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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is an old handgun that has been passed down in my family from my great-great-grandfather who was a Marine during WW1. I'm not sure if this was a pistol he received in the service, but as far as I have found it was manufactured around that time.

As you can you the serial number is c114277; the serial number looks a bit funny to me. Almost like the first 1 was added later. It could just be typical of the print quality in that time period, but questions like that are why I'm here.

I've used several resources to try and locate the year that this gun was issued and from whom it was issued, but I haven't found a source or explanation that convinces me.

If anybody has more credible resources and explanations for the origin of this gun, please send it my way.

It has some checking on the front, which my family assumes is a "body count" from my great-great-grandfather's days in the mafia (true story), but I imagine it was really just a bad attempt to enhance the grip. The original grips have been misplaced since it was in gggdad's possession, and has had faux-ivory grips on it ever since.

Does anybody know any information about this: what this may be worth, how to increase or maintain it's value, or it's origin?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Commercial Government Model from 1919. The custom work and lack of original grips really hurts the value. Maybe right place right time $1000.

P.S. Welcome to the Forum.
Where did you find that out? I've used Colt's serial number lookup, and a couple of years ago it claimed it was a 1915 model, but now it claims 1919.

Other sources show that that 1919 model serial numbers only ranged in the upper 500,000's to 800,000's. While the 1915 models ranged from 107,000's to 125,000's.

In that year Colt manufactured 1911's with serial numbers from 107,597 to 113,496 and Springfield picked it up from 113,497 to 120,566.

To me, it seems like that's right where my serial number should fit, but some manufacturer records seem untrustworthy.
 

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The C prefix on the serial number indicates "Commercial", and as indicated above the serial number is a Government Model, not a Model 1911.

The Government Model was not made or shipped in numerical serial number order, and only a Colt factory letter will give the actual date of shipment. More than likely shipped in 1919, but could be as late as 1920.
 

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Surprising enough, C #s prior and after that one were shipped to S. Bryan at the US Naval Academy Annapolis Md. May 22 1919
Goddard book of serial recordings show #114244 to USN Academy and #1144400 Going to Ed McGivern And then #144700 going to USN Academy again.
Also FYI: Many guns close to that # were shipped originally from Colt’s Factory with ivory grips.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Surprising enough, C #s prior and after that one were shipped to S. Bryan at the US Naval Academy Annapolis Md. May 22 1919
Goddard book of serial recordings show #114244 to USN Academy and #1144400 Going to Ed McGivern And then #144700 going to USN Academy again.
Also FYI: Many guns close to that # were shipped originally from Colt’s Factory with ivory grips.
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This is something I'd like to know more about. Where is that record from? The 1911 has always had ivory-looking grips, but I always discounted them as being unoriginal. I still have them, but I don't keep them on the gun.

Could you cite that book or source so I can look into it?
 

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Could you cite that book or source so I can look into it?
Sure
They are not easy to come by but you may locate one if your patient. I was lucky and acquired this one on eBay.
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OK, not 1911 expert, but the S# looks odd. The first three are nice and clean and deep, the last three are washed out and shallow. Might be light too. Still, does not look my 1914. Of course mine came with Hitlery Klinton/Janet Reno ugly plastic pearl grips! Probably why no one else would buy it! The guy I got it from thought they were great! I threaten the kids with putting them back on the 1911 and leaving it to them that way in my will if they don't shape up! Several 1911 S# lists out there.
 

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Interesting, it has the "heart shaped" cutouts like the late war 1911s. A leftover frame moved from Army to commercial, or they just left the machine set up that way for a while, who knows?

Funny numbers are not uncommon in that era, I think the serial number is legit.

Jim Milks could weld in a new front strap but there would be no way to match the finish which is otherwise in very good condition. Why can't they polish and blue them with nice even roll marks like that any more? Best just to consider the grooving part of GGGrandpa's Legacy.
 

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The military was pushing Colt to speed up production, and leaving the heart shaped cutout in the grip did away with additional machining operations, speeding up production. When the military pistol contract was cancelled Colt continued to use frames, as well as other parts, already made.

Same thing after WWII. To get back in .45 pistol production after WWII Colt used left over military contract parts. They removed any military markings, and gave them a commercial serial number.
 

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The serial numbers were applied by a die that advanced one digit each time it applied a serial number, and it is normal for one or more digits to be lighter or deeper than others. Typically the 1 applied deeper than a more complex digit like an 8.

As to the Goddard book, you won't find any information on your particular pistol. You will need the Colt letter to tell when your Colt was shipped, and what if anything was extra.
 
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