Smith And Wesson Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
391 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, the story. When Dad passed away in 2002 he left me his substantial gun collection, including his parkerized Victory mode wit US Navy stamped on the top strap. Because of serious health issues I eventually had to sell it, albeit with great reluctance since it was his pride & joy. He served in the Pacific fleet. During War II. Anyhow, I make gun shows looking for fragments of Unicorn horn and occasional hens teeth. Today I found a Navy marked Victory model! No longer have the serial number of the one I once had, but this one is cosmetically close. Numbers on the butt, crane, barrel, cylinder and grips all match. It locks up tight with almost no end shake. Desperate need of a cleaning, but I wanted to share with the gang. Payed? Sure. Too much. Payed a smooth grand to fill a hole in my collection. Even if the Navy marking is a modern addition, it’s worth it to me today.
Here are the pics
984B5C4D-36AC-4B1F-B0BD-3B725795A3EF.jpeg
334C5C4C-3FDF-4762-8F1B-E042A257752A.jpeg C9C01884-9100-45FB-BA43-C6976690FAD7.jpeg
CED889D9-9AA5-4053-A1DF-4144D295CF62.jpeg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
432 Posts
... Payed? Sure. Too much. Payed a smooth grand to fill a hole in my collection. Even if the Navy marking is a modern addition, it’s worth it to me today.
Here are the pics
View attachment 430965 ...
While a grand is on the high side, the gun looks all-original and I see no reason at all to suspect that the US NAVY is a later addition. The serial is in the correct range, and the font and spacing of the marking match the many confirmed originals I‘ve seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,090 Posts
Congratulations on a nice find and for filling a hole in your collection. Enjoy.:cool:
 
  • Like
Reactions: jeepnut

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,049 Posts
Very nice. I have one on an auction site right now. 4 inch, not Navy marked but shipped to the Navy in Norfolk. Factory letter and period correct, maybe original, Boyt 44 holster.
About the same condition as yours.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,670 Posts
Initially, all the martially marked .38 Special Victory Models were for Naval service. U.S. Maritime Commission issue and Defense Supplies Corporation were supposed to be unmarked, although the U.S.N.C.P.C. guns ended up everywhere to include England. The O.S.S. supposedly later got unmarked guns both cartridge versions. I imagine many of the (OSS) .38 S&W guns went to the British S.O.E. Additionally guns have lettered to the Navy and Marine Corps that do not bear post factory marks.

According to Pate's book some of the OSS were funneled through the Navy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,691 Posts
Congrats on finding your Victory. Looks like it is in good shape for going through WWII.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
432 Posts
It would be fun to know if this was an OSS pistol. I might gamble and spring for a letter just to see.
Since yours is Navy stamped, that’s unlikely. And as Waidmann mentioned, OSS guns were not actually carried by OSS agents, but used to arm people overseas whom the OSS supported. Originally OSS-shipped Victorys even showed up with post-war German police markings from the occupation time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,670 Posts
^ Why the OSS even cared about martial markings is a mystery to me. American and British made arms were hardly deniable and anyone captured by the German or Japanese would be in for a hard time. Having said that, I think the odds you would receive a letter indicating delivery to some classified location/organization are nil. Much of Charley Pate's stuff was taken from various government archives.

An example I am familiar with are the Colt's Commando snub noses shipped to the OSS in the China-Burma-India Theater. A factory letter will reveal they were shipped to the U.S. Army Transportation Office, Port of San Francisco. That's it. In recent years several have been offered for sale in original boxes. Of the reported 500 Victory snubs supposedly headed in the same direction, none have ever surfaced.

Paying for a letter on a fairly pedestrian Victory is a long odds bet. The odds that a martial marked anything is going someplace other than a post/base, depot, port, the British Purchasing Commission and a few random ones that went to defense plants etc. are unlikely. Your money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
432 Posts
Occasionally, guns will actually letter to the OSS in a direct or oblique way. All OSS guns shipped to their central warehouse in Rosslyn, Virginia.

I have two examples of letters (not my guns), a Victory and a Colt pistol. The Colt letters has the most precise information.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
432 Posts
Proof is proof..... Did you buy these for that reason, or did you know the answer before asking the question?
As I said, those aren’t mine, either the guns or the letters. I‘ve been in the habit of collecting pictures of interesting letters I’ve come across on various forums for some time. Whoever got these just got lucky; as you said earlier, as far as I know there is no specific marking and no way to identify an OSS-shipped gun beforehand, unless one had some sort of direct provenance by serial number.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top