I just found one of my holy grail guns and thought I’d share some pictures. This is a J Stevens Arms & Tool Co Model 535 from around 1915-1916. The 535 was a highly decorated and fancied up Model 520 and sold special order for $100 in its day.
Lordy, that's fine!! I've never seen one in person ever, just b/w pictures in books. I believe those embellished guns were contracted out to independent shops owned by some of the eras finest engravers who employed other fine craftsmen for wages. Around that time period the practice of signing work or special markings for individuals began to be accepted as their style identifier. Really only the top tier types, as they worked for all the manufacturers desiring engraved product. There will never be a complete list of course but the process of studying the hands is currently ongoing. Most of the companies wanted a pattern that was repeatable and a tracing type guide of sorts was used for the basic layout. Once that was done the individuality is seen in the background and enhancement of the pattern. Some beautiful work was turned out by folks that will be forever unknown.
With a good loupe, check everything for a telltale mark. You may be surprised.
Gary, this is the first one I’ve ever seen in person. I’ve seen pictures of two others in the past six years and I look for them regularly. One was in good (average) condition and the other was buffed and refinished.
I was reviewing your 'pretty pictures' again (and again and again) and it came to me that the "Krupp Fluid Steel" mark on the barrel seemed out of place. I don't recall seeing that on the other 5XX Stevens shotguns. On the other hand, I haven't had any for many years, or an opportunity.
So a little help here guys?
I know what you mean. The buttplate is the only problem with this 535. It’s a later Stevens replacement. I need to find a shotgun Stevens “S” buttplate, there are reproductions but not quite the right size and I’m obviously not sanding the wood to fit.
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