THAT PERFECT THOMPSON
BY: JAMES T. FALTER
ago I started to collect Colt Thompsons. First I bought a fairly nice 1921 with
a compensator. As soon as I had it in my possession, I ran out to the very next
day to shoot it. After the first box of ammo, I decided that I would never shoot
one of my Colts again. In my opinion, it is a sin to shoot such a fine weapon
with so much history, nostalgia and craftsmanship. With these thoughts in mind,
I started a relentless search for that perfect gun. I traveled from Coast to
Coast following leads that usually led to a gun that some guy thought was mint, but at best was a 95% or worse. As far as I am concerned, I do not believe there is such a thing as a mint condition Thompson. The word “mint” to me means uncirculated”, i.e., a mint coin.
story that I am about to tell you is about the nicest gun that I have ever owned or seen, Serial Number 167.
had been hearing rumors about a perfect gun with a new C drum and the Serial Number was believed to be “67”. But, it was not for sale so I let it go in one ear and out the other.
day the phone rang and it was someone answering an ad I had placed in “The Shot Gun News.” The caller wanted to know if I had any idea what the gun he had was worth.
The serial number of the gun was “167”. After we talked I
decided to go look at his gun as it was described to me as “mint”.
The original owner was Roscoe Clyde Smyth. He owned R.C. Smyth Hardware Store in Bergholz, Ohio. Bergholz is a town of about 1,200 people, just north of I-70, near the Ohio, Pennsylvania border. The hardware store was situated on the corner of 2nd street and Lincoln Avenue. During the time that Mr. Smyth owned the store, he was personally robbed three times
at the store. During one hold-up he was shot nine times and survived. During two other burglaries he killed a man in each attempt. Smyth
also had two sons, one of which was shot to death on his own front doorstep on a hill in the outskirts of Bergholz. At this point, Mr. Smyth felt he needed a Thompson for protection.
After receiving his, he displayed it in his store with a 100 drum in it for all to see.
The gun was never needed and appears to have never been fired. Roscoe
Smyth finally walked out and closed the door to his business with the inventory intact, except for the guns, knives and ammo
His son, Roy was given the Thompson s/n 167 and all accessories since he had an interest in firearms. Roy lived on the corner of 2nd and Garfield, just down the street from the store. Roy was given the gun prior to the store lock-up in July 1936. He registered
it on 2/20/43 and it was approved on 2/23/43. Roy than gave the gun to his nephew, Stan
sometime in October, 1945. Fortunately Stan re-registered the weapon during the
1968 amnesty. It is fortunate for Stan and myself that he did.
is hard to believe that in the 70 years to follow that someone did not even have a temptation to shoot s/n 167. But according to conversations with Stan and after examination of the weapon, it appears to be UNFIRED! Thank God that the people who owned the gun felt the way that I do. I would have been a fool not to have bought the gun from Stan years ago. The gun is still in 99+% condition. Many who have seen it say that it is the “PERFECT” gun.
gun itself is a PRIZE, but along with the weapon came the following items of interest:
1.] one C drum
2.] one 1921 canvas case
The original handwritten letter from R.C. Smyth, dated January 19th 1921, to Auto Ordnance asking for information
on guns & accessories.
4.] The acknowledgment from Auto Ordnance to R.C. Smyth dated February 2, 1921 with a price quote. The note stated that if he could sell three more guns he would get a 20% discount. Can you imagine selling three more Thompson’s in a town the size of Bergholz??
The original handwritten letter ordering the gun & accessories
Acknowledgement from Auto Ordnance confirming the order from R.C. Smyth.
The original sales receipt for:
1 Colt Thompson #167
1 C Drum
1 Mills Web Carrying Case
TOTAL PRICE: $270.00
8.] The railway express shipping records dated May 3rd, 1921
Sales brochures, manual, handbooks and the only early promotional flyer of Goll & Bliss pictured in it. This Flyer is pictured on page 169 of The Thompson Submachinegun by Hill
keep looking there are those rare items and guns still out there somewhere.