Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by shurshot223, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. shurshot223

    shurshot223 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
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    Have inherited an old owlhead model 38 S&W, two post top-break, nickel.
    Only one patent date on butt---Nov 17, 03. Ser # on trigger guard is
    9218. When was this manufactured, and what's it worth?
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    the actual patent date is nov.17.08. this one patent date marking found on the bottom of the butt strap was only used on the third model safety automatic revolvers between 1914 and the end of production in 1941.

    the main serial number location is on the left side of the grip frame under the grips, grips must be removed to see. in this location there will most likely be a letter code prefix to the serial number. this number and letter code is what i need to identify year of production. and with out a hands on evaluation i will lonly be able to give you a value range.

    THIRD MODEL SAFETY AUTOMATIC HAMMER REVOLVER
    (Smokeless Powder Cartridges)--------------------1909-1941
    LARGE FRAME AND SMALL FRAME VERSIONS USES HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION: Double top post barrel latch with Hammer the Hammer action. This model redesigned to be strong enough for smokeless powder. All coil springs, hard rubber grip panels with Owls head at top, optional oversize grips of hard rubber or wood were offered. Two frame sizes, four calibers, Standard barrel length: small frame 3 inches, large frame 3 ¼ inches. Calibers: small frame .22 rimfire 7 rounds cylinder capacity, .32 centerfire 5 rounds cylinder capacity, large frame .32 Special centerfire with 6 rounds cylinder capacity, .38 centerfire with 5 rounds cylinder capacity; Weight: small frame .22 rimfire with 3 inch barrel 13 ounces, .32 centerfire with 3 inch barrel 13 ½ ounces, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel .32 Special 19 ounces, .38 centerfire with 3 ¼ inch barrel 18 ¼ inches; Height: small frame 3 ¾ inches, large frame 3 7/8 inches; Frame length: small frame 4 3/16 inches, large frame 5 inches; Overall length: small frame with 3 inch barrel 6 3/8 inches, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel 7 3/8 inches. Main serial number location on left side of grip frame grips must be removed to see. The Third Model features a double top post barrel latch, coil hammer spring and four cross pins in the lower frame.
    VALUE: 100%=$250 60%=$115

    THIRD MODEL SAFETY AUTOMATIC HAMMERLESS REVOLVER
    (Smokeless Powder Cartridges)-------------1909-1941
    LARGE FRAME AND SMALL FRAME VERSIONS USES HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION; Double top post barrel latch, with Hammer the Hammer action, nickel finish standard blue optional. Two frame sizes, four calibers, hard rubber grip panels with Owls head at top, two piece oversize hard rubber and one piece wood grips optional. Redesigned for smokeless powder. Standard barrel length: small frame 3 inches, large frame 3 ¼ inches; Calibers: small frame .22 rimfire with 7 rounds cylinder capacity, .32 centerfire with 5 rounds cylinder capacity, large frame .32 Special with 6 rounds cylinder capacity, .38 centerfire with 5 rounds cylinder capacity; Weight: small frame .22 rimfire with 3 inch barrel 13 ½ ounces, .32 centerfire with 3 inch barrel 14 ounces, large frame .32 Special with 3 ¼ inch barrel 19 ¼ ounces, .38 centerfire with 3 ¼ inch barrel 19 ounces; Height: small frame 3 ¾ inches, large frame 3 7/8 inches; Frame length: small frame 4 3/16 inches, large frame 5 inches; Overall length: small frame with 3 inch barrel 6 3/8 inches, large frame with 3 ¼ inch barrel 7 3/8 inches. Main serial number location on left side of grip frame grips must be removed to see. The Third Model features a double top post barrel latch, coil hammer spring and four cross pins in the lower frame.
    VALUE: 100%=$260 60%=$125

    bill
  3. eagle

    eagle New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
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    I have read the reply to KIMMY about the IJ small frame 32. I have the same gun, but the dates are on the bottom of the handle and not on the barrel. Is there a difference?
  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    eagle,
    iver johnson changed the location of the patent date markings 4 times.
    top of barrel rib 1894-1902
    left side of barrel 1902-1903
    left side of barrel lug 1903
    bottom of the butt strap 1903-1942 the exact date that patent date markings were stoped is yet to be determined but i belive it to be about 1921.

    there are several variations of the top of the barrel rib and bottom of the butt markings. some have as many as 5 patents dates and some only one.

    patent date markings are useful in determining era of manufacture but the serial number location and its letter code prefix found on the left side of the grip frame under the grip is needed to proper identification.

    the many variations in markings found on iver johnson's arms & cycle works are fully discussed in my book.
    bill
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