Colt Banker's Special (Railway Police w/ Letter)
Price: $3,950.00 | Product Code: Banker's Special | Availability: In Stock
This is a Colt .38 Banker's Special that was sold to the United States Government prior to WWII. The Banker's Special can be considered the baby brother to the more common Detective Special and it features a smaller frame and shorter cylinder to accommodate the .38 Colt New Police cartridge (aka the .38 S&W). With its 2-inch barrel, the Banker's Special was ideal for concealed carry as a personal defense handgun. Interestingly, one of the biggest buyers of the Banker's Special was the U.S. Government for issue to the Post Office.
Prior to WWII, much of the mail was carried by rail car. The "roaring twenties" had produced a number of infamous bank robbers and protecting mail shipments of cash, gold, and other valuables was considered high priority. It was decided that each U.S. Mail rail car would have two armed guards. These guards were largely armed with Colt Banker's Special revolvers. These revolvers were procured through U.S. military channels and carry military inspection markings. Additionally, the back straps were factory marked "R.M.S. P.O. DEPT." and the butts were factory marked with Post Office property numbers that ran sequentially from 1 to approximately 20,000.
Considering that total production of the Banker's Special is estimated at about 35,000 it appears that the Post Office purchased well over half of the total made! These revolvers remained in Post Office inventory & service into the 1960's when most Post Office employees were required to turn them in. They were never sold to the public and were eventually destroyed in 1992. Those few that are in circulation today were somehow "liberated" along the way. Many of those had their Post Office markings removed out of fear of prosecution (it was a felony to be found in possession of Gov't property at the time). Relatively few remain with their original markings intact. This example also has a US Property-marked, Post Office-marked and dated holster, making for an incredibly rare rig!