Ancient Springfield 1911

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Feb 13, 2012
Occupied Colorado
IMG_0607.JPG IMG_0606.JPG IMG_0606.JPG Ok, let me present my case and see what turns up. A Springfield Armoury 1911 #81xxx. Manufactured in 1915 if my net research is to be believed. The standard patent is on the slide and the gummint property stamp is on the frame. Both the frame and the slide have the flaming bomb stamped on the left side. The right side of the slide has the Eagle with arrows, olive branch and a shield breast. The barrel has a G on the underside and colt 45 auto just above the lug. There are NO arsenal rebuild stamps anywhere on the pistol. I do believe this firearm went through 2 world wars ( I know who used it in WW2) without a refurbishing. The finish is worn and almost non existent. The grips are wood and have almost no checkering left. The original mag with the lanyard is not with it. Essentially I believe I have a 1911 exactly as it left the factory oh so many years ago (sans mag). I do have the WW2 flap holster, mag pouch and web belt. Collector item or not? Value compared to other early era 1911's? Before it gets pointed out, I am aware that it is only worth what someone is willing to pay. I'm looking to ballpark this old guy.
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Mosby, You have a great pistol that has obviously served it's country well, in the condition presented I would judge the value of an unmolested (as far as parts swapping) Springfield between $1500 and $2000 (with the worn holster, pouch and belt). The great thing about this pistol other than original parts is no well meaning Bubba tried to restore it, the WWII rig enhances it's value a bit if the wear matches the pistol but if in new condition it would obviously not be the proper rig for the pistol. Knowing any history of the pistol would enhance collectability and don't ever reblue it or change grips as value would fall considerably. This is a pistol for a true collector who can judge it on it's own merits and accept the rugged use. Springfields are not as common as others. I have a 95% Colt from 1918 that dose not have the nostalgia of your Springfield.
Yeah, there will be no "lemme refinish this guy to put it back into shape" nonsense. The holster. Ok, I live in a very arid climate and the holster was moldy and cracked. I did clean it with saddle soap and apply 2 coats of Obenaufs leather oil, but the deterioration had to be stopped. I also disassembled it and cleaned the accumulation of powder fouling crud from the barrel, slide and breech face. Whoever shot it last (not me) left it in an unacceptably dirty condition. In Mosbyworld, every handgun gets cleaned after every range session.
One unique thing about the Springfield 1911's is every part was originally marked with an s. Take it down and look for the mark. Any not marked have been replaced sometime in its long history.
Another interesting thing I learned at the Springfield Armore Museum is the frame was machined from a solid steel plate rather than a forging like other manufacturers. Lots more machining and waste but it was the government so......
Of course it has collector value IF it is all original. It looks like it is. Was its last owner left handed?

Value is hard to pin down, it IS pretty worn, but I see 1911s of similar condition in the RIA catalogs all the time going for high three and low four figures. The fact that it is all original is a huge plus in its favor. It is a priceless artifact of history. To alter ANYTHING on that gun would render it worthless.The missing original mag is not a big deal, like it would be on a Luger, because 1911 mags were not serialized to the gun. Someday you will find a two tone original with a lanyard loop.

I would shoot it sparingly, if at all. That gun is a tired old soldier that just wants to rest in peace.

If you do shoot it, put a new recoil spring in it at the very least. Its current one is almost certainly worn out. And don't forget to keep the old spring ! The gun isn't original without it.
When my mom was in the retirement home, independent living area, all the old folks lived in apartments and cooked and whatnot. I always wanted to make friends with some of the families and the widows presumably...friends enough to see if they had old guns to sell. I always imagined every elder gentleman I'd see having a Luger or something at home from his wartime service. Well, I got to know many of those nice folks but never presumed to inquire about such goods...just kind of a hard thing to start talking about.

I did manage to get a pretty good gun conversation going with "Ennis", fine gentleman, 90-something years old. He never divulged his military service record explicitly but when the subject of the "M3 Grease Gun" came up Ennis was quick to say "that was not a weapon that inspired confidence." This of course lead me to make certain assumptions about Ennis' service to our country!

It was guns like this cool old 1911 (as much as the Luger or anything else) that always fed that little fantasy of mine.
If you do shoot it, put a new recoil spring in it at the very least. Its current one is almost certainly worn out. And don't forget to keep the old spring ! The gun isn't original without it.

Wolff Gun Springs makes a Spring Service Pak that will replace all the springs to original factory spec. I used one of those kits in my Argentine model 1927 and it gave new life to the old gun. It's really easy to do with a 1911. As Tark said, keep all the old parts of course.
I would post the OP in 1911 forum. Very knowledgeable fellas there, especially a guy named DSK.

I can't help with value but it sure is cool.
Lots of money. Like someone said, at least $1K - $2K. As you already know, don't make any changes other than springs, and I wouldn't even do that unless you're going to shoot it. What a great old gun. Geez, I wish guns could talk, and tell us where they've been.

The husband of one of my wife's friends had a box of crap that came from his late father's house. Floating around the assorted bits of old cleaning gear, dirty rags, old partial boxes of ammo, odd looking hand loads and other assorted junk, was a 1918 1911. It had a little more finish left than yours does, but the guy's father had "recently" (like in the last 30 years) taken a dremel and carved his SSN into one side of the slide. I almost cried when I saw it. At least he's keeping it, if only "because it was dad's".... he knows nothing about guns. I gave him a case to keep it in, after going through it and ensuring it is well lubricated inside and out. Unfortunately, the SSN can't be removed without degrading the gun further, so it is what it is.

Like vba said - go over to the 1911 forum. Great guys over there.
A couple of things. First off, this old guy is NOT going to be altered, smithed or changed in any way what so ever. Not while it is in my possession. It also is not going to be fired. I have other 1911's for that purpose. I'm pretty sure it was in the possession of a right handed officer as the main wear on the grips is on the right palm side. The 1911 forum is a great suggestion and I'm going to post there asap. Thanks for the replies friends and keep them coming.
I'm pretty sure it was in the possession of a right handed officer as the main wear on the grips is on the right palm side.

Cool gun you have there. Be aware that as far as wear on the grips, in the pre-WW-One time period on up through the early 1980's, all personnel were instructed (and expected) to fire right-handed. And ONLY right-handed. And the PMI would sit on you (literally) to put you in the correct position, if necessary.
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