Jump to content


Photo

Need help with Ithaca 1911A1 Serial Number Anomaly


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 coolhandluke

coolhandluke
  • Members
    • Member ID: 105,139
  • 329 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 27 August 2015 - 04:58 PM

I was planning to pick up the Ithaca in the photos below tomorrow. It was pointed out to me by members of the CMP forum, that while the serial number falls within the last block of 1945 production pistols, the serial number is higher than the last known Ithaca serial number of 2,660,318. Any information that could be provided by knowledgeable M1911 collectors would be sincerely appreciated. This would be my first USGI 1911 pistol and I am hoping to avoid getting burned if this is not an honest example.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

 

Attached Images

  • Ithaca%201911A1_zpskfoaicjp (511x575).jpg


#2 coolhandluke

coolhandluke
  • Members
    • Member ID: 105,139
  • 329 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 27 August 2015 - 05:05 PM

...

Attached Images

  • 20150824_144735_copy (750x435).jpg


#3 coolhandluke

coolhandluke
  • Members
    • Member ID: 105,139
  • 329 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 27 August 2015 - 05:07 PM

...

Attached Images

  • 20150824_144743_copy (700x421).jpg


#4 warcollect1942

warcollect1942
  • Members
    • Member ID: 28,946
  • 905 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Montana

Posted 27 August 2015 - 05:14 PM

I am not saying good or bad. This just means they now have a higher number known.


Edited by warcollect1942, 27 August 2015 - 05:15 PM.


#5 hirsca

hirsca
  • Members
    • Member ID: 12,790
  • 3,656 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dallas, Texas

Posted 27 August 2015 - 05:22 PM

Ithaca was authorized to produce up to S/N up to 2693613.  Post war production??  Not really sure.  1911 gurus need to respond.  Thanks, Al



#6 kwill

kwill
  • Members
    • Member ID: 403
  • 372 posts

Posted 27 August 2015 - 05:36 PM

I don't claim expertise but I have been studying and collecting for 35+ years.  There was NO post-war production.  I believe that entire frame to be bogus.  Save your money.



#7 tarheeltim

tarheeltim
  • Members
    • Member ID: 154,764
  • 321 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Raleigh NC

Posted 27 August 2015 - 06:23 PM

I don't know that this serial number would overly concern me.  Many of Clawson's references refer to features on "observed" guns.  Perhaps 2660318 was the last known one "observed".  If I was "faking" an Ithaca frame I would certainly be sure to use a serial number that fell within the known range.  I think the frame is legit.  The gun has obviously been re-parkerized, which may make it less appealing to some collectors.  Presuming it has the correct HS or F barrel, correct Keyes grips, and correct mainspring housing, I think the biggest driver would be asking price.  If a great price, go for it.  If price is pushing retail, I'd holdout for one with less detractions.  Wishing you the best!



#8 thorin6

thorin6
  • Members
    • Member ID: 11,546
  • 2,325 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 August 2015 - 06:28 PM

Of all the manufacturers, the Ithaca shipments are the best documented, particularly the shipments after May 1944.  The serial number 2660318 is the highest number shown in the shipment records.  Looking at the pictures of the markings in Clawson's small book, some of the fonts on the frame appear to be the wrong size and slightly off.  Without better proof of its orginality, I'd have to agree with kwill.



#9 Ronnie

Ronnie
  • Members
    • Member ID: 7,752
  • 4,138 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northwest Mississippi

Posted 27 August 2015 - 08:50 PM

I'm certainly no authority on .45's. I have owned many. I have all the books and I love those pistols. But I too don't trust the frame or the slide. If these guys can make a Singer they can make an Ithaca. I agree that you should keep looking. If some folks are seeing a potential problem with this gun then that means when you try to sell it you will have problems. At least that's my opinion.
Good luck.
Ronnie

#10 coolhandluke

coolhandluke
  • Members
    • Member ID: 105,139
  • 329 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 28 August 2015 - 05:48 AM

Thank you very much for your input guys. At the very least the frame looks to be fake. I knew that this particular example didn't exactly give me the warm fuzzy feeling...now I know why. I'm just glad that I asked for a more informed opinion before proceeding...you guys helped save my bacon. :)


Edited by coolhandluke, 28 August 2015 - 05:49 AM.


