The stories behind—and shocking value of—these readers’ vintage firearms

Guns & ammo

Expert advice from Outdoor Canada’s firearms expert

About 20 years ago, a dear friend, now deceased, gave me this W.J. Jeffrey & Co. shotgun (serial number 12587). He told me at the time it was quite valuable. If you are able to give me some direction, I would be interested in seeing this 12-gauge double go to an interested collector. Thanks very much.

BRIAN CAMPBELL

CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

What a beautiful shotgun. W.J. Jeffery shotguns are still made today, with a new sidelock such as yours going for around $60,000. Don’t expect to get that for your gun at an auction, but don’t be surprised if it sells for well into five figures. The fitted case adds value, as I’m sure you know.

The difficulty with fine guns is to find a buyer. There aren’t many people who can afford to put serious money into a shotgun, and of those can, only a few are interested in fine doubles. The best way to reach such collectors is through a well-publicized firearms auction (see www.outdoorcanada.ca/gunauctions). I’m quite sure any auction would be glad to sell this shotgun for you—it’s the kind of star-quality item that would attract attention.

As a point of interest, the numeral “1” inlaid in gold on the opening lever indicates this shotgun was one of a matched pair. It was a practice in traditional driven grouse or pheasant hunts for the shooter to have one gun in hand, while a loader stood by with a second gun. The idea was to take two incoming birds, then quickly switch guns and take two outgoing birds. If you showed up at such a shoot with a four-shot pump or semi-auto, you’d be indignantly escorted off the property and cursed as a game hog, but using two guns to the same effect was okay. At any rate, somewhere out there is a gun identical to yours, likely with a consecutive serial number, and a gold “2” inlaid on the opening lever.

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