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Old May 30, 2013, 11:50 AM   #1
Joe_Pike
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Anyone Here Get An Interesting History Letter From Roy Jinks?

I'm getting ready to send Mr Jinks $50 to letter a 1937 S&W .38-.44 Heavy Duty in case I decide to sell it. I know most of the letters come back saying that the gun was originally sent to a hardware store or something like that, so, nothing too exciting.

Have any of you got a letter back showing an interesting or surprising provenance on an old revolver?
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Old May 30, 2013, 07:10 PM   #2
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Sometimes its the little things...

I recently had to buy a binder for my S&W letters. I bought some of those clear plastic document holders so the letters can be read without having to touch the letters.

I don't know how many letters I have, but its quite a few. As a S&W collector, the most important thing is often simply that the letter reflects that the gun shipped in its current configuration. However, sometimes you do get interesting info.

A while back I bought 2 N frame transitional 38s (a Heavy Duty and a 38 Outdoorsman, pre 20 and pre 23 respectively). The Outdoorsman SN was much higher, but both shipped in 1946, and close together, which I found interesting. S&W shipped very few if any guns in 1945 to civilians or distributors, so really 1946 is the first post war year of production.

Last year I bought a (.455) MKII second model hand ejector a while back hoping it was one of the rare 45 Colt versions purchased by the Canadian government. It lettered as a .455 meaning it was converted, but it ended up shipping on my birthdate, which is pretty neat.

Another one I liked, which had something minor was a pre 29 4 screw I got lettered. It ended up shipping to Pittsburgh PA in 1958, and I bought it in northern PA, and I live in PA so I figure, since shipped, it has been in PA - approx 55 years!

So in other words, I never got a letter that went to a famous person, or a gun that was custom ordered, etc. However, my favorite letter was for my 5 screw pre 29. The gun is beautiful and original, and so the only variable was when it shipped in 1956. Everyone says that S&W made the first 44 magnums in 1955, but really, they only completed one known gun, and it went to someone in S&W. Regular production actually started in 1956. Early 56 guns are much more collectible than later 56 ones, when all else is the same. Early on, they made few, and then made more as the months went on. I think they made some 6500 in the first year, which most are either 6.5in or 4in. Most are blue. Despite that, to have a plain blue 6.5 gun, that shipped early is still very special to a S&W collector. I found out that the SN was S130XXX before I bought it. I knew that the first 44 magnums were in the S130XXX range, so that got me very excited, before I even bought the gun.

I actually landed this 5 screw pre 29 early this year. It was a very fair price, for what it is, although it was much more than say a 29-2 :P. Anyways, when the letter came in, it ended up shipping 4-2-56, which means it was one of the first 100 made. One of the first 100 44 magnum DA revolvers, ever made! Pretty cool IMO. I actually bought the gun from the original owner, who sold the gun to raise money for his gun club in AZ. We all won, IMO. I ended up buying a black presentation case for the gun (these were before the later wood case).

I never started a thread about this gun on the TFL, but I guess I should - with more info.






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Old May 30, 2013, 11:01 PM   #3
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I have only one Smith & Wesson factory letter from Roy Jinks. I ordered the letter in 1998, IIRC. The revolver in question is the very common Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector Military & Police Model of 1905, Fourth Change, chambered for the .38 Special cartridge. Now I may have gotten the order of that mouthful incorrect (correction please, if I did!) but what we are talking about is a pre-Model 10, the revolver they made like SIX MILLION of over the years.

I ordered the letter because this revolver was bought by my Grandfather in 1923, according to his best recollection when he gave it to me for a high-school graduation present in the summer of 1990. He recalls buying it used, and he bought it in Morgantown, WV. 90 years old when recalling these few details, it was pleasing that in reading Roy Jinks' letter some 18 years later that the revolver was shipped in 1921 to the Emmons Hawkins Hardware Co., in Huntington, WV.

My Grandfather was simply not a gun guy. I never heard tales of him hunting, no recreational shooting and he'd never been in the military. I asked him why he bought it and he simply replied, "In those days, a man owned a gun."

It's got a six-inch barrel and factory nickel plating. It still wears the grips that were on it when he bought it, which are not the original S&W wooden stocks. Rather, it's got genuine mother-of-pearl which likely have some value all on their own separate from the revolver, while the revolver is likely reduced in a similar dollar "value" as a collector's gun because it is missing it's original issue stocks. I haven't removed the pearl grips in quite some time, but as I recall, there are no markings of -any- kind on them, and certainly no emblem showing on them.

I've never had anyone with the experience to accurately grade or value the revolver look at it. Come to think of it, I do have a place nowadays that I can take it and do just exactly that, and I would like to. I suppose, just to know.

On one hand, I've got a fully functional and great looking 92 year old revolver that has been in my family for 90 years. That's incredible. On the "value" side, the finish is not in perfect condition, it's missing the OEM stocks and it is THE most produced revolver in the history of mankind.

It occupies a unique spot in my world, and is one of only two "safe queens" that I own. I have been thinking about shooting it again, I think it's been maybe five years since I've done that.

