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  #1  
Old 01-08-2003, 01:47 AM
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Available reference material and other useful information for new collectors

Books and written works:

Collectors Guide to Colt .45 Service Pistols, Models of 1911 and 1911A1 Enlarged and revised edition 2003 By Charles W. Clawson. This book is the required text for any serious collectors of M1911/M1911A1 pistols, and is a subset of the larger more comprehensive text below, but contains most of the information needed to become an instant expert on these fine pistols. This book is now out of print but can often be found online (eBay, Amazon, etc.).

Colt .45 Service Pistols, Models of 1911 and 1911A1 There are two printings of this book, 1991 and the updated 1993 By Charles W. Clawson. This book is the required text for any serious collectors of M1911/M1911A1 pistols, and contains most of the information needed to become an expert on these fine pistols. This book is out of print, however it is occasionally found on some of the On-Line Auctions. It also might be found through some of the Out of Print book sellers.

Colt .45 Government Models, Commercial Series 1996 By Charles W. Clawson. This book is the required text for any serious collectors of Government Models This book is out of print, however it is occasionally found on some of the On-Line Auctions. It also might be found through some of the Out of Print book sellers.

U.S. Military Automatic Pistols, 1894 - 1920 by Edward S. Meadows. This excellent book covers only the M1911 pistol. No substantial information or data is presented about the M1911A1, yet the quality of presentation and new information provided on the M1911 makes this book indispensable to the collector. It is written in a different format than the books by Clawson, but presents most of the relevant information contained in Clawson's books on the M1911. This book is out of print, however it is occasionally found on some of the On-Line Auctions. It also might be found through some of the Out of Print book sellers.

The Government Models by William H.D. Goddard. This book contains a number of excellent pictures as well as a fairly extensive list of selected shipping records. The information and data presented in this book is otherwise rather thin, sparse, and rather dated. In print.

The Model 1911 and Model 1911A1 Military and Commercial Pistols by Joe Poyer, published by North Cape Publications (www.northcapepubs.com). A thick soft-cover collector's guide covering most military and commercial variations of the Colt 1911-type pistol, with primary focus being on the USGI guns. In print.

The Standard Catalog of Military Firearms 2nd edition - 2004
Published by Krause Publications - Ned Schwing, 2002
ISBN 0-87341-997-9 The Standard Catalog of Military Firearms is a yearly price guide loaded with tons of useful information on everything from Model 1911s used by the U.S. and foreign armies to fully automatic machine guns. This publication covers arms produced as early as 1870 to present and represents arms from most major countries. The book is published by Krause Publications, is softbound, and has over 340 pages of information, prices, and photos. The model M1911 and M1911A1 section is edited by Karl Karash, well known collector and historian on the subject. You can order this book by following this link. MSRP $24.95 on sale at $17.49 save 30%
http://coolgunsite.com/bookstore/bookstore.htm

There are also two documents written by Karl Karash that can be downloaded off the "Collectors Guide" page on my site that are good reading for the beginner.

Websites:
http://www.coolgunsite.com
Ty Moore's excellent reference site, featuring a gallery of pistols from different eras as well as identification of parts and markings.

http://www.model1911a1.com
Oliver De Gravelle's site which deals specifically with WW2-era M1911A1 pistols, featuring ID of magazines and grips.

http://www.m1911info.com
Scott Gahimer's new website which goes into much greater detail than the two websites above, and includes a resource to help with buying and selling. Membership required to activate all features.

http://www.coltautos.com
Sam Lisker's site which deals with classic Colt automatic pistols of the 20th Century, including the 1911/1911A1 and commercial models.

