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I'd say no unless it holds a special meaning for you. It would have shipped between Apr and Dec of 1941. I have one (s/n 765111) that shipped 4/1941.

498538

498539


Still shoots pretty good.
 

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"Is a letter worth it" is a question that only you can answer. If there is some personal significance to the gun... or a chance it was used by some recognized historical figure... or if you think it will increase the value of the gun... then it might be worth getting one. If not, then it's kind of a crap shoot. :unsure:

I'm not a letter kind of guy so take that into consideration. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"Is a letter worth it" is a question that only you can answer. If there is some personal significance to the gun... or a chance it was used by some recognized historical figure... or if you think it will increase the value of the gun... then it might be worth getting one. If not, then it's kind of a crap shoot. :unsure:

I'm not a letter kind of guy so take that into consideration. :)
No personal significance. It would be nice though having a factory letter that says 'This revolver was carried aboard the Lusitania and presented to the Queen by Horace Smith himself'.

😁
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Typically, I would advise against a letter for a Victory. But, your pre-Victory is missing a lot of British "engraving" which may indicate it went to an atypical group during the war...like the resistance, or OSS. It may be a DSC gun which I think merits a letter. Wait for an expert like Waidmann or Absalom to weigh in before you decide one way or another.
 

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^^ I too would not. The facts that it bears post 1968 import marks yet escaped British commercial proofs is mildly interesting. Ditto the absence of any national (Commonwealth) marks. A letter likely would indicate the British Purchasing Commision or similar. It obviously enjoyed a gentler war than most.
The rack number and import timing hint at something and I respect Guy's opinion greatly, so take it into account. As stated guns went to the OSS, SOE and similar but I am thinking later. Defense Supplies Corporation (civilian sales) is I suppose possible but again it strikes me as a bit early in the serial scheme.
Perhaps Absolam will check in.
 

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No personal significance. It would be nice though having a factory letter that says 'This revolver was carried aboard the Lusitania and presented to the Queen by Horace Smith himself'.

😁
Really nice looking gun, but at the risk of sounding ignorant who is Horace Smith?
He wouldn't happen to be the captain of the U-Boat that torpedoed her would he?



Sent from my Commodore 64 running Windoze 95
 
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Guy and OP, the painted rack number calls up memories of a unit arms room in my army days. A place where you drew "your" weapon going on duty and it was returned to its place in the rack when you returned it. I can imagine no other explanation. I have yet to see definitive proof the .38 S&W was sold through the DSC or issued as a substitute standard to our military.
I do know most paperwork simply referred to S&W .38 and serial numbers without further explanation. I am well aware we loaded the 175 grain .38 S&W/Colt's New Police in the states and that the round survived in postal, rail and police hands for sometime beyond the war. In fact I have my father's Police Positive marked to the Railway Express Agency.
I also know British Service Revolvers survived the war with no post factory markings. Whether they went over and came back is debated by some. Yours went somewhere.
My opinion backed by observation is that in 1940-1941almost everything happened; after the war everything else happened. My gut tells me your gun was sidetracked to an arms room enviornment somewhere off the beatened path and was reimported after 1968 marking rules took hold. Where Interarms acquired it would be far more interesting. My imagination conjures up something exotic, off-beat; interesting. And I do not believe a factory letter will reveal the answer.
 

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It seems nobody has asked about a UNITED STATES PROPERTY stamping on the topstrap. You probably would have mentioned it. At that serial in later 1941, that would be just about the time Lend-Lease took over from the British Purchasing Commission, unless the gun went elsewhere than Britain as a direct purchase contract.

But the hammer and trigger are blued, making a refinish at some point likely, and the property stamp often fell victim to that. Of course, that in turn means the number was painted on after the refinish, which is a bit odd.

The Interarms stamp, unusual on these, means it was not used in the US, but most likely ended up in some country that was part of the former Empire, and was only later swept up in one of Sam Cummings’ surplus sweeps.
 

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Burk, take another look. That gun's finish is righteous, IMO. The hammer and trigger are dark in some of the images but I don't think they've been blued. There is no indication of polishing on the rest of the gun.
 

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Guy:
I’m conflicted. I enlarged the photos and you’re right that the finish looks good in general and especially the logo on the sideplate appears exceptionally crisp and definitely not buffed.
On the other hand, looking at the trigger in the second and third photo, no way is that just faded case color, it appears solid shiny bluing at least based on these less than ideal photos.
So I wouldn’t put down money either way. I would like to see the gun in decent natural light; the yellowish artificial light does not make it easy. I’d also like to see a close-up of the topstrap.
If it indeed appears to be original and not had either L-L property stampings nor Enfield acceptance stampings, it would definitely be worth a letter. Then it was likely a direct-purchase contract to a third country.
 

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Thanks! I guess to Kashtin, you might get some interesting info from an Historian's letter. But, it might not provide enough provenance to make the investment pay off. IOW, it's not likely you will cash in on a letter. YMMV.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Guy:
I’m conflicted. I enlarged the photos and you’re right that the finish looks good in general and especially the logo on the sideplate appears exceptionally crisp and definitely not buffed.
On the other hand, looking at the trigger in the second and third photo, no way is that just faded case color, it appears solid shiny bluing at least based on these less than ideal photos.
So I wouldn’t put down money either way. I would like to see the gun in decent natural light; the yellowish artificial light does not make it easy. I’d also like to see a close-up of the topstrap.
If it indeed appears to be original and not had either L-L property stampings nor Enfield acceptance stampings, it would definitely be worth a letter. Then it was likely a direct-purchase contract to a third country.
Absolom, I agree that in the pictures the hammer and trigger look dark. The light I snapped the pics in is not the best. When I look at the hammer and trigger in natural light the parts appear to be a dark grey case hardened. Darker grey than some of my other weapons with case hardened parts but not a shiney blue. The topstrap has no markings. There is the expected P on the butt on the other side of the lanyard loop. It is hard to see as they filled it with the yellow paint. The 74 rack marking intrigued me. It must have come from a fairly sizable agency with at least 73 more of these.
 

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. The topstrap has no markings. There is the expected P on the butt on the other side of the lanyard loop.

I’ll take your word for the trigger; you have the gun and can judge it best.
If it just has the P on the but and no W.B. and ordnance bomb, that would indeed mean it was pre-Lend-Lease and the absence of a topstrap property mark is legitimate.
So it likely served in some third country associated with Britain and the Commonwealth where the number was painted on, whether during the war or later we don’t know. The Pakistanis used white-painted numbers on revolvers, although usually on the side, not butt. We know of both Enfields and S&Ws so numbered. But guns coming back from that part of the world are not usually in this nice a shape.
 

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