Taking Stock #7
Where Did It Come From?
One of the more interesting and entertaining parts of the work we do at Lock, Stock, & Barrel, is try to ferret out the provenance and history of some of the marvelous firearms that come through the store. A Sig P-226 is a nice pistol, and will generate a slew of hi-res pictures, as well as an accurate description, but the real meat and potatoes of the organization is when the Odd Fish comes through the door. I have written up a Nepalese-stamped Martini rifle that was rich with history, an obscure Ortgies between-war pistol that was curious to say the least, even a Pre-1860, double-barreled Howdah pistol that fairly dripped with hand-built beauty and character.
Once a gun comes into our store, depending on what manner of firearm it is, we book it in to the LS&B books, in compliance with all state and federal laws. If it is a modern firearm, it is subject to a 30 day wait, while the legal process makes certain that it has a clean background. This enables us to make certain that the buyer is able to purchase any firearm that we sell, without recrimination or uncertainty.
The firearms are photographed in our studio with a Canon EoS 60 D, 18 Megapixel camera. Each firearm we sell then goes to one of our studious clerks, who inspect the firearms minutely, noting all markings and swabing the workings and the bore.
Then the real fun begins, if it is an historical piece. A single action Colt SAA? Which generation is it? Does it have the original grips? Do the parts numbers match? Does it have an inspector’s cartouche, indicating military service? How are the screw heads, how smooth is the action, how clean is the bore?
Often, we receive firearms that have a bit of known history to them; a Smith & Wesson that was carried by notorious outlaw Emmett Dalton, a 1911 A-1 that came in from the wife of the seaman that carried it; a bringback from a field of battle, the impossibly well-preserved 1851 London Navy Colt which, tantalizingly, just might be an authentic London-Hartford model.
The internet has become a huge asset, as is our vast, multi-volume reference library. But historical records are what they are, the internet is in it’s often-self-edited infancy, and books just don’t contain all the data needed to authoritatively identify some of the marvelous finds we see come through the door. Rest assured, we do our due diligence within the confines of the information available, but once in a while we get stumped. That’s where we make our lack of knowledge known, and we even occasionally invite you, the public to offer information about our latest obscure find. It’s often rewarding, sometimes frustrating, but be assured, we do our best to answer, “Where did it come from?”
By Mark Romano