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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi friends,
I posted this question in another forum and they recommended me to do it here, because this forum is specilized in Colts. I've just got an Ithaca M1911A1 .45 pistol, for what I've been able to find, it's a low series Ithaca made in 1943 (880,XXX), that makes it a WWII gun, I traded it for a brand new BDA9 Browning 9mm with a friend that found it and wanted to modify it extensively (I don't know yet if I did right), mainly because I think that WWII guns must be preserved. I wonder how original it is. Here are some pictures:





Finish is bad, there are a couple large stains behind the trigger, and a "7" on the trigger guard:


There's a "F" inspector mark instead of the more common "FJA":


There's a strange mark at the top of the slide.


Hammer and back side of the grip are checkered:




Trigger:


Inside the frame, I found what's called "the flaming bomb" mark:


Barrel is black, in great shape and has a "HS" marking:


I found bad rust under the plastic grips (not visible with the grips in place), and a "G5" marking on the righ side:


One grip has this marking, I've seen similar ones but with a "1" instead of the "7" number:


What can you tell me about it? My first urge is to restore, give it a new parkerized finish and grips, preserving the original look, but I don't want to lower its collector and historical value if it's got some. Please help me decide what to do. Either way, it's a keeper, and a shooter. Oh right, I almost forgot to mention that as soon as I got it, I shot 2 mags (couldn't resist) and it works perfectly.

Best,

Rod.
 

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If you refinish it, you'll greatly diminish the collector value. Also, any mods you make that can't be reversed back to original condition will likewise kill the collector value.
 

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Sorry, but the collector value is already gone. It has been poorly refinished, perhaps more than once and there is extensive damage to the frame. That "F" inspector mark was "FJA" but the last two letters were removed by heavy rust/corrosion and the subsequent refinish. I am usually the last person to recommend a so-called "restoration" but in this case you can only help it. However, economically it makes little sense.

Regards,
Kevin Williams
 

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That is a 'mixmaster' pistol. It's a Colt frame (1943) , Ithaca slide (P is proof mark) , High Standard barrel. HS barrels were used by all WWII 1911A1 makers and used in rebuilds.

Were it mine , I'd glass bead and mil-spec parkerize it. Then enjoy shooting it!
 

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That is a 'mixmaster' pistol. It's a Colt frame , Ithaca slide (P is proof mark) , High Standard barrel. HS barrels were used by all WWII 1911A1 makers and used in rebuilds.

Were it mine , I'd glass bead and parkerize it. Then enjoy shooting it!
Gentlemen,

He came here for expertise and he is getting bad information. Sorry to disagree, mkk41, but it is an Ithaca frame. No Colt ever had an FJA inspection mark and the flaming bomb in the dust cover is further proof of its origin, i.e. Ithaca. Furthermore, Ithaca used barrels made by High Standard (HS) until later in production when Flannery (F marked) barrels became available. HS barrels were used as replacement barrels but they were also used in original production for Ithaca, Remington Rand and US&S manufactured pistols.

Regards,
Kevin Williams
 

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I see an F , not an FJA. Besides the ser.no. and line under small o in 'No.' puts frame in Colt range. Can't see the front of the trigger guard for the VP. Can't discern letter behind mag release but could be it was stamped with a P.
 

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I see an F , not an FJA. Besides the ser.no. and line under small o in 'No.' puts frame in Colt range. Can't see the front of the trigger guard for the VP. Can't discern letter behind mag release but could be it was stamped with a P.
1. It is well documented that Colt duplicated many of the serial numbers in that range. Colt was assigned the block 801001 to 958100 and Ithaca had 856405 to 916404. (Colt also duplicated some Remington Rand serial numbers.)
2. The inspectors for Colt would have been WB or GHD, not FJA (or "F.")
3. Only Ithaca used the flaming bomb for internal inspections.
4. All M1911A1s of that era used "P" proof marks in the frame (behind the mag release) and on top of the slide.
5. The left trigger guard web is clearly visible in the same photo in which you can see the "F" and there is no VP (Colt's final inspection mark.)
6. Finally, the font used on the frame are clearly the style used by Ithaca, not Colt:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you guys for the input.
I do believe is a genuine Ithaca, a low series one, 880,XXX as what I read in "The Sight 1911" website:

36) Ithaca: S/N 856,405 to 900,000 = 1943 ( S/N's 856,101 to 958,100 were duplicated by Colt, look for "G.H.D." or "W.B." Colt inspection initials.)

