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Any Colt fans out there? I have a Question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by gwb4964, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. gwb4964

    gwb4964 Member

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    I am considering buying a Colt Commando 38 spl. 4" manufactured in 1942 in good condition, no head space and cylinder is tight barrel looks good. However someone has etched what appears to be a social security number in the left side and on the bottom of the frame. I've never seen this before I'm attaching some pictures of the revolver below not sure if the etching will show up or not. any Idea if what this is or if it ruined the value and how much?
    gwb4964
    commando 1.JPG commando 2.JPG commando 3.JPG commando 4.JPG

    I called and got the serial No. its 47267 with a Z underneith it not sure if thats an inspector Letter or just what.

    I just ran the SSN number and the pistol belonged to a Robert Clark from Michigan he was Born May 9, 1926 and Died February 1976 this information was found by Jewishgen.org and I used the Steve More .org website and the SSN number to get this information.

    So having this makes this revolver more valuable to me I'm going to buy it.
    thanks to all of you who participated in helping me to research this and give the feedback. I appreciate it greatly
    gwb4964
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  2. OARNGESI

    OARNGESI Member

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    Not worth top dollar but still a cool find I would get it for the right price
     
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  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    gwb4964

    The Colt looks to be in decent shape, though there is that slight matter of the numbers (possibly electro-penciled), on the frame. Might hurt the collector's value somewhat but for the right price that's a pretty nice Commando.

    I have a S&W M&P revolver from the same time period and someone marked it "GE Co.", possibly for use by a security guard at a General Electric plant during the war.
     
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  4. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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  5. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Member

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    In the 60s & 70s people electro penciled SSN on all sorts of things. The idea was that if it was ever stolen, it would be easy to prove it belonged to them.
     
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  6. gwb4964

    gwb4964 Member

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    That is a nice one, what year was it manufactured? The one I'm looking at is tight also and should be a good shooter.
    thanks for the reply,
    gwb4964
     
  7. gwb4964

    gwb4964 Member

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    I can't imagine putting my SSN number out there for everyone to view but I'm betting that is what it is. I thought I might try to look up the number to see who's it was and a little about the revolver if they are still alive. not sure I can even figure out how but just a thought.
    Thanks for the reply,
    gwb4964
     
  8. Monac

    Monac Member

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    I think I read in Charles Pate's "U.S. Handguns of World War II" that a number of companies that were issued Colt Commandos as guard guns while working on federal contracts during the war would mark the contract number on the gun, so that they would know when to return the guns and what to refer to when doing so. But what the original poster has sure is someone's SSI. People did not used to be so careful about their SSI number, because identity theft did not use to be so much of a thing.

    I have a Colt finished exactly like a Commando, with the Colt plastic grips just like the OP's. It has the number "B.39144" electro-pencilled on the sideplate. But it is marked Official Police instead of Commando, and has the top-strap matting. And the electro-penciling seems to be under the Parkerizing, so it may just be a re-finished, re-gripped Official Police. But the Parkerizing is just like wartime, so IDK. It's close enough to a Commando for me!
     
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  9. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    For $375 its a good buy. Commandos (and Official Police) are kinda at the bottom wrung of the Colt collector spectrum anyway. Consider it a good, inexpensive shooter which will not burn a hole in your pocket.

    The problem with collector/investment guns is that you will always be thinking about that $1500 revolver in your safe which you never shoot and what else you could be doing with the money.

    I say give that old Colt a new home and have fun with it!
     
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  10. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Mine was made in 1921, IIRC. Its trigger is better than my 1916 S&W, and its sights are slightly better as well. I decided to hunt down a Colt revolver on Gunbroker, the only reason being that I didn't own one. I can't remember if I decided on 38 special first, and then this was the least expensive one I could find, or if this was overall just the least expensive one (probably the former). I don't recall for sure how long I stalked them, maybe a few weeks? $375 for the one pictured above seems like a pretty good deal. The finish looks nice. If it locks up nice and tight the OP could get many years of shooting out of it, probably decades.
     
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  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    There was one of those "Consumer Campaigns" back in the 1970's, informing people to etch their Social Security number on their valuables, so if they were stolen, the Police could easily find the owner. I still have a drawer full of Craftsman screwdrivers and wrenches with my SS on them, which shows how gullible I was. Now I know, property crimes are low on law enforcement proprieties, property recovery from the Police is unlikely, as the bureau makes money selling your property to well connected auction houses, even if they have all the information necessary to find you.

    Bought stolen item at police auction

    [​IMG]
    https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/5m9mqw/bought_stolen_item_at_police_auction_tx/

    I bought a item at a police auction awhile back on impulse, didn't use it and went to go re-sell it on craigslist.

    A guy claiming to be the original owner emails me claiming its his. He provided a police report number and a serial that matches the item. He said his house was broken into and the item was stolen from him.

    I have a bill of sale and documentation that I bought it at the auction house that sells unclaimed items and property form the local PD's and counties.

    I don't know if I own it, he owns, or what to do. I haven't contacted the police or the auction house, in fear of having it taken from me without any refund for the 4 digit price tag I pad for it.

    I don't know if in Texas there is a certain time period for unclaimed items by the state or what. If it truely was stolen from him, shouldn't the police department have been able to return it to him if it was his while they had it in their possession?



