Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 860: Colt 1921 Thompson Machine gun 45 ACP

Auction Date: April 29, 2016

Extremely Rare Early Production Colt Model 1921A Class III/NFA Fully Automatic Thompson Submachine Gun Serial Number 598

Price Realized:

Extremely Rare Early Production Colt Model 1921A Class III/NFA Fully Automatic Thompson Submachine Gun Serial Number 598

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1921 Thompson
Type: Machine gun
Guage: 45 ACP
Barrel: 10 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 2522
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 249
Class: Class III
Rating Definition:

Very fine with 90% plus of the original blue finish with edge and high spot wear overall with some brown spotting mixed with some brown patina along the upper edge of the trigger housing. The receiver and underside flat of the trigger housing also shows some light blue loss and extensive scratching. The bolt still retains its original bright polish. The wood components are all in very good condition with the buttstock having been sanded and reoiled with a small crack on the top rear edge of the attaching iron. The vertical grip also has a small crack along with the right rear side. The markings are clear and sharp. An early production example of a desirable Colt/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.


This is a beautiful example of a very early, Colt/Thompson Model 1921A submachine gun that was produced circa 1921/22. This specific SMG has an early three digit serial number (598) and is still in its unmodified 1921A configuration. These early 1921 SMGs really set the standard for all future SMGs, with this model being the Cadillac of all models produced. They became infamous during their use by both early the "G-Man" and mob hitman during the gangland wars in 1920/30s. They also were a favorite of the Marines in Nicaragua in 1928. They had mediocre sales during this time with most being upgraded and restamped as the 1921/28 Navy model, so these original unaltered versions are quite rare today. It has its original unaltered receiver markings, high polish blue finish, vertical fore-grip, and no barrel compensator and the highly desirable original early style large headed recoil spring guide. The big difference between the 1921 and 1928 models was that the latter had reduced cyclic rate of fire and a horizontal forend that was usually equipped with a set of sling swivels. This specific weapon still has the early standard features such as the short 10 1/2 inch barrel with cooling fins, the vertical pistol grip, detachable buttstock and the fully adjustable Thompson ladder rear sight that is graduated from 100-600 yards. The left side of the receiver is correctly marked with all the early original markings of "MODEL OF 1921/NO. 598", followed by "THOMPSON SUBMACHINE GUN/CALIBER .45 AUTOMATIC COLT CARTRIDGE/MANUFACTURED BY/ COLT'S PATENT FIRE ARMS MFG. CO./HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A." towards the rear of the receiver. 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 Auto-Ordnance "Bullet" logo with the early markings of "AUT-ORD-CO." inside the bullet logo. This lot is complete with one original 30 round stick magazine The serial numbers on the receiver and trigger housing group have matching numbers (598). This highly desirable early Colt/Thompson SMG was originally sold to the American Express Company in New York in a shipment of 30 SMGs in May 1921.

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