By Lars Dalseide | March 24 2014 17:20

Rare Civil War sidearm shows all the signs of forgery, debuts on Sportsman Channel

Find a fake Spiller & Burr revolver at the NRA Museum in Fairfax, Virginia

Fairfax, Virginia - Gun collecting can be an expensive business. Even more so if you happen to come across one the nefarious ne'er do wells who prey upon the collecting community. Good news is that there’s an easy way to avoid those dastardly cheats.

If you’re a Confederate gun fan, for example, there’s a simple first step that every buddy collector should take.

“Purchase Confederate Handguns by Bill Albaugh,” says NRA Museums Senior Curator Philip Schreier. “Study those books and you won’t go wrong with any purchase.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for the poor soul who bought this supposed Spiller & Burr revolver. But if you listen to Phil then you won’t go wrong again.

“The general rule for Confederate guns is that the worse they look the more valuable they are. That’s why the buyer should have known this particular revolver was a fake.”

Down the barrel of a forged Spiller & Burr revolver at the NRA Museum in Fairfax

Spiller & Burr were staged to be the armament saviours of the South. Contracted to produce 15,000 revolvers in the Whitney Second Model style, a lack of raw materials, skilled labor and the constant threat of invasion resulted in just over 1,500 ever finding their way off the production floor.

Now in the hands of the National Firearms Museum, this S&B revolver was first tagged as a forgery at Red’s Jackson Armory in Dallas. Red donated his ever consuming collection of fakes to the NRA with the stipulation that they never leave the museum in one piece. Instead, they are used as learning tools for those thinking about plunging into the collecting pool.

“The grips look like the failed result of a grade school shop class project. Very ham fisted. That’s your first clue.

“Second is that the gun is in near perfect condition. No pitting whatsoever. Any Confederate gun, unless it was carried by Robert E. Lee, is going to look like it was ridden hard and put away wet.

“Finally there’s a whole collection of things. The bluing is wrong, the brass is in great shape and the C.S. stamp on the frame. There were no stamps on the frame.”

If you’d like more detail on the counterfeit Spiller & Burr, or to hear Phil really unleash, tune into NRANews on the Sportsman Channel this evening around 6:40pm.

And always remember the first rule of collection — if it looks to good to be true then it probably is.

Phony stamp on a forged Spiller & Burr revolver at the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax

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