Hope this helps.
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 02-05-2015 at 11:14 PM.
  #2  
Old 12-28-2005, 03:16 PM
kxk kxk is offline
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Update

Update on the availability of Charles Clawson’s “Collector’s Guide to Colt .45
Service Pistols, Models 1911 and 1911A1”

My supplies of the individual books as well as the $135 package* are completely
gone. The only remaining Clawson Collector’s Guides I have are in 4 sets, (These four sets are the only
remaining Collector's Guides.)
(The price per set is $390 ppd) each set consisting of the following 4 items:

Charles Clawson's Clawson's "Collectors guide to Colt .45
Service Pistols, Models 1911 and 1911A1" Third edition,
Hardback, 146 pages, Out of print, but currently selling
from the ebay scalpers for $260

Joe Poyer's "The Model 1911 and Model 1911A1 Military and
Commercial Pistols" It is softbound, 544 pages, and contains
lots of pictures. In Print, selling for about $35.

Colt .45 Government Models, Commercial Series 1996 By
Charles W. Clawson. This book is the required text for any
serious collectors of Government Models. This book is out of
print, and now sells for about $250 from the ebay scalpers

My picture CD containing over 5000 picture of mostly original 1911/1911A1 pistols.
Most collectors consider my CD to be a very handy compliment
to Clawson’s Collector’s Guide.

The scalper prices will probably continue to rise now that my supply is gone. Please contact me at: [email protected] to reserve one of the remaining sets.

For those who want to become knowledgeable about this great hobby, but don’t want to spend the required $ for Clawson’s books (At least right away, because you will eventually have Clawson’s books if you stick with it,) Poyer’s book at about $35 is a lot better than a sharp stick in the eye. (I can provide Poyer’s book with my CD for $50 Postpaid.)
Good luck and good collecting. Best Karl
__________________
Best KXK

Last edited by dsk; 05-14-2013 at 04:03 PM.
  #3  
Old 07-09-2010, 02:05 AM
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To shoot or not to shoot, the dilemma facing owners of collector-grade pistols

The following is a re-post of an excellent thread written by Scott Gahimer:

Quote:
As you contemplate firing vintage USGI pistols, please consider that it only takes one round for something unforeseen to occur, and the monetary and historical value may plummet like a rock.

These pistols are not what I consider fragile, and they were built to be tough...but that was 67 years ago when this pistol was built. The boards all have their share of posts where guys are asking where they can come up with a proper front sight, or other small part that failed during firing.

Your pistol, based on it's appearance, may not have had the best storage over the years. Front sights have been known to break loose from their staking, even though they did not appear loose to begin with. When they do fly off, they are seldom ever found. And even if they are found, the pistol has then been altered once repaired. Slide stop pins have been reported to have broken on some pistols.

Stress fractures occasionally occur on slides and frames. There are a variety of things that might occur when any pistol is fired. On a non-collectible piece, that's no big deal. However, on a collectible it is.

One of the primary reasons value is higher on a collectible is originality. Many purist collectors, myself included, prefer pistols that are original and unaltered since they left military service. We prefer pieces that have not been turned into shooters since leaving the military.

Poor storage is not generally associated with military storage. While those pistols were in military use, they were properly cared for. Even though your pistol shows aging and browning from poor storage, it may still have additional value if it hasn't been used since brought home.

Most pistols I've acquired from veterans and their families are in exceptionally nice condition. Most vets have told me they never fired their pistols after they brought them home. They put them up. I think they saw their pistols as something to be preserved. No doubt, some of the fellows could look at their pistols and remember instances from the past.

There is no history to be made shooting an old collectible military pistol. We can have just as much fun shooting an altered (refinished and/or mis-matched) non-collectible military shooter. They all shoot and feel the same. I would encourage you to pick up a shooter grade M1911A1 to run a couple boxes through each year and keep this one just like it is.

Obviously, if you are not a collector you may not agree with my way of thinking. 30 years ago I wasn't a collector of these pistols either. I had seen and shot plenty of them while in the service. Things have changed since then. I'd feel guilty if I didn't at least tell you to put this pistol up.

Part of what makes a pistol collectible is the status we give it. Once we turn one into a shooter, it remains a shooter forever. At the rate of 100 rounds a year, that may be more rounds in less than one year than was ever fired through that pistol while in military use, especially if it was brought home after WWII. We didn't fight the war with pistols. Most were barely used.

