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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to your Forum and would appreciate your thoughts. My collecting has been focused mainly on foreign military pistols, primarily Lugers and P.38's. I do, however, occasionally obtain another gun to just have a representative sample of a particular type (often leading to a new addiction). I am interested in getting an example of a USGI Colt 1911. In terms of holding/gaining value and assuming all-correct and matching, would you recommend, for example, a late-WW1 Colt with say 30-40% finish or a late WW2 Remington Rand with 98% finish? A related question: Is the collectibility substantially reduced at lower finish levels, e.g. 20%?
Thank you in advance for any comments.
 

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Never assume "all correct and matching" with a M1911. :) These are quite rare and their asking prices reflect this. An arsenal serviced M1911A1 is probably the most "representative" of the lot. Anything is correct on these.

-- Chuck
 

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I think anyone who adds a .45 to their military collection needs to get both an M1911 and an M1911A1. You can easily find an 1918-vintage Colt M1911 as they're the most vanilla, and prices are usually reasonable if you don't mind one with most of the original finish gone. The few left out there with 90% or better finish are going to be quite expensive. For WW2-era guns a late-war Remington Rand or Ithaca is probably the easiest to find. As Chuck said most you find for sale these days are mixmasters, as ones in all-original condition are usually sold for a pretty steep price. As long as all the parts are USGI you should be able to pick one up for around a grand. Just beware the ones cobbled together with a mix of GI and cheap aftermarket parts. Do some reading first before you make a decision.

Just a quick note regarding value. Higher-grade specimens will always hold their value better in a fluctuating market. That always hold true whether you collect guns, coins, or anything else for that matter. If possible, buy the best examples you can find and afford.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Never assume "all correct and matching" with a M1911. :) These are quite rare and their asking prices reflect this. An arsenal serviced M1911A1 is probably the most "representative" of the lot. Anything is correct on these.

-- Chuck
This is intimidating to a Luger collector. A WW1 Luger typically has 15-17 serial numbered parts so it is pretty easy to assess them, and it is not very hard to find one all matching.

A well known auction house has a large number of 1911's in an upcoming auction. They describe exterior markings pretty well but not completely and not much insight to what's inside. Are these to be avoided if you cannot personally inspect them in advance?
 

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This is intimidating to a Luger collector. A WW1 Luger typically has 15-17 serial numbered parts so it is pretty easy to assess them, and it is not very hard to find one all matching.
The problem with WWI Lugers is that the original type finish is very easy to duplicate. A dealer buys an all matching Luger with maybe 60% original finish, chemically strips the original finish, has it re-blued, knocks off 2 or 3 percent of the refinish in the right places, and has an all matching 97/98% Luger. Typically Lugers were brought back in really nice condition, and most any wear and tear happened in the years following it's return to the U.S.

The phosphate finished 1911A1 pistols were sandblasted before having the finish applied, so most of the markings have already been degraded. If the pistol then goes through an arsenal rebuild, the markings are degraded even more, making it harder to pass it off as an original. This degrading of the markings is one of the clues to help identify a refinished 1911A1.

The fakers have the blued finish of the early 1911A1 pistols down pat, and you have to know the little subtle things to look for on these pistols to determine if the finish is original or not. Due to an incorrect serial number range of the blued 1911A1 which was printed almost 20 years ago, the fakers had almost 45,000 more pistols which originally had a phosphate finish to change to blued finish. Of course the serial number range is a dead giveaway on these pistols, but you still see them advertised as original finish pistols. Best to educate yourself on the 1911 or 1911A1 pistols before taking the plunge, or have someone who knows what to look for help you. Never trust internet pictures to buy as they are manipulated too easily.
 

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Quite simply put.... not many true collectors will consider any example with less than 90% original condition, unless it is something extremely rare.
 
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