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Rarest Thompson


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#1 SecondAmend

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 03:55 PM

Posting from the Sturmgewehr.com NFA guns ads:

"WTS West Hurley Auto Ordinance Thompson M1A1 in 98% Plus Condition. Only 609 were made before the ATF halted production making them the Rarest of Thompsons. (Thanks to ChrisNH for that info.) The ATF has given this gun C&R Status. Photos on request to serious buyers only please. $12,000."

I'm not a Thompson expert but I guess one could look at Thompson variants a number of ways. However, no way do I see West Hurley Auto Ordnance (cite above is sellers spelling) Thompson M1A1 as the "Rarest of Thompsons" as is contended. My guesses (and open to correction) would be for model, the 1919 with about 40 having been made, and for variation, the 1985 Vietnam War Commemorative WH '28 with 17 having been made made. Maybe even fewer of the 9 mm and .22 cal '28 WH's were made, I've not seen production figures. I'm not considering the BSA, and prototype stainless steel and aluminum receiver guns.

Have I missed something?
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#2 john

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 12:57 PM

I'm not greedy....not buying OR selling!
Ad says "Serious Buyers Only".....guess I'm not serious either laugh.gif

Wait!
At the mention of Curtis Earl, I remember I have a catalog from him sent to me in 1973(?).......has the MGM collection in it, as well as a COLOR brochure of the Midas Thompson (with a sky-high price of $6000.00!!!!)

Maybe I can auction these brochures/pieces of history off........
Should I start the bid at $12,000.00????

Hahahahahahahaaaaaa!!! wink.gif

Guess I won't sell these after all.......

john (not-greedy) rolleyes.gif
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#3 P51Mstg

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Posted 07 March 2004 - 01:15 PM

Actually I have one of the RAREST Thompsons. First would be a Colt 1927 of which there were (Correct me and flame guys an unknown total of about 75 made, of which maybe 33 survived to be transferable).


Next is a WH 22 Factory Converted to 45 which is a 45 where the Serial number ends in a TF. My count says there were about 84 of those guns made.

I'm sure there are others, but, I'm still learning.

So 609 is quite a few when you really get down to it.

Mark H
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#4 HK33K

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Posted 07 March 2004 - 05:56 PM

biggrin.gif Screwed up!

Edited by HK33K, 07 March 2004 - 06:01 PM.

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#5 AZDoug

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Posted 07 March 2004 - 06:05 PM

Possibly the 9MM one made by AO (not WH).

One exists, IIRC. It used to be in the Champlin museum.

Doug
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#6 Roland, Headless Thompson Gunner

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Posted 07 March 2004 - 11:10 PM

Once again you guys are killing me. Open those gun safes and flood the market and we'll be happy to pay your 1970's prices. I remember when gas was 28 cents a gallon. Glad I picked up a couple of 5 gallon cans back then.
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#7 Murray

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 02:27 AM

I kinda reckon that those of the first 1000 1921's have got to be rare, after all most of them went to the IRA and of those only 113 have been recovered and most of those have been destroyed,
I have three IRA 1921's, all from the Eastside shipment, #389, #586 & #708 and I like to think that they are kinda special. sad.gif
Regards
Murray

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a kind word alone" Al Capone
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#8 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 10:02 AM

Since the 1927 model was a a Colt 1921 with different markings, it is really a distinction without a difference. The fact that Murray has three of the IRA Thompson's would imply that they are really only rare in the U.S. because of the 1968 law. So by default, the rarest of the original Colt .45 TSMG's, (next to the Savage 9mm), has to be those in the 15,000 range, with 15040 being the all time winner.
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#9 Bill in VA

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 04:00 PM

What makes Colt 15040 the rarest? Simply being the last Colt? IMHO, it's not any rarer than Colt 13040...either way you look at it, it's the only one that's numbered 15040 (or 13040 for that matter.) 15040? Certainly among the most desirable to own (as would one of Hoover's or Dillinger's TSMGs), but I don't think I'll accept "rarest."