I understand I may be in the minority with my opinion, and I respect your rights of ownership and everyone else's right to their opinion. If you decide to shoot the pistol, blast away and have a good time (seriously, I mean that). I am proud to be one of the reasons we still have original, unaltered pieces to admire and discuss today, and I thank those before me who preserved the pieces I have managed to collect.
I agree with all the above. A pistol is original only once. Any handling, live-firing, or modification only adds wear. It doesn't remove it. A further quote from member "Hawkmoon" on m1911.org who inquired with the curators at Aberdeen Proving Ground:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aberdeen Proving Ground
Please keep in mind that every weapon, and every part of every weapon, has a finite service life. For guns, this is usually expressed in the number of rounds fired. Except for the springs, there is little in the 1911 that is age sensitive, so most failures are the result of cumulative stresses of firing the weapon. Anything mechanically made will eventually break. Here at the museum, we are prohibited from firing any of our weapons for that very reason, because it is our responsibility to preserve them for posterity.

... Keep in mind that the stress from each shot is cumulative in the components of the gun. Also remember that without x-raying the components for defects, it is impossible to know the actual condition of the components. In all probability, you also do not have the complete firing history of your weapon, so you cannot determine the precise firing count. Your pistol could fail on the next round, or be good for another 5,000 rounds or more, or anything in between.

... In firing your weapon, though, you must accept the risk that any given round may be its last.
Another good comment from member "partsproduction", in answer to somebody's claim that all guns regardless of history or value are meant to be fired:

Quote:
They were made to be sold. It's up to the buyer what he does with it.

But when we are talking about a very rare gun one can assume that many shooters decided it would be wise to not shoot it, so it's a matter of who is the first one to own it who is actually stupid enough to shoot it.

When the actual value is predicated on it being unshot, in mint unfired condition, and when any replica will shoot exactly the same, someone has to have a very high opinion of themselves and the need to experience their own personal gratification to take the value of it away from future generations and cut its value.

There is a guy often featured in the History channel who is rich enough to own some very seriously rare guns who I have seen shoot one of a kind snaphaunces and wheel locks and other very old guns. In that particular case I can see justification for it since the video of that moment is preserved on film for generations to see.

On the other hand, if you own it it belongs to you, no one else gets to have any say about what you do with it. If you want to toss it overboard in the middle of the Atlantic that's your call.
To answer the "they were made to be shot" argument, well of course they were. They were also purchased by a government that didn't have to worry about how to replace them once they broke or wore out. New pistols could always be ordered. But the government never bought any more after 1945, and sales to civilians was permanently halted in 1968. What remains in civilian hands is all there will ever be. Surviving examples are getting fewer, and those left are gaining in value by the day, so their preservation becomes more of a priority by those people lucky enough to own them.

Obviously none of this will deter an individual who decides that the pistol is his, and he will enjoy it as he pleases until the day he dies. Certainly he has plenty of company sharing his opinion. Just remember that the whole reason why these vintage pistols even still exist in their current condition is because those who owned it previously took good care of it. If everyone had the same attitude they'd all be gone now, save for a few kept in museums.

Just one last thing to understand. WW2 and earlier 1911s were not made with the same degree of heat treating as modern ones are. In fact the best they had for heat treating was selective hardening of the front of the slide and around the slide stop notch, plus a hardened insert around the firing pin hole. The locking lugs in the slide were unhardened, as was the entire frame. Methods didn't exist back then to allow heat treating of those areas without warping the components. Conversely, any older 1911 that's shot a lot will develop peening of the locking lugs and show other signs of extreme wear within a much shorter period of time than a new 1911 will, even one that was made from investment castings. I've personally seen several USGI slides with lugs so badly peened or "slap seated" as to be unsafe to fire. How many rounds it took for them to get like that was undetermined, but the fact is this kind of extreme wear is almost unheard of in modern pistols with fully heat-treated slides and properly fitted barrels. This isn't to say that the old military and vintage commercial pistols were fragile, but they were a product of the existing advances in metallurgy at that time. The life expectancy of a Colt 1911 pistol during World War One was about 5,000 rounds or so, which was considered an extreme amount of use for a single pistol back then. By WW2 it had improved to about 10,000 rounds, but today's best-quality 1911 pistols are known to last upwards of 100,000 rounds or more before needing a major rebuild. Those of you who like to shoot hundreds of rounds in each range session can wear out or break a vintage 1911 pistol in a fairly short period of time. Therefore it is not recommended to use even a refinished vintage pistol with little collector's value as a day in, day out shooter, although a moderate amount of recreational shooting with standard pressure loads should be fine (assuming the pistol has been checked out by a qualified gunsmith beforehand).
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 05-04-2012 at 02:15 AM.
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2011, 01:50 AM
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Useful information for new collectors.....

