od double barrel shotgun

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by wildone@aol.com, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. wildone@aol.com

    wildone@aol.com New Member

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    I have a W richards double barrel shotgun, it has rabbit ear hammers and was made in Belgium, the only thing it has on the gun is the name and on the barrel is cold forgged steel Belgium, I would like to know what it is worth and when it may have been made.:confused:
  2. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    As you already know, it is Belgium made with the name W. Richards used to trade on the name of the English maker William Richards. The actual age or date of manufacture will forever remain a mystery, there are no known records of these old Belgium shotguns. These inexpensive ( even for those times ) shotguns were imported by the hundreds of thousands. Because it has outside hammers a guess can be made that it was manufactured between the late 1880's and 1911. After WW I when the Belgiums got back to work internal lock work was the new standard. Value, very hard to put a value on something that it's condition is unknown. If in excellent condition I have seen them go for 200 to 250. In the condition that they are usually found, that is well worn and hard used, maybe a hundred as a decorative wall piece.
  3. PeteM

    PeteM New Member

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    The original Richards - England:

    William Richards (I) was reportedly a gun maker in London who died in 1820. His son, William (II), reportedly moved to Birmingham and then, in 1842, to Liverpool; he died in 1864. Neither of these reports have been confirmed.

    However, a William Richards, presumably William (II), was recorded at 152 Dale Street, Liverpool, from 1851 to 1858, and at 144 Dale Street from 1859 to 1864, and the 1851 census records this William Richards (b.1796 in London) as a widower, living at 153 Dale Street.

    In about 1850 William (II) established a branch of the firm in Oldhall (Old Hall) Street. An address of 53 Oldhall Street has been seen on a gun bearing the name W Richards and dated approximately to 1850. This date is earlier than the 1857 date recorded in paper records.

    William (II) had at least two sons: William Henry Richards (William III) and Henry Richards. In 1857 William Henry Richards (William III) was recorded at 51 Old Hall Street, but the business appears to have traded as W Richards. No guns or labels bearing the names of William Henry or Henry Richards have been seen. William Henry Richards appears to have died in 1857 because in 1858 his brother, Henry Richards, took over the business.

    It is reported that W Richards established a branch in Melbourne, Australia in 1853. There was a firm named William Richards recorded from 1856 to 1886 in Melbourne, and they did claim establishment in 1853, but whether they were connected with William Richards of Dale Street or Old Hall Street is not known. If the Melbourne firm was connected it may have been established by Henry but by 1858 he had certainly returned to Liverpool.

    In the 1861 census Henry was recorded living at 61 Old Hall Street with his wife, Hannah (b.1819 in Birmingham). They were probably married in about 1840 because living with them were two daughters, Jane (b.1842) and Emily (b.1850), and a son named William (b.1853); all were born in Birmingham. It would seem that William and Hannah moved to join William (II) in Liverpool between 1853 and 1855 because another daughter living with them, Suzanna, (b.1855) was born in Liverpool as were two more sons, Henry (b.1857) and Westley (b.1859). William (b.1853) became William IV in 1878 – see below. The name "Westley" is frequently found together with the name "Richards" but no direct connection with the famous Birmingham firm of Westley Richards has been found).

    When William (II) died in 1864, Henry inherited the business. In the 1871 census Henry and Hannah and their children, with the exception of Emily, were living at Brickfield Cottage, Fazackerley, Liverpool.

    In about 1877 Henry moved the firm to 27 Oldhall Street (later re-named Exchange Street East).

    One report states that the firm opened a branch at 44 Fishergate, Preston, in 1872 but as William (IV) was only 19 years old at the time this date is unlikely. Other more likely reports state that the branch was opened in 1878.

    In about 1893 the firm opened a shooting ground at Walton, Liverpool.

    In 1895 Henry died, and Westley took over the Liverpool business. William (IV) continued the business in Preston.

    In about 1905, one report states 1910, the firm bought the business of Williams & Powell at 27 South Castle Street, Liverpool. Reportedly, the price paid for the business was £12. At about this time the firm appears to have had an address at Phoenix Chambers, as did Williams & Powell. From this time the firm claimed to have been established in 1780, but this was the date Williams & Powell were established rather than the date when William Richards commenced in business.

    In 1907 the firm moved from 27 Old Hall Street to Manchester Buildings, 1 Tithebarn Street, they also opened a workshop in Westmoreland Street.

    In 1913 the Liverpool business became a separate limited company, W Richards (Liverpool) Ltd, and in 1917 the Preston business became William Richards Ltd.

    In 1917 the company in Liverpool moved to Mellor's Buildings, 30 Exchange Street East (formerly Oldhall Street), and they took additional premises at 8b Rumford Place. At this time the firm had shooting grounds at Aughton, near Ormskirk. This shooting ground was roughly halfway between Liverpool and Preston.

    In 1920 William (IV) died, and in 1924 the Preston business was moved to 6a Lune Street, it appears that by 1920 the separate company, William Richards Ltd, had been closed down and all the business in Liverpool and Preston was done in the name of W Richards (Liverpool) Ltd.

    In 1924 the firm bought the business of James (H?) Hooton of Liverpool.

    Westley retired in about 1935 (he died in 1944) and his nephew, Lawrence Richards Hunt took over.

    In about 1940 the company took additional premises at 22 Highfield Street, the purpose of these is unknown but may have had something to do with the bombing during the Second World War; these premises were closed in 1942.

    In 1943 Lawrence Richards Hunt retired and J L Brown took control of the company.

    In 1957 the company moved to 30 Moorfields, and in 1967 they moved to India Buildings, 42 Brunswick Street.

    In 1984 the firm became W Richards Ltd, so presumably the old company went into liquidation.

    The firm ceased trading on 30 June 1996, but the name, records, manufacturing rights and intellectual property of the company were bought in 1999 by Chris Caine. The company now trades as W Richards (Liverpool) Ltd at The Pavement, Pocklington, York, Yorkshire, YO42 2AX; Tel & Fax: 01759 305088. It is shown under Gun Suppliers on this web site.

    Richards guns from Belgium:
    Under Belgian law all guns had to pass proof. This is true these trade name guns as well. The approximate of the gun can be determined by the proof marks. This is true of English guns as well.

    You need to provide pictures of the proof marks such as this shows:
    [​IMG]
    This one passed proof in 1932. It is a 20ga with 2.5" chambers. The barrels weighed 1.676 kgs when it was proofed. (This is very useful, if you weigh the barrels today and find the weight is off, then you automatically can assume some one messed with it.)

    Here is list of Belgian proof marks, along with date codes and controller of proof marks:
    http://damascus-barrels.com/Belgian_All_Proofmarks.html

    The RIchards trade name guns were most likely made for H.D. Folsom, as they like many others imported a lot of Belgian guns. It should be noted that the contractor not the maker determined the price point and the trade name to be used.

    Which Belgian firm produced these is unknown. They were $5.00 hardware store guns that got used hard. At best they are something to put over a mantle today. At the same time these cheap price point guns were coming out of Belgium, so was this Lebeau-Corally
    [​IMG]
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Shot guns made in Belgium marked W. Richards has nothing in common with shotguns made in England by Wesley Richards. Two different animals:)
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