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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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Old 10-17-2020, 02:34 PM
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Default Is it against forum rules, bad manners, poor etiquette, etc

to snipe shipping dates from S&W factory letters posted in gun ads and post them here?

I recently saw two letters from the 1931-'34 era that helped pin down a depression era revolver and would like to share the ship dates and sns but don't want to mess up.
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Old 10-17-2020, 02:42 PM
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to snipe shipping dates from S&W factory letters posted in gun ads and post them here?

I recently saw two letters from the 1931-'34 that helped pin down a depression era revolver and would like to share the ship dates and sns but don't want to mess up.
Gawd I hope not.........I too have accumulated a treasure trove of online factory letter pics that I have referred to many times with regards to specific questions.

The only caveat is I try not to post any names and addresses printed on factory letters due to privacy. I do fess up as to whether or not the letter referenced is mine or not. I wouldn't want someone to assume something was mine when it isn't. If it happens to be a fellow forum member I try to give them the proper credit, after all they did spend their hard earned cash on it!

If it is still on a valid website you could also post a link to the factory letter pic so the website gets viewed. (I have been trying to be better about this as I feel it is only fair.)

Just me. But with regards to what I collect, already have or still need, yes I do love me some factory letters.

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Old 10-17-2020, 02:55 PM
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Just remember not to link to any live auction, or refer to one in any great detail.
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Old 10-17-2020, 03:28 PM
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Yes, the live auction thingy is a no-no.

I was referring to historical closed auctions....assuming they are still a valid link.
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Old 10-17-2020, 03:41 PM
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Well, here goes.

Exhibit 1: M&P revolver plain 38 spl no frills #62484x to Shapleigh's in St Lou on 5-12-'30.


Exhibit 2: M&P revolver plain 38 spl no frills #64884x to J. B. Hubbard Co. Jacksonville Fl on 1-16-'34.


If anybody can help pin 633xxx any better I'd really appreciate it.

Respectfully, JD
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Old 10-17-2020, 04:07 PM
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Well, here goes.

Exhibit 1: M&P revolver plain 38 spl no frills #62484x to Shapleigh's in St Lou on 5-12-'30.


Exhibit 2: M&P revolver plain 38 spl no frills #64884x to J. B. Hubbard Co. Jacksonville Fl on 1-16-'34.


If anybody can help pin 633xxx any better I'd really appreciate it.

Respectfully, JD
I would suggest you join the Smith & Wesson Collector's Association, one of the perks to the private side of the forum, is free shipping dates, as well as a slight discount on history letters by Roy Jinks.
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Old 10-17-2020, 04:21 PM
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Well, here goes.

Exhibit 1: M&P revolver plain 38 spl no frills #62484x to Shapleigh's in St Lou on 5-12-'30.


Exhibit 2: M&P revolver plain 38 spl no frills #64884x to J. B. Hubbard Co. Jacksonville Fl on 1-16-'34.


If anybody can help pin 633xxx any better I'd really appreciate it.

Respectfully, JD
I just looked at a factory letter in the 6409xx serial number range. It shipped in June of 1932. Looking at it and your other numbers I would feel a 633xxx serial number example would possibly have shipped earlier in 1932 or in 1931.

S&W M&P .38 4" Chicago PD 1932 factory letter VL&A ID'd w/Badge No - Revolvers at GunBroker.com : 874112695

Unfortunately without an actual factory letter for a specific serial number it is simply an educated guess as thigs did tend to leave the factory outside of expected chronological order from time to time.
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Old 10-17-2020, 04:52 PM
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You happen to be dealing with a time period where extrapolation from known lettered ship dates is less reliable than at other times.

The Great Depression slowed sales dramatically. Just looking at the serial ranges, comparing 1919 to 1929 with 1929 to 1939, sales of M&Ps crashed by 75%, from over 300,000 to around 75,000. This led to considerably more out-of-sequence shipments and delayed shipping than usual. Guns sat in the safe longer and were more prone to be picked out of sequence than at times when guns flew out the door.

So if you want any more certainty than you already have, a letter or joining SWCA are really the best ways.
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Old 10-17-2020, 04:56 PM
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Amazing as it may seem the old Shapleigh's building is still standing on the river front in St. Louis.
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Old 10-17-2020, 05:36 PM
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I too have a pretty good list of serial numbers/dates for K Frame Smith & Wesson's gleaned from those posted on here not as accurate as a letter, but close enough.
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Old 10-17-2020, 05:42 PM
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Amazing as it may seem the old Shapleigh's building is still standing on the river front in St. Louis.
I have 3 Colt Civilian Model of 1917 revolvers and all 3 most likely came through Shapleigh's Hardware.

I have been able to scrounge up several factory letters for other Colt Civilian Model 1917 examples in the same serial number range as my examples and they all show to have gone there from the factory. (It seems likely they were shipped in 500 count batch(s) to Shapleigh's on July 28th of 1932. I have read where Shapleigh's may have received as many as 1000 total of them but the factory letters I have scrounged up thus far simply show a 500ct batch, with the same order number of 3622, shipping in July of 1932.)

It seems to have been a very busy place at one time when it comes to selling guns.
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:41 PM
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For $60 you can join the S&W Collectors Association and ask Dr. Jinks for the dates on all your S&Ws. Hundreds of dates are available for member's guns and you can peruse the listings and see ship dates on all of them.
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:51 PM
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I have 3 Colt Civilian Model of 1917 revolvers and all 3 most likely came through Shapleigh's Hardware.

I have been able to scrounge up several factory letters for other Colt Civilian Model 1917 examples in the same serial number range as my examples and they all show to have gone there from the factory. (It seems likely they were shipped in 500 count batch(s) to Shapleigh's on July 28th of 1932. I have read where Shapleigh's may have received as many as 1000 total of them but the factory letters I have scrounged up thus far simply show a 500ct batch, with the same order number of 3622, shipping in July of 1932.)

