Iver Johnson .22 single shot derringer

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by tmacey45, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. tmacey45

    tmacey45 New Member

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    Hello,
    I am a new member and this is my first post...
    I own an old Iver Johnson single shot .22 RF. It is a nickel finish (70%) with wood bird-head grips in fair condition. The word "ECLIPSE" is marked on left side of barrel and serial # is 1244. The hammer will not lock back unless trigger is pushed forward. I have done some research to find out what this little pistol is, but I am having a hard time placing a value on it. I know these little pistols are fairly rare and were made in the 1870's to 1880's. I found an antique firearm auction site online that has sold a couple of these in about the same condition (finish and function...seems the hammer not locking back was a common problem on these pistols). One sold for $395.00 and another for $480.00 but the pre-auction value was set at $900.00-$1200.00 on both pistols. My local gun dealer was only wanting to give $60.00 for mine and acted like he was doing me a favor. Does ANYONE have more information on this derringer, like what year it was manufactured, how many were made or the true value of this little pistol? Thanks, Tony.
  2. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    15,000 made in pretty much the time period you stated. These are one of those guns that although not common are also not really rare. Add that to the fact that there aren't a large number of collectors that are interested in them the value usually is nowhere near what you were finding as pre-auction values. Usually these little pocket pistols only bring decent money if they are in excellent condition.
    I think the dealer that offered you $60.00 was about right as a wholesale value. I would estimate the "retail" value at around $100-125 if the gun presents a decent appearance. (Sounds like the trigger spring needs replacing. Not a big deal.)
  3. tmacey45

    tmacey45 New Member

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    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  4. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Interesting! The two that RIA sold both would rate as excellent and sold for what I would consider "top dollar". You said yours is in "about" the same shape. At least as good, or "almost" as good? Condition of original finish can make a huge difference in value on these little guns.
    The other problem is finding someone that is willing to pay "top dollar". Usually this will mean listing with a national auction house. (BTW, those prices realized included a 15% buyers Premium. I don't know what the seller fees were, but you can be sure that the actual owner received considerably less than shown.) I also have no idea where they came up with the "pre-auction" estimate. All I can say is that it doesn't give me much confidence in their estimating.;)
  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    i can only give your blue book values on this model. the one in my collection is a 32 rimfire and purchased many year ago. as noted below these were listed as being made up to about 1899 and many more than the 15,000 quoted were manufactured. a 1890 J.P. Lovell Co. catalog lists a plain nickel plate 22 rimfire for 75 cents and a 32 rimfire for $1.00.

    auction houses generally will set a higher than normal preauction value on anything they sell.

    ECLIPSE SINGLE SHOT CARTRIDGE DERRINGER-----------------1871-1899
    Spur trigger; Center mounted hammer; Browned barrel’ nickel frame; Calibers .22 small frame, .32, & .38 rimfire large frame; 2 13/16 inch part round part octagon barrel swings to side for loading; Barrel length on the .22 rimfire model is 2 inches and frame is smaller; larger calibers: weight 6 ounces, height 2 7/16 inches, frame length 3 5/8 inches, overall length 5 ¼ inches; Smooth bore; Grips were wood, hard rubber and mother of pearl, A deluxe engraved version called the STAR was also offered, it featured a full engraved frame and fancy grips.
    VALUE: 100%=$325 60%=$250
    Add 25% for the engraved “Star” Model
    bill
    ps
    RIC auction house may know alot about Colt and other high dollar items but their knowledge of lesser known items is very limited. even flaydermans guide list the KENO deringer as having been made by SHATTUCK & HYDE not iver johnson.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  6. tmacey45

    tmacey45 New Member

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    I am holding on to it for now...I got enough out of the Rem 1100 to get the two guns I wanted from the dealer today so there was no need to use this "ECLIPSE" on trade. While I was there, I did look up the blue book value on it however. 100%=$250, 50%=$110 and 10%=$60. Mine is about 70-75% and looked very close in condition to the ones sold at RIA. Strange how the value of guns differ from one source to the other. Thanks for the input everyone. BTW, for the Rem 1100 I got on even trade plus 1 box of ammo for each gun. Mossburg 500 12ga. pump and a Diamond bright chrome .380 pistol. The diamond is a neat little .380. Looks very close to a Glock and breaks down like one too.
    I was told this company was started by some pissed-off ex Kel-Tec employees and now produce these guns right across the street from kel-Tec...
  7. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    Quick question for Bill G.: With the exception of the "full engraved frame..." my STAR VEST POCKET pretty much matches the description. I believe you said Iver possibly made a thousand of this one between 1870-1890. Is that correct, or am I recalling wrong?

    Or, is mine a totally different critter from tmacey45's ECLIPSE?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for any info.

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  8. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    information about the STAR is somewhat sketchy. the information i posted is old company information and has never been verfied. the one catalog i have that shows the star (ENTERPRIZE GUN WORKS no date) shows a nickel pated frame and blue barrel. as with most of iver johnson's firearms i doubt they only made a 1000 of any of them. they were one of the original mass producers. i would not be surprised to find the STAR just another name this derringer was sold under. the Enterprize catalog list them for the same price as the Eclipse ($3.00).

    i believe now is as good a time as any to admend the blue book and state the STAR is just another brand name.
    bill
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  9. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    As far back as my high school days in the '50s, I've been surrounded by guns. My graduation year I had 152 guns for sale in my Mom's antique shop - not all mine, some on consignment. In all these 50+ years of gun interest I've seen only ONE identical my Star above.

    For my edification and everyone's clarification, in your opinion, Bill, is the STAR VEST POCKET which I've pictured a product of Iver Johnson the man; Iver Johnson the company; or someone else?

    I don't want to hijack tmacey45's thread here, but had to ask.

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  10. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    when iver johnson and martin bye started their business in 1871 they started with about 9 employees. as the company grew so did the number of employees, so the chances of iver johnson the man working on your STAR is very slim.

    bill
  11. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    Thanks for that info, Bill.

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  12. Ron Legros

    Ron Legros Member

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    I recently bought a Star Vest Pocket identical to yours. When I bought it I wasn't sure it was a Johnson & Bye and I'm still not sure. At some point let's hope a little more info surfaces on these little guns. Regardless I look at mine as a little piece of history I can some day pass on to my grand son.
  13. FloridaFialaFan

    FloridaFialaFan New Member

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    I saw another identical Star offered recently at an auction in another state. I never thought to earmark it to be able and go back to see what it eventually sold for. Won't make that mistake again.

    I do remember that bids on it were alread WAY above what I had paid at auction for mine - so that made me smile. ;)

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
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