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Old 07-23-2020, 10:20 AM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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Combat Masterpiece Detroit Police - Inscribed Names and Date Combat Masterpiece Detroit Police - Inscribed Names and Date Combat Masterpiece Detroit Police - Inscribed Names and Date Combat Masterpiece Detroit Police - Inscribed Names and Date Combat Masterpiece Detroit Police - Inscribed Names and Date  
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Default Combat Masterpiece Detroit Police - Inscribed Names and Date

So, I picked this up from a large sporting goods store outside of Detroit. It is a Model 15-3 in a wooden presentation box with presentation stocks, target hammer, and target trigger. It looks like its sat in the box since it was presented, e.g. there is no evidence of it having been fired. The serial number dates to 1973 production.

Very curiously, it has been inscribed with the following text around the cylinder:

*****************

Detroit Police

In Appreciation

Murray Chodak

Bill Winn

Frank Wypych

Ben Sulisz

**********************

And on the right side is the date: "Jan. 24, 1974"

I googled everything I could think of. The only name that comes back is that of Murray Chodak. Mr. Chodak was the law partner of James P. Hoffa (Jimmy Hoffa's son and the current president of the teamsters). Chodak also defended a Michigan supreme court judge against corruption charges, and was involved in many high profile Michigan cases.

Hoffa and Chodak represented officers from the Detroit Police Union in a case challenging Mayor Coleman Young's new Affirmative Action programs. That case was started in 1975 (Baker vs. City of Detroit).

I speculate that Chodak and the other gentlemen on the cylinder of this Combat Masterpiece assisted the police union with some other cause. And the genesis of that action was in early 1974? It must have been something very important - important enough to actually inscribe and give a revolver between the two parties?

I've reached out to another forum member preliminarily who was former DPD. He did not have much more insight to add, other than this Combat Masterpiece remains an enigma.

I am all ears and happy to entertain all theories. But I'm probably happier to own this fine revolver. Being former military, I hold a special appreciation for valuable symbols of affinity given between professional cohorts who respect one another. Notwithstanding this, the revolver is in outstanding shape, and oozes craftmanship.

If any of you recognize any of the other names on this revolver, or can add any insight, please share.

P.S. I have not yet removed the stocks. Based on a previous 38/44 I have owned, there may be more evidence written on the underside of the wood. (The 38/44 had the name of the owner and was dated 1937). I'll remove them and give an update later today.


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Last edited by peter-paul; 07-23-2020 at 10:26 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2020, 10:49 AM
mikerjf mikerjf is offline
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Google Frank E. Wypych, there's some interesting stuff there fer sure. Hope that's not your guy.
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Old 07-23-2020, 10:52 AM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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I did see that as well. I dont think it is as he was in Seattle and not Detroit.

(For those wondering, another Frank Wypych from Seattle was proven by DNA evidence to have murdered a Seattle woman in 1967).

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Old 07-23-2020, 10:55 AM
mikerjf mikerjf is offline
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Detroit area shows a Beverly J Wolverton d.2008, daughter of "the late Frank Wypych".

Most likely a Francis Wypych, b.1933 d.2003 of Detroit. Not a lot of F. Wypych's in the Social Security Death Master.

Last edited by mikerjf; 07-23-2020 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 07-23-2020, 11:00 AM
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s&wchad s&wchad is offline
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That was right around the time STRESS was abolished by the new Mayor, Coleman A. Young. No idea if itís related.

I would suspect those 4 men presented the gun to the Detroit Police. I think John Nichols was the Police Commissioner back then and perhaps they gave it to him. I do know that some of the guns in his collection were sold within the past few years.
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Old 07-23-2020, 11:00 AM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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I saw a couple of those as well. Some relatives obliquely referenced. I wonder how I would start that phone call?

"Hi, this may sound weird but I might have your dad's gun."

:-)

One thing my research does show is how blissfully "off the grid" people were back in the day.

The internet, while wonderful in some ways, is all-pervasive.

