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Old 06-06-2018, 03:25 PM
22hipower 22hipower is offline
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Default First Registered Mag - Maybe

I've been gathering S&Ws since 1974 but never had a chance to buy, or even hold, a Registered Magnum. Figured if I ever did, and it was for sale, I'd have a hard time walking away. So, one turns up at the LGS (6.5 inch, no box/tools/reg form; just the gun) and I don't know enough to be able to value it; clearly an issue or two but basically looks like an almost new S&W. First obvious issue is engraving on the barrel (apparently a gift to a Field Artillery Company Commander from his troops "CAPT H O Welch from C Battery 144 FA); Ok maybe I can live with that. Nothing else looks wrong to me except a spot of blue wear on the frame; I'd say close to a 98% gun (no S&W factory stamps indicating a return to the factory), really no evidence of being fired although I'm sure it has been. Other than the spot on the right side of the frame all the glare spots that look like wear in the pictures are just glare. Stocks are numbered to the gun. I don't know enough about Registered Magnums to recognize any other problems. So, asking price was $6k; offered $5k OTD and we ended up at $5k plus tax. So, comments on what I should have seen but didn't, etc. etc. will be appreciated. Oh, by the way, I Googled H O Welch and got some hits; he was C Battery 144th FA Battalion CO around 1936, maybe for a couple years. The 144th FA was a California National Guard unit in Santa Barbara. I'll letter the gun and maybe learn a bit more. Can't decide if I'm irritated with CPT Welch's troops for scratching the gun or happy about it. Thoughts and comments welcome. I know I should have done more research before I bought it but was concerned it wouldn't be there if it sat longer. And the reason I put "Registered Magnum - Maybe" as the title of this thread, I read in the S&W Standard Catalog that some later guns stamped with a registration number were not really "registered" and are treated as "non-registered magnums." This one was 1938 or later so won't know until I letter it I guess.

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Last edited by 22hipower; 06-06-2018 at 03:38 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2018, 03:26 PM
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More Pictures.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:27 PM
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And a few more pix.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:37 PM
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I couldn't (and wouldn't) leave it lay for $5000 plus the gov't fees.....


EXCELLENT Condition, the inscription may turn off others but to me its built in history.

Also, I don't see anything you missed, the condition is wonderful. Get your letter request ready and start gathering history on Mr. Welch.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:37 PM
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Although my eye is relatively untrained when it comes to registered Magnums, it looks like you have a winner. As for the presentation engraving, in my opinion it doesn't hurt and may help to give the gun some history, which is not evident on most. I'd certainly try to see if the good Captain had a war record that could be printed out to accompany the revolver. A S&W letter would also be a must.

Good show!

John
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:44 PM
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If it was me, and I didn’t have the 5 grand, I would sell my car. Nice find.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:45 PM
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Found this bit of info on Capt Welch on page 6 of the document

http://www.militarymuseum.org/144th%...01936-1939.pdf
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:45 PM
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Considering I see pre model 27s priced at 3000+ I think 5000 for a registered magnum in that condition even with the engraving a extremely good purchase.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:52 PM
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I think its great you can put a name to the original owner. How many times have we all wished an old gun could talk? This one can
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:55 PM
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CPT Welch was apparently VERY highly thought of by his Soldiers. I'd say that only adds to the significance of this revolver. His troops passed the hat, bought it, had it engraved. That says a lot about how respected he was.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:00 PM
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You done good. I think we would all purchase that one at the stated price.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:24 PM
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I think it's a GREAT purchase.
It looks pretty good for an 80-something year old gun.
I like the history evident from the engraving--a leader honored by his men with a high-class, high-value gun in appreciation.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:57 PM
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Congratulations! I can see that being a single gun display at a future symposium.
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6actual View Post
Found this bit of info on Capt Welch on page 6 of the document

http://www.militarymuseum.org/144th%...01936-1939.pdf
This is one very important piece of the puzzle that gives your new purchase all the juice it needs to well worth the money. NOW, do the research and see if the 144th WENT TO WAR. Ooooh Baby, then you are cooking with gas! Condition, condition, condition AND a story. No looking back on this one!!
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:12 PM
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Amazing condition, and I love the engraving. If I had five large to spend I'd be on it like a bear on wild honey.
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:20 PM
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About the engraving...
Most of the Registered Magnums that might come up are just "old".
However, anything (like engraving) that gives an old pistol provenance that gives the old girl some real history, is in my mind a value enhancing feature and not a degradation of value.

Just my .02.
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:25 PM
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That is one fine looking RM? Mine is over 5,500 digits later than your SN, REG 5334 and it is Registered. Are the SN missing from the barrel? I am not seeing them.
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:30 PM
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High condition, presentation RM...I'll give you your money back and pay shipping if you ain't happy. Good show, old man.
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:40 PM
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I would have been all over that like a fat kid on cake.

FWIW I do not believe S&W did the engraving on that. It is not out of reason for the factory to engrave guns for presentation, but most I've seen were done on the right sideplate.

