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  #1  
Old 09-05-2011, 09:22 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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Colt 1911 .45 U.S. Navy, mfg 1918




Twelve years ago, I was fortunate to be able to obtain a Colt .45, 1911,
which was mfg'd in 1918. It was shipped to the U.S. Navy, Brooklyn, N.Y.
in February 1918, as part of l600 made in 1918.

I have requested a letter from Colt Mfg. Co. regarding historical information.

I sent the weapon to Colt in the Spring of 2010 for their expert opinion regarding complete restoration of the weapon. It had been nickel plated
at some time and Colt was able to restore the weapon to what I would
say is 98 percent. The dealer who sold the weapon to me thought it
had been a color guard weapon based on the ivory grips, but he had
no proof of such information.

The slide is stamped "U.S. Navy" on the right side. "Property U.S. Government" on the left side.


I would like to hear from someone, who I am sure has more knowledge
of such a weapon. I look forward to hearing from anyone who has historical
knowledge of this fine Colt.

Thanks, John T., Middle Tennessee
Attached Thumbnails
Colt .45 (US Navy) 013.jpg   Colt  .45 (US Navy) 004.jpg  
  #2  
Old 09-05-2011, 10:50 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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How neat.
I would not have thought Colt would denickel and blue an old gun of theirs.

One gunzine writer said they declined to reblue his Colt... his parts might get lost in their bluing tanks. That was some years ago and obviously things have changed for the better.
  #3  
Old 09-05-2011, 11:40 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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Re: Colt .45 1911 U.S.Navy, mfg 1918

The Supervisor at Colt advised me that they will only restore weapons for which they have old parts.

It may have been that your friend's Colt was older.
  #4  
Old 09-06-2011, 01:29 AM
mlin mlin is online now
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Nice looking Colt.

Unfortunately, you slide with NAVY rollmark was much older than the frame. For a 1918 M1911, you should have a Army rollmark on the slide. Also the hammer looks like earlier short tang which was also from earlier Colt. A 1918 M1911 should have a long tang wide spur hammer.

Thumb safety also looks like from an earlier M1911 too, but can not tell for sure from your photo. The Walnut grips definitely from a Colt WWI reproduction.
  #5  
Old 09-06-2011, 04:49 AM
Joe O Joe O is offline
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I was surprised when a fellow, that I met at a match,told me he sold a 1911 Navy,the previous week for $6000.He said they are rare and collectors want them.Beats me.As previously stated,it needs to be authenic.
  #6  
Old 09-06-2011, 01:31 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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Colt 1911 .45 U.S. Navy, mfg 1918

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlin View Post
Nice looking Colt.

Unfortunately, you slide with NAVY rollmark was much older than the frame. For a 1918 M1911, you should have a Army rollmark on the slide. Also the hammer looks like earlier short tang which was also from earlier Colt. A 1918 M1911 should have a long tang wide spur hammer.

Thumb safety also looks like from an earlier M1911 too, but can not tell for sure from your photo. The Walnut grips definitely from a Colt WWI reproduction.
I agree with your logic on the Navy rollmark, but I have been advised by
a "Colt" expert, that the slide could have been placed on the weapon in 1918
when the guns were inspected by the Navy.

For the record I am not trying to state that I have a "one of a kind". I have been advised that the USN rollmark was not used after 1915, which is why the possibility of it being inadvertantly replaced during the inspection is a logical theory. I have no idea what the up-coming Colt letter will state.
I plan to place a follow-up on this site upon receipt of the letter.

I might also add that I did not send the pearl grips from the weapon to Colt, as they requested. They graciously added the "Patton grips" to the restoration, and I was most grateful at the pain and efforts they exhibited
in making the old Colt the beauty that it is today.

