Gift for Dad: 1956 Colt Commercial 1911, questions (long)


July 12, 2006, 07:47 PM
Please bear with me here, as "My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives. ":p

My dad's 65th is about half a month away, and all of us kids are trying to do something special. A local shop has a 1956 Colt Commercial 1911, LNIB with original box, bill of sale, manual, etc. They want $1000, but the price isn't really an issue, especially compared to how much it takes to raise a hard headed son. Anyway, the gun is probably the most gorgeous firearm I've ever seen, it appears to be unfired, with no discernible wear anywhere. The bluing is like nothing I've seen, its amazing. I obviously don't have much experience with guns from this area, and I've been missing out. The box and stuff are in pretty good shape for being 50 years old.

About the Man: My dad was an Army Reserve Sgt. just before Vietnam and taught pistol and rifle shooting evidently. His father spent 3 years as a Col. in the Philippines with his issued 1911 (and earned a Bronze Star while there), so the platform has great sentimental value to us. Dad has a nice collection of shooters of all types, but only a few really really nice guns, mostly shotguns. He has a Norinco 1911 that is his tinker toy, and a G21 to pound nails with.

This gift would be a safe queen (if he wanted), a really really nice piece that would hopefully mean something coming from me. While I'm pretty much a typical 24 year old, $1000 is a lot of money. I can shuffle a few things around and have the money to buy it and still pay expenses, and like I said, the price isn't the issue, its worth it to me; I don't really care about a few dollars over or under the “true value” if the gun is what I want for him. My main concern is how does one tell this piece is pretty much original? The condition fools me for sure, but if I'm spending the equivalent of more than a months rent on a 1911 for my dad for this purpose, I don't really want some cobbled together mutt. What can I look for to insure its what I want? Are there any sort of markings on the slide and frame that match or something like that? While the shop is reputable and friendly, I don't want to rely on them to tell me what I want to hear to make the sale.

Thanks for plodding through this, if you haven't figured it out by now this is a very emotional decision for me, so any thoughts, advice, or info you could share would be greatly appreciated. I have indeed searched here and on the 1911 forums, but I honestly feel more comfortable asking High Roaders.

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July 12, 2006, 08:29 PM
Rob1035 -

First, let me say what a great and generous gift you've chosen for your father. Sounds teriffic.

I think you're right to be cautious about authenticity. Here's the first contribution to your search:

This page lists serial numbers of all Colt Commercial models. Double check me, but for 1956 the serial numbers began with 272550C and ended with 276699C.

A picture would be best so that others with knowledge of the Colt history could tell if the slide and frame match and if the blueing looks original. I've seen several old 1911's analyzed on 1911 forum and I'm sure the experts here are just as knowledgable.

Best of luck.

Black Knight
July 12, 2006, 08:59 PM
I agree with Bluto. I lost my Dad 4 years ago and had planned on getting him an M-1 Garand but never could swing it. Treasure your Dad, we don't get too many opportunities to say how much we care. Give Colt a call and get some form of authenticity on it. They will charge you $25 for a certificate but just over the phone, nothing. Again treasure him and your mother. We never really appreciate what we have until we lose it. Don't lose the feeling.

July 12, 2006, 09:52 PM
Here's some more stuff to read. Couple of good pics of commercial models and some interesting info.

July 12, 2006, 10:26 PM
bluto- great info, thanks, i've got homework to do

Both of you: thanks for the kind thoughts, its funny how a few years can change a persons perspective. As we (my father and I) get older, I realize more and more that the typical paper chase stuff is much less important than the great times we have shooting, talking about guns, cars, our SOs, watching TV, etc.

If this gun checks out, i'll buy it tomorrow after work. Whatever temporary financial strain this puts me in is totally, 115% worth it

Hopefully have some pr0n tomorrow...

July 12, 2006, 10:47 PM
As the father of a 24 year old son, let me say that a gift like that would be fondly remembered forever.

If your Dad doesn't like it, send it to me, I was born in 1956.

Danus ex
July 12, 2006, 10:51 PM

July 13, 2006, 10:53 AM
That Colt is a steal at $1,000 and will be something your dad and you when he passes it on will enjoy forever. I have a 1960 era one with the fire blue like yours, they are truly beautiful.

July 13, 2006, 05:13 PM
Heading to the shop, a few printed out info sheets in hand thanks to Bluto...:D

July 13, 2006, 05:38 PM
I was born in 48. Buy your Dad the gun. He'll love it. Trust me on this one even though you don't know me. If the serial number checks out, it'd be a great gift for a gun owner and even greater coming from his son.

July 13, 2006, 06:37 PM
If in condtion you describe....that Colt is worth twice the asking price.

July 13, 2006, 09:32 PM
bad news: handled it again this afternoon, with a short stack in my back pocket. 1 of 2 things happened: Either yesterday when I first saw it, I was too excited to look closely, or sometime between then and now some ham-fisted monkey made a NICE idiot scratch on the pistol:banghead: Needless to say, I'm pretty disappointed. Otherwise, the pistol is nice, the serial # works out, the markings are correct, the barrel has the proper finish and markings, etc. But that blasted idiot mark....

Now I'm debating what to do. I doubt my dad would care about the scratch, but I care about paying that price for something like that. Maybe I don't know any better regarding this market, but what do you guys think? Try to get the shop to knock some off the price or just walk away:cuss:

July 13, 2006, 11:14 PM
Dude - a new 1991 would cost you $700, just to put it in perspective.

I've gotta think a pristine condition (other than the mark) 1956 commercial is worth at least $300 more.

July 14, 2006, 02:21 AM
If it was me I'd try to get a little knocked off or some extra swag because of the "new" mark.

If the seller stands firm then I'd go agead and buy it. I think it's a reasonable price.

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