The American Gun Company was the "house brand" of H&D Folsom Sporting Goods, New York City, c. 1895-1930. The guns were manufactured by Crescent Arms, Norwich, Connecticut. Their single barrel shotguns sold for less than $10 when new. Their double barrel shotguns sold for $10-$15 when new. Old trade-name shotguns are not generally collected and not safe with modern ammunition, so are valued solely as a mantle ornament. The value of these guns if they are broken, badly worn, or rusty is less than $50. In like-new condition, it might be over $200. In "average" condition, it would probably be about $125. Here's verbatum from Standard Catalog of Firearms: "American Gun Co. / Norwich, Connecticut / Crescent Firearms Co - Maker / H & D Folsom Co - Distributor / Side x Side Shotgun A typical trade gun made around the turn of the century by the Crescent Firearms Co. to be distributed by H & D Folsom. These are sometimes known as "hardware store guns," as that is where many were sold. This particular gun was chambered for 12, 16, and 20 gauges and was produced with or without external hammers. The length of the barrels varied, as did the chokes. Some were produced with Damascus barrels; some, with fluid steel. The latter are worth approximately 25% more." Although not mentioned in this listing, there were also single shot break action shotguns similar in configuration.
Manufactured by Savage/Stevens (equivalent to their Model 311-D) probably in the 1950's. http://www.e-gunparts.com has a listing of most house-brands.
Folsom was a sporting goods wholesale/retail business in New York City. The actual manufacturer would be their subsidiary company, Crescent Firearms, Norwich, CT, or it may have been imported from Belgium. Look carefully at the barrels and receiver for ELG* in an oval. If you find this mark, it is Belgian, if not, then Crescent.
It would have been manufactured c. 1880-1930. If it has outside hammers and/or damascus barrels, probably before 1905. If hammerless with fluid steel barrels, most likely after 1900.
Does anyone know the year the shotgun was made, by looking at the serial number? I have a dbl barrel, exposed hammer, breechloading, 20 ga., serial #415407. Thanks! Don
Don - If your shotgun is from one of the "quality" manufacturers like Parker Brothers, Lefever, or Winchester, there are serial number lists available. For the utility "hardware store" guns like Crescent, Iver Johnson, Stevens, and especially the Belgian imports, no such information exists and often the "serial numbers" are really batch numbers or assembly numbers which may have been duplicated in different years. If the actual manufacturer or retailer can be identified, it is sometimes possible to narrow the date of manufacture down to a few years.
Don - These fall under the category of hardware-store guns for which there does not seem to be any reliable dating method. Knowing the actual manufacturer could narrow the estimated DOM by a few years. If you find the ELG proofmark, figure 1880-1914 (Belgian imports stopped during WWI and never really came back after), and if it is a Crescent, that company was founded in 1893.
Roy--Thanks for helping. The shotgun I was referring to is a Mississippi Valley Arms, with that serial #.
Don -Mississippi Valley Arms Company never existed. That was a trade name owned by the Shapleigh Hardware. I think Shapleigh was still in business into the 1950's.
I don't believe they are available anywhere. One researcher has said they were donated to a paper drive during WWII. After all, they were just old ledgers that no one would ever be interested in.
Crescent operated from 1893 to 1930. There doesn't seem to be any source to pinpoint dates of manufacture by serial numbers. Crescent was a subsidiary of H&D Folsom Sporting Goods, New York. Many of their products were sold through Folsom's retail outlets, but Folsom was also a large wholesale dealer and many Crescent guns were marked with the names or trademarks of other retail chains and even independent hardware stores.
