I need help identifying a couple of guns which were inherited.


July 8, 2009, 03:25 PM
My mother inherited from her brother two hand guns. He was in the Army in the early 50's in Europe, and the guns were found in a box along with his service papers, but not necessarily connected to this time.

One is a "Black Powder Only" gun MADE IN ITALY. It is a .44 CAL. I have the numbers off the barrel on this one. But what I have been able to find out for myself is it is probably generic and she might get between $90 and $200 for it.

The other gun is more difficult to identify, because it's a handgun but marked with the word CRESCENT ( in capital lettering like that.) I cannot find another word on it, but there are some letters and numbers on the barrel. From what I can find out, CRESCENT was mostly in the business of making shotguns or putting their name on any number of other models. I am new to this forum, so I am not sure how to upload pictures yet and wondering if I should post the numbers on the guns. I do have pictures and will post them asap. Maybe, in the meantime, I can get some feedback and mom will know about how much to expect from these items if she chooses to sell them.

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July 8, 2009, 03:30 PM
We need photos and better descriptions, please. Cant help you much without them.

Jim Watson
July 8, 2009, 03:42 PM
The numbers don't mean much without pictures or a very detailed verbal description.

a "Black Powder Only" gun MADE IN ITALY. It is a .44 CAL.

Might refer to a reproduction Colt, Remington, Rogers & Spencer, or Starr revolver; a Kentucky pistol, or a dueling pistol in either the French or British style.

I know of no handgun with Crescent brand name, but the mystery markings might be proof marks that would indicate a country of origin. But if you were making a quality product, wouldn't you put your name or a recognized company trademark on it?

July 9, 2009, 10:50 AM
Boy, talk about a generic.......The Crescent Firearms Co. made guns for several retail outlets described thus in BB:

Previous manufacturers and trademarks manufactured circa 1888-1931 in Norwich, CT.
In 1888, George W. Cilley bought out the defunct Bacon Arms Co. of Norwich, CT. He then formed an alliance with Frank Foster, and borrowed enough money to form the Crescent Fire Arms Company. Cilley and Foster each held several firearms patents, and both were highly qualified in firearms design and manufacture. Production began with single shot tip-up shotguns that had an external side hammer. Double barrel shotgun production was started in 1891. In 1893, they began making bicycle chains, and that same year, H&D Folsom took over the company's financial control. Early in the 1890s, Crescent built a rifle that resembled the Remington No. 4. A very rare Crescent was the .410 bore shotgun pistol, which was introduced in the 1920s. In 1929, N.R. Davis Firearms Co., then owned by Warner Arms Corp., merged with Cresent to become Crescent-Davis Arms Corp. Because of financial crisis, business continued to decline, and they were forced to sell out. Savage Arms Co. acquired Cresent-Davis in 1931, assembled guns from the remaining parts, and these guns were sold under the Crescent name only. In 1932, the city of Norwich, CT, took over the Crescent property for non-payment of back taxes. After the Norwich facility was closed, manufacture was moved to Chicopee Falls.
It is unknown whether or not Crescent did any high grade or custom work. However, a very well engraved SxS, with the Crescent logo, is known to exist in a private collection.
Crescent Fire Arms Company remains best known as a manufacturer of "house brand" shotguns (i.e., Crescent private labeled guns for retailers, distributors, mail-order houses, etc.). Over 100 different trademarks have been observed to date, manufactured by Crescent. Almost all the remaining specimens today are priced as shooters and have no collector value."

most were shotguns but there were revolvers as well. To get an idea of the quagmire the name "Crescent" evokes take a look through here: http://www.gun-data.com/Crescent_arms_shotguns.html

Sounds like a curiosity..........at best.

July 9, 2009, 11:03 AM
More: http://www.hoosiergunworks.com/catalog/cross_reference.html look in the section called "Trade Names".

"America: Trade name used by the Crescent Firearms Company on inexpensive pocketrevolvers".

Does your revolver have "Secret Service Special" marked bodly on the barrel, by any chance?

July 9, 2009, 03:36 PM
Thank you all for your replies! I was very excited to hear what I have so far. Here are pictures of both guns.

I did not see "Secret Service Special" marked on the barrel of the smaller gun, but my Mom is going to look again and use a magnifying glass to try and get the shapes of the strange markings. The chrome? finish is pitting and makes it hard to read them. So for now, here is one picture. (Because of the size, I will upload the other separately.) This is the .44 CAL MADE IN ITALY reproduction.

July 9, 2009, 03:41 PM
This is the smaller gun, marked only with CRESCENT and these letters:
RATH APR and the numbers 281878

Jim Watson
July 9, 2009, 05:25 PM
The "Made in Italy" is a modern Italian reproduction of the 1858 Remington New Model Army with brass substituted for steel in the receiver. You can get a brand new one just like it for $200 retail at Cabelas.

The "Crescent" is one of a multitude of cheap small revolvers known collectively as "Suicide Specials." It was probably manufactured by the Crescent Arms Co. described by krs.

July 9, 2009, 06:13 PM
Jim, what price do you think my mom should put on the suicide special? Any suggestions?

Thanks so much for the information. I am going to forward it to her.

Jim K
July 10, 2009, 11:19 PM
Those guns have a mild collector following, but only if in near new condition. That one is in poor condition and the grip is not only cracked but not original. Most dealers won't even take them in trade since they can't sell them. A retail price, if you find someone interested, would be around $50-75. It is may be shootable, but is probably in .32 rimfire, which is hard to get, or .30 rimfire, which is nearly impossible to obtain.


July 11, 2009, 01:52 AM
Have her hang onto it for the next gun buy-back in town, if they have them.

That Italian gun? I know most of them are good, but I had a .44 Colt Dragoon copy that I'd traded a wrecked van for. Never got around to trying to shoot it. For some reason, I looked down the barrel with a borelight, into the chambers in the cylinder, and cycled it around from chamber to chamber.

There wasn't ONE chamber of the six that I would have dared to actually put a ball in and fire. Every one was terribly mis-aligned with the barrel, and in all directions. Looked like it was drilled with a Craftsman benchtop drill press. Scariest gun I ever owned, I ended up giving it to a photographer who wanted one for a prop. Made sure he knew all about it first though.

So, I'd recommend having somebody look at it. Make sure it's unloaded first, and no caps!

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