Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1597: Colt 1921 Thompson Machine gun 45 ACP

Auction Date: September 11, 2015

Historic Gangster Era Colt Model 1921 Class III/NFA Thompson Submachine Gun Confiscated from a Bank Robber by Dayton, Ohio Police with Documentation, FBI Case, Drum and Stick Magazines

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $50,000 - $100,000

Historic Gangster Era Colt Model 1921 Class III/NFA Thompson Submachine Gun Confiscated from a Bank Robber by Dayton, Ohio Police with Documentation, FBI Case, Drum and Stick Magazines

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1921 Thompson
Type: Machine gun
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 10 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 11641
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 250
Class: Class III

This is an unbelievable historic example of a mid-production Model 1921 Colt manufactured Thompson SMG federally registered in 1933 as being "captured from a Bank Robber." This exceptional one of a kind SMG comes with several documents including copies of the "Treasury Dept. Registration of Firearms" dated Sept. 18, 1933, listing this SMG by serial number (6039) with the note, "Confiscated from bank robber" Dayton Ohio; a copy John Dillinger's arrest sheet dated Sept 1933 (Dayton Ohio) where he was arrested for bank robbery and a photocopy of his FBI booking sheet and finger print cards (dated Sept 1933). No mention of the machine gun is in the police officer's report. It also includes photocopies of several newspaper articles from the Herald Journal of Dayton, Ohio, discussing the details of his arrest and his relationship of the "notorious Lady in Red" Anna Sage who betrayed Dillinger to the well known FBI agent Melvin Purvis who shot Dillinger. Obviously, John Dillinger needs no introduction; he was tagged by the FBI as "Public Enemy No. 1" after the demise of the Bonnie and Clyde gang. Dillinger rose to fame by his continued legacy of crime and bank robberies throughout the Midwest and upper Ohio area. This is an early-mid production Model 1921 Thompson submachine gun produced by Colt Firearms Company circa 1921/22. Based on the design of this weapon and its use of solid steel fully machined parts that exhibited excellent fit and finish, these were probably one of the best manufactured machine guns ever produced. These original, unaltered Colt Model 1921s are difficult to find today because most were upgraded to the Model 1928 and remarked. The primary difference between the 1921 and 1928 configuration was that the Model 1928 used a modified locking block to reduced the cyclic rate of fire, a redesigned or simpler 1928 type buffer/recoil assembly, a horizontal forend, and sling swivels on the buttstock and forend. This specific weapon still has the early features such as: the short 10 1/2 inch barrel that is fitted with the non-compensated (21A) front sight, the cooling fins on the rear of the barrel, unmarked vertical pistol grip, the detachable buttstock, and the fully adjustable Thompson ladder rear sight that is graduated from 100-600 yards. This example still retains the original, early style, large headed recoil spring guide with its matching set of dark walnut wood components. "17" is written in white paint on the right side of the stock. The left side of the receiver has the original factory markings of: "MODEL OF 1921 NO 6039" followed by "THOMPSON SUBMACHINE GUN/CALIBRE .45 AUTOMATIC COLT CARTRIDGE/MANUFACTURED BY/ COLT'S PATENT FIRE ARMS MFG. CO./HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A." The right side is marked with single circled "JHB" inspector mark followed by the five lines of patent dates along with the two-line "AUTO-ORDNANCE CORPORATION NEW YORK, U.S.A". The top of the receiver is marked with the original second pattern bullet logo with "Thompson" inside, "TRADE" above, and "MARK" below. The matching serial number "6039" is on the receiver and lower trigger housing. This beautiful Thompson is complete with one original 50 round Type "L" drum magazine manufactured by the Auto-Ordnance Corp. of NY numbered "488" on the front and back side of the magazine with the 1920 patent dates, four original 20 round stick magazines, and an original black leatherette FBI carrying case.

Rating Definition:

Very fine with 85% plus of the slightly faded original blue finish with edge and high spot wear overall with blue loss and fading on the receiver from actually handling and use along with the front end of the receiver having several areas of heavier scratches/blue loss, probably from sitting in a rest when being fired. The wood components (both pistol grips and buttstock) are all fine with a very nice matching dark walnut finish overall and all three components showing minor handling marks on the sides from being used. This is a wonderful and historic bank robber used and captured Colt Model 1921 Thompson SMG. NOTE: This item is restricted as a National Firearms Act (NFA), Fully Automatic Weapon that is currently registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATF&E) that has been classified as a "Curios or Relic" as defined in 27 CFR, 478.11. These weapons are still subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 and 27 CFR part 478.

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