Value of Iver Johnson 5 shot nickel hammerless with box

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by bsaums, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. bsaums

    bsaums New Member

    Jul 9, 2011
    Very sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Goforth. I'm new to the forum but can see from the posts what a great member he was.

    I have a 5 shot Iver Johnson nickel plated hammerless revolver on loan from a friend who would like to know the value. It came in the original box (cardboard imprinted with use and care, a engraved photo inside the top of the same gun, but with an exterior hammer). See attached photo.

    It has a 3 inch barrel, black rubber or bakelite handles with the owl facing down the handle, two post top latch. Looks like a 32 cal but I don't have a way to measure.

    Butt strap stamped PAT. AUG 25, '96 then PATS. PENDING on second line.

    Trigger guard stamped 51931 (no letters). Trigger and guard are still blue, everything else is nickel plate.

    There are no other markings. The nickel is bright and in nice shape, with some flaking off around the breech. (I hear it can be dangerous to the owner to fire it.)
    There is some scarring around the notches from the revolver turning mechanism.

    The instructions imprinted in the box state use of semi-smokeless or black powder. No dates on the box.

    Can anyone provide more info and a guess at the value?

    Attached Files:

  2. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Jan 11, 2010
    bsaums Welcome to the forums! , the IJ experts will be along soon .

    all i can say is , Ni i ice ;)


  3. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Welcome to the forum. It appears to be a 3rd model small frame hammerless made 1909-1912, and the serial number will be repeated on the grip frame under left grip with a letter prefix that's needed to pinpoint year made.

    Are there any end labels on the box lid that might confirm the box was for this gun? It appears to be in fine condition, and if working properly should be safe with current smokeless powder .32 S&W cartridges.

    Value to an Iver Johnson collector should be $200 plus, especially if the box can be verified to be for same gun.
  4. bsaums

    bsaums New Member

    Jul 9, 2011
    Serial number B51931 on the frame under the left grip. Interesting spring adjustment mechanism!

    And now that you mention it, there is an end label, however, it looks like it was printed in red ink, so I can only make out a few of the words because it's so faded. But, with a green light from a blood spotter, it says IVER JOHNSON on the top left corner of the label, AUTOMATIC under that and Centerfire under that. On the top right it says 32 SAFETY HAMMERLESS and DOUBLE ACTION under that. Thank you!
  5. bsaums

    bsaums New Member

    Jul 9, 2011
    Here's a photo of the frame, grips removed, showing serial number B51931.

    And, a photo of the label on the end of the box under a green light.

    Attached Files:

  6. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Well, a slight puzzle, as Bill's book lists the last serial no. made 1911 as B51500, and first 1912 as B61601. I suspect a typo, and that first 1912 no. should be B51501. (Last 1912 no. = B72000)

    And thanks to your blood spotter, we now know that I.J. used the same inside instruction label for both hammer and hammerless models.
  7. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I'm NOT an IJ expert - but IMHO: in that condition, with original box in excellent condition - your piece should have a RETAIL value of $300 +/- $25. Very nice example.
  8. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    I'm tempted to agree with you, but checking the online auctions of I.J. Hammerless models sold last 90 days I find only two above $200, both single post latch first models, @ $275 and $281. The box might add another 25-50 bucks to a hard core I.J. collector (if he's out there and still has a job)...
  9. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    You're probably (almost certainly) closer to the real value than my estimation, which is based mostly upon my experience with H&Rs. I guess I'll have to start putting some time into looking at the IJs, also. From what you've seen, looks like H&Rs have a slight edge in the collectible market, at least for now.
  10. leehogan

    leehogan New Member

    Oct 7, 2012
    I have the same Iver Johnson 5 shot nickel hammerless with a Serial Number B668. Would this indicate a very early model?
  11. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Goodyear, Arizona
    1898-Black Powder
  12. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2008
  13. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    FWIW, the term "automatic" was used by revolver makers of that period to mean automatic ejection of the cartridges and/or fired cases in the cylinder when the gun was opened. That is the reason S&W called their swing-out cylinder revolvers "hand ejectors" to distinguish them from the older "automatic ejectors".

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