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1911 Colt 38 Super

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by prime, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. prime

    prime Lane County Member

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    Hello Sir,

    I have a Colt 1911 in 38 super that is in good condition with some holster wear. It has two Colt mags stamped COLT Super 38 Auto. The serial number is 70XXX which dates to 1948. It was purchase new by a Marine and kept in holster for 40 plus years. I aquired it last year and I am interested in its value. I am not convinced I should sell it unless the price was considerably more than I purchased it for. I know that it has been fired but not very much and the wear is mostly from being stored in holster. I am including several pics to help your estimate. There does not appear to be any rusting and the discoloration in the pics is from the oil that the gun was stored in.

    Thanks
    Brian

    IMG00037-20100206-1236.jpg
    IMG00036-20100206-1235.jpg
    IMG00035-20100206-1234.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2010
  2. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    I need better pics of it, close up without glare.

    Both sides of the frame fore and aft, as well as both ends, and slide pics.
     
  3. prime

    prime Lane County Member

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    I will work on posting better pics soon I am taking them with my blackberry phone so it is difficult to manage lighting and focus. Thanks.
     
  4. Just Jim

    Just Jim Well-Known Member

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    Guy came through the Lebanon gunshow with a 38 super that had a four digit serial number. Was about a 70% gun and he asked $3,000 for it. Didn't see anybody there buy it.

    jj
     
  5. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Its a 4th model revision which generally doesn't bring a premium price.

    I have a ballpark figure, but will reserve until I see some better pics.

    Problem I see is the difference between collector and shooter.

    The collector is more of a purist, and thus won't accept a price for a specimen that's not almost perfect.

    The shooter on the other hand looks at the gun way different, and thinks because of the age, its worth something and will usually pay a higher price.
     
  6. mpmax

    mpmax Woodburn Active Member

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    Are there any other markings on the frame besides the serial number? If that's the serial #, that's not a Colt frame. I was under the impression that commercial Colt serial numbers had a C prefix.
     
  7. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    If you're thinking that it's not a Colt frame because there's no other markings, we'll need to look at Super 38's made around that time. None had Colt markings on the frame.

    The gun control act of 1968 required that of makers.

    But the serial number style may give it away. About the 69000 range, Colt changed the serial number stamps from stylized to a more gothic looking numbers.

    They look fairly correct in the pic.

    Also the slide does not match the serial number range on the frame. The roll marks on the slide are from 1947, while the frame number range is 1948.

    Also interesting to note is the number 4 on the right side of trigger guard. That number indicates a post-war model, even though the serial number designates it as pre-war.

    The two-tone of the slide/frame coloring is suspect. They should be the same. The frame may be from another Colt of that era, and they topped it with a Super 38 slide.

    Also need pics with the slide off. There should be some stampings on the frame near the disconnect hole, as well as the under side of the slide.

    One thing about Colt, their serial numbers do not run in succession as one would think.

    Still need more pics, or a view of it up close and personal.
     
  8. prime

    prime Lane County Member

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    So i tried to find the marks on the frame and the only other mark is on the triger gaurd a 5 and upside down triangle. please let me know specifically what other pics you need. also according to this website...
    http://www.vincelewis.net/38super.html
    the serial number on the slide dates to 1948 and the light is bad in the pic you describe as two toned slide/frame. in real light there is not much difference except in wear. So I don't think the serial number is pre war as you stated.
    This site also dates the serial number to 1948...http://proofhouse.com/colt/index.html
    IMG00039-20100209-1724.jpg
    IMG00038-20100209-1718.jpg
    IMG00048-20100209-1802.jpg
    NO Marks on the bottom of the slide or the frame near the takedown.
    One more thing could you explain the 4th model discription, I found a description of the 2 model having the rampart colt on the right side(like mine) and the 4th modle have the rampart colt one the left side.
    http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3105146 first post on the page.
     
  9. prime

    prime Lane County Member

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  10. prime

    prime Lane County Member

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    Well I have done some research I should have done before I asked questions. I have found several examples that match my pistol to the "T" including pics, slide markings, serial number discriptions. According to the posters on this site...http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=56612&page=2&pp=10... Colt did not put "C" on the serial number of the 38 super until 1969. Also there were not any marks on there frames either. Thanks for everyones input.
     
  11. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    The trigger guard markings are correct for the Super 38 The upside down triangle should have a VP inside it. This is the Colt "Verified Proof" mark.

    The inspectors marks (5 VP) goes on the left trigger guard, and the assemblers mark (4) goes on the right trigger guard.

    There should be some inspector stampings on top of the frame near where the disconnector shows thru, and on the underside of the slide near the back, or under the firing pin stop.

    Yes, the serial number is not pre-war...my typing mistake! :eek:

    There were 3 versions made of the Super 38;

    1 - Pre-War had a barrel thickness of .530" 1929-41

    2- Heavy or Fat barrel .580" 1946/47-54

    3 - Thin barrel .500" 1955-69

    The 4th - Was a change of serial number designation as per the GCA of 1968.
    From a straight number, to a CS prefix.

    As for a value...stand-by
     
  12. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Based on the dark photos that don't really show any details of condition, the pistol appears to still rate very good - excellent condition. But to a collector, it is not a choice condition pistol.

    I think value is somewhere around $1300 top...maybe as little as $800-900 if the condition is not as good as I suspect. Condition would have to be about 97% to be worth the $1300 IMO. Above 98% would probably fetch $1500...but still only to the right guy.
     
  13. prime

    prime Lane County Member

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    That makes perfect sense I really appreciat the hard work and advice.