Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3361: Colt 1921 Thompson, Class III/NFA C&R Machine Gun

Auction Date: August 28, 2022

Documented Omaha Police Department Inscribed Law Enforcement Shipped Colt Model 1921 Thompson Submachine Gun, Class III/NFA C&R Fully Transferable Machine Gun

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $45,000 - $70,000

Documented Omaha Police Department Inscribed Law Enforcement Shipped Colt Model 1921 Thompson Submachine Gun, Class III/NFA C&R Fully Transferable Machine Gun

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1921 Thompson
Type: Machine gun
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 10 1/2 inch fluted
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 820
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 236
Class: Class III

One of the most famous sub-machine guns in the world, the Thompson SMG rates as one of the truly signature American weapons. While advancements in manufacturing techniques and materials would allow later designs to match or exceed the Thompson's performance, none of them have managed to do the job with the same level of style and craftsmanship. The Thompson, a product of old-school hand craftsmanship, is virtually synonymous with the Roaring 20s and the Great Depression, being found on both sides of the law during the "gangland" era of American history, and also serving on all Allied fronts of World War II, where it stood tall among its more cost-effective stamped steel substitutes. Per the records in Herigstad's "Colt Thompson Submachine Gun" (page 909), this Thompson was originally shipped as part of an 11-piece order on October 15, 1930 to Chief John J. Pszanowski of the Omaha, Nebraska Police Department. Like most cities in the United States during that time period, Omaha had to deal with the consequences of Prohibition, with Nebraska having gone dry on a state level in 1917 and not reversing course until 1934. The Thompson is later recorded in the collections of Mike McGinnis, Neal Smith and Richard Smith. Blade front sight on an unmarked Cutts-style compensator and folding Lyman rear sight on the receiver, with the model and Colt address on the left side of the receiver, "bullet" logo on top, and the patent markings and "JHB" inspection mark on the right. The trigger group is numbered to match beneath the stock, and fitted with a set of fully functional selector and safety switches. Internally, the bolt is an original 1921 lightweight bolt giving the gun an 800 RPM firing rate and is equipped with a mobile firing pin and a brass "Blish lock" device, as well as a wide spring and spring guide and the felt-padded oiler. Fitted with a set of traditional pattern walnut furniture, with a small "anchor" stamp on the front of the buttstock. The top of the receiver and the stock rail for the trigger group are finely custom engraved "Omaha Police Dept" in attractive script, with "OPD" deeply branded into the pistol grip and "OMAHA/POLICE DEPT" on the buttstock; this marking pattern has been seen on other Omaha Police documented Thompsons. One 50-round "L" drum, which has the New York address, is included.

Rating Definition:

Extremely fine, with 85% of the original blue finish, showing some bright wear on the high edges and the left side of the receiver and trigger housing, mild scratches concentrated on the right side, and minor handling marks overall. The wood is very fine, with some minor chips along the edges and mild dings and scuffs. Mechanically excellent. NOTE: This weapon is a National Firearms Act (NFA), fully transferable Class 3, which is registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (BATFE) that is 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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