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Old July 31, 2020, 06:34 AM   #1
Classic12
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1911 from 1913 - Opinions needed

Hi everyone

There is this 1913 built 1911 for sale locally here in Switzerland. Those very old 1911 don’t come up for sale often in my country, so I will take a look at it.

Photos are not great, but I will have a chance to see it in person next week I think.

Asking price is $2500 but it’s negotiable. The cheapest 1911 A1 go for $2000 here nowadays.

I am not sure if the finish is gone and it’s in the white or if it’s too much lightning and reflection from some indoor lightning.

Edit, seller tells me the finish is pretty much gone.

What do you guys think?











Last edited by Classic12; July 31, 2020 at 07:11 AM.
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Old July 31, 2020, 07:34 AM   #2
Don P
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Chances are the gun is a mix of parts. Just about every 1911 has gone through the armorers for maintenance and repair. The parts most likely are period correct BUT not original to the gun. The heat treating is what is called spot heat treating so you can definitely shoot the gun and I would suggest it not be something to shoot on a regular basis
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Old July 31, 2020, 09:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don P
The heat treating is what is called spot heat treating so you can definitely shoot the gun and I would suggest it not be something to shoot on a regular basis
M1911s from 1913 were not heat treated at all. The spot heat treating (of the forward part of the slide, and the area immediate surrounding the slide stop notch) didn't begin until the WW2 era.

The pistol in the photos appears to be correct, but it should not be shot. Not at all, never. Not even one shot.
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Old July 31, 2020, 09:27 AM   #4
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I have to wonder how the finish is so uniformly gone. Did someone take a wire brush to it?
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Old July 31, 2020, 11:16 AM   #5
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Chances are the gun is a mix of parts. Just about every 1911 has gone through the armorers for maintenance and repair. The parts most likely are period correct BUT not original to the gun.
And why would that matter???

Unlike Lugers, Mausers and some other guns, the 1911 does not have parts numbered to the gun. There is no "all matching" 1911 because there is nothing to match. If the part is "period correct" there is no way to prove or disprove that it was original to the gun when it left the factory.

The pictured gun has all the "right" parts for the claimed era, even has a lanyard loop magazine.

After the adoption of the 1911A1, standard policy was to maintain 1911s with 1911A1 parts, when, and as needed. IF the 1911 never broke, was never damaged and passed serviceability function checks, it didn't go to the "armorers".
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Old July 31, 2020, 11:51 AM   #6
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I made the statement about not all original parts that a gun because some people are under the impression buying a 1911 that is from that era that the gun is original and it buying an original gun
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Old July 31, 2020, 12:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don P
I made the statement about not all original parts that a gun because some people are under the impression buying a 1911 that is from that era that the gun is original and it buying an original gun
And 44 AMP's point is that there is no way to know.

Has anyone else noticed that the OP (Classic12) is in Switzerland? M1911s, whether "original" or only "correct," don't grow on trees in Switzerland. The pistol in the photos appears to be "correct." I have no idea if the asking price is reasonable for Switzerland. If it were in the U.S., I think it would be reasonable, perhaps even a bargain.
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Old July 31, 2020, 12:19 PM   #8
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Why do I even bother posting. I'll bet the farm the gun has original parts on it but original to the gun itself as when it left the factory
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Old July 31, 2020, 12:21 PM   #9
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Switzerland, I would be all over it. Cleveland, Ohio USA I would also be all over it. This is a 1914 I came into just recently. I inherited it actually. My sister picked it up and my kids will be bringing it up to me around the weekend of August 15th. This is the only image I have and yes, I need grips.

<EDIT> I removed the over sized image. I'll get it posted in a bit. My bad. </EDIT>


Needs grips and cleaned up.

When I do see them even the well worn ones go for between $2500 and $3000.

Ron

Last edited by Reloadron; August 1, 2020 at 11:25 AM.
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Old July 31, 2020, 01:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Don P
Why do I even bother posting. I'll bet the farm the gun has original parts on it but original to the gun itself as when it left the factory
Don, we understand your point. But, with an M1911, how do you tell the difference?

More to the point: once again, the gun and Classic12 are in Switzerland. How many 1913-vintage M1911s do you think there are in Switzerland for people to have been swapping parts to and from?
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Old July 31, 2020, 02:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Fishbed77 View Post
I have to wonder how the finish is so uniformly gone. Did someone take a wire brush to it?
I was thinking the same thing. Unless its just the lighting, it seems like its "gone" pretty much everywhere, even places you wouldnt think it would be.
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Old July 31, 2020, 03:21 PM   #12
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How many 1913-vintage M1911s do you think there are in Switzerland for people to have been swapping parts to and from?
Probably not many.

