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Fake Ithaca M1911A1 - Any Other Examples?

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Let's look at just the slide for a moment, if we may. All the roll marks on it are crisp, but the main reason why I think this slide has not been restored or re-blued is the displaced metal from the "pony" stamp. I'm including a closeup of that stamp. You can see that the raised/displaced metal hasn't been flattened or lowered in any way, and that those parts still retain the "grain" of the finished metal.

When that mark is buffed even a little after it has been stamped, the tops of those raised bits get flattened and/or shiny--if not go away entirely. I'm not seeing that at all here.


Also, the only mark on this slide is the "B" above the FP stop plate. I'm not sure what that means (haven't found where my Clawson ended up yet), but if this part went into service, it should have had other markings, shouldn't it? How about the amount of wear showing--not only through the finish, but in the metal itself--does this slide look virtually unused to others here?

What do you think? Has this slide been re-finished since it was marked, or not?







Edited by Machodoc
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I pulled my Clawson book and could find no reference to the 'B' stamp in your photos.


Thanks for looking, Tman! I found the box of books that I thought held my copy of Clawson, but no joy. Still looking for mine.


I've edited my last post since you replied to it -- care to tell me what you think about the slide?

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Not being an expert, I think the slide looks very original. You have made excellent points about the metal displacement and bluing.


That the pony stamp was applied after the last time the steel was buffed seems even more apparent in this photo -- taken with a low-power microscope.


Edited by Machodoc
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kwill, on 13 Sept 2016 - 18:25, said:

Colt didn't use that italized serifed font until after the 1924 switch to the new A1 features. For your SN, which would have originally shipped in 1916 they were using a straight up non-serif (Gothic) font. I think Colt used a new frame when they reworked the pistol in the 1930s but put the old SN on it. Usually when they did that they put an "R" at the end of the number to signify that the frame had been replaced but they obviously didn't in this case. I don't know about the Argentine connection, which seem tenuous to me but all this is really a mystery and this guess work is kind of pointless, I suppose. That's what makes collecting fun.

Here's a comparison of the SN and Government Model markings for the pistol in question, and a verified (but park'd) Hartford Marina gun from the small group shipped in 1925 (the small group from 1924 had the same markings).


EDIT: Here's a link to another Government Model Colt. The "Government Model" seems to be a very good match, with the exception of the last "E" (broken die?). The serial number font also appears to be a good match, with the exception of the "C".




Edited by Machodoc
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Ill preface this with I know nothing about 1911s but have enjoyed this thread.


I notice the O V and at least the last E in yours are quite a bit different than the reference. Of course I understand the large gap in serial numbers. Are these consistent with 1911 stamps more so than A1s? How about the way numbers are stamped. The three seems slightly higher than the others.


I like the 1911 was sent back to Colt and upgraded theory. Seems most logical to me.



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Ill preface this with I know nothing about 1911s but have enjoyed this thread.


I notice the O V and at least the last E in yours are quite a bit different than the reference. Of course I understand the large gap in serial numbers. Are these consistent with 1911 stamps more so than A1s? How about the way numbers are stamped. The three seems slightly higher than the others.


The Parkerized example comes from the early transitional period to the 1911A1. We aren't sure about the frame/receiver on the other one. The last E is indeed puzzling, if not troubling, but the differences in the O and V may be due to camera angle.

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One thing I saw mentioned join the 2nd edition Poyer book, on page 311, he indicates that "Commercial or military pistols repaired or overhauled at Colt were usually marked "K" on the right side of the trigger guard." (Poyer italicized "usually") I guess if the frame were replaced, this would not apply, but in your photos, the trigger guard is obstructed by the wood dowel used to prop it up. Does the trigger guard have such a marking?


David Albert


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Interesting Coincidences?

The Argentine battleships Rivadavia and Moreno both underwent powerplant conversions in the U.S. Over a period of roughly two years, their propulsion systems were upgraded from coal to oil, they were re-armed, and they received new fire control systems. Work was completed on the Moreno, the second one completed, in July of 1926.

It's interesting that the odd and out-of-place serial number on this gun happens to be 7 13 26, and it has upgrades that apparently would have been available in 1926. The font style used on the serial number also matches that used in 1926.

During this time, both Argentine ships apparently received 78 (each) Colt government models. With slides marked "Marina Argentina" in the same font as that placed on the earlier style slide that's on the "mystery Colt" in question.

Kind of makes you go, "Hmmmm ...", doesn't it? Coupled with the display that includes a silver medal from the Argentine Naval Academy, might this have been prepared as a presentation piece for a U.S. Naval officer who was a liason, or perhaps some shipyard official?

Edited by Machodoc
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  • 1 month later...

I've had a little setback due to an accident that caused me to take a hiatus from my research, but here's an update--something that I think is significant.

You may recall that I was concerned about the roll marks on the receiver of this gun because the third "E" in "Government Model" had a middle horizontal line that was shorter than that on the other two letters. Well, a close-up of a photo of a 1927 Colt made for the Argentine Navy (from Clawson) shows the same flaw in that letter. The size proportion between the serial number and the "Government Model" roll mark also match: something that changed over the years.

This suggests that even though the slide appears to have been an NOS part made about 1914-16 for an earlier Argentine Navy contract, the receiver appears to have been marked with the same die used in 1927. Maybe my straw-man theory that the out-of-sequence serial number could be a date (7-13-26) has some validity after all?