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Old 07-23-2020, 11:05 AM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s&wchad View Post
That was right around the time STRESS was abolished by the new Mayor, Coleman A. Young. No idea if itís related.



I would suspect those 4 men presented the gun to the Detroit Police. I think John Nichols was the Police Commissioner back then and perhaps they gave it to him. I do know that some of the guns in his collection were sold within the past few years.
Maybe this is one of the Commissioner's guns?

The inscription is ambiguous. Its mildly frustrating that it is not totally clear who presented the revolver to whom. My assumption is that it was presented TO the police. And if that's the case, would the commissioner have been the right recipient?

I'm also curious as to the process around procuring the revolver itself. I wonder if any of them walked into a gun store and said "Give me one of the nicest .38's you have." And maybe the owner said "I have this one here with presentation grips. We can even engrave it for you."

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Old 07-23-2020, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter-paul View Post
Maybe this is one of the Commissioner's guns?

The inscription is ambiguous. Its mildly frustrating that it is not totally clear who presented the revolver to whom. My assumption is that it was presented TO the police. And if that's the case, would the commissioner have been the right recipient?
I doubt the gun was give by the Detroit Police Dept. to those 4 men. They might present an inscribed gun to each of them for services rendered, but not 1 gun to fight over or rotate possession.

I think itís much more likely that those men had some sort of dealing with the department and wanted to show their appreciation. I would think the commissioner or chief would be the most likely recipient, whoever initiated the contract.
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Old 07-23-2020, 02:19 PM
wingsfan wingsfan is offline
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Could have been presented to another attorney, investigator, paralegal, etc, not named, in appreciation for assisting in representing them in their law suit against the city. I doubt the people who sued the city would present the chief, who serves at the pleasure of the mayor (Young) with a gift like that. I also doubt the chief would accept it, with his mayor involved in the law suit.
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Old 07-23-2020, 02:21 PM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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That is a logical point, but the lawsuit was about 1.5 years after the date on the pistol so I suspect this was for something else.

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Old 07-23-2020, 02:38 PM
GerSan69 GerSan69 is offline
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IMO I think the gun was presented by DPD officers (not officially.) The "In Appreciation" should be the top line.
Are you sure there wasn't an identical one given to each of the names?
Could these guys all be part of the same law firm?
Interesting find. I hope it's a solvable mystery!
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Old 07-23-2020, 03:05 PM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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"Detroit Police" is actually above "In appreciation". That's a very good point about one potentially being given to each person on the cylinder.

I suspect it was a legal team.

Thoughts as to whether a factory letter would solve any of this ?

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Old 07-23-2020, 05:57 PM
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Very nice! Jan 24, 1974 is 4 days before I was born!
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:05 PM
AlHunt AlHunt is offline
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You should join the Historical Foundation then ask Mr. Jinks for a shipping date. Maybe he'll note that it's an "interesting" gun.
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:14 PM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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I have definitely been thinking about that. Would it be also possible to sign my father up? Or does he need to sign himself up?

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Old 07-23-2020, 07:31 PM
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The most significant thing that I could think of for January 24th 1974 would involve the new mayor of Detroit Coleman A. Young taking office.
If Hoffa's attorney's were involved in anything at that time it would most likely be involving union activity, most likely pension issues and investments.
In 1974 the Police and Fire Pension in Detroit was very secure and was well funded. With the new radical mayor coming in I suspect that it may have had something to do with that as Hoffa's lawyers specialized in union activity and pensions.
The presentation box is not an S&W factory item, it is a Pelson Case which were of that time period and sold by J&G Rifle Ranch.
The style of engraving looks a lot like a fellow on the east side of Detroit who had a gun shop and was a badge collector but he is not around to confirm that with any longer.
A factory letter would be a great start for your research.
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Old 07-23-2020, 09:10 PM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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Thank you! I'll get a factory letter. This makes 4 revolvers that I need to letter. Quite an expensive proposition in it's own right!
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