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Thompson Provenance Anyone?


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#1 normandy123

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 11:27 PM

I was just talking with a fellow who does research on vintage Colt handguns and gets paid a bundle to do so...so the thought passes my feeble mind, that maybe somebody out there can do that for Thompson owners...does anyone have a letter or documents pertaining to their WWII weapon...I know a lot of Colt 1921's have paperwork, but what kind of paper trail can you make for a Thompson and does it add to the value at all?
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#2 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 11:46 PM

The WW II Thompson, being of government issue, and not sold to the G.I., would not really have any paper trail as to who was issued the weapon initially. I mean can you imagine what Audie Murphy's Thompson would fetch if there were a way to document the serial numbers of the ones he carried in combat? If you wanted to know who owned these weapons post war, you would probably only have documentation dating after 1968 during the amnesty period, and this information could only be accessed through ATF. Colt handguns are easily researched since they do not have the $200 tax fee. When IRS is involved it becomes a privacy issue. Most Colt 21's, 28N's and 21AC's don't have the original invoice from sales to police departments, etc. When a documentation of sale does accompany a Colt Thompson it is usually one sold by Auto-Ord after 1934.
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#3 JimFromFL

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 06:56 AM

I wondered the same too after receiving my Garand from CMP and pretty much got the same response. The govt does not keep these history records.
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#4 normandy123

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 08:19 AM

Let me add a bit to the question...does anyone have any documentation with their gun from the soldier who did use THAT weapon in combat and sent it home as a trophy? There were lots of Thompsons that were used by soldiers that just picked them up off the beaches and deceased fellows...could they have kept them, sent them home, or where ever and registered them during the amnesty and THEN detailed their exploits with this very Thompson? Would this add to the value of THAT Thompson?
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#5 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 10:29 AM

Many WWII war trophies were registered by the guys who brought them home. However, the legitimacy of any documentation about the war history of a particular weapon would really only exist in the word of the person selling the weapon. I have seen many weapons sold with accompanying stories about their war exploits as to how they were removed from a battlefield in the Pacific or Europe. Whether they fetch more money than a weapon without any stories to go along with the sale is up to the buyer. The person who originally registered the weapon during the amnesty period may or may not have been the soldier who brought the trophy back to the U.S. What it comes down to is essentially a fish story.
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