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My father was a Marine in WWI, and I have his 1911. It was made in 1918. The finish is well worn with some pitting, but I would say that it is appropriate to its age and it's fully functional. Does it pay to have it refinished? I have no intention of selling it.
Thanks,
JEB
 

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It depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to just keep it as a family heirloom, don’t change a thing. If you want to shoot it accurately or in competition, it will need many upgrades. Better to buy a custom 1911. if you want to sell it, keep it original.
john
 

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If you don’t intend to sell it, does not really matter what you do with it. Chances are you could sell it for twice as much for what a new one costs. You could have a new gun plus some cash in your pocket, or buy two new ones.
 

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I would also leave it as is.
Wife had her fathers from WWII and also one he picked off a German soldier.
Both were well worn.
 

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The man to do it would be Doug Turnbull.

My rough guess is the increase in value would basically be the same as the cost to have it restored.

The bigger question is how original and matching are the parts? If it's something rare and all matching, it would likely pay to leave it alone. If it's a cobbled together mixmaster, it wouldn't be worth investing any money in to.
 

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LEAVE IT AS IT IS! If you want a decent shooter, this will not be the gun...it is simply an heirloom. If you don't value it, sell it to someone who does, but don't ruin its historical value. PLEASE!!!!
 

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As skeet-man mentioned, have some one knowledgeable disassemble and check to see if all parts numbers match.

Steve
 

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Parts numbers match?

What parts numbers other than a serial number on the frame? This is a WWI ACP45, military issue.
 
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Refinishing it would absolutely *destroy* the collector value it currently has. Which if you plan on keeping it forever as an heirloom, might not matter to you.

However, if you wanted to preserve the value just in case you, or any future heir wanted to sell it, I'd keep it exactly the way it was. No refinishing, or "restoring," or anything. Just keep a think coat of oil on it so it doesn't rust.

Some 1911s can be *very* valuable depending on year it was made, who made it (several government contractors made them during the war years), and condition. Some can be worth well north of $10,000. Just something to consider.
 

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My father was a Marine in WWI, and I have his 1911. It was made in 1918. The finish is well worn with some pitting, but I would say that it is appropriate to its age and it's fully functional. Does it pay to have it refinished? I have no intention of selling it.
Thanks,
JEB
Please post a pic. We’d all love to see it and maybe a pic of your dad.
 

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My father was a Marine in WWI, and I have his 1911. It was made in 1918. The finish is well worn with some pitting, but I would say that it is appropriate to its age and it's fully functional. Does it pay to have it refinished? I have no intention of selling it.
Thanks,
JEB
DO NOT Refinish it! Keep it well- preserved. Renaissance Wax is excellent for preserving firearms long term, Museums use it, including the NRA Museum. Remove the Renaissance Wax before shooting, clean then re-apply, if you decide to shoot it.

I had one, made by Colt in 1918, in my Arms Room in the Army. I cried the day I had to send it back to Anniston in exchange for an M9. :(
 

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I am a 1911 collector -- I have quite a few collectible and rare variations of military 1911s. the answer to your question is "it depends".

The first question is if the gun is original and matching. If the answer is "yes" (post pictures so I can help verify), then refinishing will likely hurt value. Collectors measure condition by amount of ORIGINAL finish left. a refinished pistol is considered to have NO original finish left, or a 0% condition gun. Also a 1918 gun could be a "black army" gun in which the finish is expected to be quite worn.

However, if the gun is already a mixmaster (parts are not original or don't match) then refinishing won't take away value. a mix master typically is not worth a lot so making it look nice might increase value slightly. However you will likley spend more on the refinish than the value that is added.

Post a few pics and we can help determine what you actually have.

Here are a few of my collectible 1911s.

1918 M1911


First year of production 1912


"Band of Brothers" a collection of WW2 M1911A1
 

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You refinish the pistol and the connection between that firearm and your father will be gone. If he got, and used it then every mark on it is his. You refinish it and it will just be another old pistol.

I know this from my personal experience. A few months before my father died my sisters husband took dad's carry pistol down and had it re-blued. I still remember when dad brought it home new, I was about 8 or 9. He was very proud of it. Everything that was his about the gun was destroyed. I do have his old SxS that he hunted ducks with and it tells my fathers story.
 

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Preserve it the way it is. If you have any other corroborating documents, accessories, or pedigree you can attach to it the value can increase. WWI guns weren't the hardest steel, so they did not make good long term shooters? I forget what year that was fixed. If your father repaired and upgraded it over his life, collector value could be diminished but sentimental value for you could be greatly increased.
 
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It would likely be worth less refinished than left alone. Even Turnbull will tell you that. It is yours, however, so do what you want. I wish I had a ten spot for every old gun brought into the shop that was ruined by well intentioned sprucing up. An 1886 40-82 sporting rifle still brings me almost to years.
 
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