This follow-up post obviously started with Sig's initial post about Griffin & Howe having records of Von Lengerke & Detmold and that Thompson guns were involved.
Well as I signed on to the board back in November 2015, I noticed the Von Lengerke & Detmold name as part of a recent post and it was right-indented next to the "Colt Serial #" thread headline. I had already received Doug Richardson's original sale and shipping information on his Auto-Ordnance letterhead and was quite surprised that my Colt No. 7976 was initially purchased and shipped to Von Lengerke & Detmold Company, New York, New York on May 10, 1928. So I was interested to see what this VL&D reference was all about. To those who aren't familiar, Von Lengerke & Detmold was a well known and respected arms and sporting goods merchant in New York City back in 1928.
Once again I was surprised to see my gun listed among 20 Thompsons that Sig had re-listed from the initial Griffin & Howe link to the records. Let's say it might have been minutes and I was already talking on the phone with Mr. Robert C. Beach, Archivist-Historian at Griffin & Howe, Inc. Per their letterhead they have a store & provide gunsmithing services in Bernardsville, NJ, a store in Greenwich, CT and a shooting school & event hosting in Andover, NJ.
After a couple of emails, $60.00 and a few weeks, a pretty good sized packet of information arrived from Griffin & Howe.
1. Griffin & Howe's "Certificate of Inventory and Disposition" for the Thompson...listing model, caliber, weight, barrel length, the cost of the gun to VL&D, the price of the gun and the name of the original owner.
2. An 8 1/2 x 11 digital photograph of the page from the record book on which the Thompson appears.
3. An enlargement of the relevant lines from the record book for easier reading.
4. A page and one half of "Notes On" the Thompson. This narrative generally explains how inventory was managed and how items were consigned or sold at VL&D. It walks through the inventory line for No. 7976. The "Notes" further discuss the person who purchased the gun in 1928. It offers very specific information about this man. The "Notes" also explain how to unravel the letter/number substitution cipher that Griffin & Howe used to enter the cost and selling price of the Thompson in code. After reading this I was expecting to have to mail away for a decoder ring. Blurred text intentional.
5. Thirteen pages of information on the original owner. To include:
a. Yale obituary record
b. Yale University Yearbook information
c. 1910 Census
d. 1920 Census
e. 1930 Census
f. 1940 Census
g. WWI Military Service Records (2)
h. Passenger Manifests 1926 (2)
i. Ancestry.com informational pages
6. Two page history of Abercrombie & Fitch, Von Lengerke & Detmold, Von Lengerke & Antoine and Griifin & Howe. An interesting account of how they are all connected.
And now a surprising coincidence. After I had purchased No. 7976 back in 1979, sure I wanted to buy more Thompsons. They were relatively inexpensive and I rationalized that I could buy other models later so I had to pursue other guns that were on the "list". Back then (1970's) Broomhandles were like hen's teeth. We'd scour the Shotgun News looking for any new gun that might have posted since the last issue. Lugers were in this hunt also. Colt Thompsons were around but other business had to be done.
Well I purchased a beautiful 1896 Mauser Broomhandle with a thirty thousand range serial number for almost as much as I paid for the Colt.
And what is engraved and white-filled on the side plate of the Broomhandle? What else: Von Lengerke & Detmold. At the time I had no idea that No. 7976 came through that outfitter.
Gordon Herigstad's book covers the basic information about this transfer from Colt/AOC to VL& D and then on to Harry S. Durand. Mr. Beach told me he had spoken to Gordon but was unaware that he had passed. Physically having the inventory record copies that reflect the transfers and seeing the hand recorded entries makes this provenance, preserved by Griffin & Howe from the records of Von Lengerke & Detmold, a great addition to the history of No. 7976.
Hats off to Sig for finding the link and posting. Thank you! If others have their gun numbers listed, don't hesitate to contact Griffin & Howe. It's worth It.
After Harry's death there is no further transfers noted. Also the gun was refitted to a Navy Overstamp configuration. Then the gun was purchased by Colorado Springs Police department and on to Roger Cox and then to me. There may be another owner that I'm unaware of since I haven't done an FOIA as yet but that is in the works.
I've included pictures of the relevant items as well as photos of the Broomhandle, NO. 7976 and a VL&D catalog.