For the benefit of those new to the 1911 design and who often ask "what's the difference?", the following image will serve as a rough guide. As noted in the picture not all the changes were immediate, but it will help to know approximately when given changes were introduced. For example, if you encounter a pistol with an M1911 frame (identified by the lack of finger clearance cuts and by proper markings) and it has been parkerized then you can be sure it isn't the original finish, as these pistols were all originally blued.





One other little factoid, the official name for the US military-issue pistol was "Pistol, Automatic, Caliber .45, Model of 1911" or "Pistol, Automatic, Caliber .45, M1911A1". These names were assigned by the US military and only applied to their weapons. Pistols made by Colt that were intended for commercial sales were called the "Government Model", "Commander Model", "Super .38", or "National Match". Today, calling all pistols of this type "1911s" regardless of manufacturer or vintage is nothing more than a recent trend, and it has nothing to do with the proper nomenclature for these weapons. Therefore, when somebody asks "is my new Kimber a 1911 or a 1911A1?" it means nothing, as it isn't a military-issue pistol and is simply whatever the manufacturer chooses to call it. Merely having a long trigger and/or an arched mainspring housing doesn't change what it is, or make it either an M1911 or an M1911A1. Strictly speaking it is neither. Modern production pistols are at best merely "1911 type" or "1911 pattern" handguns, and are called 1911s in the same way that all of the various Kalashnikov-type weapons are generically called "AK" rifles by most shooters, even though the only true AK rifles were the select-fire variants made in the former Soviet Union for their military.
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 10-17-2015 at 11:55 PM.
  #5  
Old 12-15-2011, 01:10 AM
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Are you a collector or an accumulator?

This is a repeat of a former post of mine, in response to a question of exactly what truly makes someone a collector versus merely an accumulator of firearms:

Collectors pick up items that are in the best condition possible, with an eye on preserving said item and watching its value increase over time. Accumulators merely purchase what they like and can afford at the time, perhaps hoping that someday their pieces will be worth more than what they paid for them. Since they buy mostly low-grade items they rarely see any return on their investment, and tend to trade off and re-accumulate pieces on a frequent basis. What they fail to realize is if they would only hold off and continue to save their money they'd eventually be able to afford something decent that would truly increase in value over time. Right now anything that's priced under $1000 is normally just shooter's grade. Yes, as these pistols become even more rare they may eventually become somewhat collectible, like how these days even a rusty mismatched original Colt 1860 Army has some value. However once that happens imagine how much the pristine originals are going to be worth? It's your money and you can buy whatever you like. But don't kid yourself if you think buying the lowest-grade specimen (simply because it fits your current budget) is going to climb substantially in value.
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 12-15-2011 at 01:15 AM.
  #6  
Old 12-17-2011, 01:17 AM
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Serial numbers

For a list of serial numbers giving the aproximate year of production, please follow this link to Ty's excellent USGI pistols website:

http://www.coolgunsite.com/pistols/c...production.htm
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
  #7  
Old 03-22-2012, 11:56 PM
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Altered, defaced and/or removed serial numbers

The subject of illegally altered serial numbers comes up with alarming frequency on this forum. Usually it's in the form of a pistol somebody recently bought or inherited, and the original serial number is noted to have been removed and/or a new one stamped in its place. The following copy of a reply letter sent to Kevin Williams (kwill) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms clarifying the matter explains the legal ramifications best:



The typical excuse for these pistols, particularly ones completely lacking a serial number are that they were "lunchbox" guns (implying that the unfinished weapon or its components were smuggled out of the factory in some worker's lunchbox). While some lunchbox guns are known to exist, it doesn't justify the many thousands of pistols floating around without a serial number. Security at government weapons factories was tight even during peacetime, and during wartime you can bet that every worker was searched for contraband before and after their shift to prevent enemy agents from sneaking anything in or out. While nothing is impossible you should view any claims that a weapon was a "lunchbox" pistol with a heathy dose of skepticsm.

