Melanie, if I am viewing the pix correctly, the crudely scratched numbers "72" are in the blckened metal covered by the sun screen when it is screwed in place. If so, I'd be inclined to think it was an assembly part number. It would be hidden from ready view, so that I don't think of it as an identifying number for issuance or owner accounting purposes, and it is scratched on, rather than engraved, so appearance (pride of manufacturer or seller) was of no concern.|
Several quick thoughts: the small leather side pieces (through which the straps for securing the leather end caps and carrying strap passed) seem to be intact, showing evidence of use by standing away from the barrel. The threads shown have been well preserved -- no sign of being forced or marred. The cracking of the leather is understandable for an object of this age, and might deserve an "approved" dressing, such as "Blackrock," which was recommended to me by Malcolm Addoms of "Antiqoptics," mentioned elsewhere on this forum. I can't see any sign of "red rot" (actually a virus that eats away at the leather and is virtually beyond layman's ability or pocketbook to halt, let alone reverse -- Google the term). That shows up in disintegration of the leather and would probably require replacement of the leather covering, if it is to be handled. (Manifests itself as reddish "dust," and is a bear to clean off of clothes or hands.) The article I mentioned from old "Signal Cipher" gives dimensions and description of the carrying strap. I'll mail.