    Back in the pre internet era, no one thought of identity theft so you regularly gave out your SSN, but now, we know better. And if I wanted a pristine WW2 issue Colt, that SSN inscribed on the side of that revolver, would make that think undesirable. I would consider the pistol a shooter, a curiosity, with a web search you can find who had that SSN, which I would do, to find out if that was Jimmie Hoffa's gun, or some other infamous celebrity.
     
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  12. JT-AR-MG42

    JT-AR-MG42 Member

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    The gun is definitely out of the collectible category, but would rank very high in the 'really nice condition shooter' category.
    The lack of the U.S. military proof on the upper left frame (some Commandos were not stamped) would also detract value slightly.

    If the numbers really bother you, and the price is right,
    you could have a good smith peen the numbers over and touch up the area.
    It does look that deep to me and there is no de-faced pony to deal with.

    That is a nice looking pistol with honest holster wear and probably not a high round count based on the condition of the ejector rod.

    JT
     
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  13. gwb4964

    gwb4964 Member

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    Wow never heard of that happening that is a dilemma I'd talk to the PD about it first maybe they did try to find the guy but with no success. Or maybe he's the one that stole it first Ha! good luck!
    thanks for the reply
    gwb4964
     
  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Jimmy Hoffa moved to Detroit with his parents in 1924, and the first Social Security number was issued in 1936........Maybe this is a clue in his disappearance.

    Probably not.

    I do think a 1942 manufactured Colt would be a military piece. We were in a rather big war at the time, it had just kicked off Dec 1941, and consumer goods where highly rationed. (If you had a tire to trade, or better yet, stockings, you could ask your price) I really, really doubt any gun maker was allowed to make guns for the civilian market, as all guns were needed to fight the bad guys.
     
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  15. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Member

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    Back then identity theft wasn't really a thing. No one even thought about it. My dad, a police chief put his SSN on our TV, stereo and other items. My grandmother's name is electro penciled on the receiver of her Winchester 190 that I now own.
     
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  16. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    For decades it was not a problem ... until it was. :)

    I can remember my Dad telling me, in the late'50s-early'60s, about how many folks did that with their more expensive, portable property items. As I recall, he suggested that if I ever decided to adopt the practice, it would probably be best to select a covered location,
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
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  17. gwb4964

    gwb4964 Member

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    So having this makes this revolver more valuable to me I'm going to buy it.
    thanks to all of you who participated in helping me to research this and give the feedback. I appreciate it greatly
    gwb4964 :thumbup:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2018 at 9:17 AM
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  18. BSA1

    BSA1 member

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    Unfortunately local Police Departments encouraged this. Apparently the Police were not smart enough back then to understand the meaning of serial numbers. A friend has a Japanese revolver and rifle in excellent condition that his Dad brought back from the Pacific after WWII that are defaced by him engraving his Social Security number on them. After all they were just old guns to him.
     
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  19. Monac

    Monac Member

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    Well, the SS number linked the item to you personally. If you had the the serial number, you still had to prove that that gun was once your property. Your SS number being ON the gun established that it was once in your possession, at least. Still, I bet it was not the fast road to legal recovery of stolen property that the people who promoted the idea thought it was. The law is not that simple, usually for darn good reasons.
     
  20. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    I have a mint condition Colt Commando. It has a bead-blasted finish that resembles a dark Parkerizing. There are very few markings on it -- the Colt address and patent dates on the top of the barrel, and "Colt Commando .38 Special" on the left side of the barrel. The serial number is stamped on the frame underneath the cylinder yoke, and on the yoke itself. There is no rampant colt or "U.S.Property" marking. There is nothing marked on the heel of the butt.

    Since the finish on the OP's example is well worn, I see nothing wrong with having it bead blasted and reblued / Parkerized, thereby getting rid of the offending ssn. Find a gunsmith that can do this carefully. I believe that this would not detract from the collector value, and might actually enhance it. The presence of the ssn already detracts seriously from the collector value.
     
  21. Whiterook808

    Whiterook808 Member

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    I once saw a guy at the range who had a Browning Nomad with the SSN electropenicled all over it. The thing was UGLY! One thing to watch out for is that the SSN may be under the grips on a revolver. I bought a mint M29 once and didn't know that SSN was there until got home and I took the grips off.
     
  22. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Some Police officers marked guns and such so as to be able to prove chain of custody. Using SSN was not un heard of but more often initials or badge number. When NYCPD recovered my father in law's WWI era Colt revolver from a thug the cop making the arrest of the thug that had it scratched his initials under the cylinder release with a sharp object. It was otherwise pristine and a pain to get back to New Jersey from "The City" but had family sentiment as his Grand Dad had bought it for WWI service and his dad carried it in WWII service (both non combat, but service)

    I still regret turning down a nickeled .22 WMR S&W that had electro penciled signature on the left side because it was "too ugly" Buddy that bought it 35 years ago still has it and it still shoots great.

    -kBob
     
  23. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    Y'all have to remember that tracing a serial number was a lot of work. There were no databases, few computers. To track a gun sold new after 1968 the ATF could dig into the files and find where it was sold, then send an agent to the dealer and check his records. And if the gun was sold second hand there was no record unless an honest dealer recorded it. If a gun was reported stolen it was usually only traced after it had been used in criminal activity. No one had the manpower to do the work. The SSN made things much easier. Some bought their own engravers, but many took their guns, electronics and other valuables when a local group organized a drive.
     
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