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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
(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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

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Navy 2.jpg Navy.jpg 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.
 

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...(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.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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
 

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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
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #11
Seeing that a letter of authenticity is $100 and it seems quite apparent that this is most likely not a genuine Navy gun, I can definitely say that I learned my lesson on this one and I will probably sell it soon to free up my cash or trade it for another gun that I'd rather have. I guess I should always fall back on the old saying, " if it seems too good to be true, then it likely is".
 

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Hm, yes, these don’t look real. Both the ordnance bomb and the W.B. on the butt seem too large and too nicely lined up. For comparison, attached the butt of a gun in the 945-range, not far before this one (ignore the Canadian property mark).

And the frame Navy inscription looks very different from the authenticated pantographed style as shown in Waidmann’s post.
 

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I concur with Absalom. Also, his Canadian is more to type. Your Bomb simply looks wrong. I have seen some early British guns with the W.B. in a Box, maybe not quite so large. Someone between refinish and the art work put a lot of effort into this piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's a shame that someone got greedy and messed up a nice revolver to get more money out of it, but I guess that's reality. Well, another lesson learned and yet another reason why not to buy something unless you are knowledgeable about these things. I only knew that there were a smaller amount of the 1942 navy marked guns with the red paint. I should have backed away from the table and thought it over, but no sense in staying disappointed in it. It will either be a fun range gun or it will in on trade for another gun.
 

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It likely a fully functional M&P with new coat of paint and some interesting tattoos. Its doubtful you will ever run across a questioner. All mine have shot decently.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Very true. I have 3 victory models in .38 special ( one being a DSC gun, and the other two are regular old U.S. Property G.H.D marked ones) and the previctory revolver I discussed earlier. I was amazed with how nice the mechanical condition of the fake navy revolver in that it was either overhauled when it got the stamps or this was a truely pristine condition gun when it got stamped. I was expecting it to have endshake in the cylinder or some sign that it had been used a bit, but all of the surfaces look good on the ejector star where the hand comes into contact. I will have to take the side plate off to if the insides look as nice. If the gun had a higher value, I'd send it off to turnbull restorations to have the fake markings taken off or filled in and refinished, but I bet that would get too pricey to be worth it on these guns.
 

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If the gun had a higher value, I'd send it off to turnbull restorations to have the fake markings taken off or filled in and refinished, but I bet that would get too pricey to be worth it on these guns.
These guns will never be valuable enough to have a Turnbull-like restoration make sense. He won't work on S&W guns anymore anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I figured that these wouldn't be worth it to be corrected by turnbull or some other place that does great work, but I figured that it wouldn't hurt to ask them (no reply yet). I was unaware that he doesn't work on S&W guns when there are quite a few out there that are very valuable. What a shame. It is also a shame that a letter of authenticity is $100 and can take a couple months to get back. If it was $50 with a couple week turn around, sure I'd gamble a little more to see if my suspicions are correct, but at it's current price, it just seems like a waste of money to tell me something that I probably already know ( it's not a genuine navy gun). I understand that they have cornered the market as being the only place that really has all of this potential information for an exact gun, but I thought that is was only $30-$50 five or six years ago, or maybe I am mistaken on that.
 
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