But, more to the point, without a verifiable history, we can never know what that gun has been through. At what point did it leave US service? When did it make its way to Switzerland? Looks like it was polished, but except for one, the markings look crisp and not polished over.

Was the gun "lost" in France during WW I? WWII?? later making its way to Switzerland?? or something else??

I saw several 1911s serving in line unit is Europe in the 1970s.

My point about the parts is that, unlike guns which have parts numbered to them, the 1911 does not. One can be reasonably certain matching number guns are original (though there is possibility of a "forced match), which is why collectors place a premium on them.

There is no way to do that with a 1911, so there is no special premium for a gun with "original" parts, because you can't prove they are original parts, only period correct parts. For example, a 1911 with all period correct parts has a higher collector value than a 1911 with some 1911A1 parts. Otherwise value depends only on age, and condition, and relative rarity.
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Old July 31, 2020, 03:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK103K View Post
I was thinking the same thing. Unless its just the lighting, it seems like its "gone" pretty much everywhere, even places you wouldnt think it would be.

Yeah I’ll be the third here and echo this comment.


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Old July 31, 2020, 04:16 PM   #14
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I have to wonder how the finish is so uniformly gone. Did someone take a wire brush to it?
My thoughts exactly. Unless it looks different in person, it appears that someone removed whatever finish was left on it.

As for the OP, I guess it depends on what you want it for? If you want a shooter, this isn't your gun. If you want a collector, I'm not sure it's your gun either, but as you mentioned, they are probably really rare in your neck of the woods.

If it were for sale in the US for $2,000 I'd probably pass as it doesn't fit either a collector or a shooter. Plus, if someone removed the finish with a wire brush or other, that detracts from it's value.
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Old July 31, 2020, 09:53 PM   #15
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I accumulate, not collect, so I’d pass.

I want something I can shoot, at least once in a while, not a dust collector/safe queen. But, I do me, you do you.
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Old July 31, 2020, 10:04 PM   #16
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It looks very original, but with no finish, the originality doesn't really matter.
It's worth more than a heavily polished refinish, but it has zero original finish, and that's what determines value.
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Old August 1, 2020, 08:12 PM   #17
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No one removed the finish. It's just faded and worn.
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Old August 2, 2020, 07:27 AM   #18
AK103K
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Unless its the lighting, it looks to be more than just normal faded and worn.

It seems to be too consistent overall, and missing finish in places that dont normally see wear.
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Old August 2, 2020, 10:46 AM   #19
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I've never heard of the spot hardening. So from what I see here, any 1911 isn't safe to shoot? Not until WWII and the 1911A1 advent?
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Old August 2, 2020, 10:57 AM   #20
AK103K
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I have a 1911 that was built from parts and it has an old Colt slide that you can see was hardened.

You can see where it was done due to the difference in how it parks...

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Old August 2, 2020, 10:59 AM   #21
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I think the OP's (prospective) gun is correct and likely even original.
Lack of finish hurts collector resale value, lack of heat treat hurts shooting value.

pwc: They are safe to shoot but may not be durable. The OP's gun is mild steel not heat treated. Getting through 6000 rounds in acceptance trials was a major accomplishment.
As time wore on, improvements were made; the slide nose was hardened, a hard insert pressed in around the firing pin hole, the slide stop notch spot hardened. Late WWII, the fully hardened slide became practical but they were not in general use until post war replacement slides were being made up. The slide was considered a wear part and replacements were procured all along, at least into the 1980s.

I have only seen a couple of cracked slides, one was a real 1911, obviously shot too much, maybe with a worn recoil spring. The other was a modern race gun that had been shot maybe 100000 rounds. The recoil spring was very worn, could it have been the original? It looked that bad.
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Old August 2, 2020, 02:38 PM   #22
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Quote:
No one removed the finish. It's just faded and worn.
If the bluing is intact under the grips, I'll agree with you.
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Old August 2, 2020, 03:40 PM   #23
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Not to hijack the thread, but the question of spot hardening reared its head here, what about the CMP 1911's? I think I've seen both original 1911's and A1's. They will be mixmaster shooters.
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Old August 2, 2020, 04:44 PM   #24
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Well, most are "mixmasters" and will be spot hardened if they reuse a wartime slide, fully hardened if a postwar replacement.

I wouldn't call them "shooters" when you can get a copy a lot cheaper. These are showpieces for beginning collectors and casual enthusiasts.
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