#11 dalbert

dalbert
  • Members
    • Member ID: 6,815
  • 322 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ohio

Posted 29 August 2015 - 07:19 PM

I want to add that Clawson noted that Ithaca records were discovered in a government warehouse, and that "many were missing or illegible due to poor quality microfilming."  That being said, he states with no apparent ambiguity that the last pistol manufactured was serial number 2660318.  He also states the assigned range for Ithaca went up to 2693613, as others have stated.

 

This is probably a gun to avoid, particularly as a first M1911A1.  No matter if it is legitimate, based on the published resources and manufacturing record references available, it would most likely be frowned upon by a future purchaser unless new information proved its provenance. 

 

An Ithaca M1911 was the first handgun I ever purchased, 31 years ago in Hawaii.  At least I thought it was an Ithaca for the first 15 years or so...Until I realized it was an Ithaca slide on a Remington Rand frame.  I still have it, and it was already reblued when I bought it.  The frame has not been altered, but it has many competition upgrades that I made to it about 25 years ago.  I've put a lot of rounds through that pistol over the years...I may shoot it again tomorrow.

 

David Albert

[email protected]



#12 dalbert

dalbert
  • Members
    • Member ID: 6,815
  • 322 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ohio

Posted 30 August 2015 - 11:23 AM

For some reason, this subject kept me awake for a couple of hours last night, thinking about the possibilities.  I want to offer up some other thoughts on this controversial M1911A1 pistol.  I still don't think it would be a good first item for a collection, but I also don't believe we can completely dismiss it without very close inspection of the firearm.

 

Clawson certainly did his research, and his work was the first in-depth coverage of WWIII M1911A1 pistols.  He stated that the Ithaca records had issues, and were incomplete, yet he was pretty straightforward in his statement of the last Ithaca pistol manufactured being serial number 2693613.  My question is this...Has anyone else looked at those same records, or performed additional research on the subject?  It appears to me that the Meadows and Poyer books took Clawson's work at face value, and cited his work in their books.  It's certainly possible that there is more to it, and that we are assuming that all 3 authors fully vetted Ithaca production when that might not be the case.  Maybe they did, but I don't see any additional context to the subject after the Clawson work. 

 

Serial number 2669404 is 9086 units beyond what is supposed to be the last pistol manufactured by Ithaca, and 24,209 short of the end of total Ithaca serial number assignment.  Examining the ship dates for 6 months prior to 9/7/45, delivery numbers documented by Clawson show that an average of 9422 guns were delivered each month.  This means that the subject firearm would likely have been delivered 28 days after 9/7/45, which would have been almost 5 weeks after the Japanese surrender.  I’m not sure how quickly we put the brakes on production, but I assume it was relatively quick.  I’m also not sure what contractual clauses existed for notification of cancellation, and completion of assembly of remaining inventory. 

 

So, I guess it’s possible it’s a real production Ithaca pistol.  I think someone needs to take it apart, and look for other characteristics that could absolutely confirm it as a reproduction.  If anyone has done other work on the subject of late Ithaca serial numbers about which I'm not aware, please point me to it.

 

Thanks for posting!

 

David Albert

[email protected]

 

 



#13 thebearpack

thebearpack
  • Members
    • Member ID: 68,734
  • 93 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pittsburgh, PA

Posted 30 August 2015 - 12:10 PM

David, unfortunately it's definitely not an Ithaca-produced gun. The frame wasn't made by Ithaca at all and one way to confirm that is to look at the shape of the rear tang and compare it to any other Ithaca frame made at the time.

 

To answer your original question though, the complete Ithaca records are now public and have been reviewed countless times by countless people. There was one last batch shipped in late September of 1945 but it was actually made up of guns with earlier serial numbers.  There is no record of any 1911A1 with a serial number later than 2693613. While one can speculate that maybe a few more were made for company executives or something like that, they definitely didn't produce an additional nearly 10,000 units after the war that they never told anyone about. 

 

One thing is for sure: someone went to a lot of trouble to create this fantasy piece.


Edited by thebearpack, 30 August 2015 - 12:12 PM.


#14 dalbert

dalbert
  • Members
    • Member ID: 6,815
  • 322 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ohio

Posted 30 August 2015 - 12:56 PM

David, unfortunately it's definitely not an Ithaca-produced gun. The frame wasn't made by Ithaca at all and one way to confirm that is to look at the shape of the rear tang and compare it to any other Ithaca frame made at the time.

