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Re: Another One For Pete

Posted by John on Thursday, 13 May 2010, at 11:09 p.m., in response to Re: Another One For Pete, posted by Dick Hosmer on Thursday, 13 May 2010, at 9:34 a.m.

I agree that Dick is technically correct in his comments on usage, and warn that "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."

However, I must clarify that while absence of proof is one thing, that does not prove that something is NOT POSSIBLE.

From looking at the usage data in the SRS books, it can be determined that in many cases data has survived from only a few companies in a regiment. Within those companies, the serial numbers are certainly not consecutive, and it is absolutely correct that trapdoor rifles were not assembled in exact serial number sequence, and not packed in serial number sequence. That said, the data shows a high concentration of numbers from a narrow range within a company, albeit often with other numbers further removed or even wildly far apart.

It is reasonable to SPECULATE that a nearby number MAY have seen similar usage within the same regiment, although a different company. For a collector looking for a "representative example" of the type of gun carried during the Indian Wars or Span Am War, it is interesting to know that nearby numbers were used by a specific unit. That must be clearly understood as not proving and probably not even strongly probable that a close number saw the same usage. However, unless documentary proof is found to show that the "close" number was proven to be somewhere else it has an equal chance to have been with one of the Companies for which no documentation survives in a Regiment with documented nearby numbers in the other companies.

If documentation survives for a Company, and the gun is not listed, then it very likely was almost certainly NOT used by that company, but even then some records are illegible, or have not survived, so absence of proof is not proof that it is not possible.

A seller (and buyer) must clearly understand the huge difference between "documented" data and "SPECULATION" about "what might have been", and valued accordingly.

Let us be grateful for the wonderful data which has been found and gives us such joy in knowing FOR SURE about some guns on certain dates, and value those guns accordingly.


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