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Looking for Lewis gun #12298

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Curt Earl bought MGM Studio's 5 Lewis Guns in 1970 when the studio sold its props. I am looking for the current owner of 12298. I have his original transit case as marked by MGM (or maybe Curt Earl marked it?) That owner might have mine. I suspect Curt Earl was not too careful when he shipped the cases. Or, maybe he was extra careful to cull the best. I’d like to get the cases reunited with the correct Lewis machine guns.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Another year and another bump. Still looking for Savage Lewis 12298. I have the original Savage transit case used by MGM and am wondering if the owner of 12298 has mine. There were three other MGM Lewis guns, so maybe one of them has the case for mine. My response last year to maxfaxdude included some info that others might find interesting so I am pasting it below:


There were five Savage Lewis Guns in the MGM collection. I have one. 12298 was another. The other three were: 2066, 2865, and 13512. The first three were .303 caliber and the last two were 7mm caliber at the time they left MGM.


At least some if not all were made for the first Canadian contract. I don't know how or when MGM acquired them, but I suspect it was before WWII. MGM was going bankrupt by 1970 and decided to auction off its entire prop department including all the weapons. The machine guns were handled independent of the main auction. Curt Earl was one of the few licensed machine gun dealers at the time. It appears that he made a direct offer to MGM, though that offer may have been funneled through the Davie Weisz Auction Company as that company had the contract to sell all the props. In any case, the transfer to Earl was handled with a comprehensive letter from MGM to the ATF requesting direct transfer to Earl of all 20 MGM machine guns (five Lewis guns, five Vickers machine guns, two Hotchkiss guns, two Maxim 08/15 aircraft guns, four Thompson sub-machine guns and two Reising sub-machine guns.)


Each of the Lewis Guns came with a Savage factory fitted hard case. The cases were covered with a muslin fabric and have metal corner bumpers and metal straps along with the Savage Indian Head logo metal emblem riveted to the top center of the case. If you have Easterly's book, "The Belgian Rattlesnake", page 443 has a picture of a Savage case. The MGM case I have is similar, but well worn from use and it has been painted over with a green paint. Shipping labels are still on the case from former use in returning a gun to the studio. I don't have a picture as it is up in a high-bay storage at the moment. It is not pretty by any definition, but it has character and makes one wonder what places it had been in its life.


The cases must have done a good job protecting the Lewis Guns as mine is in excellent condition and has operated flawlessly on the few occasions I've given it some exercise.


If your Savage is not one of those, then you might want to investigate the .30-06 Savage Lewis guns used in the original King Kong movie. One was #16506 and went through the Stembridge sale handled by Long Mountain Outfitters. There would have been at least one more on set, but I don't have that serial number. There could have been others on the King Kong set, but little information is available beyond the one Stembridge handled.


Interestingly, the January 21, 1933, edition of "The Hollywood Reporter" reported that a machine gun was stolen on the night of Thursday, January 19, 1933, from the set of "King Kong." The suspects were two extras who failed to show up on Friday for their week's paychecks. The small article does not identify the type of machine gun, so it could have been a Lewis Gun or a Browning M1918 aircraft gun.


Good luck in filling in the history on your Savage Lewis Gun. Movie use or not, the Savage guns are rare and enjoy a history of their own compared to the European guns.

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