Estate Sale Victory
"OK, where is the gun?" I asked as my nose began to run. My wife led me to a room in the rear. This was obviously the "man's" room, with rusty tools, crusty plumbing supplies, and a revolver on a table. A white haired lady was seated in the corner reading a crumbling Harlequin novel. She looked over her chained reading glasses at me suspiciously as I picked up the Smith & Wesson Victory revolver.
I swung the cylinder open to insure the gun was not loaded. I found six empty cylinders. I took the price tag and placed it on the recoil plate to reflect light up the bore. The bore was in good shape. The serial numbers on the cylinder, barrel and frame all matched, plus, it had it's lanyard loop. It wore white plastic Franzite magna grips. The revolver had a US Property stamp on the topstrap, and the finish was mint. The case colors were strong and sharp. Technically, this was a S&W 38/200, originally chambered in the anemic .38S&W caliber. It had a five inch barrel, meaning it was likely imported back to the States from duty abroad during and after WWII. Even so, I could find none of the usual British proof marks on this revolver. Many 38/200s were rechambered, poorly, to accept the more popular .38 Special cartridge prior to importation. I could find no revised caliber markings, and I had no snap caps or .38 Special cases to check the chambers. Regardless, for such a gun, the finish was a bit too good.
I looked at the tag. It read $400.I pulled out three hundred dollar bills and politely offered them to the lady with the Harlequin novel.
She curled her lip and sniffed "This was Mr. Maynard's personal gun that he carried on Guadacanal with George Patton! It has ivory handles that General Patton gave Mr. Maynard himself! Surely you can do better than that!" I learned a long time ago not to argue with those who know nothing regarding a subject. I placed the revolver back among the rusty tools and scratched .45 records. Perhaps it will show up in one of the pawn shops in a week or so. I'll keep my eyes open.