Thompson Machine Gun Auctioned for $35k

Tom R
by Tom R

Probably not all that interesting to some, but I found it noteworthy. Not being a collector, I had no idea how much pre-stamp machine guns went for. $35,000. Plus a modest 5% buyers fee of $1,750… Supply and demand in action.

This one was marked U.S. NAVY, MODEL OF 1921 (overstamped 1928) and apparently had papers registering it to the City of Kinston, Police Department in 1935. It looks like it is in pretty nice condition. For a piece of history, it is pretty cool. Is it something I would shoot? Probably not if I spent the cost of a nice car on it…

It came with:

  • (1) Type “L” 50 cartridge drum magazine,
  • (1) 30 cartridge straight magazine,
  • (2) 20 cartridge straight magazines,
  • (1) canvas carry case w/shoulder strap,
  • (1) brass cleaning rod.

I have no frame of reference if that is a decent price for something of this pedigree and vintage, though not something I would likely spend my cash on.

You can see the listing at:

Thanks to Jacob P for the find.

Tom R
Tom R

Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he teaches wilderness medicine and runs an on-demand medical staffing business. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it--he is known (in certain circles) for his curse...ahem, find the breaking point of anything.You can reach him at tom.r AT or at

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  • JCitizen JCitizen on Oct 03, 2015

    I traded mine off, but then, I have a rule of discipline to keep me from going crazy. If the firearms is obsolete or not of a good modern design, then I get rid of it. The damn thing weighed a ton with a full drum! It sure was pretty to look at, and a hoot to shoot, of course. In the '80s the Navy was still putting them in armories on board ships. But I think the M14 is their anti-terror weapon of choice now. They double as anti-mine duty as well.

  • CavScout CavScout on Oct 04, 2015

    I'd rather buy the sear and just keep wearing guns with the same sear. But I have no NFA items and no plans to.