Clawson repeatedly notes that Colt never threw anything away, that they re-used parts that were rejected for U.S. military contracts to make commercial guns, etc.. He also notes that it was common for Colt to make 10-11% overrun parts for commercial gun contracts, so it's not unrealistic for them to have retrieved an earlier slide from the parts bin to make a presentation gun for someone who might have influence over Argentine purchases. Keep in mind that the concept of "oxygen" (incentives/bribes) has long been part of the Argentine way of doing business. Later I'll post some more reasons why I think this was made in Colt's shop, probably of bits and pieces from the bins, but may have been kept off the records as a present.



Edited by Machodoc
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Here's a 1924 Argentine Navy contract Colt with the same faulty last "E" in the roll mark. It's interesting that one of the guns in the second shipment (78 guns each) that went out in 1925 had a roll mark that appears to be about the same, with the exception of that third "E".





Edited by Machodoc
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  • 6 months later...

Well I can add a bit of commentary on the subject of fakery...


It's been going on with collectible arms for many years

probably started with Colt Walker models in the 30s or 40s at the earliest. Those were extremely well done but had the wrong pitch to certain screws. Legend was there was a artist out east that manufactured a small number of them.

By the 1960s the game was CSA guns. Most was crude, simple CSA marking of original guns but some knocked off Confederate revolvers for big money.


Same era characters started knocking off "Indian" guns

Main trick was running down solid head brass tacks and of course aging

the bulk of tacked up guns are utter complete forgeries.


By the 70s folks were getting into WWII items

maybe 74' I bought a mess of crap from a Vet that included a fair number of Nazi era proofing stamps that he returned to the States with. Shoebox full...

Several different high end dealers cleaned me out, within a year Waffen proofed Carbines, Garands and 1911s started showing up at major premiums at shows on their tables.

this was the 70s.


On 1911s understand up through the late 70s new old stock US&S slides were available. I still have one left from the good ole' days

Flip side is for the most part a US&S, much less an Ithica had little premium to it in the 70s...Ithicas were priced in the same range as Remington Rands. It was Colts that achieved a slight if any premium.


This started to change by the later 80s, by the 90s characters were starting to by mix masters and swapping parts hither & thither...

all in an effort to recreate a proper US&S or Ithica 1911 to resell at inflated $$$

One popular deal was to use the NOS US&S slides in these build ups.


A fair share of these guys doing this had cut their teeth on old west crap. Primarily SA Colts and Winchesters. It was so bad with SAAs you needed to carry a frame gauge. Winchester were a serious mess as a fare share the only SN was on the detachable lower tang. Guys literally were building special order guns around a loose lower tang and aging them. This practice had been faciitated by WACA's control over the Winchester archive at Cody. At one point the jackass running the archive would actually alter physical records and run you out a faked up "factory" letter to back up your forgery for a price in the 90s...!

At the time I was tight with a bunch of those involved on both sides. Plenty of shady crap was being done.


The Cody Museum had ended up with truck loads of Winchester bits, plenty of vintage actions & receivers, etc they were using to pay off resto artists...yeah much of the current collection are restorations. I'd buy the traded items up and remarket elsewhere. Looking back, I was part of the problem.


Another venue that was hammered particularly hard were Trapdoor Saddle Ring Carbine fakes with a focus on Custer's era as you could still purchase saddle bars and carbine sight assms inexpensively from dixie gun works up through the 90s. I was buying cutdowns in the 70s & 80s reworking them for maybe a $100 profit margin. Never sold them as the real deal but other vendors who always bought them up did.


You can still find Remington Rolling Block .50 carbines

Guys...most are total fakes.

Up through the 90s Dixie was still selling nearly new .50-45 Navy carbine take off bbls...old Bannerman stock

real simple matter to swap in a new front end. Many reamed the chambers to .50-70

I did a bunch in the 90s, the bbls with forends & bands were like $45.00


Now I need to interject reality into all this.

What really is a "Fake"

Today there are loads of folks debating what's a proper Garand or Carbine.

Uh sorry, the vast majority that saw service were rebuilt at least once, maybe two or three times.

Anything that's a fully "matching" early gun is likely pieced together for profit.

Facts are in the 70s the only matching early Carbines I trusted were ones that came down from Canada as the Canucks never upgraded their M1s where America did.

Garands, same deal

1911 contracts even more so.

The reality is US military service firearms from the 20th century generally didn't survive as they were initially issued. Most of the ones you see offered are the result of guys building them back that way either for fun or profiteering off the dumb or lazy, often both.


I tend to roll my eyes these days over much of the Internet.

Good example is SS marked arms

Number of folks claim the SS never ever marked their arms "SS"


Understand back in the 70s SS stamps were really NOT a selling point

I ran into them on CZ and Radom pistols, once a French 35A. All were Vet purchases, many with DD paperwork and they were pretty cheap.

Think we still have a Radom with a very small SS stamp on the frame. Came with a Croation SS marked holster, vet gun.

Yet kiddos will try to claim these things never existed. Again Poppycock.


Problema is that Nazi items have been faked up HARD for decades now

That too started in the 70s

Back then you could buy kits consisting of NOS bits to build up SA & SS daggers. As a kiddo I assembled a bunch, one of many mainstays for me when I started setting up at shows way back then before I discovered Beer & Bitches

Doctrine today is Everything is suspect which is as it should be.

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Good example is SS marked arms

Number of folks claim the SS never ever marked their arms "SS"



Folks need to read books vs crap on the internet, Himmler was dead nuts about the procurement procedures for SS equipment so it was distinctive vs what the standard german army received.

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