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My friend has found a very rare gun. It is an all matching number gun, great condition. Not sure if I would want to use it for a regular shooter.

1911 45 Colt Automatic Calibre 45
Ser# C87085
Man date 1917
Pat dates of 1897, 1902, 1905, 1911, 1913
Triger guard has a "U" engraved just below trigger and a triangle at inside front.

What have we found?

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Your friend has a commercial Colt Government Model.
Colt was making both US government issue "Model 1911" pistols, and the same gun as a commercial model named the "Government Model".

In those days a military Model 1911 would have a serial number that began with "No", as "No 12345"
The commercial Government Model serials started with a "C" as in "C12345".

The triangle on the trigger guard is actually a tiny "VP" in a triangle. This is Colt's "Verified Proof".
The "U" is a factory inspectors stamp. These are found only on commercial models.

The gun is not extremely rare, Colt manufactured about 24,000 commercial Government Models in 1917.
However, value DEPENDING ON ACTUAL CONDITION can be high, and these guns are very valued as shooters.
The value starts at the 60% original finish level, with guns below 60% having much less value.
Gun with serials above No 4500 have a less polished finish and are worth less then the pre No 4500 high polish guns.

At 60% a post No 4500 model like your friend has, has a value of about $750. One in 90% original finish is about $1,850.
Note that like all Colt's , prices continue to climb fast so these prices are only estimates.

Again note that value depends on how much ORIGINAL finish remains, and on whether all parts, including grips and magazine are original. Replaced parts, incorrect type of magazine, or any refinishing downgrades the value.
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