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Old May 26, 2009, 09:30 PM   #1
drumbeat
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Location: Arizona
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Ithaca 1911 A1 Help

Okay sports fans, help me figure this out. I just bought a 1943 Ithaca .45. It's about 95% or better. Very slight wear thru to some edges of the greenish grey finish. Here are the markings:

Top of slide: "P" about 1/2" in front of rear sight.

Left slide: "Ithaca Gun Co., Inc"
"Ithaca, N.Y."
Left frame: "FIA" arcing along thumb groove below slide release
"P" at 4:00 by checkered mag release
Right slide: "Released "
"British Govt 1952"
"Not English Made" (Very small/faint)
Small circle with 3 points or possibly a crown
Right frame: "United States Property"
"No 1256xxx"
"Not English Made"
"M 1911 A1 U.S. Army"
Looks like crossed swords with possibly a "3" and "B". Can't read
3rd letter.
Barrel: 3 circle crowns with letters BP, BV and BP(?).

There are a few stampings on either side of trigger guard, but I can't read them.
Grips are plastic and marked with "12" on right and "13" on left. Both have a star with a "K" inside.
I am told the gun is completly original.

Can you give me info/history and value? Any info would be appreciated.
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Old May 26, 2009, 09:49 PM   #2
James K
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You have a Model 1911A1 pistol, standard U.S. military issue, made by the Ithaca Gun Co., that was proofed in England at some point. It is likely, though not absolutely certain, that the gun was sent to England under the Lend-Lease program shortly after it was made. The crossed swords and BP/BV markings are the British commerical proof, applied when the gun was sold out of British military stores to a commercial dealer who exported it to the U.S. That was done prior to 1955, since the "NOT ENGLISH MAKE" marking was dropped in that year.

In the early 1950's, the British emptied out their arms depots and sold all the obsolete guns to outfits like Interarms, who then sold them in the U.S. and elsewhere at bargain prices. SMLE Mk III's went for $9-10, Deactivated STEN guns for $12, Webley revolvers for $10-12, and those .45 pistols, many of them unfired (except for test and proof firing), for $25-29.

Jim
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Old May 26, 2009, 09:53 PM   #3
Jim Watson
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Sounds straight to me, but I am not a crossed I and dotted T type of army surplus collector.

The markings:

"Released "
"British Govt 1952"
"Not English Made" (Very small/faint)
Small circle with 3 points or possibly a crown
"Not English Made"
Looks like crossed swords with possibly a "3" and "B". Can't read
3rd letter.
Barrel: 3 circle crowns with letters BP, BV and BP(?).

are all British proof marks and released as surplus approval.

We supplied the British with a lot of stuff on "lend lease" during WW II, a lot of which they did not make much use of because of caliber mismatch. This gun was fortunate enough to have been sold surplus instead of being dumped at sea with a lot of other good firearms.
Some collectors consider such guns of less value than those in American service, but they are a legitimate part of WW II history.

I won't guess a value, you surely paid what you thought reasonable.
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Old May 26, 2009, 10:03 PM   #4
drumbeat
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Thanks, Mr. Keenan. And, you're right. It does say "...Make", not "...Made". It's very hard to read.
I am going to hazard a guess that this was never issued, given the lack of wear. It really looks almost like new. The grips are sharp and shiney. The guy I bought it from said he fired only a few rounds thru it. And, I trust him as a long time friend and former coworker.
Would there not be an importers imprint somewhere? I haven't stripped it down yet.

Last edited by drumbeat; May 26, 2009 at 10:05 PM. Reason: added name
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Old May 26, 2009, 10:36 PM   #5
BobbyT
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Haha, sold all the "obsolete" guns like 1911s...
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Old May 26, 2009, 10:39 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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If it came in when released by Great Britain in 1952, or for some years after, it would not have been required to have an importer's mark. I don't think that was required until GCA 1968.
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Old May 27, 2009, 09:20 PM   #7
James K
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Before 1968, guns (like other imported items today) had to be marked with the "country of origin" mark, usually called the "COO mark." But US made items being brought back did not need the mark, so an Ithaca pistol would not have it, where a Webley would have an "ENGLAND" stamp.

Those markings could have been put on overseas, but were usually put on here, in bonded warehouses. The people with the stamps were not necessarily gun experts, so they made mistakes, like stamping "ENGLAND" on a Savage Rifle No.4, and sometimes missing a few.

But GCA '68 changed the rules for guns*, requiring the name and address of the importer and the caliber of the gun. For commercial sporting arms, those were normally put on at the factory, but for milsurps, they were put on by the importer, again in bonded facilities.

*Due to the time spent trying to forward trace the rifle used in the Kennedy assassination, when no one knew even which company had imported it.

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