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Iver Johnson top break .38 S&W identifications

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by brassrat, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. brassrat

    brassrat New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2017
    Messages:
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    Greetings! I am new here and need some help. I recently acquired a couple Iver Johnson top break .38 S&W revolvers and I need to identify exactly what model/s I have, when they were manufactured, their approximate sale value, and any other interesting or historic facts concerning these particular firearms.

    The first revolver, serial number H21024 has a 6 inch barrel with nice wooden grips that are checkered on both sides:

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H21024.001_zpsrpry6iv4.jpg.html?sort=9&o=15

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H21024.002_zpsuqqbmesv.jpg.html?sort=9&o=16

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H21024.003_zpsnkbvs1l5.jpg.html?sort=9&o=17

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H21024.004_zps5n7fhn4d.jpg.html?sort=9&o=18

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H21024.005_zpstoahiaru.jpg.html?sort=9&o=19

    Other than the serial number repeated minus the “H” prefix, stamped on the bottom of the trigger guard (not pictured) there are no other distinguishing stamps, marks, or features on the outside of this revolver.


    The second revolver serial number H78393 seems to be the same as the first, except it has a shorter 5 inch barrel length and wooden grips with a single diamond shaped checkering pattern across the back:

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H78393.001_zpscy9n8mze.jpg.html?sort=9&o=20

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H78393.004_zpsxbycrx5x.jpg.html?sort=9&o=23

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H78393.002_zpsqc5vgr4j.jpg.html?sort=9&o=21

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H78393.003_zpsfvxhzio6.jpg.html?sort=9&o=22

    http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/brassff/media/FOR%20SALE/IJ%20H78393.005_zpszwrtqnhs.jpg.html?sort=9&o=24

    Again, other than the serial number repeated minus the “H” prefix, stamped on the bottom of the trigger guard (not pictured) there are no other distinguishing stamps, marks, or features on the outside of this revolver.

    I understand the “H” serial number prefix is an Iver Johnson code that indicates date of manufacture. I would sincerely appreciate someone explaining this letter code and how this translates so that I understand exactly what letter codes are used to correspond to what dates or years of manufacture of Iver Johnson firearms.

    I would like to know what model these revolvers are as well as their sales value.

    I would also appreciate someone pointing me to other websites, books, or other sources of information where I may find additional historic/collector data for these neat little revolvers.


    Thank you!
     
  2. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Arlington, TX
    The first is a 3rd Model Safety Hammer Automatic made pin 1919. It is considered a smokeless frame and should be safe for modern ammo once its been checked out by a gunsmith. The checkering on the grip is not original.
     

  3. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Arlington, TX
    The second is also a 3rd Model Safety Hammer Automatic made in 1927. Back in the day you could special order the walnut grips, blued frame and different barrel lengths for an additional fee.