist today. There are great full color photos of NAA 1911's on pages 35 - 37 of the 1994 (15th issue) of Fjestad's "Blue Book of Gun Values". illustrating what I have said above.
(Actually, this book has several color photos of other 1911's as well, demonstrating 'condition' grading (pages 34 - 40).

Maybe, you have a "lunch box" 1911 (one someone took home from the factory one part at a time and later assembled), acquiring the finished frame before it could be stamped with a serial number (and then not be accounted for).

Enjoy it though, you probably have a rare, desireable, and very collectible bird. Be thankful you don't live in Canada - all of our legally owned handguns have required Registration under our Federal Firearms law since around 1935. If someone "found" a long lost handgun here - like your 1911 - without a serial number, and it had never been registered, they could get it registered, but they would assign a serial number to it and make you have a 'smith stamp it into it. The person who wanted to be the "owner" would also have to have a current "Possession & Acquisition Licence" (now also required to own and acquire firearms legally here). In Canada, the other choice, of course, if you found such an item would be not to register it (and thereby own it illegally).

However, if caught in posssession of it, at the very least, it would go to the 'crusher'. Of interest, there are still many WWII relics and souveniers turning up in estates - Lugers, PPK's, Radoms, P-38's, Beretta 1934's, and a few 1911's that were brought home here by returning military personel that were never registered. A great uncle of mine who was in the Canadian army in WWII came home on a US troop ship via New York City. About 2 days out of port there was an announcement that when they docked, all of the baggage was to be searched for contraband, and anyone in possession would have their trip back home delayed. He said that night several of the men in his area, including himself, dumped war trophy handguns overboard. The only thing that he did bring back was a Mauser rifle and bayonet.

Anyway, good luck with your new, old 1911! Best, NAA.

------------------
Colt 1911: Best damn "Government" in the World!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Originally posted by NAA:
Coyote - there are several reference books for the 1911's (Hallock's; Hoffschmidt etc)that give details as to correct markings, inspector initials, proof marks, serial number ranges etc. What are the specific markings on your 1911 and initials, etc?

The only 1911 I know of that did not have a serial number on it (on the frame, in the traditional sense) was a contract 1911 made by the North American Arms Company of Quebec, Canada. (The slide is marked with that makers name - and there is a 'serial number' cut into the slide just behind the serrations on the left side, usually only 2 digit). The 1911's produced by NAA are only thought to be around 100 pieces. There are less than 100 of these known to exist today. There are great full color photos of NAA 1911's on pages 35 - 37 of the 1994 (15th issue) of Fjestad's "Blue Book of Gun Values". illustrating what I have said above.
(Actually, this book has several color photos of other 1911's as well, demonstrating 'condition' grading (pages 34 - 40).

Maybe, you have a "lunch box" 1911 (one someone took home from the factory one part at a time and later assembled), acquiring the finished frame before it could be stamped with a serial number (and then not be accounted for).

Enjoy it though, you probably have a rare, desireable, and very collectible bird. Be thankful you don't live in Canada - all of our legally owned handguns have required Registration under our Federal Firearms law since around 1935. If someone "found" a long lost handgun here - like your 1911 - without a serial number, and it had never been registered, they could get it registered, but they would assign a serial number to it and make you have a 'smith stamp it into it. The person who wanted to be the "owner" would also have to have a current "Possession & Acquisition Licence" (now also required to own and acquire firearms legally here). In Canada, the other choice, of course, if you found such an item would be not to register it (and thereby own it illegally).

However, if caught in posssession of it, at the very least, it would go to the 'crusher'. Of interest, there are still many WWII relics and souveniers turning up in estates - Lugers, PPK's, Radoms, P-38's, Beretta 1934's, and a few 1911's that were brought home here by returning military personel that were never registered. A great uncle of mine who was in the Canadian army in WWII came home on a US troop ship via New York City. About 2 days out of port there was an announcement that when they docked, all of the baggage was to be searched for contraband, and anyone in possession would have their trip back home delayed. He said that night several of the men in his area, including himself, dumped war trophy handguns overboard. The only thing that he did bring back was a Mauser rifle and bayonet.

Anyway, good luck with your new, old 1911! Best, NAA.

THANKS for the info! Hmmmm, one of my pistol smiths DID mention the 'lunch box' theory. Some time this weekend i'll go over the piece inch by inch agin and note the markings 'for the record' and send what i find come monday, (if you want). (IF i can figure out how to manage this computer stuff. i'm a new-bee, both with guns and with 'puters) the 1911 has been a great conversation 'piece' (no pun intended!)anytime it is spotted at the range, well worth its yard sale price.

one of the older gents here in the office (since retired) often told a similar story regarding your 'contra-band' check. he sorrowfully told of 'dumping' several long-barreled lugers lest his return to his sweetheart be delayed. ahh, the price of love!
thanks again!
coyote
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
73,785 Posts
Perhaps you could tell us what other markings are on the gun. If it is a military gun it could also be what was called a "replacement pistol". The military accepted shipments of guns in consecutively-numbered batches. If a gun failed to pass inspection the entire lot was held up while another gun was made, inspected, stamped with the number of the rejected gun (which had been destroyed), and added to the shipment. To keep these tie-ups from happening Colt kept a small number of completely finished, yet un-numbered pistols on hand for use as replacements. Yours could be one of these that was snuck out of the factory, as once the military stopped asking for consecutive lots the replacement guns were all serialized and shipped.

------------------
D. Kamm
USGI M1911/M1911A1 Pistols Website
http://www.geocities.com/M1911_M1911A1
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Originally posted by dsk:
Perhaps you could tell us what other markings are on the gun. If it is a military gun it could also be what was called a "replacement pistol". The military accepted shipments of guns in consecutively-numbered batches. If a gun failed to pass inspection the entire lot was held up while another gun was made, inspected, stamped with the number of the rejected gun (which had been destroyed), and added to the shipment. To keep these tie-ups from happening Colt kept a small number of completely finished, yet un-numbered pistols on hand for use as replacements. Yours could be one of these that was snuck out of the factory, as once the military stopped asking for consecutive lots the replacement guns were all serialized and shipped.

The old 'lunch-box' theory. It makes more sense than anything else mentioned. Tonight i'll strip it down and i'll note all the markings (and where they are found) and get them to you guys Monday. I really appreceate you guys taking the time to reply.
b.b.coyote
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
843 Posts
Originally posted by sousana:
it is against the law in the States to have a firearm without a serial number.
I believe it depends on when the firearm was manufactured. I'm not sure about this, but I think serial numbers are only required on firearms made after the National Firearms Act of 1934 became law. I have two or three old rfles and shotguns without serial numbers. I believe serial numbers were often left off of some of the less expensive firearms back then.-TR
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,545 Posts
b. b. Coyote

I believe TangoRomeo is correct, serial numbers were not required until the 1934 law was passed. Though many manufacturers did use serial numbers for warranty pruposes, government contracts, and other administrative reasons. Colt may have sold commercial pistols without serial numbers until the law required them too.

Before you mark your pistol and destroy any historical and financial value, write a letter to Colt and pay what ever fee is necessary to research your pistol. Send them a picture of each side and any distinguishing marks. Have someone that is good at photography make the pictures if possible. Then lock this pistol away in a safe place until you know what you have.

You may be surprised.

------------------
Str8_Shot

The best handgun for self defense, is the one you have with you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
SN's became required after passage of GCA 68. Prior, to that, many firearms didn't have them. Colt, AFAIK has always used a SN on handguns.

------------------
If it bleeds, you can kill it.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top