Can I finally extract that since it's been refinished before (though I'm not quite sure Kevin) I can go ahead and refinish it? I'm no collector, and wasn't looking for a piece for a museum, but I do think that pieces with history must not be destroyed but preserved, so when I came across this gun, I did the swap to save it from a fiber optic sight, combat trigger or so. I feel much more confortable with a good looking shooter than with an old and worn looking gun behind a glass. I'm a restorer, just like my 69 Mustang, I love the original looks, but as they just came out of the factory. I know that from a collector point of view, refinishing is a sin, that's why I wanted to check with experts before I do anything. My idea is to restore and shoot it, unless an expert tells me not to. if you need more detailed pics, I'll be happy to send them.

What I do know for sure is that it was carried in a right hand, half-cover hoster for a very long time, that might be the reason for its wear, and taken into bad weather places, rain, moisture and sweat are guilty for the rust under the grips and the friction did its job on some parts of the slide. Check the lower right side of the grip:



Any other facts or ideas please?? Thanks again guys, I see this was the right place for my questions.

Regards,

Rod
 

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Ithaca pistols in your serial number range were originally finished with the sandblasted Dulite blue finish. I agree with Kwill that your pistol has been previously refinished so there is little "collector's" value left in it. To refinish or not is a personal choice. Military refinishes were parkerized but you may want to lightly sandblast and reblue it. Careful work will retain some of the remaining markings.
 

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Thank you guys for the input.
I do believe is a genuine Ithaca, a low series one, 880,XXX as what I read in "The Sight 1911" website:

36) Ithaca: S/N 856,405 to 900,000 = 1943 ( S/N's 856,101 to 958,100 were duplicated by Colt, look for "G.H.D." or "W.B." Colt inspection initials.)

Can I finally extract that since it's been refinished before (though I'm not quite sure Kevin) I can go ahead and refinish it? I'm no collector, and wasn't looking for a piece for a museum, but I do think that pieces with history must not be destroyed but preserved, so when I came across this gun, I did the swap to save it from a fiber optic sight, combat trigger or so. I feel much more confortable with a good looking shooter than with an old and worn looking gun behind a glass. I'm a restorer, just like my 69 Mustang, I love the original looks, but as they just came out of the factory. I know that from a collector point of view, refinishing is a sin, that's why I wanted to check with experts before I do anything. My idea is to restore and shoot it, unless an expert tells me not to. if you need more detailed pics, I'll be happy to send them.

What I do know for sure is that it was carried in a right hand, half-cover hoster for a very long time, that might be the reason for its wear, and taken into bad weather places, rain, moisture and sweat are guilty for the rust under the grips and the friction did its job on some parts of the slide. Check the lower right side of the grip:



Any other facts or ideas please?? Thanks again guys, I see this was the right place for my questions.

Regards,

Rod
You know Rod... If the gun is in good mechanical shooting condition and since you seem to be interested in preserving it for its history sake, Why don't you shoot it and enjoy it as it is ... you are not going to hurt its value any by shooting it in the condition it is in. The gun has picked up a lot of history coming this far in its life. I personally am not concerned about condition in my collection guns but cringe at the the sight of a new reblue or repark because it spoils the sense of history I get from the gun when I look at it or handle it. (I do have some current reblued guns in my collection because they are very rare varitions and I doubt I will find another variation like them. But I do cringe when I think of someone spoiling them that way)...

I have my dad's early Ithaca (s/n 86xxxx) that was issued to him during WWII and he carried it in the Philippines... The inspection markings your gun and from Clawson's book and my gun I would say you have an original Ithaca frame...

If it were mine, I'd keep it like it is and just shoot it and enjoy it... Just my opinion!

Whatever you do with it, ENJOY IT! :)
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Ithaca pistols in your serial number range were originally finished with the sandblasted Dulite blue finish. I agree with Kwill that your pistol has been previously refinished so there is little "collector's" value left in it. To refinish or not is a personal choice. Military refinishes were parkerized but you may want to lightly sandblast and reblue it. Careful work will retain some of the remaining markings.
One friend just told me that these Ithacas came originally, out-of-the-factory, in a phosphated dark grey or dark green finish, is this true and documented? I thought they were parkerized. I understand then that there were different finishes out of Ithaca, depending on SN, and that if it's parkerized, it means it was already redone by the military smiths, right?
Larry, did you get this out of a book or a website? If the collector value is gone, I'll redo it, but to the correct finish.

Thank for the idea Bob, but if I'm not hurting its value (already gone as I've been told), I better have it restored. Hope you understand, I want it like a new pennie... same reason why I iron my shirts totally flat and polish my shoes!!

Best regards,
Rod.
 
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