It's got a six-digit all numeric serial number that I can easily remember and makes me chuckle, as it starts with "357xxx." So when folks pop on to TFL to ask about what year their old school S&W revolver is, I can quickly tell 'em that "357" is 1921. After that, I'm pretty useless unless I've got the Standard Catalog in my lap.
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Old May 31, 2013, 12:54 PM   #4
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Interesting stories you two. I mailed my check yesterday, so, maybe I'll have an interesting story in a few weeks.
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Old May 31, 2013, 03:14 PM   #5
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I forgot to say something above: S&W has for the most part, always shipped out of sequence. With my 44, it was NOT a simple matter of: find the earliest SN, and count until mine is reached to deduce which number mine is. When finished guns were taken from the "completed room" they were taken in no particular order. A 44 magnum collector posted on the S&W forum a 44 magnum which has an earlier serial than mine, yet it shipped Feb 1957. So really, before I got my letter, there was no way to know. I hoped it was some unknown January 56 gun, but April of 56 was great.
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Old May 31, 2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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Oh, and be sure to post the results of the letter and if it letters something really neat, with provenance, be careful, because the hook will then be firmly placed...
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Old June 1, 2013, 12:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
be careful, because the hook will then be firmly placed...
Unfortunately, not much chance of that happening. My job is less than secure at this point, so, I'm basically getting the letter to hopefully add value to the gun so I can sell it.
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Old August 20, 2013, 02:11 PM   #8
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Well, my letter arrived yesterday and it was disappointing if not unexpected. Everyone wants the gun that has some neat little provenance to go along with it, but it was not to be. My gun shipped to Leacock Sporting Goods in St. Louis on September 24, 1937. No more, no less.
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Old August 20, 2013, 02:19 PM   #9
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Well, I suppose the next thing you're looking for is to confirm that the "features" and such on the revolver jives with what the letter says, yes? Because if it's a different barrel length, different sights, different stocks and such and your hope is to possibly sell the revolver... then you'll wanna shred the letter!
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Old August 20, 2013, 02:53 PM   #10
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I can say that everything did match - blue finish, 5" barrel and magna grips.
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Old August 20, 2013, 02:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Well, my letter arrived yesterday and was it disappointing if not unexpected. Everyone wants the gun that has some neat little provenance to go along with it, but it was not to be. My gun shipped to Leacock Sporting Goods in St. Louis on September 24, 1937. No more, no less.
Oh, come now, don't give up that easy!

Researching... Leacock Sporting Goods was a landmark store in St. Louis from 1907 to 1946. A lot of goods were sold from there and some of their items can be found in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The building is, right now, under consideration for historical preservation.

http://www.vintagebaseballgloveforum...hp?f=10&t=4865

So.. what you have to do is channel your inner salesman. Go on Armslist for St.Louis and Drop that stores name like its Hot. Appeal to people's nostalgia in the area. Tell them they can own a piece of S&W AND St. Louis history
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Old August 21, 2013, 09:04 PM   #12
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Even the "boring" letters I find to be cool. Just knowing where is was bought new and when can give you an idea of who the buyer may have been. Or maybe I have too much imagination haha. My model 18-7 is too new for me to get a letter but it would be nice to see my grand kids in 2064 getting a letter from Roy Jinks III. It would say it was bought at great northern guns in Alaska and they would look it up, being the only log cabin gun shop left. Then they would fly there and see a picture of me they took for an e-mail avatar pined to the wall with "chowder" written above it.
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Old August 22, 2013, 11:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Well, my letter arrived yesterday and it was disappointing if not unexpected. Everyone wants the gun that has some neat little provenance to go along with it, but it was not to be. My gun shipped to Leacock Sporting Goods in St. Louis on September 24, 1937. No more, no less.
What were you hoping for? Back in the day no paperwork on purchases, just a receipt for the purchase
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Old August 23, 2013, 07:47 PM   #14
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Yes I did.

My 1939 Registered Magnum was the prize gun for Camp Perry and the winner speced it out to his desires.

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Old August 24, 2013, 07:30 AM   #15
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I never bothered to get any of the S&W's I had lettered, but I appreciate those who do, and who share the contents with us. One thing I was amused to notice is that Mr. Jinks refers to '73's revolver as a "Pre-Model 29." I've been chastised a few times by purists for using that "pre" term.
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Old August 24, 2013, 10:09 PM   #16
Joe_Pike
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Quote:
What were you hoping for? Back in the day no paperwork on purchases, just a receipt for the purchase
Something like this:

Quote:
My 1939 Registered Magnum was the prize gun for Camp Perry and the winner speced it out to his desires.
I know the chances were slim to none, but hope springs eternal.
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Old August 25, 2013, 12:03 AM   #17
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So is this Roy Jinks the only one at S&W that does these letters? and is he just going back into all of there paper records over the years? If so this guy is like the keeper of the S&W story and needs to train a replacement from a young age!
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Old August 25, 2013, 05:39 AM   #18
Peter M. Eick
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Like this....

Mine was just a Registered Magnum shooter that had been refinished prior to doing a little research. Now it is the 1939 Camp Perry Winner's prize. Quite accurate also.



50 shots, 15 yrds, offhand, stout load of 2400.
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Old August 25, 2013, 09:04 AM   #19
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That gun and that letter do make you wonder the life that it lived that resulted in it coming in to your possession. You have to imagine that the gentleman who owned it must not have discussed it much with his heirs... that they let it out of their possession.
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