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Lot #6053
J. Edgar Hoover's 1938 Colt .32 Pocket Positive Revolver (Factory-Engraved "J. Edgar Hoover")

Factory-engraved Colt Pocket Positive revolver gifted by the company to J. Edgar Hoover in the late 1930s

Estimate: $100000+
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Factory-engraved Colt Pocket Positive revolver gifted by the company to J. Edgar Hoover in the late 1930s

J. Edgar Hoover's Colt Pocket Positive revolver (.32 caliber), serial #157299, 2″ barrel, finely factory-engraved on the backstrap with the FBI director's name, "J. Edgar Hoover." The gun is fitted with its beautiful original pearl grips and retains its shiny nickel-plated factory finish, with the factory-bobbed hammer checked on top. Complete with its original Colt cardboard box with cleaning brush, care pamphlet, 'Shooting Suggestions' booklet, and .32 six bullets belonging to Hoover.

Accompanied by a 1984 Colt factory letter from Colt historian M. S. Huber to Richard Mohr, outlining the specifications of the gun and indicating that it was shipped to Albert Foster, Jr., on January 5, 1938. The letter notes: "This evidently was a presentation piece to Mr. Hoover, F.B.I. Director, by the Colt company. Mr. Albert Foster, Jr., was in charge of Colt's New York office. He probably made the presentation."

Additionally includes a letter of provenance from Mohr, explaining the history of the piece, in part: "Your Colt pocket positive #157299 was presented to Mr. J. Edgar Hoover in 1939 by the Colt representative in New York. After Mr. Hoover's death in 1972, Mr. Clyde Tolson gave the gun to my father as he (Mr. Tolson) was not fond of having guns in his house. My father gave it to me at the end of last year. This gun was Mr. Hoover's 'social' weapon and he kept it loaded with six of those cartridges I gave you with the other six loose in the box. It remained unused and unfired in his desk for thirty three years!" Richard Mohr was the son of Asst. Director John Mohr, FBI, who obtained numerous items through the estates of Hoover and Clyde Tolson.

Although this special presentation gun resided in Hoover's desk, the legendary FBI director was known to carry a Colt Pocket Positive with similar specifications as his daily weapon—a .32 caliber revolver with a bobbed hammer to prevent snagging. In 'A History of FBI Handguns,' published in the American Rifleman, an official journal of National Rifle Association of America, writer Bill Vanderpool notes: 'FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was known to have owned or been issued several different revolvers. One, a Colt Pocket Positive in .32 caliber with a bobbed hammer, is in the FBI Academy Gun Vault.' A fine firearm from the personal collection of an icon of American law enforcement.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities
  • Dates: #669 - Ended September 23, 2023