1936 Catalog Set
Posted 25 December 2004 - 08:54 AM
I was able to just recently complete a set of 1936 Thompson catalogs with my final addition of the middle or tan catalog shown.
For those with Hill's book there are pictures but only B&W so thought I would share a color snap of my set so everyone could see the variations.
You can clearly see how I judge an original copy by looking at the trigger on the lower TSMG for each of them, the trigger touches a bullseye ring then the upper TSMG muzzle just touches another bullseye ring and the trigger does not.
Other reprints have a couple variations but will not look exactly the same in this regard.
Top and bottom are a green and dark blue, the middle one is tan and black. Not exactly how they were described in Hill's book but I have heard of plenty of errors in there. IIRC Hill's book says the bottom one would be blue and "TAN" as you can see that is not the case. Also Hill's book shows an unusual variation on one of the catalogs pictured in terms of position of the triggers and bullseye, which makes me think they are showing a repro but what do I know?!
The top two have the same Nassau street address and the lower one has the Pine street address.
Bottom one has an insert from Federal Laboratories.
I have seen blue green versions that were faded enough to look almost exactly like the middle tan one, but open it up and the it was obvious enough what it was.
Enjoy Merry Christmas
Image now hosted on my website
Posted 25 December 2004 - 09:58 AM
Posted 26 December 2004 - 03:00 PM
I have included a picture of 3 different specimens of the reproduction catalog in the links below:
Here are 2 examples of the original Pine Street Auto-Ordnance Catalog:
Here are 4 examples of the original Nassau St. Auto-Ordnance Catalog:
Here is a picture of the one I had in stock that was definitely a fake (very similar to your catalog pictured in the middle):
I have a couple of questions for you. For the middle specimen catalog in your picture, is it printed on a ribbed cover stock? Does the cover have a texture similar to the other 2 catalogs? Does it have any publishing alignment markings along the spine edge on some of the inside pages? Is it a lighter weight overall, and is the cover stock a much lighter weight?
The reproduction catalogs sold by Auto-Ordnance in the 1970’s have the telltale characteristic of a reproduction in that the trigger of the bottom Thompson does not intersect the target line. Some also have markings on the inside pages, by the spine, which are publishing alignment marks. They are printed on card stock of a texture almost exactly like the originals. Some fakes are very obviously printed recently, and on totally different card stock, and are of lower quality. It is hard to tell about some of these characteristics of the middle catalog from your picture. I hope that you have found a 3rd original type of this catalog, but I have serious doubts. I am interested in hearing back from you with further details.
Posted 26 December 2004 - 04:12 PM
I thought I was the only maniac on this stuff! Hills book on page 371 mentions on figure 440 two variations (a blue-green and a yellow one), both with Nassau Street addresses, then there is the Pine stree version fig 441 making for a total of 3. It is interesting to note your comment like mine that the example shown in Hill's book is a reproduction, fig 440.
Now you may very well be right that I have a reproduction middle version, up to this point I have only seen reproduction versions just like you pictured in a blue-green with the lower trigger not touching the bullseye ring and never a tan version.
To answer your questions.
For the middle specimen catalog in your picture, is it printed on a ribbed cover stock? Yes it is ribbed.
Does the cover have a texture similar to the other 2 catalogs? Not the same texture as it is ribbed.
Does it have any publishing alignment markings along the spine edge on some of the inside pages? No publising alignment marks.
Is it a lighter weight overall, and is the cover stock a much lighter weight? Very similar weight, don't have a scale to check though
The tan example I have has some provenance as it was marked property of Louis A. Sliazis. I had manged to contact Louis and he claims to have sold that over 40 years ago at a militaria show and had acquired it from a friend who was at the CIA! Now he had no reason to BS me as I did not buy it from him. Does that make it an original I dunno, the patina on my example makes me think it is older as well unlike known reprints I have. It would seem odd that if this were a reproduction why one would not see more of them.
I felt that the tan catalog was an attempt to reduce cost (one color) or make a fast reprint run, so a different texture (rib) does not necessarily mean much to me at this point one way or the other as being a reprint or not.
In the middle pictured catalog, you may notice that there is no discernible difference between the target line and the trigger intersecting it, unlike the other 2 catalogs. I am not a printer but this does make sense if only one color was used.
I planned on speaking with Tracie later this week on another matter and will ask him what he knows and keep you in the loop.
Question for you have you seen a tan example with a cover texture similar to the others?
Posted 26 December 2004 - 04:44 PM
The reference to the "blue-green" and "yellow" versions of the catalog in Hill's book may have been made based on a small selection of catalogs used for reference at the time of the book's writing. Since we know that the catalog pictured on page 371 in figure 440 is a reproduction, and it was stated by Hill in the book that it was difficult to tell the difference between originals and reproductions, we can probably assume that the figure 440 catalog was thought to be an original. The reproduction examples that I gave picture links to all have greenish-blue covers, and they do not fade the same as the originals do. The originals fade to a yellow color, as can be seen in the 4 different examples in the links provided in my previous post. This may be why Hill referred to a "yellow" version. Perhaps he had one of the faded originals, and one of the 1970's reproductions when he wrote the book, and thus made this reference.
I have a fascination with these types of things, so I certainly appreciate your post on the subject. My goal is always to learn as much as I can about vintage firearm publications, since I collect and sell them. I hope that my input has been helpful, and I definitely appreciate your input as well.