 

To answer your original question though, the complete Ithaca records are now public and have been reviewed countless times by countless people. There was one last batch shipped in late September of 1945 but it was actually made up of guns with earlier serial numbers.  There is no record of any 1911A1 with a serial number later than 2693613. While one can speculate that maybe a few more were made for company executives or something like that, they definitely didn't produce an additional nearly 10,000 units after the war that they never told anyone about. 

 

One thing is for sure: someone went to a lot of trouble to create this fantasy piece.

 

the bearpack,

 

Thank you for your post.  I saw the 200+ units in the late September 1945 shipment that were earlier guns supplied to Springfield Armory, and did not add them into the production figures I referenced, since they were apparently anomalies.

 

Where are the public Ithaca M1911A1 production records located?  If countless people have reviewed them countless times, have any of those people provided additional insight or accounts of their observations of the microfiche files, or did every examination of the files provide the exact results documented by Clawson? 

 

I'm interested to learn more about how this pistol was reproduced.  If you have any insight, I'd welcome your input, even if you want to provide it privately.  I have a passion for documenting reproduction firearm items, and can send you a link to some of my work in documenting them, if you're interested.

 

David Albert

[email protected]
 



#15 thebearpack

thebearpack
  • Members
    • Member ID: 68,734
  • 93 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pittsburgh, PA

Posted 30 August 2015 - 01:09 PM

David,

I have a copy of the complete files which I purchased from a fellow collector years ago. I think they're too big to email as he burned and emailed a CD. If you're interested, we can probably work something out.

 

In reviewing the files, what you'll see is that from their beginning in 3/43, Ithaca was very haphazard in their shipping and there was no consideration for shipping in numerical order. The records from that time are a nightmare of jumbled SNs and in many cases the individual numbers are unreadable. That changed on 5/31/44, after which all shipments were made up of blocks of sequentially-numbered guns. Oddly Ithaca didn't care if the blocks of guns went out sequentially so later shipments often contained guns with earlier serial numbers (as in the last 9/27/45 shipment) but in each case, the actual serial numbers were sequential. As a result, the records from the end of the war are relatively easy to double check. Hope that helps.

 

Steve  



#16 dalbert

dalbert
  • Members
    • Member ID: 6,815
  • 322 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ohio

Posted 30 August 2015 - 04:22 PM

David,

I have a copy of the complete files which I purchased from a fellow collector years ago. I think they're too big to email as he burned and emailed a CD. If you're interested, we can probably work something out.

 

In reviewing the files, what you'll see is that from their beginning in 3/43, Ithaca was very haphazard in their shipping and there was no consideration for shipping in numerical order. The records from that time are a nightmare of jumbled SNs and in many cases the individual numbers are unreadable. That changed on 5/31/44, after which all shipments were made up of blocks of sequentially-numbered guns. Oddly Ithaca didn't care if the blocks of guns went out sequentially so later shipments often contained guns with earlier serial numbers (as in the last 9/27/45 shipment) but in each case, the actual serial numbers were sequential. As a result, the records from the end of the war are relatively easy to double check. Hope that helps.

 

Steve  

 

Steve,

 

That does help.  Thank you for the additional information.  Your note provided further clarity to some of Clawson's statements.  I remain interested in seeing the microfiche copies, mostly because I'd like to see the exact verbiage provided around items such as these:

 

  • How last serial number produced was denoted, or if it was assumed
  • Any statements about cessation of contract
  • Date of cancellation of contract
  • If any clues exist as to frame manufacturing dates, versus final assembly dates

Some of the information above may not exist.  I'm just interested to see how the Ithaca data was interpreted.  I'm also interested in any speculation as to how the reproduction frame was produced.

 

Thanks!

 

David Albert

[email protected]



#17 kwill

kwill
  • Members
    • Member ID: 403
  • 372 posts

Posted 30 August 2015 - 04:56 PM

 

Steve,

 

That does help.  Thank you for the additional information.  Your note provided further clarity to some of Clawson's statements.  I remain interested in seeing the microfiche copies, mostly because I'd like to see the exact verbiage provided around items such as these:

 

  • How last serial number produced was denoted, or if it was assumed
  • Any statements about cessation of contract
  • Date of cancellation of contract
  • If any clues exist as to frame manufacturing dates, versus final assembly dates

Some of the information above may not exist.  I'm just interested to see how the Ithaca data was interpreted.  I'm also interested in any speculation as to how the reproduction frame was produced.

 

Thanks!