Get the factory letter AND the SWHF documents on that...what your money isnt in the mail yet. If the 5K set you back, I'll loan you the letter money.
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:51 PM
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I'd say you it the jackpot. It's one thing to find a highly collectable S&W that can only be traced as far the original seller and shipping date but another to know who the original owner was. The military history only sweetens the pot. Did you buy lottery tickets on the way home?
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_conrad_0311 View Post
That is one fine looking RM? Mine is over 5,500 digits later than your SN, REG 5334 and it is Registered. Are the SN missing from the barrel? I am not seeing them.
SN is under the barrel; just not showing up in any of the pictures.

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Old 06-06-2018, 05:56 PM
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I don't typically spend 4 figures on a gun and only did it once for about half that amount. The inscription on the gun makes it more valuable to me as you know for certain who it went to unlike most of the others. It is possible that the original certificate was never issued because it was possibly ordered by his troop rather than he himself and typically the original registered magnums were specially made to the buyers specifications.

This is what set them apart from a standard .357 magnum. Once received, the buyer received a card that could be returned to the factory for the certificate IIRC. Many folks did not bother to order the paper because they were more interested in the gun and eventually S&W stopped the process anyway due to cost.

Regardless of whether you have the certificate or not, IMHO the gun was still built as a registered magnum and has all of the value associated with that fact. The inscription is a bonus.

I believe that Roy Jinks will issue a current certificate that is marked as a replica but still would be cool to add to the package. Worth looking into. Besides you got it for $1,000 off asking price so you have money to spend.
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:09 PM
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What a great thread. What a great story. Congratulations, you did great. That might be a 10k gun. And I agree; the inscription adds to it, not detracts. It is a real RM that shipped between sept 37 and may 38. The memo to cancel the registration process came down in sept 39. Well done. You were apparently patient and it paid off, BIG time. Rm 2787 (53644) shipped Aug 31, 1937, so you’re close. Enjoy it. Are you gonna shoot it or preserve it? And you need to letter it and get the historical docs.
I see he was transferred out in Dec of 37. I’m guessing they presented him the gun at that time.
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:15 PM
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Good looking sixgun!
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinnes View Post
What a great thread. What a great story. Congratulations, you did great. That might be a 10k gun. And I agree; the inscription adds to it, not detracts. It is a real RM that shipped between sept 37 and may 38. The memo to cancel the registration process came down in sept 39. Well done. You were apparently patient and it paid off, BIG time. Rm 2787 (53644) shipped Aug 31, 1937, so youíre close. Enjoy it. Are you gonna shoot it or preserve it? And you need to letter it and get the historical docs.
I see he was transferred out in Dec of 37. Iím guessing they presented him the gun at that time.
So far haven't found any more about CPT Welch. The 144th FA did go to war but I don't know if he went with it.

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Old 06-06-2018, 06:36 PM
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I don't know squat, I'm replying to subscribe because this is a great discussion.

Keeping in mind that I admittedly don't know squat... my guess is that the gun shop figured the personalization detracted from collector value and that's how you were able to get it.

Even before reading all the great comments relating to this inscription, I think you should be happy at the idea that maybe the inscription made it affordable.

It is a beauty!
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:24 PM
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Great purchase and one nice piece of history. I to believe the engraved name adds much to the value to a registered magnum. A "wow' piece for any collection. Pat yourself on the back for your success.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:55 PM
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Oh man, color me GREEN with envy....he most definitely did go to war. I don't have access to the photos but there is one here of him as a LTC in desert maneuvers in California in 1943 before going to Germany by this time he was a LTC:

http://ww2f.com/threads/980th-field-...germany.45192/

And he was at Fort Sill in Oklahoma in 1946 after the war:

http://sill-www.army.mil/firesbullet...LL_EDITION.pdf

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Old 06-06-2018, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarlB View Post
Oh man, color me GREEN with envy....he most definitely did go to war. I don't have access to the photos but there is one here of him as a LTC in desert maneuvers in California in 1943 before going to Germany by this time he was a LTC:

http://ww2f.com/threads/980th-field-...germany.45192/

And he was at Fort Sill in Oklahoma in 1946 after the war:

http://sill-www.army.mil/firesbullet...LL_EDITION.pdf
EarlB, thanks much for finding and posting these links. I'll make copies and add the picture/info to the paperwork.

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Old 06-07-2018, 12:38 AM
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Dreams do come true! Very, very awesome!
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:57 AM
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Congrats on a gorgeous RM with a terrific story.

As an Army vet I should think you'd be especially proud to own that one. Very neat.
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:02 AM
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Beautiful and very interesting Reg Mag! I suggest you also use Ancestry.com to research Cpt./Ltc Welch.
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:13 AM
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Have to say that's the first RM I've seen that I would pony up the big money for. Very nice. I'd have to shoot it at least a bit..
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:17 AM
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No dissenters everyone so far agrees the engraving gives provenance and so far we know the original owner was not only a military man he was a leader who's men loved him .I cant imagine any reason the owner wouldn't register such a gift or possibly his men would have done it. When you ,if you letter it and I can't imagine you not lettering it I hope you will keep us updated .congratulations.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by two-bit cowboy View Post
Congrats on a gorgeous RM with a terrific story.

