age on an Iver Johnson .38

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by warhawk384, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. warhawk384

    warhawk384 New Member

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    I recently acquired an old Iver johnson .38 s&w and was wondering the year it was made (mainly whether it would fall under the pre-1899 listing it as an antique). I am assuming it was put together from 2 pistols because of the serial numbers.
    The serial number on the grip frame is 43XX and that number is repeated on the underside of the trigger guard. On the bottom of the top strap is the serial number 900XX. The cylinder has no serial number. the top of the barrel says *IVER JOHNSON'S ARMS & CYCLE WORKS* *FITCHBURG, MASS. U.S.A*.
    Any information you could provide on this would be greatly appreciated, and if you need any additional information let me know. Thanks!
  2. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to TFF.

    Is the serial on grip frame on bottom end of butt or left side under the grips?

    If the serial is on bottom end of butt, the frame was made in 1895, and it's an antique 2nd model, per U.S. federal rule.

    (It can't be an 1894 first model or the later barrel assembly would not fit)

    The barrel address with no patent dates and an asterisk or star at ends was used 1914-1941.
  3. warhawk384

    warhawk384 New Member

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    thanks for your quick response hrf!

    The serial number is on the left side under the grip, the pistol has a single piece wooden grip that screws on at the bottom of the grip frame. All serial numbers are clearly stamped and there are no letter codes before any of them. I can attach some pictures tonight when I get home from work if that would help.
  4. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    What you are describing now may be a much later model, with a special order serial number, and clear photos are needed.
  5. warhawk384

    warhawk384 New Member

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    Here are some photos. A guy I know who owns his own gun shop told me he thought it might have been a special order for the military. He based that on the fact that it came with a m1916 leather holster, and he said he knew that the WWI - WWII army pilots carried .38's. It was an assumption that was also based on the fact that the serial numbers didn't match they could have both been surplus non-functioning and put together later, or put together to be used by the military. I tend to think that these are leaps to judgement which is why I brought the info here. Could that be accurate if the pistol was a special order?

    Attached Files:

  6. warhawk384

    warhawk384 New Member

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    here are a few more...

    Attached Files:

  7. warhawk384

    warhawk384 New Member

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    Sorry, I am a photographer and wanted to be thorough.

    Attached Files:

  8. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Definitely not an antique: It's a special order third model, the special order item being the one piece "western walnut" grips.

    Unfortunately, there are no special order records to date it to a specific year, but made no earlier than 1909.

    The barrel assembly is probably original and not a mismatch, and with a number that large was made either 1916 or 1933.

    There are two like yours shown in the book, and both have 4 digit serials with no letter.
  9. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    And not used by the military in any official status, Iver Johnson's were used by security guards of defence plants and such. Pilots in WWII that carried .38's were issued S&W M&P in .39 Special.
  10. warhawk384

    warhawk384 New Member

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    Good to know. Now that you've seen the photos and been able to get a decent look at it (hopefully). where would you put the value? my friend had told me he wouldn't pay more than $50 and would be lucky to sell it for more than $75. Is that correct or is he off?
  11. WHSmithIV

    WHSmithIV Well-Known Member

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    The value is correct. There are a lot of these old pistols available and they are nice to have in a collection - especially if they are shootable. I paid $38 for my old .32 top break from an online auction and it is very shootable. I've run half a box of ammo through mine with one fail to fire (it's old ammo). Mine is in better condition with no rust.
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