It seems to have been a very busy place at one time when it comes to selling guns.
I have a Combat magnum shipped to Shapleigh in 1956 and it was one of 50 revolvers shipped on my letter. Big Larry
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Old 10-18-2020, 08:14 AM
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Default shipping dates

Another example of using someone else's shipping date to figure out yours, I came across a guy who had the exact same S&W pistol configuration & nickled like mine, & it was the exact serial number one digit before mine. I checked and of course, mine shipped a year earlier than his did.
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:04 AM
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Joining the SWCA has a lot of benefits

You can as when your gun was shipped and if there is something interesting about it Dr Jinks will give you a nudge with"interesting gun"

You can ask him direct questions. I am sure he is a busy man and like all of us enjoys his own time, but, he or one of his close associates is often kind enough answer many of those questions.

There are no higher authorities on S&W.

I have had people do stuff like take my personal check instead of a postal money order or ship me stuff before they have received payment. Simply because I am a SWCA member. If I see an item posted for sale by a fellow member I don't worry about the deal as it tells me something about the person. He is invested enough and cares enough that he isn't going to do anything to tarnish his reputation.

Everyone of us has spend $60 bucks for far less
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:06 AM
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Default Letters - more than just ship date - share what you can

I believe the rules are pretty clear - no links or data from live auctions, or gun ads that are currently for sale. To me this would include websites like Armslist where private sellers as well as pawn shops and FFL's list guns with pics (yea...sometimes with a Letter pic).

On the other hand I have Lettered many of my collection just to read what Roy (THE S&W Historian) has to say about the model, its' inception date, basic history, sometimes some comments, and then of course, exactly when and where my particular gun was shipped. Accompanying invoice or other commercial correspondence if available is an added plus.

Personally, I have no problems posting some of my Letters if they seem they might be interesting to other Forum members. Sure...I've paid money for them, but researchers & historians need to eat too, and maybe....just maybe....casual readers of the Forum will get the bug and say "I want this type of info on my gun too" and we maybe...just maybe "gain another Member" to SWCA/SWHF. Aside from the above, I believe it is also one of the missions of SWCA to preserve and foster the sharing of historical information about S&W.

Example(s) OP is looking for info about or near s/n 633XXX. Since it is a K Frame then 22's fall in this sequence is my understanding, so my K22 Outdoorsman (First Model) w/sn 637749 shipped Nov. 29, 1931 to EK Tryon in Philadelphia PA.

Please note that the very first K22 Outdoorsman was s/n 632132 and was given to Douglas B. Wesson on January 3, 1931. This is the "interesting" additional info that comes with a Factory LOA.

Full disclosure: I sold this gun some years back to another Forum Member, and I do cover and scan the original letter to remove personal name and address before posting so I don't believe I'm violating any rules by posting again.

On the Shapleigh Hardware gun(s) in St. Louis, MO, I believe they have been involved with major firearms sales and distribution going back to the turn of the century, and maybe before as the Letter for my 22/32 HFT shows shipping to Shapleigh on September 20, 1915. I acquired this gun in pristine condition with original numbered box and tools and this is another one I would love to be able to find the original owner or descendants, as the gun has sat seemingly untouched for over 105 years, and who knows...if you watch this Forum you will see that one like it turned out (on a LOA request) to have been an Annie Oakley gun....another benefit of being a Member of SWCA...The Journal!

Anyway, enjoy the Letters and info, and keep asking... from answers you get on this Forum you may find more than you guessed you would.
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:44 AM
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To demonstrate how the Great Depression affected sales of S&W M&Ps, here are a few serial numbers close to yours with ship years. By 1935, things got back in better order, probably due to inventory being used up and production slow downs. Of course there was unrest brewing in Europe as well.

622XXX - 1934
626XXX - 1934
627XXX - 1931
633XXX - 1931
642XXX - 1931
642XXX - 1934
648XXX - 1935

Forgot to mention that for those who join SWCA, a giant database awaits anyone brave enough to use it.
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Old 10-18-2020, 10:07 AM
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I have a box with remnants of Norvell - Shapleigh Hardware seal on a box for a Model 1902 4" gun. It shipped in May 1903. Only part readable is Norvell - Sh . . . Apparently, they sealed the box when it was received. That gun box ended up up in West Texas.
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Old 10-18-2020, 10:15 AM
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I have that same picture stored in my computer it's a great picture, street cars and horse drawn buggies.
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Old 10-18-2020, 11:03 AM
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For $60 you can join the S&W Collectors Association and ask Dr. Jinks for the dates on all your S&Ws. Hundreds of dates are available for member's guns and you can peruse the listings and see ship dates on all of them.
I have a toddler who won't stop interfering with me this morning so I feel like I might have missed something in this thread, but I didn't see the SWCA Database mentioned.

Personally, I find that database to be invaluable, particularly while at gunshows.

It won't give me precise information, but there are enough guns in that I can usually roughly authenticate something using the database. Typically I'm looking at slightly odd old guns, the types of guns that end up in that database. When looking at say, an old K22 with an HBH, popping into the database and finding one in a relatively close serial range with an HBH confirms that the gun may have shipped with that hammer.

Of course there are no guarantees, and just because another gun in the same general vicinity of the S/N I am looking at shipped with a certain configuration at a certain time doesn't mean the gun I'm looking at did. But the way I operate (assuming everything on a gun is incorrect and paying accordingly) the database allows me to make a slightly more educated gamble then I would otherwise be able to.

For those that need an exact date and proof there are letters and the ship date request of course, but for my gambles that database is absolutely priceless.
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