Nickel Plated Colt 1911???


February 5, 2009, 11:41 AM
I have this Colt 1911 that I think is Nickel Plated....It could be Stainless...I am not sure. I was wondering if ya'll could help me figure out some of the details of this gun.

The Serial Number is 436595. It also has a mark indicating that is was inspected by a WW1 inspector. (See pics)

Also I can not find an inscription stating cal., I am 90% certain it is a .45 but as the gun does not say I am not sure.

Any help would be great.


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February 5, 2009, 11:50 AM
More Pictures..

Jim Watson
February 5, 2009, 12:21 PM
You have a real 1911. It is .45 ACP, the Army did not have to mark guns as to caliber, they knew what they had and issued the right ammunition.

It was made in 1918, one of many guns produced during the buildup for the Spring Offensive of 1919. But the Germans surrendered on November 11, 1918.

It is nickel plated, nobody was making stainless steel guns in 1918.
The Army did not issue nickel plated guns, not even to Generals, it was done aftermarket by whoever pilfered it. The United States Property mark has been removed, but nobody cares about stolen obsolete guns any more.

Because of the plating and defacement of markings, it has little or no collector interest, but the sound nickel and stag handles make it a very attractive Bar-Be-Que Gun.

Old Fuff
February 5, 2009, 12:30 PM
What you have is a USGI model 1911 pistol that was made during September, 1918. This was during World War One, and Uncle Sam wasn't buying any nickel plated pistols. It was also long before stainless steel handguns were thought of. Only commercial versions of the 1911 pistol were nickel plated, and this was relatively seldom.

Someone had the pistol nickel plated and added the stag grips. While this resulted in a fancy handgun it also knocked about $800 to $1,000 off of its market value.

But I wouldn't worry about that. Enjoy it for what it is. :cool:

Jim Watson
February 5, 2009, 12:49 PM
it also knocked about $800 to $1,000 off of its market value.

20-20 hindsight. Considering the party who had it plated brought it home in a barracks bag, its original cost to him was zero and a surplus pistol was worth maybe $10-$20 in those days. The NRA sold them for $17.50 for years.

I wonder what there is now that will appreciate sixty-fold in value over the next 40 years.

February 5, 2009, 12:56 PM
I was told that this gun came from the daughter of a General, and that it was presented to him upon retirement. From what ya'll have said this sounds a little far fetched.

Thanks for all the info, if more is out there keep it coming.

Ron James
February 5, 2009, 01:04 PM
Yes, that is more than a little far fetched.

February 6, 2009, 04:44 PM
Yes, as a vanilla 1911 that has been altered, very little value. At the same time, if you can document that the gun was presented to some officer, retirement or other, historians call that provance and if the officer was anybody, that makes for value. His unit, branch, other might pay big. Or you can just shoot the thing. Might wear out 500 rounds sooner, so old, but a reliable work horse. Enjoy. Luck.

February 6, 2009, 05:00 PM
that is more than a little far fetched.But not impossible by any means.

Heck, we gave a nickle-plated Browning HP to our Company Commander when he got shipped off to Vietnam once.

Still, I would think a retirement presentation piece for a General would at least have his name & the occasion engraved on it.

But with the stag grips and all, looks more like some Texas lawman's BBQ gun to me.


February 6, 2009, 05:14 PM
In any case, it's a beautiful gun in great condition! Keep it and enjoy it! Shoot it if you want, but I'd stick with mild loads, nothing hot, and I wouldn't shoot it a lot. It IS from 1918, after all, and metallurgy then was nothing like today's, those old slides can and do crack when shot today. Once it cracks, then it's a paperweight.

But me personally, I'd shoot it once in awhile with mild handloads, and otherwise display and show it off proudly! The plating and USP removal ruined the collector value, but the plating looks nicely done and in great shape. Enjoy it!

Yo Mama
February 6, 2009, 07:03 PM
That's what I was thinking! 1918! And it looks better than some of mine I bought a few years back!

February 11, 2009, 03:42 PM
Does any one know what this gun may be worth?

February 11, 2009, 04:02 PM
Purely a WAG without seeing the gun in person, but it appears to have been nicely done when it was refinished. All the markings (except the U.S. Property) are nice & crisp and I can't see any rounded edges to speak of.

I believe it could easily bring in the $1,400 - $1,800 dollar range.

If those are real old stag grips, they are easily worth $100 - $200+ by themselves in todays market.


March 23, 2009, 08:58 PM
I have a colt 1911 that was made in 1915.the pistol was nickel plated kinda like yours but doesnt look nearly as good as your pistol.

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