Re: An 1898 20 gauge L.C. Smith?
Posted by Tom Archer on February 12, 2021, 2:31 pm, in reply to "An 1898 20 gauge L.C. Smith?"
Jim, based on my conversation with this individual years ago, I'll take a stab at some of your questions: |
Why would he make this up? I believe he believes the tales he tells are absolute truth; in his mind his facts are "fact".
Did he do it before we had a copy of the Hunter Arms records and thought that it could never be checked? Yes and No he doesn't have a copy of the records; but then he had access to an even better resource than the actual records, Walt Schissel the "LC SMITH MAN"
At the time, did it simply make a good story for him to tell his buddies? Or, did he have something else in mind such as its potential value? In my opinion the promotion of his LC Smith ideas/convictions have nothing to do with pushing gun values; not even his own. But he does claim, and is absolutely convinced that all the Smith guns he owns are indeed special; and revels in expounding their virtues to anyone who'll listen. Over the years some of the assertions he's made about Smith guns and gun production are nothing short of outrageous; and Dr. Drew likely has a detailed written history of the things he's posted.
As to the reasons behind one of his fabrications, I can only relate my personal experience and a small portion of what he told me. Seems his great great grandfather (not sure how many greats) owned/operated a steel mill in PA at the turn of the last century; and thru his business had become great friends with the Hunter Brothers and John Hunter. That friendship resulted in the gifting of 5 LC Smith guns; all lower grades EXCEPT for one A4, and two of those had been nickel plated. His ancestor had made sure to record all the serial numbers, and he was the descendent who had those numbers. Allegedly his ancestor was killed in a suspicious accident at the steel mill, and had died intestate; and since women didn't have rights in those days, his ancestor's brothers came in and basically stole their brother's estate. In the process they left their bother's wife and seven kids destitute; and they also confiscated their brother's Smith guns. These brothers then allegedly left on a pilgrimage for Utah (they were Mormon's) with the 5 Smith guns on a mission to assist in building the Mormon Tabernacle. The oldest child at the time was a son who, when he reached 16, left home determined to track down his thieving uncles and retrieve his inheritance and his father's Smith guns. He did track them down, but only retrieved one Smith gun; and it wasn't the A-4. I understood that one other low grade was later recovered, but the other three are still AWOL; and our friend is still searching. This guy had contacted me because I had made public the fact that Kraus noted the existence of an A-4 Grade; in his mind this was a secret passed down thru the generations by his great ancestor that no one was supposed to know. His thinking was that my making that public knowledge would make his search that much more difficult. He also said that, when John Hunter had presented this A-4 to his ancestor, the story was that the company had made a grand total of 6 Grade A-4 guns; which fact indicated just how special this model gun was. He also claimed that his ancestor had written a detailed description of the gun's engraving motif, but I don't recall those details. At some point I asked for the serial number of this A-4 (knew you could check same), but my request was refused; so I said let me "guess". I said the number is 210073 right? He was stunned and wanted to know how I'd known the number. It was actually a lucky guess, but you will recall Brophy's article on the Sousa gun serial number 210074; and you will also recall that serial number 210073 and 210074 (both from 1908) have their grades designations recorded as hand-written notations long after the guns were finished. The hand written entry for gun 210073 is "Deluxe Grade"; and although the grades recap considers this gun to be a Deluxe, it is way to early for a Deluxe Grade model and is the only Deluxe in the recap void of any other information. I personally believe #210073 is indeed a special gun, but that it isn't a Deluxe. But until it surfaces for examination, which to my knowledge it hasn't, we can never know.
So, is the story just related true? Based on what we don't know of gun #210073 it sure as heck could be; and if that gun is ever located I'd sure like to write the story! So Jim, in regards to your question, can you find within your imagination a more interesting LC Smith story than what I've just related?
Is he trustworthy on any statement about L.C. Smith shotguns? I found this individual to be a person who can spin a persuasive and captivating story, so that determination must be left to the individual to judge for himself; but from my personal experience my answer is NO. However, by sharing the information shared here I do believe we can make our members aware of such individuals and encourage caution.
I think not, and I am disappointed that anyone would do this. It just causes needless, self-serving confusion. Couldn't agree more, but Smith collectors are not the only group forced to deal with misinformation and rumor. However we are fortunate in that, when it comes to gun questions, seldom will you not be able to resolve those issues.