Q: I own a Remington Rand .45-cal. M1911A1 with a stamped serial number of 195XXXX. According to Wikipedia, “Remington Rand produced more M1911A1 pistols in World War II than any other wartime manufacturer,” yet I cannot seem to locate this pistol in either the Blue Book of Gun Values or Gun Digest. On the other hand, Guns International’s website says this model is a “Very rare documented World War II issue.” Can you square this away for me? This Remington is the typewriter manufacturer, not the arms company.
A: According to the serial number you provided, your pistol was made by Remington Rand in 1943 and consigned to the U.S. Army. Additional information can be found within Blue Book of Gun Values, Thirty-Seventh Edition on p. 543. Unless there is some special provenance to this particular pistol, “very rare” is a vast exaggeration, for the vintage is among the most commonly found. For an inexperienced seller, prices shown in books are usually a retail value and a dealer will pay 50-75 percent of the published price.
If you have a relationship with a licensed dealer whom you trust, they can be very helpful, but sometimes, especially if you have something known to be valuable, a professional appraisal might be a good idea. I use books as a ballpark guide. Condition is vital to value and is usually given as a percentage of the original finish.
—Charles E. Petty, Contributing Editor