HISTORIC PAIR - 1921 THOMPSONSJune 10, 2020, 11:21 a.m. - Unknown Section -
Read the history of these two early, consecutively numbered Thompsons.
History of 1921-A Colt Thompson Submachine Guns Serial Numbered 134 and 135 This consecutive pair of Thompson submachine guns holds several unique titles: A. They are a consecutive serial-numbered pair of Model 1921-A Colt Thompson submachine guns. B. They are a 3-digit consecutive serial-numbered pair of Model 1921-A Colt Thompson submachine guns. C. They are a consecutive serial numbered pair of 1921-A Colt Thompsons that were manufactured and numbered within the first 100 Thompson submachine guns produced, specifically the 94th and 95th Thompsons Colt made, in April of 1921. Serial Number 134 has its original barrel which is serial numbered to the gun. The serial number is visible in the extractor slot of the receiver when the bolt is retracted. The forward ends of the cocking handle slots in these low serial numbered receivers are square, whereas production was later simplified and the majority of 1921 Thompsons have rounded off cocking handle slots. These machine guns were live machine guns when machinegun dealer J. Curtis Earl of Phoenix, Arizona sold the pair to a collector in San Francisco, California. However, since the collector lived in California, he could not own live machine guns. Therefore, Earl employed a Phoenix welder experienced in this work to deactivate the machine guns. The ATF transfer from Earl to the collector was a two-stage process, requiring a transfer from Earl to the George F. Cake Company, a licensed machined gun dealer in Berkeley, California, and then from that dealer to the collector. These were transferred before ATF Form 4s and 5s were commonly used, so the transfers were “Letter Transfers”. In those years when machinegun collecting was just beginning, a letter was simply written to ATF on the dealer’s letterhead requesting a transfer of that machine gun to the buyer. Letter transfers were approved by ATF simply stamping the word “APPROVED” with a date stamp and signature on the letter and returning it to the transferor. This pair of Thompson submachine guns was among 5 Thompson submachine guns shipped by Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company on behalf of Auto-Ordnance Corporation to Capt. Hugh Pollard in London, England on April 26, 1921. In addition to these two Thompson submachine guns, the shipment included Serial #121, #152 and #175. Accessories shipped along with the 5 submachine guns were 5 cleaning rods and brushes, 5 oil cans and 10 20-round magazines. Interestingly, a letter dated April 26, 1921 from F.J. Merkling, the secretary of Auto-Ordnance Corporation, to Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, states that the guns were being shipped that day to Hugh B.C. Pollard, London, England, as a tax-exempt shipment. This could have been because the transfer was to a foreign government, or because Capt. Pollard acquired these Thompsons for trials or as a representative of Auto-Ordnance Corporation in the United Kingdom. All plans by the British government to purchase more “Thompson Guns” were cancelled when the British learned Auto-Ordnance had clandestinely sold 600 Thompson submachine guns to the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein to support their battle for Irish independence. (No surprise since the financier behind General Thompson’s development and manufacture of the Thompson submachine gun was Irishman Thomas Fortune Ryan, one of the most-wealthy businessmen in America). The 600 clandestine machineguns were in a single shipment intercepted aboard the S. S. East Side in New York Harbor June 12, 1921, before leaving port, bound for Ireland. No matter how the sale of 600 Thompson submachine guns to the IRA was achieved, it immediately motivated the UK to terminate its new business relationship with Auto-Ordnance. This forced Capt. Pollard to promptly return his five Thompson Guns to Auto-Ordnance Corporation in New York. At the time Auto-Ordnance Corporation shipped the five Thompson Guns to Capt. Hugh Birdie Campbell Pollard, Pollard was the intelligence officer on the staff of the Chief of Police in Ireland, headquartered at the “Irish Office” based at Dublin Castle. His title was “Press Officer with Police Authority Information Section”. He was instrumental in putting the British side forward during the “Black Propaganda War” with the IRA and would have been under threat of assassination by the IRA while performing his work in Ireland. Capt. Pollard was a professional soldier and the foremost firearms authority in the United Kingdom. He wrote numerous books including: Secret Societies of Ireland – Their Rise and Progress, published in July of 1922 immediately after his stint as press officer in Dublin Castle. In this book, he makes several references to the “Thompson gun” and its use in Ireland. He may well have been referring to serial numbers 134 and 135! Clearly, he acquired the 5 “Thompson guns” for intentional use. A Busy Time in Mexico – about his involvement in the Mexican Revolution The Story of Ypres – addressing his experience in World War I The Book of the Pistol and Revolver Automatic Pistols Pollard’s History of Firearms Gun Room Guide Significant research has been assembled on Capt. Pollard by Michael Curran, a reporter with the Daily Mail in Ireland. Curtis Earl told the California collector that “both guns #134 and #135 were originally sold by Auto-Ordnance Corporation to the English military, which put them through rigorous trials and then sent them back to Auto-Ordnance Corporation, who refinished and resold them here in the U.S.A. Serial #135 had its barrel replaced by Auto-Ordnance Corporation with an original 1921-A Colt Thompson Barrel”. To allow ownership of these machineguns in California, J. Curtis Earl dewatted serial numbers 134 and 