Looking for production date of an old Iver Johnsons pistol
I have an Iver Johnson large frame .38 - 5 chamber cylinder, with a 3 7/8” barrel and the top of barrel stamped:
IVER JOHNSONS ARMS & CYCLE WORKS
FITCHBURG, MASS, U S A
On the bottom of the grip is Pat. Jun 16.96 Aug ??.96. The S number on the bottom of the trigger guard is removed, but under the left plastic or hard rubber (?)grip inside portion of the frame is the number T12870 running downward and also 504 across the bottom portion. The numbers 12870 is also stamped on the inside of the portion of the barrel piece above the cylinder. Given the very small (1-3/16”) cylinder length, I am thinking it is a black powder cartridge weapon only, so will be used as a display piece only.
Story goes that this pistol possibly belonged to one of the infamous “Purple Gang” members at one time (????) hence the ground off serial number on the trigger guard. (Perhaps the unknown person didn’t realize there were other S numbers on the weapon.) It will be interesting to know if the production dates can possibly help support this “tale”.
Any information you can provide as to the production date of this pistol would be deeply appreciated. Indeed I am also curious about the value, but really have no interest in parting with this pistol given the potential possibility of its history.