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#1 hawk

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 10:26 PM

I am looking for information on the value of a Thompson L Drum I have. It is stamped:
Auto-Ordnance Corp.
New York N.Y. U.S.A.
Patented July 27 1920 Dec. 7 1920
The winding side says:
Magazine Type "L" Thompson Submachine Gun 50 Cartridges Cal 45
For 1921 Model Wind to 11 Clicks
For 1928 Model Wind to 9 Clicks
Can someone tell me what its value is. I can supply pictures if necessary.
Thanks
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#2 hawksnest

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 09:20 AM

Pictures would absolutely help.
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#3 gijive

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 10:06 AM

Hi,

The drum is more than likely a mid-thirties production Worcester Press made drum for the Colt Thompsons.

Post some pictures and we can definitely help you with it.
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#4 hawk

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:04 PM

I'll post some pictures later today. Thank You!!
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#5 hawk

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 05:44 PM

Here are the pictures of the drum. Any help with approximate value is appreciated.
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user posted image
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#6 Sig

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 06:42 PM

Hawk
You may want to do a search and see an earlier extensive discussion on on this subject.
Search Subject Drum and Member Sig (any time period) or try this link if it works.

drum discussion

My impression is this is a Colt based with the comma after the N.Y., being my guide. The rotor looks kinda dark in the picture it should be nickel type finish not black to be original. The Worcester drums noted New York, N.Y. where Colt had New York N.Y., from what I see in Doug Richardson's book on the subject. Colt drums should have a nickel internal rotor where Worcester's were black oxide finished.
I claim to be no expert your mileage may vary! Seriously take a lot of opinions on this subject not just mine please if you are thinking of buying.
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#7 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 07:50 PM

Appears to be third model Colt L drum with a Worcester rotor (non nickel plated).
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#8 Walter63a

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 07:51 PM

That drum looks very similar to the one I sold, not too long ago, for $1000.00 (believing it to be a Worcester Pess model). I now think that mine was either an early (mid-thirties production) Worcester drum or a Colt. Yours definately looks to have the nickel rotor, which would tend to indicate it to be an early Worcester or a Colt. I think I noticed spot welds on the back cover. This would indicate that the back cover, at least, is probably a Colt drum part. All Thompson drum parts are interchangeable and over the last 70-80 years, they have been mixed and matched. ohmy.gif blink.gif Your drum looks to be in original condition (no paint, parkerizing, etc), which is always good. Well, that's my two pennies worth. blink.gif cool.gif Good Luck! biggrin.gif Regards, Walter

PS: On second inspection, I see that there are spot welds on both front and back covers, indicating Colt lineage. It appears to be a nice drum! I'd venture to put a price of $2,000-$2,300 on this drum. Also, you might want to get some differently angled shots of the internals to reduce the glare and clearly show that it is, indeed, a Nickel rotor. Arthur, I think you are right, about this Drum, because of the spot welds (went back and checked the old discussion) and the "5," from".45" is under the "g." Note: There does, however, appear to be some difference of opinion about the spot welds, whether they indicate Worcester or Colt, between Tracie Hill and Doug Richardson.
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#9 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:17 PM

I believe only the three type Colt drums had nickel rotors. The Colt drums are supposed to have the two faint "spot welds" above the slide markings.
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#10 Sig

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 09:13 PM

I understand
Spot welds are very pronounced on Worcester drums BUT Colt drums still have spot welds.

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#11 hawk

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 10:16 PM

Closer photos of drum. I believe it is a nickle rotor, from what you members say about Colt manufacture, I think you are correct from what I see. Do these photos offer any more help or change of mind about the manufacturer. I bought this drum 5-6 years ago for $500. Thanks again.

user posted image
user posted image
user posted image


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#12 Walter63a

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 10:20 PM

hawk, no, it does not change my opinion. Unless you need the money, I would hang on to that drum! smile.gif biggrin.gif Regards, Walter
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#13 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 10:44 PM

You might want to polish the rotor out to insure it is nickel. Many Colt drums have had their nickel rotors swapped for black oxide Worcester ones. I have a low three digit numbered Colt L drum with the faint rivets on the back cover. I can't imagine how Hill and Richardson could be at odds about whether these "spot welds" indicate Colt from Worcester. All they need to do is look at their own Colt drums and compare to Worcester drums. Surely each expert has their own swelling collection to be definitive?
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#14 John Jr

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 10:57 PM

Since its from the "Colt" era, I could offer $400 for it.

Jr

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#15 Walter63a

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 11:01 PM

hawk, I don't know what Arthur is refering to, regarding 'polishing', but, don't polish off what patina is there. That could be very costly, similar to refinishing an 18th. century Boston Highboy, if you know what I mean. blink.gif ohmy.gif
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#16 hawk

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 11:26 PM

Art and Walter, I sure appreciate your input. Obviously, you gents know much more about these drums than I do. Am I right in thinking this is a thrid generation Colt drum? I have no intention of selling it, I was just curious as to what it could be worth today. I still run it in my 1928A-1. I agree, Walter, with not polishing the rotor. I generally keep things as they came to me.
Thanks again for your help. Have a happy and prosperous New Year!
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#17 Walter63a

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 11:32 PM

hawk, no, I think you have a genuine Colt Drum (Arthur, eat your heart out)! biggrin.gif smile.gif blink.gif tongue.gif You have the best of the Thompson drums. Actually, any of the drums made prior to 1946 are very desirable. biggrin.gif smile.gif cool.gif Regards, Walter
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#18 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 12:13 AM

hawk,
If you were to polish the rotor, you would not be compromising its originality, you would merely be revealing the actual nickel, if that's what is underneath. This is not a patina issue, since the component resides inside the drum, and is part of the drum's mechanical function. Polishing, or restoring the luster of a Colt nickel bolt, or Navy actuator cannot impact value. This is not comparable to refinishing the Colt stocks and grips that have accumulated all the character from being exposed to the different people handling the weapon over the last 80+ years.

John Jr,
$400 will get you a slightly dented WH drum.

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#19 Walter63a

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 12:16 AM

Well, thanks for the clarification, Arthur. But, I still would not refinish the rotor! blink.gif smile.gif ohmy.gif biggrin.gif laugh.gif
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#20 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 12:28 AM

Walter,
A refinish implies replacing an original finish with another. Cleaning a piece of metal to reveal the original finish (in this case bright nickel) is just that. Since they apply that method to the Sistine Chapel, I doubt John T. himself would balk at it being applied to his namesake weapon.

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