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March 2008 Newsletter
Over 6500 Subscribers Worldwide
Email: Abby@cornellpubs.com (please don't "return" this newsletter to the unmonitored mailbox)
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Telephone Calls from the Wilds:
Every day I get weird phone calls but this month was rather quiet (Rants and Raves below were a different story). The usual calls came in from people looking to buy what they see "on the computer", a rifle for $6.50 or all the Daisy airguns in the catalog, "I added them up and it will cost me $18.65 for all twelve..." and that sort of thing. Lots of folks want parts and are "very disappointed" to learn we only push paper. Then there are those scores of guns inherited from "my grandfather". People think of all kinds of imaginative ways to get around to asking "what's it worth?" Then there are the would-be authors. "I've been working on a book for the last fifteen years. Would you buy the rights to publish it", says he. "Uh, well, what's it about", say I? "I'm not at liberty to divulge that information until we have a deal in place", he says. "Oh geez" say I.
New Books and Special thanks (see the bottom of this letter for the complete alpha list without accompanying text):
Bob Beach at Griffin & Howe (see the story about their gun research program below) sent me two Abercrombie catalogs- A 1929 Abercrombie and Fitch and a 1933 Abercrombie & Fitch. The 1929 is interesting because it was the first after they bought Von Lengerke and Detmold in 1928. We can now offer most of the A&F catalogs from the 1930s as well as others.
Al Carleton has been so generous in lending me scores of old catalogs and with his brother Dick the Carletons have really filled out the Winchester line sent us an H&D Folsom 1927. Folsom was another major New York sporting goods seller similar to VL&D, A&F and New York Sporting goods. Which brings me to the New York Sporting Goods Early 1916-17 catalog that he also loaned us. Those of you who have been paying attention already know that we offer a NYSG Late 1916-17. The difference concerns David Abercrombie, who had left the A&F company in a dispute with Fitch in 1907 (see the January Newsletter), but was best known as a sporting goods manufacturer, not a retailer. Now, I understand that with the news of A&F moving to a huge new store on 45th Street in New York, Abercrombie rushed to join the competition- NYSG Co. The late 1916-17 NYSG Co catalog is the result of that merger and is packed with goods made by David Abercrombie.
By the way, our indexes are not alphabetized and can be difficult to search. Until we figure out how to alphabetize them, hit the Control key (on the lower left) and the letter "F" on your keyboard. this will give you a search box on the bottom of the screen. Start to type in the name of what you want to find on that page and it should be highlighted on the screen (this works with most browsers). :-) Abby
Ray Phillips, the fellow I wrote about last month in the February newsletter loaned me two more Hopkins & Allen catalogs. They are what appear to be an early 1914 and a late 1914 catalogs. The late 1914 must have been just about the end of the line for H&A because in 1915 Marlin-Rockwell Corporation bought H&A. For the rest of the story and the tie-ins with a half dozen other Norwich, Connecticut companies, pictures of H&A guns, their marketed names and serial numbers, see the Joe Vorisek history of H&A.
Sgt. John Short who patrols some of the most beautiful California coastline loaned us an English language version of the Parabellum Luger manual. I am not sure of its age but I would guess Luger c1925.
Our old friend Paul Milligan who made it possible for me to offer A Course of Instruction in Rifle Firing from1879 by Col. T.T.S. Laidley loaned us a copy of the 1860 Maynard catalog, a valuable bit of history that gives me Maynard catalogs from 1860-1890.
I also bought some catalogs. The ATM or Manufacture D'Armes from Liege c1914 sold a variety of weapons from beautiful doubles to small revolvers. Antoine Bury c1939 was another Belgian gunmaker and California Arms by 1957 was selling Beretta, Merkel and Ferlach guns. Carl Gustaf in 1973 should appeal to our Swedish friends and collectors of fine spoting rifles. Mahillon in Brussels around 1937 was making fine Mauser rifles, Mannlicher Sporters and even sold the F.C. Scott Double express. For those of you who have one, the Stoeger Luger .22 Manual will be useful. Finally, the Waffen Franconia Repeating Rifle 1957 Catalog sold "100 variations" and specialized in Mauser actions.
Ever wonder who first purchased your gun or rifle or wished you had a certificate of origin?
Charles Lindbergh, or James Roosevelt or some other luminary may have been the original buyer. Perhaps the provenance would increase the value of your favorite fowling piece. Well, now you have a chance to find out for free if the gun was sold by VonLengerke & Detmold or Abercrombie & Fitch, two of the largest and most prestigious gun houses of the 20th century.