I am not an expert on any weapons, and I fully understand that "true" collectors frown upon any weapon that is not maintained in its original state.
It has been my experience to restore old weapons, when I could afford to do so. At age 74 I want to leave my sons some antiques that they will be proud to display. Hopefully they will not end up in a yard sale. LOL

Recently I had occasion to have an old Stevens 44 1/2 rifle appraised. I had it restored about six years ago. The appraiser informed me that the rarity of the rifle made it worth $1600.00 without taking into consideration the carving, which was done on the stock. That carving is a "one of a kind", so
who knows what if any additional value can be placed on the old rifle.
  #7  
Old 09-06-2011, 01:56 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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Colt 1911 .45 U.S.Navy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe O View Post
I was surprised when a fellow, that I met at a match,told me he sold a 1911 Navy,the previous week for $6000.He said they are rare and collectors want them.Beats me.As previously stated,it needs to be authenic.
Joe:

I can only assume that the value of the U.S. Navy 1911's is due to the
fact that only 31,000 of them were produced by during that era.

The Blue Book notes that there are none reportedly better than 85 per cent, due to the fact that most of them were worn at sea, and the salt water was
quite bad for the finish.

The gun that I purchased was nickel plated, but one could tell that there was little or no pitting under the nickel. Apparently Colt agreed with my
thinking in that regard as they consented to baking the nickel off in order to
restore the gun to its 1918 condition. It took several months for the restoration and Colt maintained contact with me on more than one occasion to give me an up-date. I must say they were more than diligent in their efforts.

Oddly enough there was a Colt exhibit at the NRA convention in Louisville a couple of years ago, and they had on display a nickel plated U.S. Navy Colt
.45. At the time I thought mine was nicer than the one on display.

Regardless, I had it restored and will at least have a Colt letter, which will include the information pertaining to the restoration.

I have no idea of the value of the old Colt, but oddly enough I have had
a long-time dealer in this area indcate the U.S. Navy Colts are quite rare, and have been selling, when available, at premium prices.

Maybe I will know more when the Colt letter of authenticity arrives. I have had two retired Navy servicemen say they would give their "left n__s" for such a weapon but thus far I have refused their offers. I am sure I would
have to trade such items in the Far East. That would cost more than the restoration. LOL
  #8  
Old 09-06-2011, 06:14 PM
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Sgt Art Sgt Art is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krikwen View Post
I agree with your logic on the Navy rollmark, but I have been advised by
a "Colt" expert, that the slide could have been placed on the weapon in 1918
when the guns were inspected by the Navy.

That is absolute rubbish.

For the record I am not trying to state that I have a "one of a kind". I have been advised that the USN rollmark was not used after 1915, which is why the possibility of it being inadvertantly replaced during the inspection is a logical theory. I have no idea what the up-coming Colt letter will state.
I plan to place a follow-up on this site upon receipt of the letter.

I strongly suspect someone added that slide to push up the pistol's value. It is possible that while in the possession of the Navy it was done inadvertently during the cleaning of a group of weapons. However, you stated the pistol was also nickel or chrome plated. That was not done by the Navy for parades or any other purpose, it was most likely done by a civilian owner when nickle plating was all the rage.

I might also add that I did not send the pearl grips from the weapon to Colt, as they requested. They graciously added the "Patton grips" to the restoration, and I was most grateful at the pain and efforts they exhibited
in making the old Colt the beauty that it is today.

Patton's revolver grips were ivory, if you recall in the movie starring George C. Scott, he had some rather choice words regarding pearl handled guns.


I am not an expert on any weapons, and I fully understand that "true" collectors frown upon any weapon that is not maintained in its original state.
It has been my experience to restore old weapons, when I could afford to do so. At age 74 I want to leave my sons some antiques that they will be proud to display. Hopefully they will not end up in a yard sale. LOL

Recently I had occasion to have an old Stevens 44 1/2 rifle appraised. I had it restored about six years ago. The appraiser informed me that the rarity of the rifle made it worth $1600.00 without taking into consideration the carving, which was done on the stock. That carving is a "one of a kind", so
who knows what if any additional value can be placed on the old rifle.
To quote what an expert told me many years ago with regards to collecting, specifically firearms; there are three things that sell real estate, location, location, location. There are four things that determine value of collectible firearms, condition, condition, condition and scarcity.

