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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently found these grips fitted to an old Colt M1911, 1918 manufacture. I collect military, and have located an original correct set of truncated diamond wood grips to restore this gun to it's proper military configuration.

I have a couple of questions about these intriguing Mexican grips.
(The photos are not the best, and the lighting makes the gold parts look faded and thin. They are not. The lighting also makes the silver look thin and tarnished. They are perfect)

The look of the silver is that of sterling, not plate, (My wife collects vintage sterling), and the markings .925 as well as "Sterling" indicate this content as well.

The gold appears to be applied, not plated or a wash.

My questions:
-What do the two 18k and 10k carot marks on the back signify?
-When would these grips have been made?

Thanks for any assistance.
 

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I would guess they are sterling, and as to the gold, it used to be fashionable to decorate with different colors of gold, which could explain the two types of markings. With your Wife's hobby, you might consider cleaning them up. I would, and one of my side interests is Navajo hand made buckles and jewelry.
 

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I have no information to add, but DAMN those are PURRTY!

I would offer to take them off yer hands, but prolly couldn't afford them!

: )B
That's what I was thinking. I mean how do you even assign a value to those? Is there 10% of an ounce of gold on them, 5% of an ounce, less, more???? If it's sterling silver there's surely a couple ounces of silver there. How much are silver 1911 grips worth? Pretty neat item.
 

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The .925 is easy enough to understand and believe for Sterling content of the silver on the grips. But, the conflicting 10K and 18K just doesn't make sense. Gold plate would be marked plate. Gold leaf is usually not marked. It is almost never seen to have two different kt (karat not carrot) amounts stamped into an honest piece of jewelry or piece like these grips. 18kt (75% gold) is almost too soft (24kt being pure gold) and would dent, scratch and wear too easily. You can only find out by either contacting the company who made them or taking the grips to a jeweler and having him test them with acid.

My guess, by the looks of the stampings, is that the gold content is nil or not there and the stampings are fake. I may be wrong but authentic gold is not stamped with conflicting information. I would have them tested before selling them. That would be many hundreds of dollars of gold if it is real and the price would be quite different. Jewelers don't charge much for testing.
 

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First, I think they are very cool. Normally I don't like embellished / enhanced-appearance stuff but those grips are pretty dang sweet. I would like to have those on a 1911 of the Mexico-Approved caliber of .38 Super.

Anyhow, on "fakeness" I've been in plenty of tourist shops in Tijuana loaded with questionable if not outright fake "silver" items and jewelry. .925 markings, Sterling stamps (sometimes misspelled Stirling) and once even a watch bracelet marked: 24K Silver. Whatever that's supposed to mean.

So on these grips some testing is needed. Pawnbrokers are very experienced at this. If you buy a small item there they will probably test for free.

For home purposes the easiest test is to rub a small area with your thumb then smell it. It should have the scent of silver. That's a good start. You'll know that it's at least silver plated. Also, they look tarnished on the backside ------- good! Tarnish is silver's reaction to light. (y) (y)
 

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PS, Mexico IS the biggest silver-mining country in the world. So there are PLENTY of legitimate, authentic silver items made there.

So don't worry , It's not all fake by a long shot. Also, look on the backsides for hints of brass. Silver plate is usually applied onto brass.
 

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Good discussion. Silver tarnish, though, is a reaction of the silver with sulfur in the air or whatever touches it. That makes silver sulphide which is black. Light by itself does not tarnish silver.
 

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Sorry. Fake only referring, possibly, to the gold authenticity. The sterling may be correct or not. Probably authentic cartel, Mexico, but a lot of stuff is faked down there for the US market. No laws against that in Mexico and lots of gringos with extra money to spend!
 

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Oxygen is your real problem with Silver...although other things play a part, body pH, the general environment, even the holster. Expect silver to eventually tarnish in some way unless well protected. Sterling silver (the .925 marking) is a copper alloy, with some other metals mixed in. It will tarnish, and the rich once employed people to polish their silver for a reason.

Gold tarnishing is more of an issue as it is much more resistant. There's no 24 karat there. Even 10K, 14K, or 18K marking may not mean they are "pure" 10, 14, or 18 K gold. Gold is also "Plated" or "Filled".

Gold plating is found commonly over a base metal, like sterling silver, which would make sense. Gold content must be at least 10 karat and two microns thick. Gold filled, must be must be 1/20th or 5% real gold. And there are specific markings that should come with each.

These don't have those markings but given your sourcing, Mexico, it's probably likely...there's less here than more. But, again I'm guessing. If these are actually 100 years old....it's a different conversation.

All that said, what you probably have is (from the pictures) Silver, plated over (I'm guessing, but sorry,) Copper, with Silver and Gold accents either plated or filled, and probably more likely filled than plated.

Either way, they are VERY cool. A careful cleaning and examination should be very interesting and look great. And even then, even if completely faked, they might be a very nice BBQ grip.

And, I hope I'm the most wrong guy who has ever lived. I hope these were made by Pancho Villa. :D
 

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Lots of interesting comments here. Nice grips. Should be tested for precious metal content. You can't "drop them in a graduated cylinder and get their density" to determine type of metal when there are a variety of metals on the grips. Doesn't work that way. And, again, light and oxygen do not tarnish silver. Sulphur in the air does.

If you plan to sell them, get the metals tested. It may be worth it and have it documented for the buyer! They are quite strikingly beautiful no matter what they are made of!
 
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