View Full Version : Starr blackpowder revolver

September 5, 2002, 07:55 PM
A friend of mine showed me her late husband's firearm collection.
Very interesting, there was a S&W single shot .22. Sort of looked someone had shaved the sides of the cylinder off of a revolver. One that interested me was a Starr blackpowder revolver, ser. no. 39539. The other marking was Jan 15th 1856.

There was also a large knife collection that I will catalog for her.

She wants to sell the collections for her son. How would I find the value of the Starr revolver?

Jim Watson
September 5, 2002, 09:50 PM
Not my field, but the Standard Catalog of Firearms shows Starrs' values in the several hundreds of dollars range, depending on caliber (.36 much less common than .44) double action or single action (more DAs made), and of course condition. You could look in the current edition S.C. but you really need a Civil War era specialist. Be careful, there is a repro on the market.

The S&W single shot is worth about as much, exact value depending on which of three models it is and details of condition and features.

James K
September 7, 2002, 01:12 AM
The SA Starr revolvers, the Model 1863, were reliable and rugged, but rather awkward. They were made in .44 only.

The DA ones, the Model 1858, were made in both .36 and .44, and really are not DA. They are true trigger cocking revolvers. Pressing the trigger first cocks the hammer. Then if the little slide on the back of the trigger is up, it trips the sear and the gun fires as if it were DA. If the slide is down, the hammer remains cocked; the trigger is then released and the index finger is placed behind the trigger to press the sear and fire SA.

The DAs seem to have gotten out of order fairly easily, though it is difficult to see why in looking at one, and the troopers who used them seemed to like them. But there were enough problems that the Army told Starr to make the gun SA.

On antiques, condition is very important. I will give the approximate top dollar, which would apply to guns with little or no wear and in excellent working condition. Ones in lesser condition bring less. The DA .36 (Navy) revolvers (2250 bought by the government) can bring around $3500 in excellent condition, the .44 (Army) ones (23,000 purchased) a top of around $2000. The SA .44 goes around $2300, and 32,000 were bought, making it the most common Starr.

Premium points are intact nipples and clear inspector markings on the grips. (Most were sold to the Army, but there was some civilian sale; these bring about the same price range.)