Griffin & Howe, the custom gunmaker, was a division of Abercrombie from 1929 until Abercrombie bankrupted in 1976. It is now a private company, but in the vaults are scores of musty old ledgers dating from 1901 for VL&D and from 1929 for A&F, each containing the records of sale for thousands of firearms that passed over the counter at these two venerable firms. Bob Beach, the chief cook and bottle washer in charge of records research with G&H has meticulously overseen the laborious task of transcribing records to digital format that you can search and if you get a match for free or get a certificate for a nominal charge. The records G&H have are from VL&D from 1901 until A&F took them over in 1928 and for A&F from 1929 until 1976. To date he has added over 25,000 guns to the list from 1901 until 1939 with lots more to come- you have to keep going back to the G&H site to see new entries. So, if you own one of the following guns, check out the link at the bottom of this article:
A&F, Baker, Bayard, Boss, Britte, Browning, BSA, Cashmore, Churchill, Crescent, Defourney, Dumoulin, Folsom, Fox, Francotte, Fred Adolph, GE Lewis, Gibbs, Greener, Greifelt Griffin & Howe, Harpoon Guns, Henry Atkin, Hoffman Arms, Holland & Holland, Hollenbeck, Hollis, Bentley & Playfair, Ithaca, Iver Johnson, Jaeger, Jeffery, Kimball 20th Century, Krieghoff, Lancaster, Lang, LC Smith, Lefever, Leonard, Liege, Luck, Mahillon, Mannlicher-Schoenauer, Marlin, Martini, Mauser, Meffert, Merkel, Nimrod, Ogden Smith & Hussey, Owen Parker, Purdey, Remington, Remo Gehr, Rheinmetall, Rigby, Sauer, Savage, Schmidt & Haberman, Sedgley, Seymour Griffin, Simson, Springer, Springfield, Stephen Grant, Stoeger, Syracuse, Thieme & Schlegelmilch, Thompson, Tolley, Venus Waffen Werk, W&C Scott, Walther, Webley & Scott, Westley Richards, Winchester, Woodward.
Robert C. Beach, Records Research
Griffin & Howe, Inc.
33 Claremont Road
Bernardsville, NJ 07924
Website: www.griffinhowe.com (scroll down to see all the makes when you get there)
Original Publications for sale:
Last month I promised to sell some of my original catalogs on Ebay. I did, although they were not mine. I sold some for a fellow in New Hampshire who has been very generous lending me his to copy. In March I will get to some of my own stock. Please sign up for the newsletter announcing the sale. To register for the special newsletter, send an email to the following address and put the word REGISTER in the subject line: firstname.lastname@example.org. And many thanks to all of you who registered during January! IF YOU HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED THERE IS NO NEED TO DO SO AGAIN.
A friend asked me to sell his copy of The Gun and its Development, Ninth Edition, by W. W. Greener, 1910. This is a leather covered volume with rubbed edges and some spotting on the title pages only but otherwise very tight and altogether a beautiful book of over 800 pages- an asset for any gun library. He is asking $600 and will entertain offers (Please email me for pictures). I spoke with Greener's in London and they said £250 ($500) was conservative. The retired NASA rocket scientist who owns the book says this:
"The 1910 edition was the last book Greener published and it is easily the most desirable because it is so comprehensive. I think it is printed photo gravure, by 1910 all the bugs in the process had been overcome and Bill Greener was notorious for his insistence on ‘quality’. So far as the United States is concerned, I have NEVER seen a copy at any of the gun shows I have been to. Book sellers know about it of course, but all they will say is that it is relatively expensive and a good copy is very hard to find. Personally, I have yet to see, or hear of, a copy in better condition than the one I sent you. I bought it at a Wallis & Wallis auction in Lewes at least 25 years ago. I was told it came from an estate library sale and that it had been in London throughout WWII. I kept it in a zip-lock bag most of the time I had it. I suppose I am being sentimental but I would like it to last another 100 years."
This month's winner is: "...Yes my dear, the attorney general in Illinois will listen to me, I do more business in this state than you do. Fraud is fraud. You are really out of control with your attacks and insults. Perhaps some form of therapy is in order... I have a suspicion I am much prettier than you are, but then you probably aren't very pretty at all. I may be a bumbling idiot, but I doubt anyone has ever accused you of being charming, witty or pretty. Have they? Richard E. H."... for the rest of this rant about a $5.95 catalog I sent to his false address and many more, got to: RAVES and RANTS
...and I was too pretty, at least I think so (of course, the picture was a looong time ago). After all, I was ninth grade queen! Abby
Reviews of our work: During the last few years many wonderful editors, among them Rudi Prusok, Holt Bodinson, Mike Carrick, Vic Venters, Ross Seyfreid, Paul Milligan and Jas Van Driel, have taken the time and opportunity to write about my project. The latest comments may be read in Gun Digest 2008 by John Campbell and in the NRA publication Shooting Illustrated for March 2008 by Rick Hacker. Thanks so much guys! By clicking on the link above you can go to the page where all the article may be read and I did fix the faulty links. :-) Abby -
Hint- If you are using the browser Firefox and have trouble seeing any images on this website, try hitting the refresh button. Meanwhile I will continue trying to figure out how to make my website more compatible with Firefox
2-08 John D. Lee of Columbus wants very much to find any VIKING ARCHERY CATALOGS, they seem impossible to find.
