This is the earliest dated US Model 1912 holster we've ever seen. It was made by the Rock Island Arsenal in the year 1911...just ahead of the first deliveries of the Colt 1911 Automatic Pistol to the US Army which occurred during the spring of 1912. Over the years, I've seen a number of 1912 Model holsters...often in well worn condition...with 1912, 1913, 1914, and 1915 dates...but never one dated 1911 until now. I even asked a militaria dealer who handles far more US military items than we do and even he mentioned having never seen one this early. It came from a large collection of US militaria...and it was all GREAT STUFF.
Overall Fine Plus condition showing very little usage. The leather is still soft and pliable with no tears, flaking or repairs. What little wear that's present is mostly around the swivel and the belt hook. The inside of the flaps on these 1912s had a small groove cut into the leather to help it fold over the handle of the pistol more easily. We've noticed that these grooves tend to crease and eventually crack the leather on the outside of the flap. This one has survived in fantastic shape with any damage. The rear of the swivel is marked "RIA" for Rock Island Arsenal <over> 1911 <over> TCC...the gov't inspector. Front of flap is correctly embossed "US" within an oval. Brass hardware is in good shape. Stitching is also in excellent shape. A very fine example that was used sparingly and well looked-after over the past hundred years.
These 1912 holsters really got put through the ringer...being the first holsters for the Model 1911, they often spent years in the field...many going to Mexico in 1916 and then off to the First World War. There were probably more than a few that saw service right up through WW2. That said, it's not very often we come across one this nice and the early date makes this one really special. This would be a great accessory for a nice Colt 1911 with a low serial number.