The latest fascinating firearms appraisals from Outdoor Canada’s gun guy

COLLECTOR’S CORNER

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The shotgun shown here is actually not a collectible, but we get so many requests for information on similar firearms it’s worth discussing. This is a Belgian-made double, manufactured around 1890. At that time, a great many similar shotguns were made for export to North America and other markets, where they were sold for modest prices under dozens of different names. They were made by one- or two-man operations, as well as by a few companies with several employees. Most were proved at the proof house in Liege, Belgium; the proof marks on the barrels and receiver are a sure identifying feature.

These guns often had coarse engraving cast in the receiver steel, so it’s understandable why some current owners think they are fine, valuable doubles. In fact, they were made of soft steel—often not much better than iron—leaving them none too strong at best. There is no collector interest in these old guns, and their only value is as family heirlooms or decorative pieces. In fact, some collectors refer to them as “JABC” (just another Belgian clunker). Some of the finest guns ever made have come from Belgium, but this was not their finest hour.