I picked up a unique gun at a local gun show recently, a nickle plated pinfire revolver, probably 9mm though I'm not certain. The gun is in EXCELLENT condition and operates perfectly. I was able to research a fair amount of information about it but still had a few questions. I did discover from a proof mark on the cylinder that the revolver was made in the city of Liège, Belgium and "ELG" is the proof mark used by this city from 1811 until 1893. It has the letter "L" with a crown as well showing it was made between 1853 and January 1877. There is another mark on the frame, near the left front, beneath the cylinder, the letters "VP", that I haven't been able to figure out yet.
My question is can anyone tell me what the VP means and what this little gem may be worth. FYI, I'm not really interested in whether I got a "steal" or was ripped off when I bought the revolver. I got it for less than $200 so even if it turns out to be a copy or simply one of a million others it will be a nice conversation piece.
Interesting gun. Good luck in your search.
I'm not sure who would want to copy or counterfeit something so unusually odd and possibly very rare, then peddle it for only $200.
Non-firing replica copies of most pistols don't have internal barrel rifling nor do they bear "proof stamps" on individual components, so it shouldn't be difficult to quickly determine if you actually have an authentic "firing" weapon. My thoughts are that you found a very interesting piece of history that's probably worth a lot more than $200.
Good luck :smile:
They may be armorers marks.
Often times armorers that worked for a company,state or country would put unique identifiers on guns to show that they were inspected, logged in or even worked on. Military guns had different stamps, as well as different symbols.
Usually someone that collects or specializes that particular gun would be able to tell you but other than that, all bets are off.
Good luck with that. Let us know when you find out.
Congrats on the gun,it looks like an interesting piece.
I posted my question on a couple of antique/curio revolver forums and got a bit more information. Even though you don't see them that often it seems this isn't a particularly rare handgun, though mine is an especially well preserved nickel piece. That would help explain why it wasn't very expensive for a gun at least 135 years old. I suppose it's also because they are "foreign" designed and made so there isn't a high demand here in the US. They were very popular in Europe and in the southern states however (many were imported around the time of the American Civil War) and the ammo was still made in Europe until WWII. BTW, I'm guessing at the caliber of my gun since it's not marked on the gun anywhere. I discovered that nearly all the revolvers were made in either 7, 9 or 11mm so I tried placing a 380 ACP round in the cylinder and it was too small while a 40 S&W round was too large. OTOH, aside from sliding through due to being rimless, a 9mm auto rd seemed to fit just right. I was also led to a website that sells reloading dies, brass and other supplies for pinfire revolvers. FYI, those marks on the gun are armorers and proof marks.
Actually, I thought it was an interesting coincidence that on last weeks "Sons of Guns" TV episode one of the featured spots involved a man wanting the shop to repair and find ammo for his pinfire revolver. The guys ultimately just made up a batch for the customer. I was also a bit surprised when they were discussing how rare the guns are yet there were three for sale at the gunshow this past weekend (that I saw). I picked the best one and all were selling for $250 or less. Mine was marked $250 but the seller dropped the price $50 as I started counting out twenty dollar bills 30 minutes before the show closed! I just may have to buy some of the brass and other stuff from that website and see how this little beauty shoots.