Yokohama Specie Bank Colt 1903 .32
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Thread: Yokohama Specie Bank Colt 1903 .32

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    Yokohama Specie Bank Colt 1903 .32

    I had a few minutes this morning before getting at Monday, so I figured I'd share a gun. I picked up this 1939 Colt 1903 Hammerless .32 earlier this year as pictured, in a group gun buy of a few Colt's. The box isn't numbered to it. The pearls came on it as well, with the more rare forward facing medallions. The letter says stocks as "not listed" per usual, so it's not likely at all that these were on it to start with. The one side is surface cracked but not very deep. I've got some modern replacement panels to put on, should I decide to take it to the range at some point. The magazine is in superb condition. A previous owner put that gold finish in the frame's serial number and the forward takedown alignment arrow...... why was this so popular years ago? I've got a couple Colt's over the years with it. I guess I could clean it out. Undecided at this point.

    What is really interesting, is the Colt letter I obtained recently. This piece was shipped in a 5000! numbered shipment to the Yokohama Specie Bank Ltd., via Kawaguchiya Firearms Co. Ltd. in Tokyo, Japan on Jan 3, 1939. Is it just me, or is that an insanely huge number of guns in one shipment? A little research has turned up that the Yokohama Specie Bank was the primary financier for Imperial Japan's wartime conquering of Asia during this time, just 3 years prior to the attack on the U.S.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yokohama_Specie_Bank
    It appears the bank building is still in existence.
    http://www.oldtokyo.com/yokohama-spe...kohama-c-1920/

    What are the forum's thoughts on this gun? The gun itself isn't in mint condition or unique but it seems the destination is at the very least, a bit interesting. Of course with 5000 guns going there at once, maybe it's not that unique?? Any thoughts on its value? Is there any value increase based on the lettered info, or is it just another decent 1903?(wish I could figure out why some pics turn sideways on here...)
    1903 1.jpg1903 3.jpg1903 4.JPG1903 6.jpg

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    Im curious how it came back to the states... very cool 1903 with a interesting story.

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    A Gorgeous Specimen of Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless...with provenance to the Island of Japan !!

    Congrats Sir...

    If you find the time, please consider sharing it with the Hammerless Aficionados @ the "Got Hammerless?" dedicated thread:

    https://www.coltforum.com/forums/col...rless-425.html

    .
    jeepnut711, Kurusu, ei8ht and 2 others like this.

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    Great find. I have been looking for a long time for a 1903 shipped to Japan, they are not very common or maybe alot just have not been lettered so are unknown.

    Brunner says colt records indicate that almost 20000 1903s were sent to Japan between 1919 and 1939. Approximately half of all caliber .32 pistols inthe 525000 to 537000 range were sent to Japan.
    ei8ht, mentallapse, stan3 and 2 others like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeb1143 View Post
    Im curious how it came back to the states... very cool 1903 with a interesting story.
    Wars, as in politics, make strange bedfellows. It is probably war booty - our own production!

    EDIT: I think US occupation forces disarmed the Japanese population, and this might have been part of that effort.
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    Nice original condition '03. I like the pearls with the forward facing medallions, cracked or not. Who would have thunk we sent 20000 guns to Japan just before WWII?
    ei8ht, mentallapse and SHOOTER13 like this.

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    If you were in Japan immediately before the war and wanted a handgun...would you voluntarily prefer a Nambu when you can could buy a Colt? I'm sure those Japanese who could had the means would.
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    Several years back stopped by one of the local pawn shops to see if anything new had been put out. Saw nothing interesting, but as I passed the holster box I spotted this holster. When the shop pulled a handgun in a holster from pawn they removed it from the holster, and threw the holster in the box of holsters. I went back and looked in the cases to be sure I hadn't missed the pistol, but it wasn't there. The holster was one of the Japanese made holsters for the Colt Pocket Hammerless .32, and probably brought back by a GI.

    It has a magazine pocket under the flap, and a belt loop and D rings on the back.


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    Very interesting thanks for posting.

    The bulk bank purchase may have been a "front" for the Imperial army- Tojo himself the rat #$%^&! had a Colt Hammer less- iirc
    Last edited by Ugly; 11-04-2019 at 04:21 PM.

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    The Japanese officers had to purchase their own sidearm, and the Colt was half the price of a "Baby Nambu."

    The Colt pocket pistols were very popular in the far east.


 
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