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In a world where collectible arms can reach six figures in value there are, believe it or not, areas of collecting that are still affordable. This column will regularly feature areas of specialization that are inexpensive, fun, challenging and highly rewarding in collector satisfaction.
Pinfire revolvers have never really captured the fancy of American collectors. While they may not have the romance of the early West and frontier they are interesting and historic - what’s more they did play a significant role in the Civil War. They also exist in almost infinite variety and very high quality pieces can still be found at very reasonable prices. Most were made in 5mm, 7mm, 9mm and 12mm calibers, a very few were made in 15mm. Collecting pinfire cartridges, either loose or in boxes, is an interesting and separately challenging offshoot.
Figure 1- A typical folding trigger design in 7mm by Meyer Bte, Zurich (possibly an agent)
Figure 2- An engraved Liege, Belgian gun with “bag” grips - Notice the variation in grip styles among those illustrated
Figure 3- A nice, honest Liege pattern piec
Figure 4- A fancier version made in Liege, this one 7mm
Figure 5- A military style in 12mm
Figure 6- Another military sidearm in 12mm, possibly London
Figure 7- A very substantial military or police version in 12mm, possibly Spanish by Oviedo
Figure 8- A 9mm Liege, Belgian piece
Figure 9- A folding trigger design with ivory grips from Liege
Figure 10- A nice crisp French piece in 9mm
Figure 11- Another French piece in excellent condition
Figure 12- A much different profile on this Belgian gun
Figure 13- A rather large and bulky military style in 12mm
Figure 14- A rare 20 shot revolver by LeFaucheux- one of the oddities that might turn up
Figure 15- The cylinder of the 20 shot piece, notice the underbarrel for the inner series of chambers.
Figure 16 - A rare packet of cartridges made in the US for use with the LeFaucheux pinfire revolver which was heavily imported during the Civil War.