 

David Albert

[email protected]

 

 

 

I think you are being generous to call it a "reproduction" frame.  Fakes are becoming more and more common as prices rise.  Some are better than others but nothing about that frame looks correct.

Attached Images

  • WNTB.jpg

Edited by kwill, 30 August 2015 - 05:06 PM.


#18 thebearpack

thebearpack
  • Members
    • Member ID: 68,734
  • 93 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pittsburgh, PA

Posted 30 August 2015 - 05:10 PM

I think you are being generous to call it a "reproduction" frame.  Fakes are becoming more and more common as prices rise.  Some are better than others but nothing about that frame looks correct.

 

Yes, the soft edges give away a blast & refinish job. It probably started life as a commercial frame.  The pic you posted is actually pretty funny!

 

 

Steve,

 

That does help.  Thank you for the additional information.  Your note provided further clarity to some of Clawson's statements.  I remain interested in seeing the microfiche copies, mostly because I'd like to see the exact verbiage provided around items such as these:

 

  • How last serial number produced was denoted, or if it was assumed
  • Any statements about cessation of contract
  • Date of cancellation of contract
  • If any clues exist as to frame manufacturing dates, versus final assembly dates

Some of the information above may not exist.  I'm just interested to see how the Ithaca data was interpreted.  I'm also interested in any speculation as to how the reproduction frame was produced.

 

Thanks!

 

David Albert

[email protected]

 

David, I'll send you a PM so we can exchange some info.


Edited by thebearpack, 30 August 2015 - 05:10 PM.


#19 kwill

kwill
  • Members
    • Member ID: 403
  • 372 posts

Posted 30 August 2015 - 05:15 PM

David,

 

To help answer your questions directly, here is the final invoice.

 

Regards,

Kevin Williams

Attached Images

  • Ithaca Final (1).jpg


#20 kwill

kwill
  • Members
    • Member ID: 403
  • 372 posts

Posted 30 August 2015 - 05:15 PM

And here is the list of serial numbers in the final shipment from Ithaca.

 

Attached Images

  • Ithaca Final (2).jpg


#21 kwill

kwill
  • Members
    • Member ID: 403
  • 372 posts

Posted 30 August 2015 - 05:41 PM

My understanding from all the extant research is that all contracts for war materiel were cancelled quickly and immediately, right after VJ Day.  Many contractors had trouble getting paid for their late production and had to certify that any finished goods, parts or sub-assemblies were complete prior to the cancellation date of August 15, 1945.  See the note in the Ithaca invoice to that effect.  There was NO post war production of M1911A1 pistols.  You can see in the list of serial numbers shipped in Ithaca shipment 113 (the last one) that the highest number is 2660318.  That is where Clawson got the number.  

 

As to the pistol pictured by the OP:  Notice the unusually wide margins on either side of the stock (grip) panels.  Also note the unusually wide dust cover and the "funny" finger clearance cuts.  These anomalies are clear evidence that the original frame/receiver was planed on both sides to remove all the original markings.  New markings were then applied, probably by a Pant-O-Graph engraving machine.  The white paint or crayon in the markings helps hide the handiwork.  I suspect that the faker used a number above the highest one shipped, but within the authorized range, to a.) enhance value ("It's the highest one ever seen!") and/or b.) to avoid creating a duplicate number and giving the game away.

 

As much as I hate to admit it this hobby is full of dirtballs now that the prices warrant going to this level of effort.  I have a huge file of digital images and a database full of such examples.

 

Regards,

Kevin Williams



#22 thorin6

thorin6
  • Members
    • Member ID: 11,546
  • 2,325 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 30 August 2015 - 07:01 PM

My understanding from all the extant research is that all contracts for war materiel were cancelled quickly and immediately, right after VJ Day.  Many contractors had trouble getting paid for their late production and had to certify that any finished goods, parts or sub-assemblies were complete prior to the cancellation date of August 15, 1945.  See the note in the Ithaca invoice to that effect.  There was NO post war production of M1911A1 pistols.  You can see in the list of serial numbers shipped in Ithaca shipment 113 (the last one) that the highest number is 2660318.  That is where Clawson got the number.  

 

As to the pistol pictured by the OP:  Notice the unusually wide margins on either side of the stock (grip) panels.  Also note the unusually wide dust cover and the "funny" finger clearance cuts.  These anomalies are clear evidence that the original frame/receiver was planed on both sides to remove all the original markings.  New markings were then applied, probably by a Pant-O-Graph engraving machine.  The white paint or crayon in the markings helps hide the handiwork.  I suspect that the faker used a number above the highest one shipped, but within the authorized range, to a.) enhance value ("It's the highest one ever seen!") and/or b.) to avoid creating a duplicate number and giving the game away.

