Ruby ???

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by bluerunner1, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. bluerunner1

    bluerunner1 New Member

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    I need help, i have what i was told was a spanish Ruby. Iam unable to find any info on this gun. i have no clue what the markings mean. On the righ rear side is an Anchor above the Anchor is a - I. there is NO 84 spamped on all parts of gun and clip

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  2. bluerunner1

    bluerunner1 New Member

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    sorry about pic.

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  3. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    What are the markings on the magazine? They may be the initials of the maker.

    Before WWI, Gabilondo y Urresti, a company in Eibar, Spain, made a reasonable quality pocket pistol which they trade named "Ruby." During WWI, the French, desperate for handguns for trench fighting, contracted with Gabilondo for thousands of Ruby pistols. But Gabilondo was unable to fill the contract alone and enlisted dozens of other Spanish gun makers to help. The result was tens of thousands of guns of the general Ruby type, although each maker's pistol was a bit different, and parts are not always interchangeable. Since magazines also were not always interchangeable among makers, the French required that magazines be marked with the initials of the maker (see why I asked about magazine markings?).

    After the war, the Spanish continued to make and sell those guns by the ton; they range in quality from quite good (though not up to the standards of Colt or FN) to junk. One indicator is that many companies were not proud enough of their product to put their name on it. In recent times, all those Spanish pistols have come to be lumped under the term "Ruby pistols", which is why you were told what you were.

    Now the number and anchor. The low number means nothing in terms of value. The anchor might mean the gun was in French navy service (they used a similar anchor), but absent other information, that is just a guess; the Spanish makers used several symbols to indicate factory inspection.

    Collector interest in those guns has increased in recent years, but retail values seldom exceed $150 - $200, even for the better ones.

    Jim
  4. bluerunner1

    bluerunner1 New Member

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    Thanks for the info Jim. The clip only has 84 on bottom. That 84 is stamped on almost every individual part. What had me was the fact that there was no writing on this gun at all.
  5. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Because each makers guns were just a little out of spec, magazines did not always interchange, this is why the magazines were numbered to the gun. Don't ever lose it, you might search for 20 years and never another that will work in that particular gun
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    A word on assembly numbers and Spanish gun making practices in the past.

    In those days in Spain, many guns were not fully made in factories. Instead rough parts and parts that required heavy machining, like frames, were made in factories and partly finished. Small parts were made to a gauge in home workshops where the most modern tool was a file. The larger parts were farmed out for finishing the same way.

    Eventually, the parts came back to the factory, where an assembler put the gun together, filing and tweaking until things fit together. Then the parts were numbered to make sure the fitted parts would get back together, and the gun was taken apart again and sent for hardening and finishing (bluing, or whatever). Then the assembler put the gun back together and it was ready to be shipped.

    A lot of hand work, of course, but in many countries, even today (not Spain any more), hand work is cheap; human beings are cheaper than CNC machines.

    Jim
  7. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    jim, this is good info. i've always liked the ruby pistols, but then again i've always liked all pistols and want a copy of each
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    BTW, not only in Spain. The Germans did basically the same thing (hence the numbered parts on Lugers and Mauser rifles), even though they had less reason. American companies were more likely to fit during final assembly, using a process called "selective fitting" in which an assembler kept trying finished parts until one fit. Sometimes, they even had bins of small, medium or large parts to choose from.

    Even with modern tooling, some companies kept up the practice; Germany did right up to the end of WWII. And S&W kept the assembly numbers on frame and crane up to recent years, considering that fit to be critical for not only function but for the appearance of the gun. (Today, keeping down costs, plus the great precision of modern machines, have become more important than looks, and S&W no longer hand fits the cranes.)

    The assembly number itself may be long (S&W used up to 5 digits) or short. Since many makers produced guns in small batches, an assembly number might be only two digits. It might or might not be part of the serial number, as in the Luger, or have no relationship to it, as in the Colt SAA loading gate number.

    Jim
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