2-08 Delbert Nolan Wrote: Do you have any catalogs with the Aldis Brothers Telescopic rifle sights? I know they were used in WW1 on some of the British weapons, but I am looking for any scopes, military or civilian. They were probably manufactured in Birmingham. The period would probably be circa 1910-1930. Aldis lamps were used to communicate between ships but I have never seen an Aldis Telescope. Readers?
2-08 John Tew wrote: I am trying to identify my pistol as well find a manual to secure some parts needed, age unknown, possibly 1932-45? has German war eagle w/swastika also appears wra140 wings above, 32 acp breaks down at front, latch then nose turns, serial no. 103088, grip safety, having problem will fire after 3 pulls of trigger without grip safety applied, all parts match, want to repair if possible, any help in identifying, finding a manual, and parts reference appreciated. Al Gerth responded: Sounds like a Fabrique Nationale (listed as, and patented by, Browning) Model 1922. WaA140 (WaffenAmt 140) would be the German arms inspector's stamp for the FN factory in Herstal, Liege, Belgium after occupation 1940. The NRA Firearms Disassembly book for pistols and revolvers has detailed instructions and an exploded view of all parts.
For parts, try Numrich (e-gunparts.com) or SARCO on line, or Jack First in N. Dakota by phone. It is very helpful to have the Jack First catalog to reference to; I had a gunsmith order my parts as he had their catalog that we could both look at beforehand. They assign a gun number to each in their catalog and that is your starting point. For any supplier, there are some parts that will only be sold thru a licensed FFL dealer. I think Jack First is a little more restrictive because of liability issues on OLD guns; your gunsmith will be in a position to advise you if you should order the parts or give up (from their viewpoint of safety, I think).
Numrich may have the same exploded view as the NRA book. I haven't ordered too many parts from them but I have had pretty good luck. Two things; if you want an authentic repair, ask if the parts are original or aftermarket; not always stated in their parts listings. Next, if there are alternate parts, for design changes in the same pistol look down the entire list of parts. Sometimes, the alternate parts are grouped together; sometimes the alternate parts are listed at the end, as if they were added later to the original listing. We reprint a manual for it (in French): Browning FN Model 1922 9mm Pistol Manual (Fr) Abby
Old Newsletters are available online:
If you missed a newsletter or want to look up an old one, please go to my website www.cornellpubs.com and look on the top of the first page for a link to old newsletters. You may view them online and in color with pictures. Also, on the subject of newsletters, I send out the newsletter in both HTML and plain text format. This means that if your browser is not set up to view pictures and colors, you automatically get the plain text version. I hope this explains why some of you don't see the pictures referred to in the letters- I know it has caused some confusion. Also, you should upgrade to the latest version of your browser for best results. To learn which version of you have, click the help button on the top line of this page and then look for the link that says "About [browser]".
Facts about some of my recent reprints:
I often use the The Greenhill Dictionary of Guns and Gunmakers by John Walter, Greenhill/Stackpole Books 2001 - ISBN 1-85367-392-7 to answer many of the questions I get each week about the origins of gunmakers. Like many all-encompassing works, some of the information may be inaccurate but over-all it contains a wealth of facts, dates and important history of great old companies.
INDEXES for Every Catalog...
Every catalog we offer has an index at the bottom of the page or in the case of new listings on the right. Listings on Ebay, Gunbroker and Auction Arms as well as our website have indexes (I appreciate purchases at the website where we don't have to pay listing fees or sales commissions... shipping is cheaper for you as well!)
If you haven't yet done so, please read the About Us link on the website. It explains a lot of things such as why graphics vary in books, why I do this in the first place, errors and mistakes, guarantees, loans and more. Also, if you see something in the Coming Soon page you want, let me know and I'll move it up the list for you.
Abercrombie & Fitch 1929 2-27-08
Abercrombie & Fitch 1933 2-27-08
ATM Liege c1914 2-27-08
Bury, Antoine (Liege) 1939 2-27-08
California Arms 1954 2-27-08
Carl Gustaf Catalog 1973 2-27-08
Folsom, H&D (New York) Guns & Sport Goods No 25- 1927 2-27-08
Hopkins & Allen 1914 Late 2-27-08
Hopkins & Allen 1914 Early 2-27-08
Parabellum (Luger) Manual c1925 (English) 2-27-08
Mannlicher- Mahillon (Bruxelles- Mauser, Mannlicher) c1937 2-27-08
Maynard Rifles & Shotguns 1860 2-27-08
New York Sporting Goods Early 1916-17 2-27-08
Stoeger .22 Luger Manual 2-27-08
Frankonia Waffen Repeating Rifles 1957 Catalog 2-27-08
(Please let me know if you have any problems with the website where I confess to an occasional bug.)
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Abby Cornell Mouat
P.O. Box 214
Brighton , MI 48116
810-225-3075 (9-5 Eastern Time Zone please)