In addition, much attention has been given recently to an auction for a Colt revolver formerly belonging to the infamous Bonnie Parker of "Bonnie & Clyde" fame. Prior to sale ATF was notified that the weapon had an obliterated serial number, but due to the historical significance of the firearm an exception was given and a new serial number applied. Please note the language from the following press release located at http://www.atf.gov/press/releases/20...compliant.html :

Quote:
Special Agents from the ATF Manchester Office examined the revolver and contacted the ATF Firearms Technology Branch, ATF's technical authority for firearms and their determination under federal laws. The Firearms Technology Branch was able to determine that the Parker revolver was originally manufactured with serial numbers, thereby making the revolver non-complaint under federal law.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 requires firearm manufacturers to place serial numbers on firearms and made firearms with removed, obliterated or altered serial numbers illegal to possess.
In a nutshell, pistols that have had the original factory serial number altered, defaced, or removed are illegal to own, and should be avoided like the Plague. Don't count on the seller of such an item to know what it is he or she is selling, for not everyone is a 1911 collector who can tell what the original SN on a particular 1911 should look like. There are a lot of these kinds of pistols out there, and the buyer must know what he/she is getting or else run the risk of losing money and/or running afoul of the law. Do your research, ask the right questions, and look before you leap!
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 09-24-2016 at 09:59 PM. Reason: updated info
  #8  
Old 05-16-2012, 08:29 PM
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Sgt. York Discovery website

Here's an interesting website dedicated to an expedition to find the exact spot where Sgt. (then Cpl.) Alvin York performed the feats that earned him the Medal of Honor during World War One:

http://www.sgtyorkdiscovery.com/
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 05-16-2012 at 08:53 PM.
  #9  
Old 09-14-2012, 11:41 AM
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Available reference material and other useful information for new collectors

Compare this Vintage Colt WW2 era shipping container to the fake ones discussed recently.




  #10  
Old 06-15-2014, 12:28 PM
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Hardened slides

Something for new collectors of vintage Colt 1911 pistols to understand is that the early slides on these pistols were not heat treated at all, either because it was thought unwarranted at the time or perhaps no practical means existed to do so. These pre-1925 slides are thus quite soft by today's standards and will easily crack or show wear, peening, or other deformation on a pistol that sees extensive use. Therefore, using a WW1-era pistol as a shooter is not advisable unless it has no collector's value and you don't mind replacing the slide at some point.

Colt began hardening the front 1/3 of the slides in 1925 by heating them up then quenching them in oil (thus the reason why 1925-45 slides often have darkened front ends), and a hardened insert was pressed into the breech face around the firing pin hole. The barrel locking lugs remained unhardened as there was no way to do so without warping the slides. In 1943 the slide stop notch was flame-hardened to resist peening wear, and you can tell those by a bright half-moon shaped ring of color around the notch. Slides that were properly heat treated along their entire length were developed late in WW2, but they didn't replace the older slides until after WW2. Commercial pistols made from approximately 1950 onwards, and post-1950 GI contract slides were all properly heat-treated and thus known as "hard" slides.
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 06-15-2014 at 06:52 PM.
  #11  
Old 12-01-2014, 01:57 AM
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Grading system for collectible pistols

Somebody requested that this information be included in the sticky. It's a rough guide to the definitions that are often used when grading pistols:

Original: Exactly as it left the factory, with no parts replaced, not refinished, repaired or touched up, verified by the consistent and matching wear surfaces of all the parts.

Correct: Looks exactly how it left the factory, however incorrect parts may have been replaced with the right ones to return it to original configuration, therefore the wear surfaces may not match each other.

