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Ithaca Gr 4 and Case
Unread 11-08-2022, 12:16 PM   #1
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Default Ithaca Gr 4 and Case

Just a curious occurance in the collecting world (at least it struck me).

I recieved a Grade 4 Flues I bought at auction last week, and was pleased with the gun. Better than the description and pictures and works perfectly. It included a fitted leather bound wood case with a cleaning rod and tip, along with A&F snap caps and oil bottles.

For some reason, the case intrigues me. The gun itself is a 1922 build. The case didn't recieve any description in the listing and only the interior was shown.

The case turns out to be in very nice condition with some very minor corner wear. but the straps, lock, corner covers and interior are really nice with excellent surface on the leather. The top of the case has an embossed outline that could have been for embossing a name if desired. The case lid has a paper Ithaca label that looks pretty old. The end of the case has a large paper label marked as John Dickson Gunmaker, Edinburgh Scotland. One section of the label is missing, but is has a large printed capital P at one end, and the address section is handwritten as:

P.R.C. Pitm(an)?
The "Cottage" Gullane 04(1)?

I was struck by this since generally I think an address like this would be associated with a significant person during that era, particularly considering that the village of Gullane was essentially a seaside golf coommunity just on the east side of Edinburgh and is the home of Muirfield, one of the most historical courses in the world. Certainly a proper home for a sporting person.

I went to Dickson's current website and they have a number of their own guns available from this period. The cases of all of them seemed very similar to this one. Given the tag, the age and the comparison, I would be really surprised if this is not an original Dickson case from the period.

The obvious answer is that someone obtained the case for the Ithaca. However, I am struck by the fact that the case appears to be so period correct to the gun and they are in similar condition, like they had been mated a long time. The gun, given its grade, would most likely have been cased at the time of purchase rather than later. Dickson's couldn't have been very common in the states, and someone looking for a case in 1922 would more likely have just purchased a new one in the states. It is also unlikely that the owner of a Dickson during the period would separate the original gun and case. We know this case was originally in Scotland. If someone adopted the case, why would they not remove the Dickson delivery label when replacing the Dickson Trade Label? The cleaning accessories also look original. The oil bottle and snap caps are later, I'm sure.

I'm pretty sure the case was adopted, but the questions are the kind of things that get into my head. It is doubtful that the Ithaca was sold to anyone in England, since it was not reproofed. However, the case is not one you would find just laying around without it's matching gun.

Ithaca letters are not as easy or cheap to obtain as Parker's but this is an instance I might try to get one. It might provide a clue as to how they ended up together. If I can't establish a connection, I will likely try to move the case to a Dickson owner. I'm not a particularly a fan of having a lot of cases around and it would offset the cost of the Ithaca.
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Unread 11-08-2022, 01:25 PM   #2
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Interesting. Keep us posted.
“Every day I wonder how many things I am dead wrong about.”
― Jim Harrison
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Unread 11-08-2022, 03:58 PM   #3
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There were a number of US importers of goods from the UK from roughly the 1880s up through the early 1930s. Years ago I owned and refurbished a really nice W.W. Greener cartridge magazine that had been imported by Henry Squires in New York and bore his mini label as well as the classic Greener label inside the lid. Sometimes but not often a separate small label or tag from the US importer will be found on or in these cases, which to me is a kind of bonus.

Others notable importers who marked their foreign-made wares were Von Lengerke and Antoine, Von Lengerke and Detmold, Griffin and Howe and of course Abercrombie and Fitch.

It is not unusual to find American guns of this time period cased in UK products since the variety and quality of these cases were usually markedly better than those manufactured here in the US at the time. Alternatively, I redid the trunk case for the owner of one of the Parker Invincibles some years ago that had been made right here in the US by the Utica Luggage Company of Utica NY. It was a true oak and leather trunk case and was the equal to anything available from Great Britain at the time.

Photos of your case could help in determining its origin and date of manufacture.

Last edited by Kevin McCormack; 11-08-2022 at 04:00 PM.. Reason: Requested photo(s)
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