 

As much as I hate to admit it this hobby is full of dirtballs now that the prices warrant going to this level of effort.  I have a huge file of digital images and a database full of such examples.

 

Regards,

Kevin Williams

This is why I left the M1911/M1911A1 collecting world several years ago.  Too many bad apples and too many people who were not willing to admit they had been taken.



#23 dalbert

dalbert
  • Members
    • Member ID: 6,815
  • 322 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ohio

Posted 30 August 2015 - 11:47 PM

the bearpack and kwill,

 

Very informative posts.  You can see that I don't like to take things at face value, because I've had a few major instances in my firearm research where not accepting the status quo led to major discoveries. 

 

On the other hand, as mentioned before, I'm passionate about documenting reproductions, and/or fakes.  I use those terms slightly differently, and have definitions that call out various motivations for their existence.  I'm interested in adding further documentation to this subject.  I did a lecture in 2010 on reproduction items in the Thompson Submachine Gun collecting hobby, and it related examples of repros from other firearm collecting genres, which I want to expand upon.

 

I have to drive to Nashville early this morning, or I'd add some more.  I'll pick up on this conversation further during the week.

 

David Albert

[email protected]



#24 dalbert

dalbert
  • Members
    • Member ID: 6,815
  • 322 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ohio

Posted 01 September 2015 - 06:36 PM

I want to thank thebearpack and kwill for the Ithaca file data, and I'm convinced now that this Ithaca M1911A1 pistol is a fake.

 

I could use the term "reproduction," and often do for various items.  In a lecture that I presented on reproduction Thompson items, I called out the following 3 reasons that reproductions exist, and discussed some positive and negative effects:

 
1.Motivation for profit
2.Satisfaction of duplicating originals
3.Some more sinister motives – Fooling others

 

  When reproductions cannot be distinguished from originals, values decrease, and collector interest can suffer due to frustration & mistrust
  Impact on future collectors develops as age blurs the differences between originals and reproductions
  The hobby can become tremendously impacted– Examples can be seen in WWII German items, M1 Carbines, M1 Garands, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, many toys & other collectibles

 

  Easily distinguished reproduction items have a legitimate place in our collector community
 
1.Using reproductions can help preserve originals (i.e. stocks, barrels & other wearing parts)
2.Reproductions of scarce paper items can increase awareness of the history of the Thompson
3.Reproductions are used in Reenacting, motion pictures, and on “dummy” guns

 

  Those who mark their reproduction items appropriately offer a benefit to the Thompson collector community, and acknowledge their responsibility to differentiate

 

So, I'm curious as to why this fake Ithaca exists.  Some questions I have are as follows:

 

At what price was it offered? 

 

Was the high serial number called out as its main selling point?

 

Has the firearm been seen previously?  (Has it been around a while, or seen in a display previously?)

 

I always encourage those who make any kind of firearm reproduction item to mark it appropriately.  I wrote a very detailed reproduction standard that was adopted by The American Thompson Association.  When reproduction items are not marked, the fog of time can change the perceived status of an item. 

 

This "Ithaca" was probably made with intent to fool.  Then again, I can offer some possible other reasons for its existence that are more innocent.

  • Someone may have made this "Ithaca" for their own personal satisfaction, and then either passed away, or otherwise allowed it to enter the marketplace
  • It could have been made as some kind of prop for a display
  • Both these scenarios could have occurred prior to the item having enough value to generate a significant profit

Obviously, these are not good reasons, but I've seen them happen.

 

The best action is to document reproduction items, and talk about them in forums like this.  If you are interested in seeing the presentation I did on this subject, you can download it here:

 

http://sturmgewehr.c...ecture 2010.pdf

 

I plan to add this Ithaca M1911A1 example to a revised version of the presentation, and I welcome any further thoughts you may have on the subject.. 

 

Thanks!

 

David Albert

[email protected]

 

 



#25 collector

collector
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,414
  • 848 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northern California

Posted 01 September 2015 - 06:44 PM

If the intent is to defraud, someone must have thought all the effort and initial investment to be worth it.

How much time and money would it take to create this Ithaca from another version of 1911A1?

DAvid




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users