Enjoy.
  #9  
Old 09-06-2011, 07:01 PM
oldcanuck oldcanuck is offline
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Unfortunately, what you have has little or no collectible value to any serious military 1911 collector. The incorrect slide, possibility of incorrect parts, refinish and repro grips have certainly confirmed this fact. Enjoy it for what it is now......
  #10  
Old 09-06-2011, 08:04 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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Colt 1911 .45 U.S. NAVY

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgt Art View Post
To quote what an expert told me many years ago with regards to collecting, specifically firearms; there are three things that sell real estate, location, location, location. There are four things that determine value of collectible firearms, condition, condition, condition and scarcity.

Enjoy.
As I previously stated, I am not an expert at weapons, etc.

The supervisor at Colt referred to the present grips as "Patton Grips", when
he told me that he had added them to the .45.

Also, not that it makes a bit of difference, the U.S. Navy rollmark was
on the weapon, when I bought it in its nickel plated state. The one on
display at the NRA Convention in Louisvllle was nickel plated with a
U.S. Navy slide as well.

The Colt Heritage book notes that the 1911's were so cherished after WW I,
that many of their owners had them up-dated with special barrels and other
items to make them even more effective in shooting competition.

Valuable or not, I doubt that I will ever part with the weapon. It is the
hallmark of my Colt Collection, which consists of Colt autos and revolvers.

While serving in the FBI we were issued Colt revolvers, and I have tried
to collect a few NIB weapons similar to those we were allowed to carry.

Semi-Auto weapons did not enter the Bureau's picture until after the shoot-out in Miami. Too bad the agents involved in that tragedy did not have 1911's in their possession at that time.

Thank you for taking time to read my info pertaining to the old .45.
  #11  
Old 09-06-2011, 08:31 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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Colt 1911 .45 U.S. Navy

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcanuck View Post
Unfortunately, what you have has little or no collectible value to any serious military 1911 collector. The incorrect slide, possibility of incorrect parts, refinish and repro grips have certainly confirmed this fact. Enjoy it for what it is now......
Thank goodness that there are so many gun collectors in this great country.

I have had comments and discussions from "Take it out and shoot it" to
it has $-------- value. Even had one auctioneer to attempt to get the
weapon for auction, and I told him I did not wish to pay for shipping,
insurance, and commission. He replied that he would pay for all of that,
and then would place a low "Reserve" on the sale.

I immediately had the "Stupid tattoo" removed from my forehead.

Hopefully I will never have to sell my collection or any part of it.

I plan to have the weapon examined by an expert in East Tennessee,
upon receipt of my letter from Colt.

Hopefully I will still be around to post the outcome of that information on here.

Thanks for taking your time to read my posting. This site is great, and
I am glad that I was introduced to it.
  #12  
Old 09-06-2011, 08:56 PM
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Sgt Art Sgt Art is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krikwen View Post
As I previously stated, I am not an expert at weapons, etc.



The Colt Heritage book notes that the 1911's were so cherished after WW I,
that many of their owners had them up-dated with special barrels and other
items to make them even more effective in shooting competition.

This was done for match purposes Colt caught on to this and produced the National Match pistol in the early 1930's. The .45 pistol was required for the service pistol match. I'm not sure if it's still required today due to the 9mm Beretta replacing it.

While serving in the FBI we were issued Colt revolvers, and I have tried
to collect a few NIB weapons similar to those we were allowed to carry.

Semi-Auto weapons did not enter the Bureau's picture until after the shoot-out in Miami. (Not correct) Too bad the agents involved in that tragedy did not have 1911's in their possession at that time..
Three of the agents were armed with S&W 459 auto loading pistols chambered in 9mm.

Three of them were armed with S&W 357 mag revolvers loaded with 38 +P ammo, one of them had a .38 spl revolver and a shotgun. One agent lost his gun when his car was involved in a collision. He never fired a shot.

The two criminals were armed with a shotgun, Ruger mini 14 (at least 42 rounds were fired from it) and two .357 magnum revolvers. I think the Ruger had been converted to full auto. They both had extensive military training.

