How to authenticate a U.S. Navy marked revolver
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Thread: How to authenticate a U.S. Navy marked revolver

  1. #1
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    Good evening everyone! Today at a military show, I stumbled across a U.S. Navy marked "pre-Victory" revolver in a 1944 dated USN Boyt holster with the modified cartridge loops for storage. The gun looks good to me except for two markings on it that just seem a bit off. So in order to start things off, I will tell you what I think looks good about the gun and then what is suspect or questionable in my opinion. The good: (1.) The marking on the left side of the gun the says "PROPERTY U.S. NAVY" looks real to me as I can see where the letters on the ends of the banner go a little deeper than the middle letters and the shape of the indentation on the letters looks that of a genuine stamp and not a laser engraver. The best way to explain it is it looks like it normal old stamp.
    Last edited by TaylorRatliff1995; 11-29-2019 at 10:02 PM.
    Taylor

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    (2.) There are small bits of red paint left in the lettering of the U.S. NAVY marking that is common on this contract of pistols. (3.) This pistol is in the 984xxx serial number range and I have located another example online that looks just like mine in the 983xxx serial number range. (4.) The finish on this pistol is really nice, like 98%+ on the original dull blued finish and color case hardening. (5.) Almost all of the parts are numbered to the gun. The barrel, cylinder, and ejector star serial numbers match the serial number on the frame & the crane to frame number matches. The only piece that isn't numbers matching are the grips. Ok, so those are the good bits of the gun...now on to the questionable markings.... (1.) On the butt of the grip, there is a W.B. marking (normal stamp as I have one on another pre-victory revolver ). The marking looks a little shallow in comparison to other markings on the gun, but maybe the inspector was just being easy on his stamp for this one? (2.) The weird looking flaming bomb stamp right next to the previously mentioned W.B. stamp. I'm not going to lie, I didn't really notice it at the military show since I was too focused on the rest of the gun and this is one weird looking stamp. I cannot tell if it was an attempted double stamp or if one if the thin flame lines broke off the stamp and is missing or something. The reason I am confused about this gun is that my other pre-victory model revolver has both of these markings in this area, but it isn't a great example to compare to since parts of those marking are missing due to "Bubba" refinishing that gun before I came into possession of it. I have heard some say that no Navy marked guns had these markings, but I am unsure. I would greatly appreciate any help or information you guys might have on this gun. Here are a few photos of the gun in and the stampings in question.
    Taylor

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    Unfortunately, I am in a location with bad cell service and no wifi so pictures will have to wait til tomorrow evening. In the meantime, I love to hear anyone's thoughts about the authenticity of a U.S. Navy marked previctory revolver with a flaming bomb and W.B. stamps on the butt of the grip.
    Taylor

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    Name:  Navy 2.jpg
Views: 35
Size:  34.3 KBName:  Navy.jpg
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Size:  11.9 KB All I can tell you is that the early Navy contract were not marked at S&W. They were reportedly pantograph engraved by the Navy; not stamped. Some are marked NYMI (Navy Yard Mare Island with a rack number) others as pictured; others likely not at all. Since the two significant Navy orders did not pass through Army hands there will not be any Ordnance or inspector's marks. Given the premiums asked for any Navy marked gun one suspects Defense Supplies Corporation guns (sold to civilian agencies) and unmarked invite counterfeiting. Short of a factory letter I do not know how you know with absolute conviction. I suppose all three Navy contracts, USNCPC, side marked and top marked, invite potential shenanigans.

    P.S. Enough crazy things happened during WWII I will not say Waldemar Broberg's marks will never be found on a Navy or civilian .38. That the Army marks were struck light, heavy, on a slant etc. is a given.
    Last edited by Waidmann; 11-29-2019 at 10:12 PM.
    Absalom, Injunbro, Cliff and 2 others like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TaylorRatliff1995 View Post
    ...(1.) On the butt of the grip, there is a W.B. marking (normal stamp as I have one on another pre-victory revolver ). The marking looks a little shallow in comparison to other markings on the gun, but maybe the inspector was just being easy on his stamp for this one? (2.) The weird looking flaming bomb stamp right next to the previously mentioned W.B. stamp. I'm not going to lie, I didn't really notice it at the military show since I was too focused on the rest of the gun and this is one weird looking stamp. I cannot tell if it was an attempted double stamp or if one if the thin flame lines broke off the stamp and is missing or something. The reason I am confused about this gun is that my other pre-victory model revolver has both of these markings in this area,.....
    Is your other pre-Victory with the markings also a US variant or a British Service model?

    Based on Pate’s model summaries, Waldemar’s initials were only applied to the British variant until 7/42, not to any version of the US model. The latter did not get initials until after Guy H. Drewry had taken over. And this serial would indeed fall into the early period of Navy direct purchases when no inspection or acceptance marks were applied.

    There is a history of faking the “red letter” Navy guns. Since authentic pantograph engraving machines were widely available after WW II, any fake is not necessarily unauthentic, and therefore hard to detect. And since the other marks were hand-stamped, definite answers can also be hard to come by.
    Waidmann likes this.

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    Thanks for the reply. What all do I need to do to get a factory letter and how much does it cost? I figure that if I have invested this much into it already, gamble a little more with paying for a factory letter to hopefully prove whether I scored a good Navy contract gun, or whether I just learned an expensive lesson. Haha
    Taylor

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    Quote Originally Posted by TaylorRatliff1995 View Post
    What all do I need to do to get a factory letter and how much does it cost? I figure that if I have invested this much into it already, gamble a little more with paying for a factory letter to hopefully prove whether I scored a good Navy contract gun, or whether I just learned an expensive lesson. Haha
    Here is the link to the SWHF page that explains the process and has the form. You want the first kind, the Letter of Authenticity.

    Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation - Home Page - Insuring that the rich history of Smith & Wesson will continue for generations to come
    Cliff likes this.

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    To answer your question about my other previctory, I am unsure since it is a 5" barrel version in .38 S&W, but it doesn't have any British markings on it. However, it does have an Austrian Police marking and rack number on the gun.
    Taylor

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    The more I look at my gun, the more I am thinking that I just bought a faked one. It seems that all of the red letter examples say "PROPERTY OF U.S. NAVY" as where mine only says " PROPERTY U.S. NAVY". The small things are starting to add up to really discredit this gun. I will still get a letter for it to drive in the final nails in the coffin, but on the positive side, I have a nice faked Navy revolver to take to the range.
    Injunbro likes this.
    Taylor

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    Yes, your Austrian police gun is a British Service model and thus has the WB and ordnance mark. These generally don’t have British postwar proofs since they were issued to the Austrians in 1946 from British military and Lend-Lease stocks and then surplused out by the Austrians after 1955, without going back through Britain.

    Yes, if the other gun’s Navy stamping isn’t even complete, it’s likely not genuine. With that serial, it could still be a Navy gun; in 1942, there are quite a few that are unstamped, but still letter as Navy-shipped. But a DSC destination is more likely.
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