Refinished: The old finish was stripped off and a fresh finish applied. At this point to a collector it is still considered 0% finish, no matter how nice it looks. A rare pistol that has been refinished may still be valuable (such as a Singer), but it still isn't worth more than the same pistol with 0% remaining original finish.

Mixmaster: Parts have obviously been replaced with different ones, either commercial or USGI parts from another contractor. This is where opinions may differ. Generally, as long and the slide and frame match the pistol isn't considered a mixmaster, even if it has the wrong barrel and other small parts. But a 1942 Colt frame with a 1944 Colt slide is still considered a mixmaster, even though both parts are from the same manufacturer.

Arsenal rework: A pistol judged with a high amount of certainty to still be in the same condition it was in when it was rebuilt at a military arsenal. Examples are a refinish consistent with what arsenals used and final acceptance marks that were obviously stamped after finish. Parts often don't match but that's to be expected of an arsenal rebuild, since the arsenals couldn't have cared less about keeping matched parts together. The problem with these guns however is that a pistol assembled by a commercial gunsmith or weekend tinkerer can often look the same, so it's important to look for clues that the pistol is truly an authentic arsenal rebuild.

Shooter: A pistol that has been heavily modified or is in poor condition (like severe pitting) and has lost its value as a military or vintage collectible, and is therefore only worth what a basic commercial 1911 in similar condition would be worth. A perfect example is a pistol that has been buffed and nickel-plated. Note that this term means little as far as the firearm's actual utility at the range is concerned. These old pistols, even the ones regarded as "shooters" still consist of inferior materials and heat treating compared to modern 1911 pistols and will not likely hold up as well under hard or extended use. But the fact that a "shooter" is of limited material worth and no longer considered a collectible means the user will likely have little concern over breaking it or wearing it out with use.

As you can see there is a lot of grey area. A pistol with just a couple of replaced parts (like trigger and thumb safety) would be called "mostly correct", and likely wouldn't suffer much value-wise if the correct parts are easily sourced. But something like the wrong barrel can hurt the value a lot, since a correct replacement would be hard to find and expensive. Also, once the correct part has been found and installed the pistol is merely correct(ed), not original. A pistol is only original once, after it leaves the factory. Once anything has been replaced (even the springs) the pistol is no longer in 100% original condition. There was a time when only pistols that were considered to still be 100% original were collected, but as the availability of decent pistols continues to dwindle more and more collectors are settling for guns with a few incorrect parts and restoring them to all-correct status. Even guns that collectors used to sneer at (like arsenal reworks) are gaining acceptance as collectibles. Who knows, if things keep going at this rate soon even bumper-chromed beaters will be considered too valuable to take to the range!

Regarding magazines: As for magazines, having the correct one is a plus but rarely ever a deal breaker if it's the wrong one or a commercial magazine. They were intended to be consumables, much like the tires on a car. If a pistol originally came with a rare magazine that of course might affect the value if it's missing (such as a Singer's), but the truth is a correct magazine will always be the easiest component to track down at a later point in time, so most collectors don't fret over it if the magazine is wrong.

Commercial vs. USGI pistols: With commercial pistols the actual condition (especially the finish) is often more critical than with military-issue ones. Since they normally didn't get issued and re-issued or face the intense rigors of combat there's less excuse for wear or damage to the finish. Also, having the original box and papers has a big effect on value as well since that’s what they were usually shipped from the manufacturer with. But since there were very few years when commercial and government contract pistols were being made side by side it's hard to compare them directly regarding value. Generally speaking most collectors seem to be more interested in the military specimens at this point in time, so naturally the values are higher. There was a time though when the USGI pistols were considered nothing but cheap, ugly surplus junk and everyone wanted a commercial pistol. Even today, if you think commercial pistols are worth less than military ones try finding out what a 1930's National Match in mint condition with the box and papers is worth. A "plain jane" Government Model of the same era, if in 99% condition is going to be worth some pretty serious coin as well. But like I said, it's the condition that draws collectors to a commercial pistol, unless the pistol is documented as having belonged to a famous individual. Don't think that the beat-up Hartford Colts recently imported from Sarco are going to go very far upwards in price. It can happen, but honestly the only reason why they're popular at all is because they help satisfy the demand for cheap, shootable pistols that look like a USGI .45.
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 12-01-2014 at 02:17 AM.
  #12  
Old 08-02-2016, 08:20 AM
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Melter942 Melter942 is offline
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Available reference material and other useful information for new collectors

US&S Pistols being made...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7XUtgIVo7k
__________________
...and there you have it.

