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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,
I am new to this forum. I have a Colt M1911 that belonged to my father who was in the military. It is stamped N.R.A. Hartford, CT United States Property. I have been doing some research, but have not been able to come up with a lot. That's why I'm here. If you have any information on the pistol and the approximate value I would appreciate it. Also, I am thinking about selling it. If there are resources for that, I would appreciate that, too.
Thanks for your time.


 

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According to Colt - your M1911 was built in 1916, and 'apparently' was never issued, staying in storage.

It was eventually sold by the Army, through the National Rifle Association.

Look through your father's papers to see if perhaps there might be a Bill of Sale - it'll add value to a very collectible piece.

I'll leave it to others to price.
 

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Welcome to the Forum Cherie. The S/N dates your pistol to 1917. Per this link:

NRA Museums:


"Among the M1911s sold during the prewar years was a group of approximately 100 pistols purchased through Springfield Armory by National Rifle Association Life Members and members of N.R.A.-affiliated clubs. Both Colt- and Springfield Armory-produced examples were included in this program. These pistols carried a purchase price of $16 each, and were stamped with the letters, "N.R.A." on the right side of the frame below the serial number." As far as value, I will leave it to the experts . But, it looks like a very nice example I.M.O.
 

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The NRA Colt pistols fall in the 120000 to 164000 serial number range.
with only 100 issued I would think an easy easy $5K and in the right auction maybe a lot lot more
still all depends on condition, if all parts are all still the original ones, and if it can be verified to be one of the 100, I have heard of a couple counterfeits but they were outside the serial number range
I have only seen two examples and they were both springfields
You may want to contact Colt Archives or the NRA and see what info you can get on this as it could be worth a lot
 

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In addition to the information provided above, an NRA life member could also buy the then current service rifle, the Model 1903 Springfield. Like the pistols, they were marked N.R.A. to indicate they had been legally purchased rather than stolen.

A different time and place when the government trusted it's citizen enough that they let them purchase the then current service pistol and rifle. With WWI on the horizon, the practice was stopped until sales again resumed following the war, but the rifles and pistols were no longer marked N.R.A.

I agree that the pistol dates to 1916, shipped December 16, 1916, to San Antonio Arsenal.
 

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If I could be so bold, personally, I would think you were nuts to sell it. Apparently it meant a lot to your Dad... That should be kept and passed down to your kids and so on. At any price, there will be a day you will regret ever selling this.. Just sayin.
 

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On the other hand if you decide to sell it you might put a price on it and post here. The Colt collectors on the site will certainly treat you fairly and appreciate it their collection.
 

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......At any price, there will be a day you will regret ever selling this.. Just sayin.
Hello, Cherie, and welcome to the Forum. Tony (Tudorp) is right. You will own this rare treasure only one time. Think long and hard about this, especially if you have family who are interested in your father's past. But, if you do sell, it will no doubt have a fine home with a knowledgeable collector, especially any one of your fellow Forum members.
 
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Keep it and give it to your adult grandson. Write something about your Dad to include with the pistol when handing it down. If Dad is available, have him write a letter to you or his grandson (future generations may really appreciate this). I own many high end firearms, but my most cherished was an old Winchester 62 pump 22lr that belonged to Grandpa, was my Dad's first rifle and also mine. It is actually my son's now who just had his first son, my first grandson. Will teach my grandson how to shoot when he gets a little older. 5 generations!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi everyone,
Thank you so much for the information so far. I did ask two gun shops where I live, and they had never heard of this gun stamped N.R.A. which led me to believe I was not going to get much useful information from them (therefor I was hesitant to go any further with them, trust issues and their lack of knowledge). That is how and why I posted here. I am in Savannah, Georgia and would be happy to travel, hopefully a day trip, to find more information on the gun. Again, I do appreciate everyone's input. I will post more pictures in a few.
 

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Ever watch Pawn Stars?

"My expert says it's worth $3500. I'll give you $1750 for it. Hey, I got overhead".

That is the experience you are going to have at your local gun store, at best. At worst, they will see it as just an old 1911 and offer you $300 because they are selling a lot of plastic wonder nines right now and they think it will sit on the shelf taking up space.

I am sorry to hear you are in a position where you are considering selling this piece, regardless of what the back story is. If it were mine, I would try to liquidate something else if possible and pass the piece along to someone in the family who will treat it as the family heirloom that it is. But if you are adamant about selling it for your own reasons, you want to maximize return on the item.