At the risk of inciting others here, I'd have to define "rarest" as being a standard production item with a very small number produced; not a prototype/one-off, not rare based on who once owned/possessed it, how many were modified to do X, Y, or Z, etc.... My vote would go to (gasp!) one of the WH guns, like the TF-suffixed guns, .22 LR TSMGs, or even the 609 WH M1 TSMGs. (And yes, I know some folks consider the WH TSMGs to be knock-offs/conterfeits/replicas/fakes.)

YMMV
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#10 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 04:31 PM

Bil,
The Colt #15040 qualifies as "rarest' in the true definition of the word because that gun , or any of the 15,000 seriual numbers, has ever surfaced since being sold. It also has the legitimate distinction of being the last one to come off the assembly line. This gun(s) is rare because it does not need any additonal historical attachment to it to be "rare." Serial number 13040, or any other number, maybe unique unto itself, but there exists ducumentation as to the owners, and locations, of Thompson's in the 13,000 range, or any other range.

A perfect example of a gun being somewhat "rare," (although they were produced only 24 years ago), but not necessarily desireable, would be the 319 WH full auto .22's. But a rarer gun, and more desirable one, also made in the 1980's, are the original Tippman Mini Brownings of which only 800 were produced, and only 100 of them being mini .50's, and only 40 of those being full auto.

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#11 TactAdv

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 05:36 PM

QUOTE (Arthur Fliegenheimer @ Mar 9 2004, 04:31 PM)
[color=blue][b]Bil,
The Colt #15040 qualifies as "rarest' in the true definition of the word because that gun , or any of the 15,000 seriual numbers, has ever surfaced since being sold.

Well, I gotta disagree there: Just because none of these serial number block guns " ...has ever surfaced" does not mean they are any rarer than any of the other 15,000 Colt guns if you think about it. Since you will no doubt agree that all of the Colt '21's are of the same pedigree, singling out these last serial numbers is not that sombering a distinction, in and of itself.
Last time I was at the MOD Pattern Room, Herb and I were discussing this very topic, at which point he walked over and handed me in turn one of the all aluminum experimental TSMG guns, and then one of the BSA-made TSMG variants......those in my mind can claim to be far more "rare" than any individual specimen of a known population group of 15,000. For that matter and by that definition you propose I would tend to argue that the "rarest" Colt made TSMG's would be any of those that went to Davy Jones Locker on the way "over there", as none of those has "ever surfaced" yet, either!! ;-0
"Rarity" does not mean "lost, or not found", it essentially means that there exists no other statically significant group, or population, of that configuration. Some of the early M1 prototypes with the intermediate, not fully finalized, features are an example of "rarity", yet no one will argue that a M1 model is "rare".
-TomH

PS- Arthur, you post with an interesting name, should I assume the spelling is as you have it, or should it be "Arthur Flegenheimer", or shall I just call you "Dutch". ;-) ;-)
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#12 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 06:33 PM

Tom,
Well, those Thompsons' that went to Davy Jone's Locker would be rare if we knew they consisted of an entire block of serial numbers. It least that would explain their absence. But we would also know what happened to them. It is true that the 15,000 group serial numbers were most likely sold out of the country, but they still have never materialized in a published collection.

That is right that all the 15,000 Colt's are of the same pedigree, but if we use "Bill in VA's" premise of excluding protypes, and one-offs, and concentrate on which one of those 15,000 was the "rarest," without any historical attachment, then 15040 gets my vote.

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#13 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 10:59 PM

Phil,
Those Lend Lease and pre Lend Lease TSMG's were not packed in cosmoline. They were just set into crates with grease in the barrels. I think they are currently homes for sea creatures and have about 60 odd years of coral growth on them. Their fate would not be the same as those P-38 .50's frozen in a glacier.

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#14 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 12:10 AM

Yah, there are many period photos of Brits unpacking Thompsons', (all assembled and ready to go), from shipping crates they have just received from the U.S. I guess since these guns were meant for immediate distribuiton and use, they were not smothered in cosmoline and individually wrapped in that protective cloth. That is a process the military ordnance departments would employ for long term storage. The reason autos are packaged in protective tape, before being placed in containers, for their voyage across the Pacific/Atlantic, is because those containers are placed on the decks of the cargo ships. The crates of small arms sent to Europe in WWII were placed inside cargo holds. The Liberty ships going to Russia had planes/tanks taking up space on the decks.
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