Like New Iver Johnson & Co. .32 First Model

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Trent, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. Trent

    Trent New Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I recently picked up a cherry Iver Johnson & Co. ( not cylce works) 5 shot .32 from a pawn shop, story goes an elderly lady brought it in, she had had it since her grandmother passed away in the 40's and she found it in her dresser, it was a wedding present from her father. Came with a Le Page's Pocket pistol case, pat. apr. 28. 1878

    just want to make sure it is a .32 someone told me it might be a .38 because its 5 shot but it looks way too small, action is very tight, nickel is 99.5% with just a very small amount flaked off at the hinge.

    release is on the left side for break action and the cylinder does not want to stay in when you pop it open but mechanism works fine if you hold the cylinder with the hand your opening it with, maybe this is how it was supposed to work?

    grips are 100% like new no wear at all

    wanting to know what its worth and possibly a manufacture date from only set of numbers i could find on the body of the gun under the grips either a 1 or a lower case L 3578


    i can have pics up tonight if you need them

  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    here is the same information i posted on another forum about this revolver.

    the safety automatic revolver with marked with the name IVER JOHNSON & CO. and only two patent dates are the very earliest safety automatic revolver manufactured. it is believed they were only marked this way between the last week of the year 1893 and about april or may of 1894. the company name was officially changed to Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works in the spring of 1884. so far this markings has only shown up on the small frame 32 S&W models but there may be some large frame 38S&W version out there somewhere. both the 32 & 38 S&W calibers were 5 shot.

    this early model uses a spring loaded hook extending down from the bottom of the top latch to retain the cylinder. this was such a small hook and so finely fitted into the top strap that if not kept completely clean 100% of the time it became useless very quickly. this type of cylinder retainer didn't last much longer than the the iver johnson & co. barrel marking. i do have early iver johnson's arms & cycle works marked revolvers with this type of cylinder retainer. a first model with this cylinder retainer that still works is the exception not the rule.

    on such a early first model letter codes were not usued so the serial number is 13578, which is really a batch number. and in this case i believe it is safe to say, this is the thirteen thousand five hundred fifty eightth small frame manufactured some time in very early 1894, february at the latest.

    these early first models will usually bring as least a 15% premium

    (Black Powder Cartridges)---------------------------1894-1895
    LARGE & SMALL FRAME VERSIONS USES THE FAMOUS HAMMER THE HAMMER ACTION This is the first revolver marked “Iver Johnson’s Arms & Cycle Works”, some very early model were marked “Iver Johnson & Co.”. It is a top break revolver with a single top post barrel latch, it was manufactured in two frame sizes and three calibers, standard finish was Nickel with blue being optional. Grip panels are hard rubber with Owls head design. Calibers: small frame .22 rimfire & .32 centerfire, Large frame .38 centerfire; Cylinder capacity: small frame .22 7 rounds & .32 5 rounds, Large frame 5 rounds; Standard barrel length: small frame 3 inches, large frame 3¼ inches; Weight: small frame 3 inch barrel .22 rimfire 12 ounces, .32 centerfire 12¼ ounces large frame 3¼ inch barrel 17¼ ounces; Height: small frame 3¾ 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 3¼ inch barrel 7 3/8 inch. Main serial number location on left side of grip frame; grips must be removed to see. . The First Model features a single top post barrel latch (release lever mounted on left side of top strap) and flat leaf hammer spring.
    VALUE: 100%=$290 60%=$145
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