View Full Version : 1911 colt history/value question

November 11, 2001, 09:25 AM
A friend got me to check out his Fathers 1911 issued to him before the korean war. Come to find out it was made in 1917 and has a value of $750.00 in 60%. The gun has no blue on it at all however it is in pretty good shape. It appears to be mechanically sound and the action is pretty smooth. On the open market what would this pistol sell for?

James K
November 11, 2001, 06:03 PM
Hi, rr41mag,

Well 0% finish is not 60% finish. I would guess around $250-300. Having it refinished or reblued would actually reduce the value even more.


Art Eatman
November 12, 2001, 01:09 AM
Jim, from what I've seen at the last couple of gun shows, any 1911 that works will bring $300 or better. Seems that anything from before 1970 or so is a "Collector Item"; after 1970 it's sitting in with the newer stuff.

It's gotta be in pretty horrible shape to be down in the $250 class--dang it!

:), Art

George Stringer
November 12, 2001, 08:16 AM
I don't claim to know much about "collector's" items. But the blue book puts a reblued firearm in the Good category which falls into 60% to 80%. So assuming all original parts and that no damage was done, corners rounded, lettering erased or marred, etc, when the gun is reblued you would increase it's value to the 80% level if I read it right. Personally while I understand wanting to keep one "original" from a collector's standpoint I never could see how refinishing one that's in a lower condition could hurt the value. Maybe that's why I'm not a collector. George

James K
November 12, 2001, 11:18 PM
Hi, George and Art,

Maybe I was too harsh, as I have been around too many purist collectors. You are right that as a practical matter, a reblued gun is worth more than one with no finish. I know many people who don't agree with that "good" rating, feeling that a reblue, by definition, has no original finish, and I was too quick to repeat that idea. But, as we all know, that is not in the real world at the gun show or the sales counter.


November 13, 2001, 01:55 AM
Jim, somehow I need to hang around you "purist" collectors more often. Your guns are not only nicer but are valued less than the ones I typically find. The typical 1917-vintage Colt 1911 with no finish left rarely sells for less than $600 where I live. With a good reblue job the value will stay about the same; with a -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-ty reblue the value will drop to about $450. As long as it remains in shootable condition I've never seen one below $400.

November 13, 2001, 02:41 AM
dsk: I agree. Around here, an honest to god GI 1911 sells for just as much as a new one, especially if it has a story like; this was issued to my dad just before the koreon war............. I would never refinish it. To me, I could just buy a new one if it was refinished.

November 13, 2001, 03:41 PM
Next time ya'll run across them 300$ Colts and GI 1911s drop me a note will ya? Not the sistemas...just Colt and GI types...

Art Eatman
November 14, 2001, 12:38 PM
I live in a perpetual state of "sticker shock". I bought my first-ever 1911 in 1970, in like-new condition. Gave $75 for it at McBride's in Austin. Serial Number? 4xxx. (Other examples, too numerous to mention.)

I've never been much of a "collector". To me, guns are working tools, although I have some military stuff in decent condition, as "types".

I'm with Jim on what stuff is "worth", which is totally different from what stuff costs.

Ya get right down to it, I just really stay about half fed-up with this "wondrous modern world". I guarantee that you don't want me on my soapbox about cars...


:), Art

James K
November 14, 2001, 10:26 PM
Don't want to start an OT discussion, but one of the (unintentionally) funniest car commercials in recent years was Oldsmobile's pitch for their 4 banger wimpmobile, saying "This is not your father's Oldsmobile."

RIGHT! Your father's Oldsmobile was a 440 cubic inch 395 horsepower four on the floor that would blow the doors off anything in the county!