Message in a bottle (almost)

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,457
appalacian Mtns
I recently acquired an old Colt revolver in relic condition (rough). In disassembly I found a small scrap of paper with initials and an address. This revolver was made between 1898 -1902. Due to 1 digit in the serial # being worn to the point that it's illegible that's as close as I can date it. The paper is white with blue lines, looks to me as being more modern than the revolver. It's from a small little notebook like one might carry in his pocket for addresses & such. It does have a zip code. Anyone know when ruled notebooks like this became common? When did zip codes start being used? I did a Google earth search of the address and it showed a farm or ranch in rural MO. There is a different set of initials carved in the inside of the grips. Also a couple of notches carved in the grips. Ammunition for this old Colt (41 long Colt) has not been made since the 1930s except for 1 last run made by Winchester for a Texas hardware chain in the 60s. Just as an aside this is the caliber favored by Billy the kid. And the same model revolver carried by Teddy Roosevelt up some hill in the Spanish-American war.
 
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Fire_Raven

Ad Honorem
Jul 2010
2,776
Oregon
Zipcodes became widely used in the US in the 1960's. No idea on how long ago they became common but think I remember seeing something like that among a former stepdad's things from when he was a kid in the 50's
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,457
appalacian Mtns
Thanks, I don't think the author of the note is the original owner. This model was obsolete by WW1, but was issued to reserves and such.
 

Otranto

Ad Honorem
May 2013
2,083
Netherlands
Is it like a return address label, in case the revolver was lost or stolen? Could be an interesting experience if you returned it, descendants might still be there. Maybe there's a cool story behind the gun.
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,457
appalacian Mtns
Yes, that's what it is, that was my thinking exactly. However I'm a bit worried they will say yes that's grandpa's old gun, someone stole it from us 3 years ago, when in reality gramps lost it in a poker game 50 years ago. Ordinarily I could pay a fee & get a historical letter from Colt showing date of manufacture & who they shipped it too, but with 1 digit in the serial # illegible my only option there would be pay for 10 letters and guess which 1 is correct.
 
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M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,457
appalacian Mtns
Interesting, however it seems to be a at least partially destructive process, I'd also like to note that this # wasn't intentionally obliterated. It's just over a hundred years of wear and corrosion. I've also been told that sometime around the date of manufacture of this revolver Colt started putting the serial # on the inside of the side plate also because of US Army complaints of the serial#s wearing off of the butts. I haven't removed the side plate yet to check.
 
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Fire_Raven

Ad Honorem
Jul 2010
2,776
Oregon
Yeah I knew it wasn't intentional, it was the part about the metal compression in the article that caught my eye and was wondering if that might be useful to you somehow in figuring out the last digit.
 

Otranto

Ad Honorem
May 2013
2,083
Netherlands
However I'm a bit worried they will say yes that's grandpa's old gun, someone stole it from us 3 years ago, when in reality gramps lost it in a poker game 50 years ago.
Yeah, that crossed my mind too. The fact of "return label" does suggest "grandpa" possibly did not depart with gun willingly. Is that a legal or a moral problem? Because if it's not legal, then too bad for them if you doubt their sincerity. If you ever return it, I hope you keep us updated.
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,457
appalacian Mtns
I think the only way I'd relinquish it too them would be if they can come up with an old police report specifically listing this revolver as stolen. I've tracked it back 12 years already, that's when the guy that I tracked it back too inherited it from his dad, he thinks his dad had it for many years before his death. His dad doesn't match any of the initials in the note or carved inside the grips. I suspect that at sometime early in its life this revolver was carried as a duty weapon by a LEO. The checkering on the grips is worn smooth. Very few civilians carry a weapon enough to do that. Definitely not a military weapon. The US military did use this model, but not in this caliber.