Joe Holden

http://www.magslab.com/
  #13  
Old 10-07-2016, 05:33 PM
Charlie Flick Charlie Flick is offline
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Location: Sunny Florida
Posts: 154
Greetings Gentlemen:

With some new nuggets of information in hand I thought this might be a good time to update the List of Makers of USGI M1916 Holsters. I want to acknowledge once again the valuable assistance of many collectors from all corners of the globe in the creation and refinement of this List.

As compared to the older List the new one identifies LAWRENCE as a WWI supplier and identifies the location of the once elusive BLOOMBERG LEATHER GOODS COMPANY. There have been some other minor adjustments in the List as well.

The new List:

WORLD WAR I

B.BROS. (Brydon Brothers Harness & Saddle Company, Los Angeles, Calif.)
BOYT (Walter Boyt Saddlery Co., Des Moines, Iowa)
CLINTON (Clinton Saddlery Co., Clinton, Iowa)
HOYT (F. M. Hoyt Shoe Co., Manchester, New Hampshire)
G&K (Graton & Knight Manufacturing Co., Worcester, Massachusetts)
KEYSTON (Keyston Brothers, San Francisco, Calif.)
K.B. (Keyston Bros., San Francisco, Calif.)
LAWRENCE (George Lawrence Co., Portland, Oregon)
W.H. McM. CO. (William H. McMonies & Company, Portland, Oregon)
PERKINS CAMPBELL (Perkins-Campbell Co., Cincinnati, Ohio)
P.C. Co. (Perkins-Campbell Co., Cincinnati, Ohio)
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL (Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Illinois)
SEARS (Sears Saddlery Co., Davenport, Iowa)
S.& R. (Sheffer & Rossum, St. Paul, Minnesota)
WARREN LEATHER GOODS CO. (Warren Leather Goods Co., Worcester, Mass.)
WESTERN MFG. CO. (Western Manufacturing Co., San Francisco, Calif.)

WORLD WAR II

A.L.P. CO. (Atchison Leather Products Co., Atchison, Kansas)
BRAUER (Brauer Brothers Mfg. Co., St. Louis, Missouri)
BOYT (Boyt Harness Company, Des Moines, Iowa)
CRAIGHEAD (John R. Craighead Co., Inc., Denver, Colorado)
CRUMP (Benjamin T. Crump & Co., Richmond, Virginia)
ENGER-KRESS (Enger-Kress Company, West Bend, Wisconsin)
FINK (Fink Leather Shops, Kansas City, Missouri)
G.P.& S. (Australian manufacturer for US forces, full name and precise location unknown)
GRATON & KNIGHT CO. (Graton & Knight Manufacturing Co., Worcester, Mass.)
HARPHAM BROS. (Harpham Brothers Co., Lincoln, Nebraska)
MILWAUKEE SADDLERY CO. (Milwaukee Saddlery Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
JOSEPH H. MOSSER (Joseph H. Mosser Leather Co., Williamsport, PA)
S-B CO. (Straus-Bodenheimer Saddlery Co., Houston , Texas)
SEARS (Sears Saddlery Co., Davenport, Iowa)
TEXTAN (Texas Tanning & Manufacturing Co., Yoakum, Texas)
WALSH (Walsh Harness Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
WARREN LEATHER GOODS CO. (Warren Leather Goods Co., Worcester, Mass.)