As an Army vet I should think you'd be especially proud to own that one. Very neat.
Yes, as I started the research I became more and more excited about the history. The 980th during the WWII was apparently part of VII Corps Artillery. My first active duty assignment was with HQ VII Corps in Stuttgart, Germany; where it happens I bought my first S&W at the Patch Barracks Rod & Gun club which just happened to be a 27-2. Another of the links shows LTC Welch at Fort Lewis preparing for the European engagement. I got off active duty at Fort Lewis and spent more years there in the Washington Guard. And yet another link lists him at Ft. Sill where I also spent some time. My involvement was much later, and no where near as exciting, but it was great to think that I somewhat followed in his footsteps and now have one of his guns. Hope to find more information about him.

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Old 06-07-2018, 07:33 AM
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What a marvelous way (this thread) of gathering information from around the country, documenting it and presenting it to enthusiasts. The individual pieces of iron and informational material and people that offer it up are the glue that maintains the historical knowledge. Thank you all. I am blessed to have been allowed to read.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:46 AM
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What a fantastic find and at a great price! Looking forward to seeing what the factory letter and the SWHS has to say about it.

Wonderful condition for a pre war magnum!
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:06 AM
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Colonel Harold O(Oscar) Welch
California
US Army
World War 1& 11
Korea
March 31 1899
December 13 1960

above is headstone at Arlington National Cemetery
Sec 7 Site 8802-A-L

Find A Grave website
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:16 AM
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Lots of guys lament "I wish this gun could talk." Well, this one does.

Has a REG number...makes it an RM in my book.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:40 AM
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Nice....congrats....

Robert
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:33 PM
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Very nice revolver with a neat history. I think you did really well. Thanks for showing us.
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:55 PM
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Oh geez, I do NOT want to be a downer, especially in this fantastic discussion, but it still begs the question... how or why would his own descendants let this revolver out of their family?

My local FFL had a guy come in to the store with his Grandfather's GI Colt, great shape (not mint, but in great issued shape) and the pistol dated back to the mid-1920's. The young guy wanted to trade/sell it toward a new production "Colt Rail Gun", an ugly newly made 1911 with a tactical rail, as this was the pistol he favored in his favorite video game.

He could not be talked out of this and if it wasn't my dealer, it was literally going to be the next store less than 2 miles away. So my FFL took it in.
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:01 PM
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Glorious.

You did great on the price.

One of the things about the Registered Magnums is that they are both amazingly fine weapons, and wonderful bits of history. Having something engraved on the barrel might strike someone who likes purity in their factory originalness as heresy, but for most of us it's just a huge bonus. Not always a bonus that adds much to the value, but seriously increases the desirability.

I think you did remarkably well for your first Registered Magnum.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:19 PM
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I did a little bit of "googling" to see what I could find on our H O Welch. I found two bits of information that could be of interest to our war hero of three wars. Appears he got married in 1919 in San Francisco, CA and appears in the 1930 census living in Olig, Kern County California in residence number 125 of the attached page. 31 year old Harold Oscar Welch, vet, working as a well driller in the oil fields, living with his 30 year old wife Bessie and their 9 year old daughter Merna L. Welch. Most interesting Reg Magnum and most interesting previous owner. Priceless, yes this gun is talking to us, we see so many that can never say a word and this one is writing a story. Some one find out what H O did during the Korean Conflict. He would have been over 50 and being in Arlington, sound like a war hero to me.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:24 PM
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22hipower - here is the total page from the 1930 census I captured, so you can see what each heading represents.
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Old 06-08-2018, 03:59 PM
Hasbeen1945 Hasbeen1945 is offline
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Loved reading the posts about this great find.
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Old 06-08-2018, 04:49 PM
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Wow, just wow! I don't know much about registered magnums, but I agree with what others have said about the engraving: it adds to the value, maybe not in dollars, but to me it makes the gun more precious -- and it's a stunningly beautiful gun. To me a gun with a good story (and this one is absolutely great) is far more precious than anything without a story.

Good for you!!!!!

Harold
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Old 06-08-2018, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
Oh geez, I do NOT want to be a downer, especially in this fantastic discussion, but it still begs the question... how or why would his own descendants let this revolver out of their family?
.
As hard as it may be to accept, there are a lot of folks, especially the younger ones, who are just not gun people. I wound up with a Broomhandle Mauser that my Great Uncle had brought back from WWI simply because his Nephews had either all died, or their descendants had no interest. I have 12-15 guns in my safe that I received from friends and older clients that no longer wanted the guns, but wanted someone to have them that would care for and appreciate their family heirloom. They are a part of our history.

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Old 06-08-2018, 11:16 PM
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Jeff:

Thank you for sharing this marvelous story and gun with us. What a great deal you made. I’m sure that we are all anxious to see what the letter and historical docs show.

Best Regards, Les
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Old 06-09-2018, 12:23 AM
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Yes, I think you did well and you have my congrats. Enjoy that fine piece.
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