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Old June 1, 2012, 10:05 AM   #1
dsd
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Info sought on old Auto

Hope this is the right section for this:

Years ago, after my grandfather passed this was found in one of his safety deposit boxes. I really have no information except these photos.

My limited research places this as a Spanish Civil War era piece (?).

Anything you can share would be appreciated.

Thanks,
dsd
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Old June 1, 2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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Spanish "Ruby", pretty common and and not worth much. Hope there was something in the box with it because it isn't worth the cost of keeping the box.
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Old June 1, 2012, 06:16 PM   #3
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As Hawg posted, it is an Eibar type pistol. The Vesta was manufactured after 1918 by Bonifacio Echeverria. With the extended grip it is similar to the Military Ruby ( France ) but is not a military arm. Bonifacio Echeverria was one of four gun makers allowed to resume production after the Spanish civil war. The firm was active until the 1980s and sold firearms under the name of Star. The Vesta is a step above most of the Spanish Eibar pistol but the monetary value is not high, perhaps 200 dollars. The Holster Is nice but adds nothing to the value. You should value it as a heirloom and care for it accordingly. Word of caution, I would not shoot it very much, there are no parts sources for these old Eibar guns and if it breaks it becomes a paper weight. Hope that helps.
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Old June 1, 2012, 06:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. Interesting, wonder how he came about it.

-dsd
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Old June 1, 2012, 07:54 PM   #5
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After WWI these guns were imported by the 10s of thousands if not the hundreds of thousands. They sold for only a few dollars but hey, they looked just like a Colt or Browning so they must be good. Unfortunately, while the established makers used steel that was the equal of any used in Europe, this was not true for the majority of the cottage industry. Most of the Eibar guns were make from very soft steel and even " Cast steel " which is little better than cast iron. As a result the Spanish Eibar small arms earned a well.deserved bad reputation. There were exceptions such as the Star, Astra and Llamas, but they were painted with the same brush. Most of the makers never survived { literally ) the civil war so the exportation of these cheap Spanish Eibar " Ruby " guns ended by 1940. These guns are very common and your grandfather could have picked it up any where, they were sold mail order and even in feed stores gas stations.
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Old June 1, 2012, 08:12 PM   #6
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All correct on Bonifacio Echeverria, except that the gun is marked "Sons of A. Echeverria". I can't find any "A. Echeverria" in my limited research, and Bonifacio's father was apparently named Jose Cruz Echeverria. And the date is 1912, before WWI.

The anomalies are interesting, though probably pretty much irrelevant to the question of value.

Jim
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Old June 1, 2012, 09:26 PM   #7
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"A. Echeverria" of "Hijos de..." was "Angel Echeverria," and Hijos de A. Echeverria was one of four early subcontractors to Gabilondo, according to Gangarosa's book. He doesn't mention if Angel was related to any of the other Echeverrias.

Does your pstiol have two stars marked on the butt, one on each side of the magazine release?

Last edited by gyvel; June 4, 2012 at 09:12 PM.
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Old June 1, 2012, 09:53 PM   #8
Gator Weiss
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Interesting piece.

Will any of the Colt parts interchange at all?

Are the parts pretty much proprietary to this one?

While they were imported in large numbers, it isnt every day we find these any more. I wonder if a modest collector mania might develop for some of these weapons that might in time increase the value of his piece?
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Old June 1, 2012, 10:36 PM   #9
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No
Yes
I doubt it.
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Old June 2, 2012, 05:35 PM   #10
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Since the Gangarosa book came out, there has developed a mild collector interest in those "Ruby" pistols. There is just enough variety to gain interest while the cost is low enough to interest the collector with limited resources.

Like "suicide specials" in an earlier era, collecting "Ruby" pistols is quite respectable, though they are never going to be worth a lot of money or be sold for enough to send your 27 grandchildren to Harvard Law.

Jim
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Old June 2, 2012, 10:06 PM   #11
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^^^^^ What Jim said.

It's ironic that you very seldom see these in "new" or "excellent condition. Obviously, they were put to use, and I assume with good effect.

