Many utilize the Internet to buy and sell pistols. Often information and photos are available that prove helpful to an experienced collector in determining whether a pistol is properly represented.
Here is a pistol I found on an Internet auction a few years ago. It's interesting because it is all original, yet lacks the G.H.D. final inspection and the Ordnance Acceptance Crossed Cannons. The seller advised me several collectors had already contacted him, but opted not to bid...presumably because it lacked the inspection and acceptance markings normally associated with a military M1911A1
This pistol turned out to be listed in the National Archives by serial number as being assigned to the Destroyer Escort U.S.S. Tisdale (DE-33) in World War II.
There is typically more risk involved purchasing online, based on not having the pistol present for inspection. These risks sometimes have costly results. Misrepresented pieces are often purchased and retained beyond the return policy. If the misrepresentation is detected upon receipt, the buyer still typically is required to pay the shipping, handling and insurance from and back to the seller.
We offer an inexpensive online Opinion Solution designed to assess the merits of pistols and, in some cases, allow you to quickly move on to more promising listings. An opinion offered on the basis of digital photos and seller information does not offer as much protection as an actual physical inspection. However, I can often detect inaccurate descriptions, incorrect parts or markings and refinished surfaces with good photos.
One should always insist on an in-hand physical inspection period and return privilege. When dealing with someone you don't know, you may also wish to insist on using an escrow service for further protection against misrepresentation and unscrupulous sellers who might not honor an inspection period or return privilege. Don't allow a seller to close an auction early and sell you a pistol privately. Any seller who would cheat the auction out of their fee would likely cheat you as well. Instead, insist on a Buy-It-Now option to have the ability to leave feedback on a seller. Always require a seller to provide an FFL, in case the pistol needs to be returned, PRIOR to sending him any money. Insist all pistols are legally shipped and fully insured.
We offer Buyer/Seller Inspections, Collector Grade M1911 & M1911A1 Descriptions and Gun show Inspection services . However, why go to the trouble and expense of having a pistol shipped and returned to the seller, when a qualified opinion may have disclosed problems prior to purchasing?
A qualified opinion which confirms a pistol appears to be accurately represented permits you to proceed with more confidence. This Solution is especially beneficial to anyone considering the purchase of an expensive item. Regardless, one should first equip himself with the best information available, and then always follow-up with an in-hand inspection to verify the status of any item before consummating the deal.
You don't always have to be first in line to acquire a rare, desirable pistol. You sometimes simply have to be armed with enough information to recognize the pistol is authentic.