The Sistema Situation
Since the last Lipsey's Sistema disappeared from the shelves of local gun dealers, I have occasionally glanced across Gun Broker and Auction Arms to review asking and selling prices. It seems, overall, that the asking prices are going up. The selling prices will perhaps follow. Here is what I found.
The California seller of this Sistema does not say much about it, other than giving the serial number and a brief description. The importer's mark is on the forward right portion of the slide. There was only one importer, to my knowledge, that marked their guns there......Lipsey. This pistol also wears old US M1911A1 grips, not the black plastic Sistema grips. It was formerly a police pistol.
There is little doubt this pistol has been refinished. The question is, by who? Re-arsenaled Sistemas, that is Sistemas sent back to FMAP for refinishing during their service life, have long been considered shooters by those who seek out old 1911s. Even though the edges of this pistol are sharp, the importer's mark makes me suspect that it was refinished here in the States after it was sold by Lipseys. Being able to read the importer's mark would tell me for certain. This pistol is being offered for $650. At present, it has no bids.
The next Sistema I noticed is this one from Florida. This seller provides a bit more information.
This is a used Argentine model 1927 in 45 ACP. Very Good condition! It has an arsenal refinish with matching serial numbers except for barrel. It also has colt grips and comes with one magazine. Sorry, but no box or paperwork.The seller claims an arsenal refinish, but the slide appears to be polished blue, not the dull parkerizing done by FMAP. Further, the hammer and trigger have been replaced with aftermarket parts. At an asking price of $515, the pistol still has no takers.
I thought for a moment that the Florida seller may not have realized the parts replacement, but then, I checked his other auction. It appears to be an arsenal refinished Sistema in very good condition, all original except for the replacement grips. What is striking though, is the seller's description of this pistol.
This is an Argentine Sistema Colt C.F.S. model in 45 acp. This is a hard to find model with the C.F.S. markings that was originally made for the Federal Council of Security, (Consejo Federal de Seguridad). Not many of these were made, especially with the "A" prefix on the serial number. All Serial numbers match on four locations of the gun. This is in very good condition and all markings on gun are clearly unidentifiable.The seller's apparent failure to spot the differences between the two pistols he has for sale, contrasts remarkably with his knowledge level concerning this particular specimen. His asking price for this one is $775.
The Argentine Colts were never inexpensive surplus weapons, owing to their high quality, absolute parts interchangeability, and their chambering in the popular .45ACP cartridge. Still, because they were refinished and not rollmarked with "US Property" on the receiver, many, if not most collectors shunned them. A decade ago, high condition rearsenaled Sistema Colts were selling from distributors such as JLD Enterprises for as low as $350. Indeed, when I purchased my two Sistemas at a gun show, I paid $230 for one, $225 for the other. Both myself and the dealer thought we had out done the other. I went on to uninhibitedly modify one of the pistols, but I am glad I bought the second and left it alone.
The price of the bottom of the barrel Lipsey's Sistemas was $289.90 plus shipping. The anticipation of their arrival and the poor condition heralded the last of the remaining Sistemas for importation. The price tag reflected the poor condition of the weathered relics, but it also foreshadowed an increase in coming prices as the good condition Sistemas began to escalate in value in a market that was just starting to reminisce on the virtues of the old GI issue M1911A1.