Historically, they have the potential to be considered as relics of WWI, and later, the Spanish Civil War, or even possibly taken from someone in the French Resistance. The Japanese also private purchased Spanish Ruby types prior to WWII, as evidenced by some photos of Jap pilots.

Obviously, these are not, and never were, first class weapons, but, much like the POS Hi-Points, they work for a while for their intended purpose. If you look at the pistol, you will see that it potentially can be completely rebuilt using a hack saw, file and drill.

Quote:
The Vesta was manufactured after 1918 by Bonifacio Echeverria. With the extended grip it is similar to the Military Ruby ( France ) but is not a military arm
This, obviously, is incorrect, since, as was stated earlier, this company (Hijos de A. Echeverria) was one of the early four original partners with Gabilondo in supplying the French in WWI.

Have you looked yet to see if there are two stars on the bottom of the butt?

Last edited by gyvel; June 4, 2012 at 09:13 PM.
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Old June 4, 2012, 09:02 AM   #12
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I have never owned a "Ruby", but have handled and fired quite a few and mostly they do work OK. But the signs of soft metal and poor construction are evident in many. The .32 ACP (7.65mm Browning) is not what we would consider a military round, but then the French adopted the 7.65 Long as their service cartridge later on. The 7.65 Long is more powerful than the .32 ACP, but the same caliber.

Jim
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Old June 5, 2012, 10:57 AM   #13
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All of these WWI period Ruby pistols were pretty much the same in design but some were of good quality, relatively speaking. Astra made them and they were probably the best of the lot. They were purchased in large quanties during WWI by France and probably other countries who were desperate and then spent the next 20 or 30 years being sold and resold around Europe as surplus weapons. Most buyers sold them as soon as they could and they ultimately ended up on the US surplus market where anything will sell, no matter how bad it is.
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Old June 5, 2012, 04:38 PM   #14
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Oops, my bad, I was going on the fact it does not have the small safety protrusion that the French required. The small button forward of the safety that kept the holster from engaging the safety when gun was re holstered. It may have been a very early French issue.. The First French contract was not awarded until 1915, The 1912 is the patent date of patents issued to Esperanzza and Unceta. { believed to be the slide safety in lieu of a grip safety}. As has been posted , if it is a French contract gun there will be two stars on the bottom of the grip, one on either side of the magazine release, does it have the stars???
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Last edited by RJay; June 5, 2012 at 09:51 PM.
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Old June 6, 2012, 02:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
does it have the stars???
I've asked that twice; I think the OP has not returned.
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Old June 6, 2012, 05:44 AM   #16
dsd
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Hi all!

Thanks for all the info, truly interesting,

The pistol is a plainbelly Sneetch-- no stars upon thars.

What would the stars mean?

Again, thanks, this is such an informative group.

-dsd
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Old June 6, 2012, 10:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Thanks for all the info, truly interesting,

The pistol is a plainbelly Sneetch-- no stars upon thars.

What would the stars mean?

Again, thanks, this is such an informative group.
IIRC the stars indicate usage/adoption by the French Army in WWI. There would be two, on the bottom of the butt, spaced a lil apart from one another. Despite the gun being Spanish in manufacture, many were used by the French forces in WWI.
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Old June 6, 2012, 12:52 PM   #18
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If there are no acceptance stamps on the heel of the grips, no safety bump on the slide, plus the fact that the Vesta { and the identical Izarra ) is listed as being made during and after the war, well, maybe, just maybe it was made after 1918, mind you, just saying "maybe"., Sure don't know for a fact but I have always been a suspicious person.
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Old June 10, 2012, 02:22 AM   #19
gyvel
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Quote:
Oops, my bad, I was going on the fact it does not have the small safety protrusion that the French required.
That was more or less an afterthought, as the French discovered how easily the safety could come off when the pistol was withdrawn from its holster.
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Old June 10, 2012, 02:43 AM   #20
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There are crazy people collecting Spanish iron. We hang out at

http://forums.gunboards.com/forumdis...h-Pistol-Board

That's a very nice little pistol you have there.

But yea, not worth a whole lot.
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