The first rendition of John Moses Browning's most famous handgun is getting more and more difficult to find. The prices have risen such that they are essentially collector's pieces now. Once though to be surplus junk, the prices for usual specimens seem to hover around $2000. Chances are, like a gallon of gasoline, they will not be going down ever again.
The M1911 is history. All the imperfections in the finish, acquired over nearly an entire century add to the allure of the piece. Thus, when a perfect restoration such as this Turnbull restored M1911 appears for sale, I am less than eager to consider it. It's not the $2,999.00 price on the auction that leaves me cold, it's the fact that the gun's history has essentially been erased. Beautiful? Yes. Perfect? No doubt. Interesting? Only if you want to admire the work of a master restorationist instead of the firearm itself. An old gun that has been made to look new just doesn't excite me much. In fact, it kind of saddens me when I think that the owner failed to appreciate the history he held.
By contrast, Colt's reproduction M1911 is rather interesting to me. Because it's a reproduction, not a restoration, the historical aspect is a moot point. It's not a perfect reproduction...... The slide cuts are not the ball cut of the M1911 (although some M1911s had the more gradual cut) and the rollmarks have edges raised above the level of the slide polish; but it is close enough.
When I acquired my a Colt WWI reproduction, I knew it might be a while before I decided to shoot it. To date, I still have not put any lead down range with it. When I finally stick it in my range bag and bring it along, it will begin it's history with me. It is my hope that when it is passed down to it's next owner, that they will value the history they hold as much as my friend values the history in her gun. I suppose I would rather have that than a gun with history erased.