View Full Version : Parker Brothers Shotgun

January 13, 2005, 09:32 PM
I inherited a Parker Brothers side by side shotgun. I was hoping someone could tell me the model and the grade, maybe even the value. It is a 10 gauge, with 32 inch Damascus barrels. It has external hammers. On the left side of the receiver, there is an engraving of a pointer with 2 birds. The right side has a different dog with two birds. On the bottom there are 2 pheasants next to a fence, and another bird below the patent date of Mar. 25, 1875. There is a shield on the top of the stock, but I can't make out what it is because of wear. There is also what looks like initials or a signature engraved behind the trigger guard. I can't make that out either from the wear. I learned from the serial number that it was manufactured in 1882. It is in fairly good condition. There is wear from alot of use.

Harley Nolden
January 14, 2005, 03:03 AM
Take a #2 graphite pencil, color over the worn inscriptions, and this may enhance the lettering enough to read them


January 14, 2005, 09:17 AM
According to Michael McIntosh in his book, Best Guns (ISBN 0-924357-02-9), "Parker offered barrels in various grades of Damascus twist, imported as rough blanks from Liege, Belgium. The quality of the finished barrels, more than anything else, ultimately determined the grade of the gun. Lowest-grade guns were barreled in plain twist, while the higher grades showed progressively better figure and density. The top grade was barreled in Bernard twist, an extremely strong, highly ornate Damascus."

Accordingly, this may offer a clue as to the grade of your heirloom.

Author McIntosh goes on to state, "By 1899, there were twenty-three Parker grades in all, nine hammerless and fourteen hammer guns. In some cases, grades differed from one another in only the smallest details. Grades now were identified by letter designations, and the 1899 catalogue shows the following: HAMMER GUNS
AA Pigeon $400
A $300
B $200
C $150
D $100
E $85
F $80
G $80
H $75
I $70
R $60
S $55
T $55
U $50
(F,H,S, and U grades were identical to the next grades above them except for having straight-hand stocks)."

Hope this helps.

Good luck, and good shooting (but not with nitro loads in this gun)!

January 14, 2005, 09:57 PM
I attended a book sale at my local library this afternoon and picked-up a copy of an interesting book titled Parker--America's Finest Shotgun by Peter H. Johnson (Bonanza Books, New York, Copyright MCMLXI). It contains much historical information that may be of interest to you as you research the history of your 10-gauge, and to collectors and fanciers as well. If interested you might check Amazon.com or Alibris.com for a copy.

Good luck, and good reading about Parker!

January 15, 2005, 07:31 PM
The lettering behind the triggerguard looks like a fancy "A" followed by the serial number.

January 15, 2005, 11:03 PM
According to author Johnson in his aforementioned book, "The serial numbers on a Parker gun are usually found in four places: on the outside of the trigger guard extension in scroll form numerals, on the inside of the reverse side of the fore-end rib, on the left side of the locking lug, and the left side of the receiver water table...Directly beneath the serial number on the receiver water table is also stamped the grade letter of the gun, followed by an E when the model is equipped with automatic ejectors."

By comparing the serial numbers in each of the four places you can acertain if your gun is all original (all numbers match), or if any of the numbered component parts have been replaced (numbers do not match). Of particular interest will be the grade letter. The "water table" is the flat horizontal surface on the receiver upon which the barrels rest. You can expose it by removing the fore-end, and then the barrels.

Hope this helps.

January 16, 2005, 09:55 AM
I went to www.parkergun.org, and was told that the number 3 above the serial number on the water table was grade 3, or grade D. He said what I thought was an "A" behind the trigger guard is actually an "N", which just means number. Does this sound right? Looking at the gun again, I can see where it might be an "N". The letter is engraved kind of fancy and there is some wear there.

January 16, 2005, 03:26 PM
Author McIntosh states, "Grade stamps appear on the water table and often on the barrel flats. These generally are in two forms: the standard letter grades and corresponding numbers. Trojans and VH Grades don't have the numbers, but the others do, as follows:

1 = PH Grade
2 = GH Grade
3 = DH Grade
4 = CHE Grade
5 = BHE Grade
6 = AHE Grade
7 = AAHE Grade
8 = A-1 Special Grade"

He also notes that the "H" designation was used to differentiate the hammerless models from those (like yours) with outside hammers when both were in production. "The 'H' remained part of the Parker grading system as long as the guns were built--and long after hammer guns had been discontinued."

Accordingly, it appears that your gun is a D-Grade model which sold new for approximately $100.00, a substantial sum back in those old hard-money days!
Incidently, author Johnson mentions that approximately 20,000 of these early production guns (those made between 1868 and 1888) were manufactured.

As for the script "N" preceeding the serial number on the outside of the trigger guard extension, neither McIntosh or Johnson mention this, but the information you received from the Parker collectors' Website certainly makes sense. Does this "N" also appear before the number in the other three locations?

Hope this helps.

Good luck, and good shooting!

January 16, 2005, 04:41 PM
The only place that has the "N" is on the trigger guard extension. You've been a great help. Thank you!