Sold For $48,875.00
Posted 31 March 2006 - 07:39 PM
ITEM #100 - Colt Model 1921 / 8 Overstamp U.S. Navy Submachinegun Used in Fatal Bank Holdup in 1934 serial #7438, .45 ACP, 10 3/4” finned barrel with Cutts compensator showing an about excellent bore. Metal surfaces show about 95% original blue, the chief loss on the Cutts, high edges of the sight, and area above the pistol grip. Balance of loss shows on projecting edges and contact points, with minor scratches from use and handling. Stock, forend and pistol grip all show minor usage marks and dings but rate near excellent. Thus our story begins; On February 2, 1934 at 9:30am the Needham Bank and Trust Company was robbed by three armed men while a fourth – the wheelman – waited in their getaway car. The weapons used by the gunmen were stolen a week earlier from the Massachusetts State Police exhibit at an auto show being held at the Mechanics Building in Boston; the Boston Globe reporting they took four riot shotguns, six Mills gas bombs, a 38mm gas rifle and ammunition for it and a Thompson Navy Model Submachine gun. The trio entered the bank, with pistol, shotgun and submachinegun drawn. Before the employees were lined up against a wall, one tripped the bank’s alarm. The robbers hurried towards a grilled gate that separates the tellers area from the vault, where they shot the 77 year old gate keeper – who refused to unlock the “cage” for them – in the hand. After unlocking it themselves and grabbing their loot, they headed for the door. While this was occurring Needham Police Officer Forbes McLeod was walking his beat as usual, alerted by the sound of the alarm, he hastened to the bank and was spotted by the robbers, he was gunned down in the middle of Great Plain Ave., the gunman shooting the Thompson through a window of the bank. The trio then made their getaway, taking two bank employees with them as hostages, one falling off the moving car’s running board and rolling under a parked car as the robbers shot at him, the other man was held fast on the running board as the gangsters sped away through town, passing the local fire station where they sprayed another officer and fireman with machine gun fire, Officer Frank Haddock and Fireman Timothy Cloughlin were not expected to live through the night. Cloughlin did. The robbery was timed perfectly to coincide with the arrival of the morning train, which screened the bank from the view of the main street (Highland Ave.). The trio would be captured two weeks later, two in New York City and one in Dorchester, in the Dorchester raid, some of the guns stolen from the State Police exhibit were recovered, the “Tommy Gun” would later be recovered in Washington D.C. - where it was admittedly stashed by one of the accused gunman Murton Millen. During the subsequent trial two men, the Millen bothers would be convicted of the hold up and murder, a third man Abraham Faber (from the Dorchester Raid) supposedly made a confession. The three would be executed despite an appeal to the Supreme Court, the “wheel man” was never located. Murton Millen, Tommy Gun wielding murderer of two peace officers died hard, needing to be shocked four separate times in the “chair”. Irving, his brother, had to be shocked five times, but only because the electrodes kept slipping off (oops), Faber was executed last. This gun carries the dubious distinction of being the first machinegun ever used in the commission of a crime in the state of Massachusetts, in true Bay State Fashion, the very next day, February 3rd the Massachusetts State Legislature was presented with a bill proposing a Life Sentence in the State Prison for anyone found in illegal possession of a machinegun. The gun comes with full size “Globe Newspaper Company” copies of the “Boston Evening Globe” for Jan. 27, February 2, Feb. 3, Feb. 26, Feb 27 1934, and June 3 and 7th 1935, all detailing the original theft of guns, bank robbery, subsequent apprehension and arraignment of the suspects, and their executions. Other supporting documents includes 1200 pages of transcripts of the trial, a letter on “Commonwealth of Massachusetts” letterhead acknowledging receipt of the recovered “stolen” firearms and gas gun, from Detective Captain (then Lieutenant) John Stokes, the man most directly responsible for the capture of the Millen’s. The receipt lists this Thompson by serial number. Also included are contemporary photos of the bank, the strike of a bullet on the vault door, photos of charcoal sketches of the two officers, bronze plaques placed at the sites they were killed, photos of the courthouse and courtroom and the final resting places of the five principles, from both sides of the law. Related newspaper articles from the 80’s are included, one with photos of the officers and eyewitness account, one on the 60th anniversary of the officer’s slayings. Overall a very clean gun with only remarkably minor blemishes considering its history. “US Navy” is neatly hand stamped above the model, the circled “JHB” of Major John H. Barret is crisp on the receivers right side, the butt trap holds a blackened brass “Noera” oiler. Gun comes with an original 50 rd. drum magazine with 1920 patent dates and 1921 and 28 winding instructions. Comes with an actual violin case that the gun itself was in (without the buttstock or magazine it will fit) that, while unrelated is kind of neat. Oddly the lower receiver is numbered differently from the upper. A rare opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind firearm with a dramatic, tragic story to tell.
Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:19 PM
The gun looks pretty clean, and it is amazing how many nice TSMG's there are knowing there was plenty of use as well as abuse.
Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:09 PM
Posted 31 March 2006 - 11:40 PM
I guess market value on this gun was 28K if Arthur was calling it. I would have guessed more like $31K myself.
Either way, its a rob job.
Posted 01 April 2006 - 01:32 AM
Than again its a JC auction- might have learned a bit from Curtis.
If this was all true then its worth a bunch, more than 35k easy-K. Lomant has a pair in nice shape for that, matching but with scratches inthe finish and thin.
But not $47K
And is there not both a buyer and seller premium of 10% Seller reserve - 10% and final bid + 10%
Heck of a spread in the middle so the buyer may have paid as much as 51K + but that is pure conjecture on my part-I hope he didn't.
Now I need to dream up a story for mine-
There I was........ and thats what happened
fill in the blank hahahahahhaha