Michael Lee Platt (February 3, 1954 April 11, 1986) and William Russell Matix (June 25, 1951 April 11, 1986) met while serving in the Army in the 1970s. Matix first served in the Marine Corps from 19691972 and was honorably discharged. In 1973, Matix enlisted in the Army and served in the military police. Matix was honorably discharged from the Army in 1976. Platt enlisted in 1972 as an infantryman and served with the U.S. Army Rangers. He was honorably discharged in 1979. The pair met while they were stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Both men had been previously married to women who had died under mysterious circumstances.[1] Matix's wife, Patricia Buchanich, was stabbed to death along with a co-worker on December 30, 1983 at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus Ohio, where both women worked. Matix was a suspect in her murder but was never charged.[2] After his wife's death Matix moved to Miami at the urging of Michael Platt. After relocating to Miami, Matix began a landscaping business with Platt.[3] In December 1984, Platt's wife Regina was found shot dead with a shotgun. Her death was ruled a suicide.[4]
  #13  
Old 09-06-2011, 09:35 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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Colt 1911 .45 U.S.Navy

Sorry about the error.

Obviously I mis-understood the Hispanic Agent, who was injured duirng that
incident. I met him at the Chief of Police Convention in Nashville many years ago. Of course I could blame it on my "Old-timers disease".

Thanks for the up-date.
  #14  
Old 09-06-2011, 10:43 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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I hope the Colt letter will provide new information, but I fear not.
The sample letter on the Colt website shows:

The model of gun - You know that.
The serial number - You know that.
The original* caliber - You know that.
The original* barrel length - You know that.
The original finish - Bound to be blue, the Navy did not order nickel plate for anybody's gun, not for the Admiral, not for the color guard.
The type of stocks - Checkered walnut, although they don't always have an official record of that.
Shipped to - You may get the name of whoever was in charge at the Brooklyn Navy Yard at the time.
Address - The Brooklyn Navy Yard... unless it went via Springfield Armory.
Date of shipment - You know the month and year.
Number of same type guns in shipment - New information.

*Original caliber and barrel length are going to stay put for an automatic, but are important in authenticating a revolver.
  #15  
Old 09-07-2011, 08:02 AM
Richard/VA Richard/VA is offline
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Nice gun. Thank you for sharing it.

I was surprised to read that Colt's is doing restorations now. I'm not as surprised to hear that the man at Colt's isn't an M1911 expert.

The present day Colt's Manufacturing Company, Inc. is what's left after many changes in ownership since the M1911s were originally produced. They benefit greatly from the brand name "Colt's", but they aren't the same company at all.
  #16  
Old 09-07-2011, 01:10 PM
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The bluing on the pistol isn't so much a "restoration" as it is a simple re-blue. Had it been a "restoration" they'd have tried to duplicate the direction of the original sanding marks on the slide and frame.
__________________
Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
  #17  
Old 09-07-2011, 03:12 PM
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I too was surprised to hear that Colt's was restoring or refinishing old pistols. Would you mind telling us what it cost? Did they strip off the nickle finish?
  #18  
Old 09-19-2011, 07:15 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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Colt 1911 .45 U.S.Navy, mfg. 1918

Just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who responded
to my original posting.

It was a pleasure learning more about the old .45, good, and not so good. LOL

I should receive the "Historical Letter" from Colt Mfg. in another 60 days
or so.

At that time I will be deciding on the best "new home" for the 1911.

Someone suggested donating it to the NRA Museum. I have not contacted
them, but may visit that area when my new grandson gets to Virginia.

I plan to visit the Frazier History Museum, in Louisville, Ky. They have
an extremely complete display of firearms dating back to the days
of George Washington. I found the firearms sections worth a six hour
visit. It is located across from the Louisville Slugger Museum. You have
to "check your bat" at the door of the Frazier Museum.

I have talked to with them before about displaying some old antique rifles,
so that might be an appropriate place for young and old to enjoy

Again, I truly appreciate everyone taking their time to enlighten me on
the 1911.

The Old Man, in Middle Tennessee
Attached Thumbnails
Colt Navy .45 (1918) 005.jpg  
  #19  
Old 09-19-2011, 10:06 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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Why not simply keep it? There are plenty of 1911 pistols out there still with their original finish and in excellent shape. I'd just shoot that pistol on occasion and enjoy it.
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Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
  #20  
Old 09-19-2011, 11:14 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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Colt 1911 .45 U.S. Navy

Thanks for your interest.

