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Info about early Government Model

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by Panzergrenadier1979, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Panzergrenadier1979

    Panzergrenadier1979 Keystone Cop

    2,145
    1
    Jan 16, 2009
    Central Pennsylvania
    A little background:

    I have recently become friends with an elderly German man who was a member of Panzer Divison 8 on the Eastern Front during WWII where he served as a vehicle crewman in an armored recon battalion. He has all of his original documents (Wehrpass etc) with photographs and stampings.

    As we spoke of the various weapons he qualified with, including the Luger, I mentioned to him the lore that the Luger has in American culture. He then responds to me "well, I have an American Forty-Five. Would you like to see it?" I said "off course!"

    The gentleman pulls down from his closet a small gun box and tells me that during WWI a distant cousin of his married a Canadian Army officer who carried an American .45 as his personal side are. My German friend met this man after WWII and they became friends. When the Canadian passed away, the .45 was left to my friend and he has kept it ever since.

    My friend opened the gun box and hands me a Colt Government Model with serial number C13192 marked on the right side of the frame. It is also marked "Colt Automatic Calibre 45". On the left side of the frame is marked all of the patent dates as well as hartford CT, and the Colt dancing pony above the safety.

    The weapon appears almost new....it needs to cleaned internally (I don't believe that it's been fired for decades) but the bluing absolutely shines and the slide/frame fit is tight and firm. It also has all of the original pre-1926, 1911 features except that has a flat magazine housing.... were Government Models made like this prior to the "1911A1"?

    According to my brief research, I believe that the serial number (C13192) puts the date of manufacture sometime in 1914.

    I will try to post a sub-standard pic that I took with my cell phone. This elderly vet is very interested in knowing exactly what it is that he has. He is almost 90 years old and a retired engineer. He told me, with much regret, about loosing his Luger after he had surrendered to the British (he wrapped it in rags and hid it in the rafters of a warehouse that was used as temporary storage for thousands of German POWs. According to him, the wrapped-up Luger is "probably still there". :crying:

    Any help with information about his Government Model would be appreciated! Thanks.
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    4,301
    46
    Jul 10, 2001
    Alabama
    I don't know what to add. He has a 1914 Government Model. If as nice as you describe, it is worth a good deal of money even if not quite as valuable as a military model.
    If it is traceable to a Canadian contract it will add interest and maybe value.
    If he or you could come up with information about the Canadian who carried it, it would make a nice package. There was one on another board where a pistol was accompanied by enough information to write a biography of the original owner.
    A written or taped account of his history from Germany to Canada and on would also be good.

    Yes, the early commercial G.M. had a flat mainspring (not magazine) housing just like the GI 1911s.
     

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012

  3. countrygun

    countrygun

    17,069
    17
    Mar 9, 2012
    The previous poster is, of course, correct. The flat mainspring housing was the "original". The arched was one of the A-1 "improvements". The flat was "rediscovered" in the late 70's as actually being more comfortable when employing a more "modern" technique. Now the arched housings are the more rarely seen.
     
  4. Panzergrenadier1979

    Panzergrenadier1979 Keystone Cop

    2,145
    1
    Jan 16, 2009
    Central Pennsylvania

    Here are some pics; sorry they're not the best. Not a bad looking gun considering it's almost 100 years old.

    Jim Watson & Countrygun; thanks for the info!

    Forgot to mention that the owner also has an original magazine w/ lanyard ring.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




     
  5. Socks tear

    Socks tear

    90
    1
    Jul 29, 2012
    Georgia USA
    that is basically all there is to it, a "first gen" 1911 made in 1914. Same as the replies to this same post you put on the other 1911 websites. Worth $600 and up depending on condition. Lightly used is a common condition, "unfired" is almost certainly not true.
     
  6. Socks tear

    Socks tear

    90
    1
    Jul 29, 2012
    Georgia USA
    that is in good condition, way better than most you see at the shows
     
  7. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan CLM

    36,089
    452
    Nov 24, 2005
    Troy
  8. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Moderator Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    12,972
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    Jan 16, 2001
    Buried in the X-files
    If it's an original mag, odds are it'll be two toned, the upper half brighter, where the blueing is gone. They used cyanide IIRC to harden up the feed lips and gave it that texture.

    The original mainspring housings were flat, the A1 change was because in point shooting (as most of it was, in trench warfare with pistols apparently) guys shooting one handed as was the fashion, consistently shot low.

    Arched MSH's changed the point of aim sitting in the hand to where it went where you pointed.

    Edit:

    That's a very nice original, and a cool story. Weirder stuff has happened.

    For an even rarer gun, find a 1911 made for the RAF in .455 Webley Automatic...
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    4,301
    46
    Jul 10, 2001
    Alabama
    Agree with faa, that is a beaut. Anybody offering $600 is a thief.

    As I said any provenance from the German and/or the Canadian will be a big plus.
     
  10. countrygun

    countrygun

    17,069
    17
    Mar 9, 2012
    Easily could approach $3,000. But it is nice to see one taken care of in the hands of a "non-collector".
     
  11. jrs93accord

    jrs93accord

    6,150
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    Jul 10, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    Canadian contract 1911 are serial numbered from C3000 to C14000. Only about 5,000 pistols were produced in that range. In excellent condition, you are looking at $1500. If it is a 99-100% pistol, you can add an additional 20-30% to the value. This is from the Standard Catalog of MILITARY FIREARMS, 6th Edition (2011).
     
  12. Panzergrenadier1979

    Panzergrenadier1979 Keystone Cop

    2,145
    1
    Jan 16, 2009
    Central Pennsylvania
    So it is likely that this weapon was specifically made for the government of Canada? I'll look into this....