Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1745: Interesting Unidentified Experimental Semi-Automatic Pistol

Auction Date: September 10, 2016

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $2,250 - $3,500

Interesting Unidentified Experimental Semi-Automatic Pistol

Manufacturer: Unknown
Model: Semi-Automatic
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 32 ACP
Barrel: 3 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: hard rubber
Item Views: 6456
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 342
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

Attributed by the consignor as the work of Iver Johnson, no markings of any kind are present on the pistol. At its core, this is a blowback operated semi-automatic pistol, with the recoil spring positioned above the barrel, a cocking piece to the rear and the bolt riding below, a configuration that was briefly popular in the early 20th century but was supplanted with the now more common arrangement of the recoil spring beneath the barrel. In addition to a fairly conventional manual safety, this pistol is equipped with a novel spring loaded transfer bar safety; positioned just behind the trigger on the left side, the checkered bar must be depressed in order to fire the pistol, a very natural action with a strong right handed grip, though difficult to perform with a left handed grip. The overall ergonomics are very solid, providing a comfortable grip with fine instinctive pointing qualities. Though not confirmed, the presence of similar prototypes (see elsewhere in this sale) suggest that this might have been part of an entire line of semi-automatic pistols, like the Walther PP/PPK family or Colt's assorted Browning patent hammer/hammerless pistols, and the overall fit and finish of this example suggest a late-stage prototype. Grips are smooth black hard rubber, contoured to the grip frame.

Rating Definition:

Very good, with 80% of the high polish blue finish, showing some areas of brown and gray patina, bright edge wear and scattered handling marks. The grips are very good, with a few light dings. A silvered patina is present on the trigger and manual safety, with turning marks on the screws. Mechanically functions, but trigger does not engage striker.

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