135 by “making the chambering of a cartridge or the replacement of the barrel impossible”. However, Mr. Earl never imagined Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM). EMD is an electrical machining process whereby the desired shape of a piece of steel is obtained using electrical discharges through a precision-machined electrode made specifically for the chamber of the Thompson barrel. The receiver and barrel of these machine guns were immersed in coolant and the weld removed with 0.0005 inch precision by gradually eroding the weld away with the electrode. Both machine guns were reactivated by M6 Management Corporation, a Type 10 Manufacturer, and registered as live machine guns on June 4, 2010. Known chronology of the history of Colt 1921-A Thompson submachine guns serial numbers 134 and 135: April 26, 1921 Shipped by Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Corporation on behalf of Auto-Ordnance Corporation to Capt. Hugh Pollard in London, England. (Note: there are no British acceptance or proof marks on either 134 or 135. Was this an “unofficial” import into the UK?). ? At some unknown date, 134 and 135 were returned to Colt or Auto-Ordnance Corporation. Since the shipment of these machine guns to Capt. Pollard in 1921 was designated as ”tax exempt,” as confirmed in the April 26, 1921 letter from F.J. Merkling, the secretary of Auto-Ordnance Corporation, to Colt, they may have been returned without an import permit since no such permit has been provided by ATF in its response to a Freedom Of Information Act request for firearm histories. ? Acquired by the West Virginia State Police, Charleston, West Virginia, two of fifty 1921 Colt machine guns in the WVSP arsenal. October 1, 1968 Delivered by the West Virginia State Police to an unknown Class 3 machine gun dealer as 2 of 35 machine guns. October 4, 1968 Transferred from the unknown machine gun dealer to Edward J. Klein, a Class 3 machinegun dealer in Houston, Texas as 2 of 35 machine guns. May 22, 1970 Transferred from Edward J. Klein to J. Curtis Earl, a Class 3 machine gun dealer in Phoenix, Arizona, as 2 of 20 machine guns. ? Rendered unserviceable by J. Curtis Earl prior to his letter of transfer to George F. Cake Company. July 24, 1970 Transferred from J. Curtis Earl to the George F. Cake Company, a law enforcement equipment dealer in Berkley, California as 2 of 4 machine guns sold by Mr. Earl to the collector in San Francisco, CA. October 21, 1970 Transferred by letter from George F. Cake Company to the collector in San Francisco, California as “unserviceable” machine guns. July 1, 2009 Transferred from the California collector to the current owner. July 27, 2009 Transferred from the current owner to M6 Management Corporation, licensed manufacturer, able to reactivate the machine guns. June 4, 2010 Reactivated by M6 Management Corporation into live machine guns and meticulously refinished to original 1921 Colt bluing standards by a Colt Firearms restoration professional with 30 years’ experience. September 10, 2010 Transferred from M6 Management Corporation back to the current owner. The history of these two Thompson submachine guns in the hands of Capt. Pollard and his associates during their battles with Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army in Dublin makes them extraordinarily unique among 1921 Thompson submachine guns. But that is only the first half of their provenance. In August of 1921 West Virginia became immersed in the coal miners’ strikes sweeping through their state. Kenneth L. Smith-Christmas covered part of the mining strike battles in his thorough article entitled GUNS OF THE BATTLE OF BLAIR MOUNTAIN, published in the March, 2014 edition of American Rifleman. These two Thompsons, serial number 134 and 135, are featured in that article. The Miners strikes and their ensuing battles caused coal mining companies and their detective agencies to contact Auto-Ordnance Corporation, placing urgent orders for Thompson submachine guns. New or used probably did not matter to the purchasers – just send Thompsons. The five Pollard Thompsons just returned to Auto-Ordnance could be quickly resold to anxious buyers. The FOIA request disclosed the transfer of thirty-five 1921 Thompsons from the West Virginia State Police in October of 1968, which included serial numbers 134 and 135. Some of these Thompsons were most likely conveyed to the West Virginia State Police by their original coal mining company purchasers during the miners’ strikes. The 1934 National Firearms Act would certainly have motivated such donations to the West Virginia State Police. The shipment of 1921 Thompson submachine guns serial numbered 134 and 135 to Capt. Hugh Pollard in Dublin Castle, their “trials” against Sinn Fein and the IRA, the British discovery of Auto-Ordnance Corporation’s sales to the IRA and the resulting UK ban on dealings with Auto-Ordnance, Pollard’s return of his Thompsons, the West Virginia coal miners’ strikes and their flare-up into battles, the urgent demand to arm coal mining company employees and their detective agencies, the battles between those companies and the coal miners prior to the conclusion of the coal mining strikes, all transpired in less than six months in 1921! Those six months christened 1921 Colt Thompson submachine guns numbered 134 and 135 with immortal fame. Clearly, the St. Valentine’s Day Thompsons are the most historic 1921’s. But with involvement in such historic events internationally and in America, 1921 Thompson Submachine guns serial numbered 134 and 135 come in second. $225,000. Please, serious inquiries only to 575-405-0911 TRADES considered. [email protected] Thank you!
- State Tax: $8.00
- Publish date: June 10, 2020, 11:21 a.m.
- Expiring Date: Jan. 21, 2021, 2:14 a.m.
- Shipping Cost: $1,200.00
- Shipping: Seller Will Ship!
- Location: No Location on file.
- Listing ID: 76123699