Guns that have been stolen from Springfield Armory Musuem


July 30, 2004, 02:37 PM
I did a search to see if I could turn up a thread that talked about this. The morale of the story is if you are buying an expensive antique gun make sure it isn't stolen from Uncle Sam.

Historic Firearm Returned to Armory Museum
Oct 7th, 2003

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior Springfield Armory
National Historic Site

One Armory Square
Springfield MA 01105-1299

413.734.8551 phone
413.747.8062 fax

Springfield Armory NHS News Release

September 26, 2003 413-734-6478 x 226

Historic Firearm Returned to Armory Museum

A rare historic firearm, stolen 45 years ago, was recovered by the FBI and returned to its rightful home in the Springfield Armory Museum. FBI officials handed over the weapon to the Springfield Armory National Historic Site staff and Congressman Richard Neal in a September 26th ceremony.

The firearm, a Model 1839 Musketoon, was recovered by the FBI from a private collector who had innocently purchased the arm at auction. The musketoon is a “United States Model” arm and is designated on the weapon as “USM.” The weapon is valued at $50,000 and likely the only model known to exist. After a thorough examination, cleaning, and full documentation, it will be put on display for the public to view.

Armory National Historic Site Superintendent, J. Douglas Cuillard states, “We are very grateful to the FBI for taking the lead and recovering this weapon that belongs to all Americans. And we hope that this action will lead to the recovery of other historic weapons missing from the Armory’s world famous Benton Small Arms Collection.”

Throughout its long history as an Army museum, opening to the public in 1871, many other weapons in the collection were stolen or are missing. There is no statue of limitations on stolen federal property and, the National Park Service is actively seeking the missing weapons. The Springfield Armory National Historic Site, under the management of the National Park Service was established in 1978.

Attached is a partial list of weapons that are documented as stolen from the Springfield Armory Museum and an example of a firearm taken from one other National Park museum. Anyone with information on these arms is encouraged to contact either:
Clark D. Guy, Special Agent in Charge
Northeast Regional Office
National Park Service
U.S. Custom House
200 Chestnut Street, Fifth Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106 Fax: 215-597-8641 Tel: 215-597-7135

Or Contact:

Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Attn: Law Enforcement Ranger
One Armory Square – Suite 2

TEL: 413-734-6478 x. 232
FAX: 413-747-8062

To view the list, click here (

I could be wrong but this one sounds like it is the most valuable.

The National Park Service is also seeking information on President Theodore Roosevelt’s Colt Model 1895 revolver stolen in April 1990 from Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. According to available records, the weapon is a standard six-shot, side-swing cylinder, .38 caliber revolver, with black checkered hard rubber Navy-type grips that are stamped at the top with an oval medallion bearing the name Colt. Weapon is equipped with the standard rounded blade front sight, and a notch cut in the top of the frame rear sight. The serial number of the weapon is 16334. This weapon was originally shipped to the government on 30 March 1895. Distinguishing marks on the frame include: Right side: JULY 1ST 1898/SAN JUAN/CARRIED AND USED BY/COL. THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Left side: FROM THE SUNKEN BATTLESHIP MAINE. Butt is marked: USN, 38 DA NO. 5770 NCT 16/334. NCT = Lt. Nathan C. Twining, USN.

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4v50 Gary
July 30, 2004, 03:16 PM
Wasn't Vicksburg or some other National Park Battlefield site recently burgled and a couple of historic revolvers stolen? :cuss: Those guns belong to "we the people" and the rascal who abscounded with them should be sentenced to community service.

Dress him up as a soldier and reenact those wonderful Civil War punishments. Buck & Gag, horse riding (straddle a plank that is astride two barrels) tied up by the thumbs. Barrel shirt with "thief" on it and made to parade around the park at bayonet point. Must also explain his crime to the public and pose for pics. Cruel & unusual? Naw... it's reenacting.

BTW, if any artifact (including a firearm) is traced as stolen from a museum and they want it back, give it back & cooperate with the FBI (FBI handles theft from museums). Any refusal is fine & time.

July 30, 2004, 05:13 PM
I wonder if the buyer has any recourse against the auction house.

George Hill
July 30, 2004, 08:54 PM
I'm surprised the FBI didn't just cut it up.

4v50 Gary
July 30, 2004, 08:54 PM
I think where objects are stolen and sold by the auction house, the auction house has to reimburse the buyer. I'm given to understand that they have the responsibility of verifying the provenance (ownership & title) of an object and that when they auction it off they are also guaranteeing clear title to it. That's why museums and good auction houses keep all those old catalogs. They can actually trace the ownership of some paintings and art work back a few centuries.:eek:

I guess that's why my coupon and boxtops for the Mona Lisa wasn't honored by the Louvre.

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