The accompanying factory letter lists this highly desirable factory engraved Colt DA revolver with a 4 inch barrel in .38 caliber, blue finish, pearl stock, factory engraving and "engraved on plate" (presumably referencing the presentation inscription plate on the case) when shipped to Mr. Penfield, Sphinx Temple, Hartford, Connecticut, on June 9, 1931. The Wilbur Glahn style engraving covers about 70% of the surface and consists of masterful floral scroll patterns on a punch dot background along with fine line bordering. Engraved leaf patterns decorate the sides of the top strap. The butt has Glahn’s signature “V” motif. In "The Book of Colt Firearms" author R.L. Wilson states that there were approximately 325 factory engraved Police Positive Special revolvers, nearly all done before 1941 (page 388). The left side of the trigger guard has the Colt factory triangle proof and the number “3.” Fitted with factory silver Rampant Colt medallion grips. The left panel is inscribed “EAF.” The original leather bound fitted case features blue velvet lining and a silver plated presentation plaque on the exterior of the case lid. The presentation inscription reads, “TO/IMPERIAL POTENTATE/ESTEN A FLETCHER/FROM/THE NOBILITY OF/SPHINX TEMPLE/AAONMS/HARTFORD, CONN. JUNE 10 1931/MERTON W. BASSETT-POTENTATE.” “AAONMS” is an anagram for “a mason.” Esten Fletcher (1864-1941) was a very active in local politics and charities in the Hartford area, and apparently declined a candidacy in national politics. Fletcher was elected Imperial Potentate of the Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in June 1930 for a one year term ending in June 1931. The end of his term coincides with the date on the case plaque (“June 10, 1931”). He was an active member in the Masonic order and at the time of his death was a 33rd Degree Mason. The 33rd Degree is reserved for Masons who have made major contributions to society or Masonry in general. Merton Webster Bassett (1851-1950) is listed as a past potentates of Sphinx Shrine for the year 1931 on the organization’s website (www.sphinxshriners.org/past-potentates.html). For over 25 years he operated the retail jewelry firm M.W. Bassett Company in Hartford. In the 1930s he branched out in real estate, building and selling summer cottages in Niantic that proved profitable. At the time of his death he was a 32nd Degree Mason.
Excellent, retaining 99% plus original blue finish showing a light cylinder drag line. The engraving is sharp. The grips are in equal excellent condition showing only the slightest handling marks. Mechanically excellent. The case is fine showing minor wear to the exterior and typical high spot wear on the lining. A high condition masonry presented factory engraved Police Positive Special revolver that will be a welcomed addition to any Colt DA collection!
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