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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just wanted to post my latest acquisition. It is a Colt Official Police. It was purchased by the British Purchasing Commission in 1941 prior to the Lend Lease act. The gun was specially marked in the British 38-200 caliber. The gun is all matched and non-import marked. It was one of 18,250 guns specially purchased and marked with a contract number on the butt. The British then decided who would receive the guns. It is speculated that around 8,000 of the contract went to Australia. This gun is marked with the D arrow D mark for the Australian Defense Department and then on the left side it is marked with a 3/2142. Indicating the 3rd district of Victoria and the gun number. Enjoy.
 

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Very nice! Don't see those too often!
 

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Oh, that makes me sit up and take notice! Very few of these are seen.

One of my soft spots in collecting are the Colt pistols and revolvers, especially the ones with military experience.

I would not have been able to resist that one. Great find!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys for the comments. I never expected to come across one! Lend lease guns are readily available. But these prior direct purchase guns do not seem to survice to often. Then I was thrilled to to find it was non-import marked! I just ordered my Colt letter for it. I figured this one was worth getting one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Martin.....Now that is fascinating ! Your gun is 2,125 before mine, Yet the contract number stamped on the butt of mine is 15,916 out of the 18,250. So, this would seem to indicate they filled that order amongst filling this BPC order. I would have thought the 15,915 guns prior to mine would have all been part of the British purchase. That is interesting. Another thing caught my eye. Your gun is nicely marked with the US. Yet, I see the gun was shipped to a factory. I know the practice happened closer to 1944, where instead of orders competeing for each other , factories and police agencies were given guns from government stock. I am surprised that it happened here. A gun given from government stock to a factory PRIOR to the war breaking out! By the way, on top the topics just mentioned your gun is absolutely beautiful !
 

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Martin.....Now that is fascinating ! Your gun is 2,125 before mine, Yet the contract number stamped on the butt of mine is 15,916 out of the 18,250. So, this would seem to indicate they filled that order amongst filling this BPC order. I would have thought the 15,915 guns prior to mine would have all been part of the British purchase. That is interesting. ….
I forgot the details, but Paul from Colt Archives looked it up and came up with earliest and latest.
The 18,250 BPC guns were not produced and shipped as one big order in one serial block, but as batches over the course of more than a year.
See letter example below (not mine).

Font Material property Paper Paper product Circle
 

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I forgot the details, but Paul from Colt Archives looked it up and came up with earliest and latest.
The 18,250 BPC guns were not produced and shipped as one big order in one serial block, but as batches over the course of more than a year.
See letter example below (not mine).

View attachment 670689
As always, Absalom, thanks for providing the expanded evidence on how the British Purchasing Commission contract was filled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Absalom,....Yes, I second Martins comments! That is interesting information. I will be sure to update this thread once I receive my letter. I just wonder then if we will indeed see a close date to Martins for shipping or they held off until they had enough guns for the next shipment? I noticed your post of the letter for gun # 663054 was shipped to the BPC in June. Then Martins gun at #669978 was shipped in September. Then we have mine coming in at #672103....This could possibly put it back into December based on the time line from the other two letters. I hope I do not have to wait the full 90 days now to receive it LOL.
 

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Martin.....Now that is fascinating ! Your gun is 2,125 before mine, Yet the contract number stamped on the butt of mine is 15,916 out of the 18,250. So, this would seem to indicate they filled that order amongst filling this BPC order. I would have thought the 15,915 guns prior to mine would have all been part of the British purchase. That is interesting. Another thing caught my eye. Your gun is nicely marked with the US. Yet, I see the gun was shipped to a factory. I know the practice happened closer to 1944, where instead of orders competeing for each other , factories and police agencies were given guns from government stock. I am surprised that it happened here. A gun given from government stock to a factory PRIOR to the war breaking out! By the way, on top the topics just mentioned your gun is absolutely beautiful !
Thanks, Sam.

Yes, it is a gem of a wheel-gun.

And though I have no way to prove that the 'US' was added for the purpose of security by the United States Military or Intelligence Agencies in Lynn, Mass., I don't believe it to be a coincidence that the Colt Official Police was sent to the GE Plant in the same two week period as the arrival of the Top Secret Whittle Jet Engine from England.

There was more than just regular security happening at an industrial factory in pre-war times. I suspect that the US Government had quite a close watch going on at General Electric. Below is a link to a brief summary of the secret jet propulsion project and team.

