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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: A real Wells Fargo coach gun? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: A real Wells Fargo coach gun?  (Read 24311 times)
Marshal Halloway
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« on: May 03, 2008, 04:17:19 pm »


This is an Ithaca Hammerless 10 gauge sxs shotgun with 20" damascus barrels, serial #46xxx. According to my records, it was manufactured in 1901.



With Wells Fargo operations lasting from 1856 to 1918, this shotgun might have been used by the company. However, we all know that many shotguns have had markings added in later years with the purpose of getting a better price among collectors.

This particular shotgun has the name Josh Adams on the stock with a special agent metal plate or badge.



Just below the safety, there is another plate with the text "Property of...."



So what do you think? A good fake or the real thing ?

 
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2008, 11:00:52 pm »

I've handled a few originals and seen more over time.

None of them have had the cute little shields added to them, and all had stampings that indicated ownership.

I remember seeing these adornments in the late '60's - when all those spurious belt buckles and badges first arrived on the scene.

Wells Fargo purchased a number of these and other shotguns - and they maintained a log of serial numbers for many of them.

As with anything - 'provenance' is key - and if purported to be an actual Wells Fargo piece - there should be a helluva trail of it.

Vaya,

Scouts Out!
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2008, 06:00:18 pm »

I'm gonna add another thought, those sheilds would not be nice on the web of a hand or a cheek when firing them.  I just can't see them being added to a working gun you might use.
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2008, 05:56:39 pm »

I've handled a few originals and seen more over time.

None of them have had the cute little shields added to them, and all had stampings that indicated ownership.

I remember seeing these adornments in the late '60's - when all those spurious belt buckles and badges first arrived on the scene.

Wells Fargo purchased a number of these and other shotguns - and they maintained a log of serial numbers for many of them.

As with anything - 'provenance' is key - and if purported to be an actual Wells Fargo piece - there should be a helluva trail of it.

Vaya,

Scouts Out!

Howdy, Pards,

So far as the log of numbers of Wells Fargo equipment, I've tried for years to find out who has them, if they still exist.  No luck, so far!  There have been a LOT of fakes purpetrated on the public over the years, and it is really difficult to tell one from the other, without additional proof.  Even if one could track down "Josh Adams" in Wells Fargo records, whether he used the gun in question is...the question!

Generally, Wells Fargo guns have an inventory number, as did guns belonging to American Express.  Sometimes, as in the case of the S&W Schofields, the inventory number matched the serial number, or some portion thereof.  But not always!

One possibility, but impossible to verify, is that the gun might have been a local purchase item bought by a local office of the company.  In that case, almost anything is possible...  I would pay ONLY what the gun might be worth absent the Wells Fargo stuff, and maybe a bit LESS!

Fun to speculate... but CAVEAT EMPTOR!  (Let the buyer beware!)
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2008, 08:50:21 am »

FWIW and just for the sake of discussion only...
A few years back, 4 or 5 maybe, my Pard & I would go to Gun Shows held at the Iowa state fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, always a good one to attend and buy at. Several times we saw the same type of shotgun with the same type of 'badge' on it, the seller wanted an arm and a leg stating it was the 'real deal'. OK, two rows over another appeared with 'Indian Agent' nomenclature in the same 'badge' configuration. To good to be true? Perhaps, but they both looked far newer than could have been possible. Now, I'm no expert, but they would pass for a good prop or braggin' rights gun as-needed. The next time we went down the shotguns were not there, so take it as such. I always look but haven't seen one since, it might be a cyclical thing just like Trench Guns popping up every so often, some dealer got a good buy on an estate or old collection and is looking to make a good sale.
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2008, 11:18:30 am »


You'll fine both of those badges here
http://railroadiana.org/fakes/pgFakes_WF.php

From about the 1960s on there have been many fake items produced by others as souvenirs of the "Wild West." Among them are Wells Fargo marked belt buckles (often marked on the back as made by Tiffany), chest badges, Bowie knives, brass body tags, and stagecoach plates. There are also many items with a brass shield saying "Property of Wells Fargo San Francisco Division," often attached to an actual antique.