I have a few guns that I enjoy shooting, when I get an opportunity to do so.

As I have explained I am a guy, who
enjoyed having the weapons restored, when I could afford to do so.

As far as the .45, the folks at Bluebook told me it was worthless in the
"nickel" state, so I figured "what the heck", I will send it to Colt and have
something different. Colt did a nice job on it, and it will look o.k. in
a museum bookcase.

I believe the museum in Louisville requires at least a six month exhibition.
That beats keeping it on display in my old house, where maybe five persons
might see it in a year.

I know for a fact I have a much better collection of Stevens rifles than
the museum had when I visited a few years ago. It is only a three hour
drive and it will not be any trouble to let the curator examine the guns,
to see if they have any interest.

I am from Louisville, so it will be like giving something back to my home town.

Let me know if I am allowed to send a photo of one of the rifles. It is not
Colt and I do not want to break the rules. It is probably too big (computer-wise) to attach it to this website.

If you would like to see my "Pride and Joy", I'll be happy to send a pic to another email address. Of course it was restored by a local gunsmith, who
has since retired, and recently a friend of mine did some work on the gunstock. It is truly "one of a kind". (That and a $l.50 will get me a Coke)

Thanks again for your response to my posting.

The Old Man in Middle Tennessee
Tom

Last edited by dsk; 09-20-2011 at 12:56 AM.
  #21  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:00 PM
oldcanuck oldcanuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krikwen View Post
I agree with your logic on the Navy rollmark, but I have been advised by
a "Colt" expert, that the slide could have been placed on the weapon in 1918
when the guns were inspected by the Navy.
I think what you also need to uderstand is, Colt sent several shipments to The US Navy Yard in Brooklyn during 1918 that were to be expedited to the US Army overseas. These shipments were not US Navy weapons. These weapons were not inspected by the Navy. If you will check Clawson's serial numbers based on US Ordnance records, you will see the actual Navy serial number ranges in 1918. There were very few.
  #22  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:24 PM
jja327 jja327 is offline
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It looks like Colt did a nice job but the posted pictures don't show the details to see how the roll marks survived.
  #23  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:25 PM
Scott Wilson Scott Wilson is offline
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I just cannot picture a navy yeoman sitting at a table and switching out slides years after the last navy marked pistols were produced.
  #24  
Old 09-20-2011, 10:53 PM
krikwen krikwen is offline
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colt 1911 .45 U.S.Navy

About all I can say about the U.S. Navy slide is that I did not change it.

When I bought the weapon it was nickel plated, and had the U.S. Navy slide.

I have had several communications with a known Colt expert, who really had
no positive info on how that slide ended up on that SN. He was the
one who thought that was a possibility, but the truth is we will never
know how it happened. I know I have made many mistakes in life, so maybe
someone made one in 1918.

Frankly, I have done what I thought was a good idea, to get the old weapon
back to its original appearance. I thought it would be most appropriate
to have it done by Colt. They were great to deal with, and kept me advised
by phone on several occasions.

Once I have the historical letter from Colt Mfg. Co, and
If the museum does not wish to display it due to the discrepancy, I will
attempt to sell it at one of the many gun shows in this area. Who knows?
Maybe I will get lucky. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thanks for all of the replies. It is good to know that there are a large
number of individuals who believe in the Second Amendment. We may
agree and/or disagree regarding a specific weapon, but at least it appears
that we all believe in the Right To Bear Arms.

The Old Man in Middle 10AC

By the way, I apologize for the lack of clarity in the photos.

I have mis-placed my old camera, which would take a better (clear) picture.

The "roll marks" are extremely clear. They were in the nickel state and are quite clear in its present state. I guess that was another A+ for Colt.
They certainly did better than I could imagine.
Attached Thumbnails
Colt Navy .45 (1918) 012.jpg  
  #25  
Old 09-21-2011, 06:54 PM
oldcanuck oldcanuck is offline
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It's pretty apparant that your Colt expert is not very well versed in military 1911 variants.
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