"COLT MODEL 1911 SEMI-AUTO PISTOL. SN W100119. Cal. 455 Eley. Produced in 1915 under British contract, only about 11,000 of these rare pistols were made for British government for issue to the Royal Air Force. They were ordered in caliber 455 Eley to correspond with the 455 caliber handguns already in British service. While the 455 Eley & 45 ACP rounds are comparable, they are not completely interchangeable. Consequently, a majority of these rare pistols were subsequently converted to the American caliber. This fine pistol has standard configuration with 5" bbl, chamber being marked with caliber & British proof markings. Left side of slide has usual Colt markings with "1913" being last patent date & rampant Colt at left rear end. Just above rampant Colt is British crossed saber proof mark. Right side of slide is marked "COLT AUTOMATIC / CALIBRE 455". Left rear end of slide has British nitro proof. Left side of frame, just in front of slide lock stud hole, is crossed saber proof mark & broad arrow acceptance stamp. It has a crown/"G2"/"A" inspector mark just above magazine release and there is a large "L" on left rear web of trigger guard. Right side of frame has the commercial "GOVERNMENT MODEL" marking & serial number which is prefixed with a "W", denoting the British contract. Accompanied by an orig lanyard loop magazine marked on base "CAL. 455 / ELEY". This fine pistol is beautifully engraved in period foliate arabesque patterns with a fine shaded background with about 50% coverage on frame & 75% coverage on slide. Top rear of slide has a crest consisting of a unicorn head over a crown which surmounts a ribbon inscribed "VIVE UT VIVA", which roughly translated means "live when alive". Just forward of ejection port, on top of slide, is an extremely well executed grizzly bear in a mountain scene & it has a cross hatch pattern on each side of front sight. Mounted with smooth ivory grips. Altogether an extremely beautiful & tastefully engraved 1911. PROVENANCE: Doug Smith Collection. CONDITION: Extremely fine plus. Overall retains virtually all of its beautiful custom blue applied after engraving and appears to be unfired since it was engraved. Magazine also retains virtually all of its fine custom applied blue. Grips & grip screws are crisp with grips retaining a fine, light ivory patina. Mechanics are crisp, brilliant shiny bore. This appears to have been a nearly new pistol when it was engraved. 4-36127 JR244 (7,500-12,500)"
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