History of Collection
In 1959 Dr. Jim L. Davis was discharged from the U. S. Army after having served in President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Honor Guard, 3rd Infantry Regiment, the "Old Guard", in Washington D. C. He returned to his hometown of Dallas, Texas, as a Math and Industrial Arts teacher. As from his youth Jim had a passion for firearms, starting with collecting toy guns. At eleven years of age he earned and saved $10 to purchase a used Mossberg Model 46B .22cal. rifle, that he had been coveting, at his neighborhood Western Auto Store.
He became an avid fan of the Service Model 1911A1 pistol while shooting hard ball matches in the service and then with the Dallas Pistol and Revolver Club in Dallas, Texas. He was shooting a U.S. Army Colt Service Model 1911A1 when he decided he would like to move up to a more refined and tuned pistol. Being a stickler for originality in firearms, he decided to purchase a couple of surplus 1911A1's and learn how to tune and perform accuracy modifications rather than altering his Colt.
Val Forgett of Service Armament was advertising surplus Model 1911A1 pistols for $19.95. Dr. Davis ordered five of these just in case he was a slow learner and screwed something up on his first attempts. When the pistols arrived he was very irritated when they all turned out to be, not parkerized military issue Model 1911A1's, but they were all Model 1911 and blued. One was not even .45cal., but was some oddball .455 Eley. On top of all this they were covered with an assortment of British proofs and other unknown markings like "RAF". Upon cleaning the heavy storage grease off the pisols they all turned out to be in NRA Very Good to Excellent condition. They were all commercial rather than military issue that had been donated to Great Britain in an arms drive in the U.S. during WWII. The .455 Eley was the only one that was a direct British purchase from Colt.
As he cleaned and handled the pistols he began to notice the markings on the pistols. One was a three digit serial number and the Colt pony was encircled and behind the slide serrations. On nearly every pistol the markings were different. Having also been a stamp collector from first grade these markings spelled only one thing to Dr. Davis, "Collectable". None of these pistols were altered, and they started a five year study and collecting spree that ultimately ended in one of the largest collections of the Model 1911-1911A1 pistols in the U.S. There were over one hundred and twenty five variations in his collection. The collection included nearly every variation known up to that time including the North American, Remington UMC, Brazilian, all the Argentine variations including the Colt manufactured 1911, all the Norwegian variations including the Nazi proofed, the Singer, the Russian and the rarest of all, the Egyptian. Over the years many of the pictures were lost or destroyed by age. What visuals that are left are displayed on this web site. New photographs are used to replace lost pictures where available but none that were not in the original collection.
An interesting start up story about Dr. Davis' early interest and collecting of these pistols revolves around the attitude that he encountered in the beginning years. Very, very few people were collecting these pistols at that time. They were being used for competition that required alterations, for fun shooting, and as a knock around gun for the pickup truck. Starting with the first six guns the collection grew to around thirty within three years. Dr. Davis would display these at gun shows along with other items he was selling. People would look at them, comment about their inaccuracy, being a good fishing line weight, and outright laugh at someone who was stupid enough to think they would ever be collectable. "There were too many made to ever have any value". After all, "a .45 was a .45" and that was the end of it. They were plentiful, cheap, and ugly to some. Well, we all now know what foresight these intelligent giants and pseudo firearms experts possessed. The Model 1911-1911A1 is now one of the most popular collectable firearms in the world. As an example, the Singer that was in this collection (sorry, no picture) originally cost around $120 in the 1960's and is now appraised at around $60,000+. If this total collection were still in place today it would appraise at around $750,000.
In the early 1980ís Dr. Davis became interested in military weapons, particularly the "semi-automatic assault weapons". He obtained a Class III license and built a collection of over 145 different weapons both full and semi auto, many with single and double digit serial numbers. During this period of time there would be fewer than a dozen dealer/collectors displaying this type of rifle and pistol at the largest gun shows in the country from Pomona, CA., to the Wanenmacher"s Tulsa Arms Expo in Tulsa, OK. Some pseudo expert "Collectors" berated these guns as not being a collectable firearm, and some even thought that these guns should not be allowed to be shown at gun shows. This type of firearms is now one of the most popular firearms at gun shows and constitutes the largest segment of guns available at gun shows. Because of the political pressure on gun owners in the late 1980ís and 1990ís, these firearms have appreciated dramatically and have become another most collectable firearm. The 145 guns in this collection would appraise at around $400,000 today. Guns selling for around $200 to $400 in the early 1980ís will sell for thousands of dollars on todayís collectors market.
Dr. Davis is now collecting and researching Replica Percussion Revolvers that resumed manufacture in the late 1950's due to the efforts of William B. Edwards. That collection is now one thousand (1,000) revolvers and has been incorporated under RPRCA Ltd., a subsidiary of the Replica Percussion Revolver Collector's Association, Inc., which Dr. Davis founded in 1994. The organization has an international membership with around one third of the membership being from Europe, Canada, South America, the Middle East, and the Orient. Memebership was closed after 1,000 members. Web site for the RPRCA is: http://rprca.tripod.com
A side note is that he is hearing the same song, same verse from the same type pseudo firearms "experts" that he heard with the Model 1911-1911A1 pistols and the military weapons. Their song today is, "They are not collectable, and replicas are for shooting and only original Colts are for collecting". The RPRCA web site has received over 1,020,000 hits since it was put on the Internet in 1994. This indicates at least a little interest in the collecting of these revolvers.
History Repeats Itself.