Welcome to the forum. You have what is known as a victory revolver because they were made for Britain and the commonwealth nations for use in WW2. They typically had a 5 inch barrel. Many were cut down to a 2 inch barrel, refinished and then were re-imported back to the USA in the 50's. Yours is typical of these, even down to the plastic, imitation stag horn grips. You can see on the butt of the gun, by the serial number where the hole was filled in for the lanyard loop. Unfortunately, cutting down the barrel and refinishing kills any collector value on these so it is down to it's value as a shooter, in which case you are looking at a value of around $250
I'm no expert but I can tell you it has been badly over buffed and reblued at some time. That really hurts the value. The grips are plastic most likely made by a company called Franzite. Some one that knows more than I do will reply shortly.
As jonesy has already told you, the gun was originally made for Britain. From the serial, we know it was produced around early fall 1942. The picture below shows you how it looked when it left the factory.
These were originally chambered in .38 S&W. From the cylinder picture it is clear yours was converted to fit .38 Special, a more readily available round in post-war America. Most of these were re-imported in the late 1950s, modified, and sold inexpensively. Yours is a pretty typical and quite nice example, but as mentioned, without a lot of value left.
First, Welcome to the forum.
If those are Franzite grips this is a description of them. Also have included a very interesting bit on the Man Behind Franzite grips. That old gun still has a lot of sentimental value and hopefully this info will help add to the history of the little gun.
What are Franzite Grips?
Franzite Grips are aftermarket pistol grips that were manufactured by Sports, Inc. out of Chicago, IL from the 1930's until the 1960's and were popular with gun owners and sportsmen. These grips are often described as made from Bakelite but were actually manufactured using a plastic similar to Tenite™. These types of synthetics were first introduced in 1929. The product was an air dried synthetic described as a versatile, durable, and attractive cellulosic plastic. Cellulosic plastics are noted for their excellent balance of properties - toughness, hardness, strength, surface gloss, clarity, chemical resistance, and warmth to the touch. These products are also easily molded, extruded, or fabricated and available in natural, clear, amber, and black making them a perfect material for pistol grips. Franzite grips are wonderful pieces of Americana that speak to our heritage of strong 2nd Amendment rights. At the time when these grips began, men took their sons and daughters out to the great outdoors and not only taught them responsibility and how to safely handle firearms but also how to appreciate the value of a quality made firearm. Often times those firearms would be passed down from generation to generation. It was in this period that Franzite Grips became a well known brand.
The Man Behind Franzite Grips
Franzite Grips were the namesake brand of Peter von Frantzius (sometimes Frantizius) (died April 6, 1968) who was a Chicago businessman and alleged arms dealer to the Chicago underworld during Prohibition. He was later dubbed by the press as "The Armorer of Gangland" because they believed he was an almost exclusive supplier of the Chicago Outfit (although often selling to rival gangs such as the North Side Mob. "Mr. Von" as he was called by those who knew him, was suspected to be one of the first to supply "Tommy" submachine guns and other specialized weaponry connected to countless gangland slayings during the bootleg wars of the 1920s, including the murder of Brooklyn mobster Frankie Yale in 1928, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929 and the 1930 gangland murder of Chicago journalist Jake Lingle. On one occasion, when asked by authorities to explain the sale of six machine guns to known organized crime figures, Frantzius answered before a coroner's jury that he had assumed the weapons were for the use of the Mexican government to use against revolutionaries.
Longtime employee Jim Gordon, a long time Chicagoan who worked at Sports Inc. for 14 years, privately shared the following quote with his young son William after watching the 1967 film "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre", he said that Mr. Von had gotten into some "hot water" over what happened, but "there wasn't really anything to it, it was at a time when you could mail order a "Thompson" from Sears & Roebuck catalogue." Certainly this was another era, and despite his alleged connections to organized crime, Mr. Frantzius was never prosecuted and continued to operate his sporting goods business Sports, Inc. until his death on April 6, 1968. Sports, Inc. produced and sold many firearms related items, including his namesake FRANZITE pistol grips, until going out of business in 1969.