H&D Folsom was a large sporting goods retailer and distributor in New York City. They didn't manufacture any firearms, but from 1893 to 1930 they owned Crescent Firearms in Norwich, Ct. They also bought guns from other arms makers, especially Belgian manufacturers. Haven't ran across a W Richardson, but many of the Belgian imports were marked W Richards in an attempt to make buyers think they were getting a product of the English gunmaker, Westley Richards. I'm guessing that you have one of these. It probably has damascus or twist barrels and side hammers. A perfectly good utility gun when made, but after 100 years the barrels will have deteriorated and are probably no longer safe to use, and absolutely should NOT be used with modern ammunition. I bought a Folsom Arms import at auction, highly engraved, with "Rowland Watson" as part of the engraving. It was imported from England with English proof marks. I'd appreciate any information or educated guesses as to what I have. * You might look into this a bit closer. Does it have British or Belgian proofmarks? There is an English gunmaker using the W Richards mark. The Belgian knockoffs with this name are usually junk but these are not. The company now trades as W Richards (Liverpool) Ltd at 10a The Pavement, Pocklington, York, Yorkshire, YO42 2AX; Tel: 01759 305088 Fax: 01759 368559. Some records are available.
Diamond Arms Company and Nitro King are both trade name used by the Shapleigh Hardware Company of St. Louis, Missouri. Some of the guns were imported from various Belgian sources, but they were also made by W.H.Davenport Firearms Co (1890's - ), Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works (early 1900's - ), J. Stevens Arms (before 1942), and Savage Arms. If there is an oval with ELG* stamped on the barrel or action, it is from Belgium, but being a 410 makes that unlikely. That also eliminates Davenport as the maker.
Nitro Hunter: Trade name manufactured by Crescent Firearms, Norwich, CT, and retailed by Belknap Hardware Company of Louisville, Kentucky. "Nitro" implies that it was intended for smokeless powder. That and the hammerless design indicate it was probably manufactured c. 1907 - 1930's. Not much collector interest in hardware store guns, but if it is checked out by a qualified gunsmith, it may be worth $200+ as a shooter.
Crescent manufactured shotguns from 1888 to 1940. They sold a million utility shotguns that were "branded" by hardware stores and the like.
Typical value is $85 to $150.
I'm not aware of any resource for looking up the serial numbers.
Regards, Jay Gentry Shotgunworld.com
Made between 1893 and 1930. With a more complete description I may be able to narrow that down a little, but cannot give a definite year of manufacture. Value will be less than $200 unless it is a like-new example of the early (pre-WWI) model.
Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co, Chicago (1882-1962), retailed the Victor shotguns which were manufactured by Crescent Arms, Norwich, CT (1893-1930). Can't determine the date any closer than that, but if it has fluid steel barrels it was made sometime after 1900. Value will be in the range of $75 or less.
Trade name used by the H. & D. Folsom Arms Company on shotguns made for the Belknap Hardware Company of Louisville, Kentucky. Folsom was a sporting goods wholesale & retail company in New York. Actual manufacturer would be Crescent Firearms of Norwich, CT., or it may have been imported from Belgium. Typical hardware-store gun that hung behind the kitchen door or in the barn of every farm in the early 1900's.
This trade name was sold by H&D Folsom Sporting Goods of New York. From 1893 until 1930 they would have been manufactured by Crescent Firearms of Norwich, CT. Earlier guns would have been imported from Belgium.
Henry Arms Co. was a name used on shotguns distributed by H&D Folsom c. 1900. It may have been manufactured by Crescent Firearms, Meriden, CT, or it may have been imported from a Belgian maker. No relation to the famous Henry Repeating Rifles which were the forerunners of the Winchester lever actions. Value is something less than $200 unless it is in like-new condition.
A single shot would bring less than $79. That's what a new utility single shot sells for. Even though yours may be old, there is no collector interest.
