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SPRINGFIELD ARMORY PROOF STAMP – “P in the BALL” STAMP USED ON WORLD WAR TWO AND KOREAN WAR ERA M-1 GARAND RIFLES – GUARANTEED ORIGINAL ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT STAMP WITH PROVENANCE – VERY HISTORICAL ONE-OF-A-KIND ARTIFACT:  One of very few historic pieces that survived the closing of the National Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, this Ordnance Department Proof Stamp was recovered from the refuse pile where so many of the patterns, gauges, and tools were discarded without any consideration of their historical significance.   

When the US Army closed the armory and the property was transferred to the city of Springfield, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the National Park Service, none of those entities expressed any interest in preserving the material culture of the armory, and the bulk of those pieces were perfunctorily consigned to a scrap heap destined for destruction.  This episode was nothing less than a “perfect storm”, occurring during an era of our nation’s history when the military was regarded with distain, and in a location situated in the epicenter of one of our country’s greatest concentrations of anti-gun sentiment.  Little, if any, thought was given to preserving intact the most significant keystone in the history of America’s firearm production, and the cavalier manner in which these artifacts were treated leaves little doubt about the attitude held by the people involved towards firearms and our military history.  This shortsightedness represented a genuine loss to the community of scholars and collectors, and was nothing short of a crying shame, but it was done nonetheless.   

Fortunately, a very few pieces survived due to the awareness of the last Captain of Ordnance stationed at the Springfield Armory, R. Stephen Dorsey.  Obtained directly from his collection is this Proof "P in the ball" stamp which was applied to the stock of every World War Two and Korean War M-1 Garand Rifle produced at the Springfield Armory.  

Measuring 5 1/8” long, this stamp is marked with the name of the civilian manufacturer, the Springfield Stamp Co., produced under contract for the armory.  The use of civilian manufacturers to produce these stamps for the armory dates back to before the Civil War as evidenced by the original handwritten letter dated 1857 from Erskin Allin which recently surfaced,  wherein he was ordering an inspector’s stamp for Samuel Byington, Master Armorer at Harpers Ferry Armory.  The stamp was modified during the period of use by welding an additional 2 ½” section of steel to the shaft to provide more gripping surface when the stamp was hammered into the lower grip area of the rifle stock.  The "P" is in like new condition, showing no disfiguring, while the top of the shaft shows the expected hammer marks and mushrooming that developed through use.  Most importantly, this stamp is accompanied by a letter of provenance written by Mr. Dorsey on Springfield Armory letterhead detailing his acquisition of the stamp, as well as two pages of photographs of the stamp which have been signed by Mr. Dorsey in order to firmly establish the link between his letter and this particular stamp.   

This is a rare offering of a unique piece of Springfield Armory memorabilia, and one that will be a crown jewel in any collection of Springfield arms.  The importance of this Proof Stamp rises well above the association with a particular era or model of rifle, and will be appropriate displayed with Springfield arms from any period of the National Armory’s history.  (0810)  $1500  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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