Iver johnson's .32 CAL. Suicide Special

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by drake, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. drake

    drake New Member

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    I recently acquired this gun and was wondering the value of it. It's nickel plated, .32 Calibre with a black plastic grip the top of the barrel says -Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works Fitchburg Mass. U.S.A.-. The bottom of the trigger gaurd has the numbers 48951, and the butt of the grip says Pat June, 16 96 Aug, 25 96 Pats Pending. I looked under the grip and found the numbers S48951. I'd like to know if it's worth anything, just a general price range will do. Thanks
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    drake,
    this revolver is a second model small frame 'safety automatic hammer revolver'. the second model (1896-1908) was manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures only, they are not suitable for modern ammo and are defenitely not a suicide special.

    your revolver serial number S48951 was manufactured in 1908. its value can be as low as $40 for a parts gun to $250 plus for one like new in the box.

    if i may get on my soap box for a minute; the term 'suicide special' should be dropped from our vocabulary. it only gives the anti-gun crowd ammunition to use against us. we hold out that firearms are safe and only people who misuse them are dangerous. the use of this term can and will come back to haunt us. the few manufacturer who did manufacture firearms that are marginally safe don't last long. iver johnson arms and cycle works was in business between 1871 and 1993 hardly a fly-by-night operation.
    bill
  3. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Hi Drake.....welcome to TFF! :)

    Bill.....Granted, "Suicide Special" (which referred to very cheap revolvers that were often as dangerous to shooter as to the intended victim) is a bit strong to apply the the low-end IJs.....

    But how about the term "Saturday Nite Special" which referred to inexpensive revolvers at the bottom of the scale (which the low end of the IJ range (Model 1900 and the various tradename IJ-made revolvers...Eclipse, Encore, Favorite, Tycoon, etc.) certainly were. Wouldn't that apply?

    Granted, they were a cut above many of the Belgian imports (and some American-made ones), but certainly a long way from the Colt of S&W quality range.
  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    i am glad this term has come up. it is an example of how usage can change over the years. today 'saturday nite special' and 'suicide special' have come to mean almost the same thing, cheap firearms. the term 'suicide special' is a modern term used for the first time (i belive in the late 1940s), while 'saturday nite special' dates from a much earlier time (i do not know when it was first used mostly likely during the 1800s). its first usage has a completely different meaning than it does today. the original intent was putting on your finest clothes and carring your finest acessories (belt, hat, knife and or gun) to go out on a saturday night (akin to sunday-go-to-meeting).

    so in its modern meaning i really don't like it either but it is easier to live. i much perfer its original meaning (carry the best a person owned).

    as far as a early revolver being as dangerous to the shooter as the target, this only happened when the wrong ammo was used (smokeless in a black powder model). some folks may not remember this but i remember a time when people were shooting 1st generation colt single action army revolvers with modern ammo and wondering why some of them came apart while they firing them.

    today alot of people use the terms 'saturday nite special' and 'suicide special' for all inexpensive firearms especially RGs. i have seen many RGs that were complete worn out after about a 1000 rounds were fired but i have never seen any that came apart and harmed the shooter (as long has the proper ammo was used). very few firearms accidents are mechanical most are operator error.

    before i close i would like to propose a couple of terms a lawyer friend has come up with for this type of handguns; "Bureau Drawer Special or Cash Box Special". the term bureau drawer special fits most iver johnson manufactured handguns as a lot their early advertizing was in this area and they were not ashamed to be called the "armorer to the nations bedrooms"
    bill
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  5. Red Neck64

    Red Neck64 Former Guest

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    The derogatory terms"suicide special"&"saturday night special"are terms put on guns that the poor working class people could afford .Put on by liberal elitists in order to mandate laws to take them out of the hands of the common man.Iver Johnson made some fine guns in other words "a poor boys Colt or S&W".So don't play into the hands of the Sara Brady's and other gun grabbing creeps.


    http://www2.arkansas.net/~sws1/ij-faq.htm
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