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Iver Johnson's pistol

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

  1. caldwell

    caldwell New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Dear Mr. Goforth,

    I would very much appreciate your advice about when the following pistol was manufactured and a rough ballpark value.

    A friend recently purchased a barely used revolver in excellent condition
    with the following markings:

    on the top of the barrel :

    *Iver Johnson's Arms and Cycle Works*
    *Fitchburg, Mass. USA*

    on the side of the barrel:

    .22 SUPERSHOT SEALED EIGHT

    on the bottom of the pistol grip:

    7477

    (Please note that there is no letter prefix in front of these 4 serial numbers.)

    The handle is a redddish gold-brown wood, highly polished, with a diamond-shaped grip patch of diamond-cut segments that wraps around the back
    of the handle.

    Thank you sincerely,

    Leon
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    the serial number you quote is mostly likely on the bottom of the trigger guard as the main serial number for the 22 supershot is located on the left side of the grip frame and can not be seen without removing the grip, this is where the letter code is found.

    there were only two letter codes used on the 22 supershot sealed eight model "L" from 1932 until about 1956 and "A" after that until 1958. the "A" seem to have only been used on the third models which were actually marked "Model 844".

    22 SUPERSHOT SEALED EIGHT FIRST MODEL (LARGE FRAME) -----1932-1941
    Features HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION. This revolver also features a cylinder with recessed chambers that fully enclose the cartridge case head. Large frame top break marked on left side of barrel “22 SUPERSHOT SEALED EIGHT”. Finish: blue only; Barrel length 6 inches: Oversize checkered wood grips; Caliber .22 rimfire with 8 rounds cylinder capacity; Weight 24 ounces. Height with out grips 3 7/8 inches; Frame length 5 inches; Overall length 10 ¾ inches. The 1938 catalog gives this model as well as others Model numbers: Model 88 fixed sights, Model 833 adjustable rear sight, Model 834 adjustable rear sight and adjustable finger rest. . Main serial number location on left side of grip frame grips must be removed to see. First Models will have serial numbers below L26601
    VALUE: 100%=$275 60%=$150

    22 SUPERSHOT SEALED EIGHT SECOND MODEL (LARGE FRAME)----1947-1954
    Featured the HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION and the recessed cylinder of the first model. The 22 SUPERSHOT SEALED EIGHT was brought back after WW II almost intact. The grip frame was altered to give it more weight. The model numbers were not changed. The barrel shape was changed and a new 4 ½ length added late in its production life. The new barrel shape added even more weight. Caliber: 22 rimfire with 8 rounds cylinder capacity; Weight: 28 ounces; Frame height with out grips 3 7/8 inches; Frame length 5 inches; overall length 10 ¾ inches. The specifications that changed after the new barrel length and shape are; Weight 6 inch barrel 28 ¾ ounces 4½ inch barrel 26 ¾ ounces; Overall length 4½ inch barrel 9 ¼ inches. The new barrel shape is the same as used on the later Third Model. Main serial number location on left side of grip frame grips must be removed to see. Second Models will have serial numbers above L26600
    VALUE: 100%=$275 60%=$150

    22 SUPERSHOT THIRD MODEL (AKA MODEL 844)------------1955-1957
    Features the HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION. Known as the Model 844 the third model 22 Supershot is the last of a line of top break revolvers that can trace it ancestry to 1894 when the Safety Automatic revolver First Model was introduced. The only difference that can be seen between the third model and late production second models is the cylinder, which is unfluted on the third model. Only offered with a blue finish and large oversized checkered wood grips. The barrel is flat sided round, round on the bottom with a full length rib. Caliber 22 rimfire with 8 rounds cylinder capacity; Cylinder has recessed chambers and flash control front rim; Barrel length: 4 ½ inches and 6 inches; Sights are fully adjustable; Weight: with 4 ½ inch barrel 24 ounces with 6 inch barrel 27 ounces; Frame height 3 7/8 inches; Frame length 5 inches; overall length: with 4 ½ inch barrel 9 ¼ inches, with 6 inch barrel 10 ¾ inches. Main serial number location on left side of grip frame grips must be removed to see. This model will be marked MODEL 844.
    VALUE: 100%=$300 60%=$175

    if this revolver has the "L" letter code it was manufactured in 1933, with 4,500 manufactured that year. if it has the "A" it was mostlikely manufactured in 1956, unknown number manufactured.
    bill
  3. caldwell

    caldwell New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Thank you so much, Bill, for your very thorough and helpful response.

    I examined my friend's pistol, and it does have an L in front of the 7477 serial number that is stamped on the frame under the grip.

    So I gather from your info to me that it is a First Model that was manufactured in 1933.

    Sincerely,

    Leon
  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    yes L7477 was manufactured in 1933.
  5. caldwell

    caldwell New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    I surely appreciate your helping us to date and value this pistol, which seems to very well made.
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