S&W Factory Letter Arrived, Good News!

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Homerboy, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    I bought a pre Model 10 last spring. Looked like a cop gun. Had a shield number on the backstrap. Had a post on the S&W forum and one of the members said it is likely a NYPD gun, since the serial number fell in a bracket that he knew was shipped to the NYPD and the shield number on the backstrap was standard back then. Then I posted a pic and my number is etched in with an etching tool, and the whole backstrap looked like it was been sanded down, and didn’t look at all like the neat stamping of numbers that was the practice at the time. The member who commented on it said maybe the original officer had a neat stamping, left the job, and the gun was sold to another, who then removed the original number and added his own. I'm a retired member of the NYPD so I was hoping for it to be true. Stocks number to the gun, as well.

    Letter arrived today. Shipped 10/11/46 and sent to the New York Police Department. It was one of 500 in that shipment and was sold for the Police price of $42.10.

    Where has it been for 74 years? How many hands did it pass through before ending up in a gun shop in North East PA? Wherever it’s been, it’s found it’s last home. My son will have it one day and I hope he keeps it, as well.

    Just a typical cop’s gun, but it’s special to me. Took a while for the letter but it was worth the wait.
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  2. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    Would love to see that guys tax number, great find bother. Enjoy it.
     
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  3. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    That's awesome. Especially as you were a member of that dept.
    Your family has a new heirloom!
     
  4. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    Yeah. I sent an email to RM Vivas. He used to have actual log books from the equipment section with name of officer. He hasn’t answered me yet.
     
  5. JJFitch

    JJFitch Member

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    What a beautiful piece. Honest wear but not abused!

    Smiles,
     
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  6. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    yeah. Action is smooth as glass, too. Only fired 12 rounds through it but so smooth.
     
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  7. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    Would be a very cool thing to know. I do not think the shield desk has any info that old, I think they only go back to the 70's. Call the Union and see if someone could inquire. At least you have a timeframe from when that shield was issued. It is PO for sure.
     
  8. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    I thought about that but I figure they’d tell me to get a life! Unless I got lucky and a gun guy answered the phone.
     
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  9. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Homerboy

    Very cool! Still in great shape and with such a nice smooth action, like it's been waiting around all these years for you to come around and buy it!
     
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  10. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Very nice. It has gone from one loving NYPD hand to another. That’s a great story. Maybe you can get some of the details filled in from start to finish.
     
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  11. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    Don't mention a gun, tell them you are doing family Ancestry
     
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  12. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    I thought about that, but wouldn’t I already have the name if I was doing a family ancestry? It would be more believable if I was looking for a shield number, not a name.
     
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  13. 5whiskey

    5whiskey Member

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    Man that is a cool story. I just started expanding my collecting priorities to include early-mid 20th century police revolvers. I got my first k-frame pre model 10 the other day. I’m thinking of getting a factory letter for mine, though there’s no shield number so not sure if it was police issue.

    I’m glad that worked out for you, I would be stoked in your shoes. I work for a smaller agency and would love to have one of our pistols from the 40s-50s. We were probably around 10-15 full time officers then, and almost zero chance of me finding a revolver known to have been issued in our agency, so that’s the beauty of working for an agency like NYPD.
     
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  14. ArkieVol

    ArkieVol Member

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    Congrats on finding one from your own department!

    I’m retired from a Tennessee department and saw this gun on Gun Broker, no mention of it being police related. It was the same model 10 I was issued in 1965 and the wear pattern was the same as my duty gun. When I got the gun I found the shield number on the back strap. So, just out of curiosity I got a factory letter that confirmed it was a police officer’s gun. The NYPD sold it to Yonkers Raceway’s security who later sold it to the dealer from whom I bought it. I contacted Mr. Vivas, got the officer’s name and did a little research. I found he had been an Irish immigrant (1927, age 6 with family), lived in the Bronx, served in WW II and joined the NYPD on 20 March 1946. An Irish New York cop! Imagine that, lol!

    I have not done any further research but if you find an NYPD source of info on individual officers of that era I would appreciate a heads-up. Congats again on a great find.
    M&P 1946_NYPD.jpg victory model M&P 1945 backstrapp.jpg M&P 1946_NYPD letter sm.jpg
     
  15. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    That’s great! I emailed Vivas from the email on his website but no answer. How did you get a hold of him? I’ve seen some others who mentioned Yonkers Raceway.
     
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  16. ArkieVol

    ArkieVol Member

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    Hi HB,
    I contacted him via email. He's an active member of the S&W Forum, you may be able to reach him there.
    http://smith-wessonforum.com/search.php?searchid=12546931 - Do a search for RM Vivas, click contact info, send "private message" or another email.

    Yonkers: The dealer I bought this gun from 10 years ago (Smoke N Gun Shop, Mt. Vernon, NY) advised he had bought a whole batch of these guns from the Raceway and assumed they were making the transition from revolvers to semi-autos, don't know how many or if any others were NYPD.
     
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  17. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Cool!! One word of advice: keep it original. I have a 10-5 purported by the seller to be LEO but no proof of provenance so I discounted it. It was a tad beat up so I attempted to "touch up" the bluing. Which was a mistake. I ended up stripping it down to the bare metal and polishing it. Now it's a really nice-looking gun but no longer bears any resemblance to a well-used and faithful LEO duty weapon. It's kind of like it lost its heritage.
     
  18. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    To the OP...That old 5 screw is in really good shape. Love on her and take care of her...
     
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  19. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd member

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    Congratulations on the pistol and the letter.

    I have yet to regret popping for letters on guns - though - I am careful about which ones I bother on as well.

    Todd.
     
  20. Blue Jays

    Blue Jays Member

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    That is really cool to have a genuine historical narrative to store along with the revolver.
    Anyone who loves items with patina or mesmerized by black & white photos will love it.
     
  21. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    Must be on a roll. I bought a Ruger Service Six a few months ago. Chambered in .38 Special. The gun shop said he bought it from a retired cop. NYPD authorized these. Due to a cop thumbing the hammer of his Model 10 and killing a kid he shouldn't have, as of July 1 1987, all new revolvers would be stainless and DAO, so the blued Service Six with a hammer like I have was replaced by a stainless DAO model. The last class to get the blued gun was in January 1987.

    So the letter from Ruger arrives today. $10 and got it very quickly. Gun was produced in January 1987 at the Newport, New Hampshire facility, and shipped to the New York Police Department in January, 1987. Truly the last of the blued series.

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    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  22. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I bought my LCP from them when I retired back in 2009. Nice people, crummy neighborhood. lol

    @Homerboy, you're doing good, two in a row!
     
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  23. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    Interesting story.

    I bought this used Model 10-5 about 20 years ago at a local shop. Best price I ever got on a Smith, $125 out the door. Of course that was 20 years ago. Anyway, I have always assumed the number 54 stamped on the frame above the trigger guard was a police department armorer's rack number.

    My casual research into the Serial Number told me that this one shipped around 1964. I guess I should have lettered it back then, when letters only cost $30, to find out if it really was an LEO gun and where it served. They cost $100 now, so I'm probably not going to look into it.

    Yes, it gets to the range a couple of times a year, and it still shoots as good as when it left the factory.

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  24. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I've always thought the factory letters, and the Winchester Museum letters, were expensive. Shocked to see Ruger only charges $10, good for them.
     
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  25. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Go buy a lottery ticket. Your luck is pretty amazing.:)
     
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