Iver Johnson Info Please! 32 S&W

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by jbman45, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. jbman45

    jbman45 New Member

    Nov 3, 2009
    Houston Area
    First of all let me just say how amazed I am with bill goforth's knowledge on these firearms, he is a real specialist, expert and great contributor to this forum...thank you bill for all your comments. I have read so many yet still don't have a good handle on what I actually have so reason for this thread.

    I have two recently acquired pistols that are Iver Johnson, one is the American Bulldog 32 which is in need of repair and will make a good wall hanger so don't need much info on that.

    The other I am puzzled with since I can't match it to any serial numbers I see in posts. It is:

    On the barrel top: IVER JOHNSON’S ARMS & CYCLE WORKS

    No markings on caliber, no markings on barrel sides. Wood handle, nickel finish and 6 round, caliber 32 S&W.

    Serial number is 4773 which is what puzzels me. It is stamped on the trigger guard and under the handle; and in both cases NO letters for sure. the number is lower than those I see posted and I don't understand not seeing a letter.

    I am attaching a photo which will hopefully help, any comments are really appreciated. I am not really interested in selling it, but value is always a nice comment. But more interested in date manufactured and any interesting history that may come with what I think is a very early edition.

    One photo is of both guns showing the american bulldog just fyi..in pretty bad shape!

    Thanks and hope bill has some time to respond.

    Attached Files:

  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    when iver johnson introduced the "western walnut grip" on the third model safety automatic revolver it was considered a special order item. these were pulled off the assembly line and set aside for special serial numbering. this special serial number started at 01 and went up to over 7,000 before iver johnson stopped by about 1917. at which time iver johnson seem to have stopped the special order serial numbering series. from that point on all the special order items were taken from inventory and retro fitted with what ever feature was wanted. therefore they were serial numbered before and have the letter code of the regular production. no other serial number was added to denote special order. the only dating i can do is between 1910 and 1917. this revolver serial number '4773' was the 4773th manufactured with the special order "western walnut grip". my best guess as to the manufacture date would be 1913/1914 as this revolver has the type of cylinder retain used after 1912.

    this revolver appears to be a large frame so the cylinder should have 6 chambers for the 32 and the ca;iber would be 32 S&W Long. i have several in my collection number 13 a 22 rimfire with 6 inch barrel, 2992 a 38 with 4 inch barrel, 3279 a 32 with 6 inch barrel and 6013 a 38 with 4 inch barrel. and then i hve several more that have the letter code of the regular series all dating to after 1917.

    i can't explain why but those fitted with this grip seem to bring about 10% more than regular third models and a 22 rimfire with a long barrel and the "western walnut grip" will bring about 15% more.

    (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

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009

  3. jbman45

    jbman45 New Member

    Nov 3, 2009
    Houston Area
    Well you continue to amaze me! Thanks so much for your detailed analysis and it's great to know the approx dates of the gun and some of the history. This isn't one I'll throw into my conceal and carry bag! but will enjoy having it as part of my collection. I'll have to go and find a copy of your book, I'm sure it's loaded with information like you've provided.

    Thanks again...
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