Excerpts from The Firing Line Forum and Firearms Forum Questions and answers from Shotgun Tom and WarPig:
The 16-bore Syracuse gun was first listed in Syracuse Arms Company catalogs in 1901 (the 20-bore in 1902), and it was offered in all grades from Grade OO, the lowest, to Grade D, the highest; and ranging in suggested retail price from $30 to $475. Major manufacturing modifications to the frame and barrels occurred in 1902, and again in late 1903 or early 1904; therefore it is difficult for the novice to determine which variation of the Syracuse gun he may own. For assistance in this regard, I suggest you acquire back issues of the Double Gun Journal having articles on the Syracuse gun; as these articles represent the most comprehensive work done to date on the various models of the Syracuse gun and the Syracuse Arms Company. Small bore SAC guns (the 16 and 20) are not very common, as these models were introduced late in the life of the company; and it appears actual production had ceased by mid-1905 (certainly by 1906). Most 16-bore examples seen today are in Grade 0 and Grade 2, both plain models will a small flourish of engraving around the lock pins. The simplest way to determine grade is as follows: The Grade 0 will be roll-stamped "New Twist" for barrel steel type atop the barrels, the Grade 2 gun will have "Improved Damascus" roll-stamped atop the barrels, the Grade 3 gun will have the same barrel steel as the Grade 2 gun but will feature 40-50% line and scoll engraving coverage. The Grade A, A-1, B, C, and D guns will feature finer Damacus barrels for each grade or have optional Krupp barrels (Whitworth with the Grade D gun); and the engraving will be as follows: The Grade A gun will be engraved very similar to the style featured on the Grade 3 gun (line and scroll), the A-1 will have finer line and scroll work and two birds on either side of the frame, the Grade B will feature lots of fine scroll and a single pointing dog on either side of the frame, the Grade C gun will feature very fine scroll with full coverage and dogs and birds, the Grade D will feature the finest scroll with double dogs and birds and unique frame sculpting. Stocks for each grade become more elaborate as to carving and checkering patterns with finer pointed diamonds in the checkering panels. The highest grades are somewhat scarce and collectible, and will bring a decent price if in good original condition (although nothing remotely close to the prices paid for Parkers, Smiths, Lefevers, and Foxes). Low grades with little remaining finish have little value; although there is a limited collector demand for low grade SAC guns with lots of remaining original finishes and no aftermarket alterations. I hope you find this information somewhat helpful.
Production records for the Syracuse Arms Company no longer exist, so there is no way to provide an exact shipping date on your gun. From personal research I can tell you the following: Triplet Steel barrels were first introduced by SAC on their Grade OO gun in 1901. Triplet Steel was SAC's moniker for the type of fluid steel barrels used on this grade gun; and they later used this same barrel steel on a limited run of Syracuse hammer guns introduced in 1904, but these were the only two models of SAC guns advertised as being available with Triplet Steel barrels. The frames of SAC guns were strengthened in 1902 (wider top strap and lengthened frame sides); and their top fastener modified to what SAC advertised as a "double cross bolt". This change occurred around serial number 24,500 (give or take a few numbers either way); adn based on that fact, I would speculate your gun was manufactured in late 1902 or early 1903. In 1902 and 1903, the Grade OO gun was the least expensive SAC gun and carried a suggested retail of $30; not an insignificant sum at the turn of the last century.
Here is more from shotgun expert Russ Ruppel.
I would believe these dates over the ones I posted above, as the website I found the others on had a bnch of information that is screwed up.
Russ is a double shotgun historian and generally knows his stuff.
[quote]I never heard of one marked "New Era" which was a hardware store brand name but I do have a speal on the Real Syracuse Arms guns:
Syracuse Arms Company was founded by Frank Hollenbeck after he left Baker Gun & Forging Company in Batavia, New York, and returned to Syracuse in 1893. Between 1893 and 95 Frank had nine patents assigned to Syracuse Arms Co. The early guns are very tricky to take down, but Frank's patent number 523,813 for a "Movable Cocking Shoulder for Breakdown Guns" made this easier. After a couple of years Frank left to make bicycle seats but the company continued to operate until possibly as late as 1908. The earlier guns are marked "The Hollenbeck" and after Frank left in August 1895 they are often marked "The Syracuse." Syracuse Arms Company guns were made in two series -- the stock guns, which had grades designated by numbers 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3; and the special order guns which had grades designated by letters, A, A-1, B, C, and D. List prices in the 1902 catalogue ranged from $30 for the 00-Grade with Triplet Steel barrels to $475 for the D-grade with either Whitworth Fluid or Damascus barrels. Operating in the Syracuse area the company had access to some of this country's finest engravers in the Glahn family. I briefly owned a straight-gripped B-grade that had some of the best engraving (not in quantity but in execution) I've ever seen on an American gun.