Please let me know what you find out from Tracie Hill.
Posted 26 December 2004 - 04:49 PM
Posted 26 December 2004 - 04:51 PM
Posted 26 December 2004 - 07:26 PM
I would be interested in hearing comments about the staples. My early copies of the green cover and the orange bulleye catalog have some rust on the staples and are very flat inside the catalog. The late ones have staples which appear not to rust and have a hump or round look to the staples on the inside of the catalog.
In the last several years I have seen more reprints than original copies - thats not to say that AO didn't had the catalogs reprinted long after 1936. In the 1950"s I obtained a copy from F.Morton Pitt a law enforcement dealer in California who sold Federal Labs items and had thompsons in stock. This catalog appears different than an older copy. So whos to say that it is not "original"
A brown cover copy was offered on Ebay around 2 years ago.
Posted 26 December 2004 - 07:57 PM
As far as the reprints go, there are definitely reprinted editions of different quality floating around. I have found that the originals have round wire staples that are folded flat. The staples are often rusty. The one reprint I have that I know is from the 1970's shares the flat folded, round wire staple characteristic. The 1970's reprints are very close to the originals, except for the telltale target intesection characteristic I previously discussed. I have 2 later reprints that have rounded folds to the staples on the inside spine of the catalog. The staples are not a major consideration in determining originality, in my opinion, because the reproductions almost all have the characteristic of the bottom TSMG trigger not intersecting the target line, which automatically indicates a reprint.
It is interesting how many of the reprints exist. I have seen some of very poor quality. I have not seen any reproductions of the Pine St. edition, and would be interested to know of any, if they exist. If anyone does have an example of a reproduction Pine St. catalog, please post a picture of it.
Posted 29 December 2004 - 05:58 PM
So what dalbert showed as fake and the middle one shown on my picture set, are in fact an original (and rare at that) "TAN" 1936 Catalogs.
Posted 29 December 2004 - 06:45 PM
Posted 29 December 2004 - 07:46 PM
Do you want to try a conference call with him? Since as you know already my interests, I could set that up without too much difficulty so we both learn.
Posted 29 December 2004 - 08:26 PM
Posted 30 December 2004 - 07:06 AM
Thanks for the interesting discussion on the 1936 catalogues. I too, have a tan colored catalogue with the ribbed textured cover and back. I wasn't sure, based on my preliminary discussions with Tracie Hill, what era it was from. Based on your posts it seems that it may be older than I first believed.
Since it seems there were at least three runs of this catalogue, I wonder if they were all done in the late 1930's? Any thoughts on this? It would seem the Nassau St. address catalogues are the earlier ones since the Pine St. address catalogue has the insert naming Federal Laboratories as the exclusive distributor.
Nice job, looking forward to hearing some additional information as it develops.
Posted 30 December 2004 - 12:34 PM
I also have a green covered catalogue that is fading to yellow/tan near the edges. The tan catalogue described earlier definitely has a different color textured paper cover. The texture is slightly ribbed as opposed to the faux leather texture of the green catalogue. The bullseye rings on the tan catalogue are printed in black ink as is the rest of the detail on the cover. The green bullseye rings are a different shade of green on the catalogue you describe.
The above differences would indicate the tan colored catalogue was a separate printing from the original green colored catalogue, not just fading from age and exposure to air.
I agree with you that Numrich would have no reason to fake the 1936 catalogues way back in the 1960's. They were obviously left over originals from earlier printings. It seems unlikely that Auto-Ordnance would have reprinted the catalogues during WWII since commercial sales probably weren't their main priority during war production. Numrich didn't acquire Auto-Ordnance's inventory until the early 1950's, right? I wonder if they may have reprinted the catalogue from the mid 1950's to mid 1960's? Anything is possible, I suppose, but my guess would be that the catalogue you possess was an original that was left over in the material Numrich inherited.
Posted 30 December 2004 - 12:57 PM
If you note my original post I once acquired a "TAN" catalog only to find out it was a well faded original, easily determined by looking at the inside front cover where you could still see the green. dalbert and I will be speaking with Tracie some more on this and I will make sure we share any details.
Posted 30 December 2004 - 05:55 PM
From the descrition you made of your catalog, it is one of the green originals that fade to yellow over time. It has the embossed style cover. This is different than the tan catalog, which is printed on completely different card stock. I would agree that your catalog, when purchased in 1968, was probably some old Auto-Ordnance stock of the Nassau catalogs.
Embossed Cover Nassau St. Green Cover Example:
Ribbed Cover Stock "Tan" Catalog:
Posted 31 December 2004 - 05:39 PM
Does your catalog that has "The Thompson Gun" on the front of it have staples, or is it bound with fabric along the edge?
Posted 31 December 2004 - 05:52 PM
You are only the 2nd to make the point that the original 1923 Catalogs are sewn bound. Lionhart pointed this out to me, he and I hashed this over several times by email and on these boards.
Posted 01 January 2005 - 03:25 AM
The image below shows a cropped page from Numrich's Catalog "Number Five", advertising the originals, which was current from about June 1975, and a cropped portion of a mail flyer I received about the end of January 1976 describing the reprints. The flyer text reads:
"Auto Ordnance has reprinted the rare 1923 and 1936 editions. Care and attention has been taken even in duplicating the color and texture of the original paper. These volumes are already a collectors item and are unlimited."
Note there was no difference in price between the originals and the reprints.
Hope this helps clear up the mystery.