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As a fun aside, where TB Davis Arms company once stood is now a music venue called Portland House Of Music And Events. I've played there many times over the years.
 

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Just to learn a bit: The Inscription is "Maine Bureau of Prohibition"... but the "Bureau of Prohibition" was a Federal Agency. Has anyone ever seen a pistol or revolver that was marked for this Agency... and did Federal Agencies buy their arms in local gun stores???
 

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I can't say about back then, but the federal agencies I worked for would buy their firearms through a police supply company though they were shipped directly from the manufacturer.
 

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Maine had several prohibition statutes in the years preceding Federal Prohibition.

Alcohol | Maine: An Encyclopedia

My assumption would be that the Maine and Federal agencies were not linked.
But I can not find any mention of a state agency with this name - maybe someone knows a bit about local history?? The other question: Are there any other guns marked "Bureau of Prohibition" around?
 

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Maine had several prohibition statutes in the years preceding Federal Prohibition.

Alcohol | Maine: An Encyclopedia

My assumption would be that the Maine and Federal agencies were not linked.
Yeah Maine was a dry state long before national prohibition. I'm wondering if when prohibition was passed in 1919 the federal gov't gave states some funding to help enforce it. Then a Maine Bureau Of Prohibition was formed?
 

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Yeah Maine was a dry state long before national prohibition. I'm wondering if when prohibition was passed in 1919 the federal gov't gave states some funding to help enforce it. Then a Maine Bureau Of Prohibition was formed?
All the Information I could find says that the Federal Government did the job. This is what the Britannica says:" The Volstead Act charged the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the Treasury Department with enforcing Prohibition. As a result, the Prohibition Unit was founded within the IRS. From its inception, the Prohibition Unit was plagued by issues of corruption, lack of training, and underfunding. Often, the level to which the law was enforced had to do with the sympathies of the citizens in the areas being policed. The Coast Guard also played a role in implementation, pursuing bootleggers attempting to smuggle liquor into America along its coastline. In 1929 the onus of enforcement shifted from the IRS to the Department of Justice, with the Prohibition Unit being redubbed the Bureau of Prohibition."
Is there any trace of a State Agency called "Maine Bureau of Prohibition"????
 

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This is one of the fun parts of gun collecting. Doing some research, maybe finding some old photos, and putting the gun in context with what was going on at the time it was shipped.
That gun may have rode in a Sam Browne rig worn by an officer patrolling the docks looking for contraband liquor or raiding illegal stills Untouchables style, or led other interesting adventures.
At some point it was surplused out as obsolete or no longer needed when the bureau was dissolved, and served another owner for decades.
 

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This is one of the fun parts of gun collecting. Doing some research, maybe finding some old photos, and putting the gun in context with what was going on at the time it was shipped.
That gun may have rode in a Sam Browne rig worn by an officer patrolling the docks looking for contraband liquor or raiding illegal stills Untouchables style, or led other interesting adventures.
At some point it was surplused out as obsolete or no longer needed when the bureau was dissolved, and served another owner for decades.
Or someone put "Main Bureau of Prohibition" on the backstrap to enhance its value....Without a state agency with that name this is a possibility....
 

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Or someone put "Main Bureau of Prohibition" on the backstrap to enhance its value....Without a state agency with that name this is a possibility....
That is always a possibility. Spurious markings can be found on almost anything.

But the facts that the gun is in poor condition, gun was not refinished, mark was hidden by the pachmayr grip, and it letters from the correct period and locality all lend to credibility. No one seemed to profit from the markings on the backstrap.
 

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That is always a possibility. Spurious markings can be found on almost anything.

But the facts that the gun is in poor condition, gun was not refinished, mark was hidden by the pachmayr grip, and it letters from the correct period and locality all lend to credibility. No one seemed to profit from the markings on the backstrap.
These arguments carry a lot of weight. But without an Agency with that name...
 

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There is no problem with this engraving. It was marked Bureau of Prohibition, for use in their Maine offices. Gun engravings often just loosely wrote the name of the owning agency, not verbatim.

"Federal Enforcement Personnel: One Deputy Administrator located at Auburn, 11 Prohibition Agents and 1 Prohibition Inspector are charged with responsibility of enforcement ....in Maine."
1931 Enforcement of the Prohibition Laws page 586
 

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The ejector rod cap currently on this army special is a replacement, Likely from a D frame colt. see the picture in post # 16 for the correct shape of ejector rod cap.
 

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There is no problem with this engraving. It was marked Bureau of Prohibition, for use in their Maine offices. Gun engravings often just loosely wrote the name of the owning agency, not verbatim.

"Federal Enforcement Personnel: One Deputy Administrator located at Auburn, 11 Prohibition Agents and 1 Prohibition Inspector are charged with responsibility of enforcement ....in Maine."
1931 Enforcement of the Prohibition Laws page 586
It seems a bit strange that a federal agency should put the name of the state in front of their own name. Until now nobody has seen any other revolver from any other state of the U.S. where the federal agency was keeping armed agents with guns marked that way. Last point: the revolver is from 1919, the Bureau of Prohibition was started in 1929...
 

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And yet, there it is. No one would fake an engraving like that, on that condition/type of gun. Doesn't matter when the Bureau of Internal Revenue was renamed the Bureau of Prohibition, the gun was shipped to a gun store. It was therefore not factory engraved.
 

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We have seen many guns with spurious engraving or stampings added in order to enhance their value. An obscure organization such as the Maine Bureau of Prohibition doesn't seem like one that a faker would apply and it looks to have been done many, many decades ago. Maybe a century ago. I'm guessing that it is legitimate.
 

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It is a good find worthy of research and a letter.
 

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The engraving could also have been added several years after the guns were acquired. For example, at some point someone in the department thinks that all property should have identifying marking and a directive is issued for all agents to bring their guns to the armorer to have the engraving applied.
 
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