The ejectors for Syracuse Arms Co. were designed by George A. Horne and featured a cut-off to set them to just extract if wanted. Two excellent articles on Frank Hollenbeck were published in The Gun Report -- "The Syracuse Arms Company and Frank Hollenbeck" by the late A.C. Atterbury in the July 1988 issue, and "New Notes of Frank A. Hollenbeck" by H.J. Swinney in the September 1991 issue. I believe they sell back issues -- phone (309) 582-5311.
I would only add that there were about 40,000 made total and value is from $100 for a low grade clunker to about $3500 for a top grade in mint condition of which only about 3 are extant. 20ga are scarce. [?quote]
Since there are no IJ collectors bidding these up unless in like-new original condition, it is worth from 1/2 to 2/3 the price of a new single shot or about $45-$60. Or even less if it is rusted or broken. But then, if you can add a few dollars worth of electrical parts to a rusty one, these are offered as floor lamps for $300 or more.
the model 36 is the last in the line of auto-loading .22 rifles. in good condition the value is only around 75.00. grab a book or check a website and find out what the condition actually is. like most older things that are collected there is a standard chart for determining condition as accepted by most buyers. your "pretty good" condition may be an excellent condition and then the value will increase to as much as 175.00 depending on your area.
Not sure if this is your gun, but Leader Gun Company was a trade name used on shotguns retailed by the Charles Williams Stores, Inc. of New York. Most likely manufacturer would be Crescent Arms, Norwich, CT. "Nitro" would imply proofed for smokeless powder.
American Gun Company was the house brand of H&D Folsom Sporting Goods of New York. The Victor was manufactured by Crescent Firearms, Norwich, CT, which was owned by Folsom from 1893 - 1932.
Victor and Knickerbocker were Crescent-Davis (circa 1888 to about 1940) "utility" guns manufactured for various hardware stores, retail outlets, and Folsom's retail outlets.
Currently there is no collector value. Approximate value on any of these are $85 to $150, depending on condition.
Regards, Jay Gentry Shotgunworld.com
Can anyone advise me. I currently restoring a black powder 12 bore shotgun one of the the hammers is missing. The gun is circa 1860 Naylor & son Sheffield. Any advice would be welcome. many thanks.
If it needs a stock and forearm, it's not worth much. If it is a boxlock with fluid steel barrels, fully functional and OK'd by an experienced gunsmith, it would be worth $200+ as a shooter. If it has laminated barrels and side hammers, it might bring $125-$150 as a mantle decoration. Like any other machine 80+ years old, parts are where you find them. Your local gunsmith can probably find wood that will fit or can be made to fit. To be a decorator, it would be enough to repair the existing stocks with Elmer's glue and wood filler if that is possible.
I have the same model as you. I inherited from my great grandpa, and to the point of my understanding it was distrubuted around the 1930's.
Sam Holt Arms Company: Trade name used by the Sears, Roebuck and Company of Chicago on shotguns they retailed. If marked with the country of origin, it was imported after 1893. WWI pretty much ended the importation of these inexpensive shotguns. Don't shoot this one without having it checked by a good gunsmith. Laminated steel means the barrels are made of of little strips of metal hammer-welded together. Although safe enough when new, after a century of use/abuse they may not be now. Here is more input: * I have a gun that is a double barrel muzzle loader, it also says Sam Holt Arms Co. on the side of the shotgun. also says belgium and laminated steel. it also has a dog on each side above the trigger in the steel. * These old doubles usually bring $125-$150 as mantle decorations.
Crescent operated from 1893 to 1930. There doesn't seem to be any source to pinpoint dates of manufacture by serial numbers. Crescent was a subsidiary of H&D Folsom Sporting Goods, New York. Many of their products were sold through Folsom's retail outlets, but Folsom was also a large wholesale dealer and many Crescent guns were marked with the names or trademarks of other retail chains and even independent hardware stores. Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co, Chicago (1882-1962), retailed the Victor shotguns which were manufactured by Crescent Arms, Norwich, CT (1893-1930).