I see two options to get best dollar for it:
1) List on the auction site Gun Broker. Unless you are hard-up for cash immediately, take a little while and review many listings to get a feel for how best to list your gun here. I suspect you will get maximum value for it here so long as it is listed with very good pictures. The pictures you have are pretty decent, good enough for us to be able to make out important details, but for an auction listing the better the pics the better chance you have a maximizing value. Take the pistol outside in the late afternoon just as the sun is setting, put it on a table with a solid neutral color table cloth on it, and get a good point-n-shoot camera and take many snaps from many angles. You should have enough good light to not have to use a tripod. If the day is a little overcast, the pics will actually show detail a little better. Try to frame the shots (or crop them afterwards) to just show the gun on the table cloth. Make sure you take some pics with the camera set to "Macro" (usual symbol for Macro setting is a flower) and take good close-up shots of any and all scratches or dings or perceived flaws. Get good pics of the magazine as well, that may add value to the piece if it is correct. The downside to listing on Gun Broker is the potential for fraud and unscrupulous bidders.

2) List the pistol here once you get enough postings. You have a group of well-informed people here who CARE about these kinds of finds, and you are likely to find a person who is going to put it into their collection and treasure it instead of trying to flip it for a profit. If you want to know how much it should sell for, list it on Gun Broker with a $15k reserve and a $0.01 starting bid and see what the max bid is. Re-list it a few times to see what kind of bids you get, then list it here at somewhere around that amount. For a piece like this, I bet an interested buyer would even drive out to meet you Face-To-Face... I know I would if I could afford something like this.

If you can line up a Face-To-Face transaction, it should limit the risk of having to deal with a fraudulent buyer. Just make sure you have back-up on your side for any face-to-face meet like a couple of large male family members. However, to get top dollar you may have to ship it to an out-of-state buyer. If willing to ship, ask your local gun store what they charge to ship a pistol to another FFL (short for "Federal Firearm License holder", in other words another dealer). Should be around $50 or so, but it would be the legal way to transfer an item out to an out of state buyer. Ask the buyer to send a US Postal Money Order, which is the most secure form of non-cash payment. When you receive the money order, go to this page and follow instructions under "Accepting Money Orders" (https://www.usps.com/shop/money-orders.htm).

Once you are satisfied that the money order is good, then take the pistol to your local gun store and ask them to ship it for you. They should give you a tracking number, which you then pass along to the buyer so you both can track progress.

One other thing, if you are truly interested in selling it, consider investing in a letter from Colt for it. An expedited letter is $175, or a "regular" letter is $100 (same thing, just could take a lot longer to get the letter to you). The letter will provide very important provenance to the piece and will help to assure a buyer that what you have is the "real deal". Add a pic of this letter to your listing, whether here or on Gun Broker, put a sticky over personal info so you don't encourage someone to try and find you in real life, which could end poorly.

You have something that, if real, is going to pull in a fair amount of money. Don't leave money on the table by dealing with "Rick and Chumlee". Use this community to ask lots of questions, you will find the people here to be very helpful with a ton of knowledge.

Of course, you can reward the help you are getting here by choosing option 2 :)

Best of luck!
 

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Octopus has some great advice. If you have to sell it, don't get in a hurry. Gain as much info as you can and go into it educated so a buyer can't blow smoke up your rear. Investing in that Colt letter is also great advice, and you will more than get that money back with that document. Good investment if you keep or sell it.

Now, that said, It is a really nice gun, and I will be willing to step up and give ya full brand new price for it (that $13.50 in that advertisment). lol.. <again I got jokes> ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks once again for the info and thoughts. Fortunately I am in a position to take my time and will heed all of the advice so far. I will plan on taking better pictures as suggested and contact Colt about a letter. Again, thank you.
 

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N.R.A. records?

Does the NRA have records of the firearms they marked and sold? Is there a data base with the NRA marked pistols?

What information would a Colt letter provide (except possibly the assembly date---if you asked for it), that is not already provided in this post?
As listed before by JohnnyP, No137187 is one of 500 (136901-137400) that shipped 16 Dec. 1916 to the Commanding Officer, San Antonio Arsenal, San Antonio, TX.

Was there more than one NRA stamp used on firearms? Who, (when and where) stamped the firearms?

Best Regards,
 

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I would agree, Octopus has some good advice, take your time. I would also echo to stay away from the local gun shops, at best, that is selling at wholesale. You can find true collectors here and on gunbroker, etc that are willing to pay you for the full value of the piece (as opposed to someone that is going to flip it an make the $$).
 
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