The original owner would have been the United States Government, but there are no records to show who actually carried it. The Springfield Research Center has dug through the National Archives for any recorded serial numbers, but yours is not on the list. However, it is only 161 numbers away from an Ithaca 37 which was inventoried at the Panama Ordinance Department in 1946.
Note about refinishing: Military shotguns are collectable, but a collector would prefer one with some of its original finish over one that has been refinished.
The Arsenals rebuilt their firearms whenever it was needed. Many firearms that started out blued were parkerized in the rebuilding process. There are many firearms out there that show no use what so ever because of: 1) It was never issued or 2) It went through rebuild and never reissued. In this case it is actually worth more.
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