For more information you can contact:
Wells Fargo Historical Services
420 Montgomery St. A0101-026
San Francisco, CA 94163

From a Google Search  Wink
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Dr. Jeff
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 09:02:12 pm »

Sir.  Well Fargo Shotguns will not have any engraving on the stock.  Also there is be no badges or shields that state anything about the company.  If the weapon is real, it will have WF&CO with some numbers right after the markings.  Also the barrell will be 28" long no more no less.  Yours looks to be made by Liegeoise D'Armes around 1905.  A ton of these where brought and made to look like Wells Fargo shotguns, but they are all fakes.  I hope this info will help you.  Dr. Jeff
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 05:52:04 pm »

A few weeks ago, I was watching storage wars and one of the central members found a shotgun.  He took it to the Autry Museum to authenticate it. On the side was all the correct stampings such as "WF&CO exp 89 matching serial numbers on the gun 71205".  The curator said that the stamping may have been added later as the shotgun was manufactured in 1902 and that the Wells fargo contract was from 1909 - 1917

This got me to thinking that local offices might have purchased shotguns before that date and or Shotgun Guards furnished their own.  When hearing the dates for Wells Fargo purchase, I thought these would have been purchased for Bank Guards.

You can see the episode here:  http://eztvstream.com/storage-wars/storage-wars-season-2-episode-13-get-him-to-the-mayan

The appraisal for the shotgun is near the end.  

Question: How do I know if the Wells Fargo markings on an antique shotgun are real?

Answer from Wells Fargo: "Wells Fargo" marked shotguns have become a problem among collectors of antique firearms. In general, each town's Well Fargo Agent bought weapons from local stores carrying whatever was available it was not a central headquarters function. Just as with companies today, Wells Fargo's offices did not keep outdated records. Therefore, there are no comprehensive lists of Wells Fargo firearms.

The stage coach part of wells Fargo only operated from 1866 - 1869 but they did run a freight company until 1918, so the order dated between 1909 - 1917 would make sense.
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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2011, 12:35:24 pm »

A few weeks ago, I was watching storage wars and one of the central members found a shotgun.  He took it to the Autry Museum to authenticate it. On the side was all the correct stampings such as "WF&CO exp 89 matching serial numbers on the gun 71205".  The curator said that the stamping may have been added later as the shotgun was manufactured in 1902 and that the Wells fargo contract was from 1909 - 1917

This got me to thinking that local offices might have purchased shotguns before that date and or Shotgun Guards furnished their own.  When hearing the dates for Wells Fargo purchase, I thought these would have been purchased for Bank Guards.

You can see the episode here:  http://eztvstream.com/storage-wars/storage-wars-season-2-episode-13-get-him-to-the-mayan

The appraisal for the shotgun is near the end.  

Question: How do I know if the Wells Fargo markings on an antique shotgun are real?

Answer from Wells Fargo: "Wells Fargo" marked shotguns have become a problem among collectors of antique firearms. In general, each town's Well Fargo Agent bought weapons from local stores carrying whatever was available it was not a central headquarters function. Just as with companies today, Wells Fargo's offices did not keep outdated records. Therefore, there are no comprehensive lists of Wells Fargo firearms.

The stage coach part of wells Fargo only operated from 1866 - 1869 but they did run a freight company until 1918, so the order dated between 1909 - 1917 would make sense.
I saw the same show and I got just a tad perturbed by the curator's assessment. As you stated, many times a local agent would have purchased weapons to arm his own people and the stamping on the receiver could have been genuine. Just because an item was manufactured pre-dating a contract really has little meaning. As far as the shields go, wellllll...
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: A real Wells Fargo coach gun? « previous next »
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