Crescent manufactured shotguns from 1888 to 1940. They sold a million utility shotguns that were "branded" by hardware stores and the like. Typical value is $85 to $150.
I have a single-shot, short-barreled (19") shotgun called "New River." I believe it was manufactured by Crescent and sold in the Hinton, West Virginia area, which is on the New River. The gun carries a serial number of A168XXX and was bought second hand around 1916. Anyone know of another "New River" shotgun?
New River is not in Vorisek's book of shotgun markings, and it contains the most complete listing of old trade names I have found. It seems that Crescent and other suppliers would mark guns with any name a retailer requested if they would pay a couple dollars to make the stamp. There may be some names that only appeared on a dozen or less pieces, but there are few collectors of old utility shotguns, so a rare name on a common shotgun will not bring any premium.
Is it possible that your shotgun is actually marked 'New Rival'? Crescent built shotguns for Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co under the names 'Compeer,' 'New Rival' and perhaps 'Rival' and/or 'Rival #3.'
Question actually im new here and i will learn the site soon but my question is i have a 1910 nitro hunter single short barrol wondering what value might be i have researched and seen about $200 + but then again! any help would be appriciated thanks.
I have an American Gun company double with external hammers. The best I can tell is it is also made by Crescent. However, this gun is unique in that it was a STAGE gun, (probably Stage Coach) at Ft. Bliss Texas for Well Fargo and co. It has a shield letter with W.F> & Co. Express 1891. It has 23 in several places which must have been an inventory number. There are some other markings on the stock that identify it as a Wells Fargo gun but the only markings on the receiver say American Gun Company. It needs a Top Snap Spring and I'm lost trying to find another gun of similar manufacture.
Crescent built shotguns under the name American Gun Company Ca. 1900 for Sears Roebuck. No Crescent built shotguns were used by Wells Fargo and in fact very few shot guns were used by Wells Fargo period, Unfortunately large numbers of counterfeits have been produced and sold with markings and badges and so on. Saw one for sale at a gunshow about a momth ago with the American Gun Co. name on it. Sorry!
Empire Arms was a trade name sold by Sears Roebuck. If it has the Crescent name on it too, it would date from about 1907 to 1930. It's nothing a serious collector would want, but if checked by a gunsmith and given his OK, should be worth $200 or more as a shooter.
Not the Spencer that made the Civil War era carbines. The Spencer name was used on shotguns by several firms. H. Spencer & Company guns were manufactured by Henri Pieper, Leige, Belgium, for Henry Spencer & Co., Chicago Illinois, in the early 1880's. Spencer Gun Co was marked on guns manufactured by Crescent Firearms and distributed by H&D Folsom to various hardware and mercantile retailers c. 1900-1940. Baker Gun Company, Batavia, New York, and Hopkins & Allen, Norwich, CT also marked shotguns with the Spencer name c. 1900.
Diamond Arms Company and Nitro King are both trade names used by the Shapleigh Hardware Company of St. Louis, Missouri. Some of the guns were imported from various Belgian sources, but they were also made by W.H. Davenport Firearms Co (1890's - ), Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works (early 1900's - ), J. Stevens Arms (before 1942), and Savage Arms.
If there is an oval with ELG* stamped on the barrel or action, it is from Belgium. If it is a 410 that's unlikely, and that would also eliminate Davenport as the maker.
If it says Armory Steel that suggests that it MIGHT be an Iver Johnson Champion.
Most of the Belgian imports stopped coming over when WWI started.
Add Crescent Firearms (1893-1930) to the list of manufacturers. If marked model 94, it's a Stevens up to 1948. 944 will be the same gun from Savage after 1948.
I have a King Nitro, but it is a 22 pump with an octagon barrel, made by the Central arms company. I have never researched it but have always been curious about it. I would be interested in further information if available.