KOREAN WAR (For US Air Force Only)

BLOOMBERG LEATHER GDS. (Bloomberg Leather Goods Co., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin)
BOYT (Boyt Harness Company, Des Moines, Iowa)

VIET NAM WAR

BUCHEIMER (J. M. Bucheimer Co., Frederick, Maryland)
BOLEN LEATHER PRODUCTS, INC. (Bolen Leather Products, Inc. Springfield, Tennessee)
HUNTER CORP. (Hunter Corporation, West Minster, Colorado)

POST VIET NAM

BOLEN LEA. PROD. 7791466 (Bolen Leather Products, Inc., Springfield, Tenn.)
CATHEY ENTERPRISES, INC. (Cathey Enterprises, Inc., Brownwood, Texas)
NORDAC MFG. CO. (Nordac Manufacturing Company, Fredericksburg, Virginia)

With this update I believe that, with one exception, we have now identified the name and location of every known supplier of US government issue Model 1916 holsters. The lone exception is GP&S. I have not yet uncovered its complete name or precisely where in Australia it was located. I'm pretty sure that one day this information will surface and the List will then be complete.

Thanks again to all who have contributed to this effort.

Regards,
Charlie Flick

Last edited by dsk; 10-08-2016 at 12:54 AM.
  #14  
Old 03-22-2019, 07:29 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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Grading system

While collectors will often disagree (sometimes vehemently) over how to properly grade collectible pistols, I respectfully submit my own grading system, which seems to be in agreement with the majority of collectors:

Original: Exactly as it left the factory, with no parts replaced, not refinished, repaired or touched up, verified by the consistent and matching wear surfaces of all the parts.

Correct: Looks exactly how it left the factory, however incorrect parts may have been replaced with the right ones to return it to original configuration, therefore the wear surfaces may not match each other.

Refinished: The old finish was stripped off and a fresh finish applied. At this point to a collector it is still considered 0% finish, no matter how nice it looks. A rare pistol that has been refinished may still be valuable (such as a Singer), but it still isn't worth more than the same pistol with 0% remaining original finish (aka almost bare steel but no corrosion).

Mixmaster: Parts have obviously been replaced with different ones, either commercial or USGI parts from another contractor. This is where opinions may differ. Generally, as long and the slide and frame match the pistol isn't considered a mixmaster, even if it has the wrong barrel and other small parts. But a 1942 Colt frame with a 1944 Colt slide is still considered a mixmaster, even though both parts are from the same manufacturer.

Arsenal rework: A pistol judged with a high amount of certainty to still be in the same condition it was in when it was rebuilt at a military arsenal. Examples are a refinish consistent with what arsenals used and final acceptance marks that were obviously stamped after finish. Parts often don't match but that's to be expected of an arsenal rebuild, since the arsenals couldn't have cared less about keeping matched parts together. The problem with these guns however is that a pistol assembled by a commercial gunsmith or weekend tinkerer can often look the same, so it's important to look for clues that the pistol is truly an authentic arsenal rebuild.

Shooter: A pistol that has been heavily modified with commercial parts, poorly refinished, permanent alterations made or is in fair/poor condition (like severe pitting), and has lost its value as a military or vintage collectible. Therefore it is only worth what a basic commercial-market 1911 in similar condition would be worth. A perfect example is a pistol that has been buffed and nickel-plated.

As you can see there is a lot of grey area. A pistol with just a couple of replaced parts (like trigger and thumb safety) would be called "mostly correct", and likely wouldn't suffer much value-wise if the correct parts are easily sourced. But something like the wrong barrel can hurt the value a lot, since a correct replacement would be hard to find and expensive. Also, once the correct part has been found and installed the pistol is merely correct(ed), not original. A pistol is only original once, after it leaves the factory. Once anything has been replaced on it (with the possible exception of springs) it is no longer original condition. There was a time when only pistols that were considered to still be 100% original were collected, but as the availability of decent pistols continues to dwindle more and more collectors are settling for guns with a few incorrect parts and restoring them to all-correct status. Even guns that collectors used to sneer at (like arsenal reworks) are gaining acceptance as collectibles. Who knows, if things keep going at this rate soon even bumper-chromed beaters will be considered too valuable to take to the range!
__________________
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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