I own a Westley Richards 12 bore, d/b shotgun. Number 18427. No. 2 of a pair. Lovely condition with the slightest pitting. I believe it was made aroung 1890 (?).I would appreciate any help in assessing its value (or information on where I could get it valued)
Are you sure it is a genuine Westlley Richards? There are a lot of companies using derivates of the name. If geunine, it should be Westley Richards (spelled out) and the London address is usually found on the rib. The gun will also have English proof marks. And to give a close value, we would have to know the model name.
Thanks Albanygun. It says on top of the barrell: Westley Richards 178 New Bond St London Gun Makers by Special Appointment to His Majesty King Edward VII .
There are marks with crowns underneath the barrells BP BV and NP and it say Nitro Proof.
Does this help?
Sounds like you have a geunine Westley Richards. You now need to identify exactly which model, as value runs anywhere from $3,500 to $12,500 in 95% condition depending on the model. These are pre WWII models. You might go to http://www.westleyrichards.com/gun/used_guns_1.php and see if you can identify which one you have. Good luck and let us know how you come out.
No 2 of a pair indicates that it would have been built individually to order, and that whoever it was built for had the wherewithal to pursue driven game; it's likely to be a better quality gun, and potentially quite valuable.
If you register with matched pairs in the UK (google them) you may even be lucky enough to locate its case-mate.
Condition is a subtle thing to assess without gauges; most working English guns during their working lives would have been renovated or refinished, bores honed etc. It can be difficult to assess some of that (and hence condition, hence value) without gauges and access to build records to see if it's been substantially altered since built.
Just checked the link: www.matchedpairs.com/
they maintain a register of orphaned guns; I have a couple listed there myself.
Often they were split between two sons, or one was used more than the other and simply shot to bits, or they were given away separately to friends, relatives, servants etc when the owner upgraded to something newer.
Westley Richards Factory very kindly advised me over the phone that the only History they had on my shotgun showed the year of manufacture as 1936 and they nothing further.
They agreed it was pointless spending £50 for a piece of paper that confirms this.
Now; I'm absolutely sure my father told me and others, before he died age 92 two years ago - that this stotgun is over 100 years old (and he definately was not one to err or lie!).
So I checked again with one of the old timers my father shot with - still a young 87. He told me that during the 'troubles' (War of Independence) in Ireland back in the 1920's - a lot of English Manors/Castles were raided by the IRA and the guns 'borrowed/confiscated' for use by the rebels and that after the war when the Irish Government was elected a lot of these guns were 'legalised' by licence by people 'changing/adding' a figure to the serial number.
Wow! This gun possibly has a fascinating history!
Someone fairly knowledgeable would probably need to have the gun in hand to appraise it if the serial number is dodgy. Perhaps it was simply a digit added to the beginning or end of the existing S/N, or perhaps it was even ground off and a bogus one applied instead.
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