The Story Of The 1st US Jet Engine: The Hush-Hush Boys Wanted To Win The War But Ended Up Shrinking The World | GE News
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Martin,....WOW...knock me over with a feather. I agree there is no way to prove conclusively, but That would make perfect sense ! As I indicated, I was only aware of guns being government procured later during the war and then issued to private companies or police departments. This way all guns went through the government and they could distribute as they saw fit. I was perplexed by a gun, which was US marked prior to the war, but was sent to a private company. This secrect project would make sense that being classified secret, they would have had military police presence or other military guards on site! Now, why the military personnel wouldn't have brought along their own weapons is another question, but the story does make sense that the government would provide a miliatry or security presence and this predates the war because the project did! How very cool !!!! Two thumbs up !
 

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As I indicated, I was only aware of guns being government procured later during the war and then issued to private companies or police departments. This way all guns went through the government and they could distribute as they saw fit. I was perplexed by a gun, which was US marked prior to the war, but was sent to a private company. ….
Sam:

Just to clarify an incorrect impression you may have: With very few exceptions, the government did not issue any guns to any private companies and police departments at any time during the war.
They did, however, take control of the allocation of revolvers. This task was assigned to an existing public agency, the Defense Supplies Corporation or DSC, beginning around Dec. 1941.
From that time on, companies and police agencies had to buy the guns from the DSC, not the factory, after being approved as an authorized recipient. For a few months, until March 1942, the DSC actually received the guns in bulk mainly from Colt and S&W and shipped them on as sold. After that, the process was streamlined and the DSC just had open contracts at the manufacturers, and when an authorized recipient had paid the DSC, they sent a ship order to Colt or S&W telling them to ship X number of revolvers to Z.
Any revolver that letters as shipped from the factory to the recipient, like Martin‘s, was purchased by the recipient from the DSC, not issued. When the US was added to the frame is a different question.
Any gun actually issued to a defense contractor by the military (and there are a few known cases) will letter as shipped to the Army or Navy, since those guns came out of existing inventory at some depot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Absalom.....hmm. I think we are basically on the same page however, I thought that after a certain time all guns were procured or had to to be authorized by the DSC and they acted as a sort of intermediary and had the right to determine if a military contractor got the gun or not. Case in point see attached. I have a colt Commando which is Ordnance bomb proofed. According to the Colt letter it indicates they shipped it directly to a Military Contractor. This would seem to indicate the Military inspector was at the factory and the DSC decided whether to send the gun to the front line or allow the factory to fill a contracted order? Am I missing something?
 

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. I have a colt Commando which is Ordnance bomb proofed. According to the Colt letter it indicates they shipped it directly to a Military Contractor. This would seem to indicate the Military inspector was at the factory and the DSC decided whether to send the gun to the front line or allow the factory to fill a contracted order?
The problem with Colt is that on the Commandos, the type of proof, acceptance, and inspection marks is not in any way related to the gun‘s ultimate destination. This is a fundamental difference from S&W, where, after a brief shake-out period in early 1942, you can generally rely on military guns having specific US markings and DSC guns not. With the Commando, that was not the case; apparently, the decision which shipment a gun was assigned to was not made until after the guns had run through the entire inspection/acceptance process. There are plenty of Commandos with full ordnance markings, flaming bomb plus GHD, that shipped to commercial DSC customers; I have such a gun that went to Northrop. What if anything a Commando has stamped in that spot on the frame seems related to when the gun was made, not where it went, at least according to Charles Pate‘s research.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Jotte...Welcome to the forum....The pictures you provided are not the clearest, but It does not appear to be a BPC purchased Colt. I would suggest you invest in a Colt letter which would give its history. It is a contract gun for someone..... but does not appear to be one for the BPC. The barrel appears cut down. The slide legend and caliber appear half missing. While they did purchase anything they could get their hands on, even some in 357 cal. yours does not appear to be in the 38-200 caliber. Also, I do not see a Woolwich Arsenal inspector mark on the frame, which is usually on the top near the hammer behind the cylinder. Likewise there is no lanyard swivel on the butt. So, you do have an interesting gun, I just do not think its one of the BPC ones. But who knows.....if it is a legit 2.5 inch barrel gun, and seeing the low contract number of 7, it may have been bought for the British OSS forces. So, once again a Colt letter would answer all the questions.
 

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There is no question the Colt above has some post-service modifications--the cut barrel and ejector rod. Commandos did not get a lanyard loop like S&W Victory Model revolvers. I'm guessing this gun is not a Commando but an Official Police that was a pre-war shipment to a police department. A serial number and better pictures would help.
 
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