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    Classic Upland Guns

    Ithaca (New Ithaca Double) GRADE 7: #1 of 22

    We learned from the Batavia Leader gun column (Spring 2021) that the Ithaca Gun Company was also founded by gun-maker William H. Baker around 1883 along with his wife, John Van Natta, and Dwight McIntyre. These people built the new gun works at Falls Creek near Ithaca, New York. The Batavia gun article also mentioned that when W. H. Baker sold his shares of the Baker Gun Company to Lyman C. Smith, Lyman promptly established the L. C. Smith Gun Co. According to Walter C. Snyder, author of The Ithaca Gun Company from the Beginning, Lyman’s brother Leroy Smith was a major backer of the new Ithaca gun company. Van Natta, Leroy Smith, McIntyre and Livermore bought out the Bakers in 1887, and by 1894 Leroy Smith and Livermore had bought out the remaining shares. Livermore and Smith were brothers-in-law as well as friends and partners, and their families managed the company successfully for nearly 75 years.

    At this time, the Ithaca gun works had already expanded fivefold, and by 1917 it doubled in size again producing hammer guns and boxlocks in several models and grades. Those boxlock models with serial numbers 425,000 or lower had the action locking done by underbolts and a bolt through the rib extension that went into a slot in the frame. Models with serial numbers higher than 425,000 had stronger frames, utilizing a newly designed rotary bolt.

    In 1926, they introduced the New Ithaca Double, commonly referred to as “NID,” the model shown in the photograph. The NID models were available in a field grade, grades 1-7, the Sousa and $1,000 grades.

    This truly exceptional 1930 Ithaca NID 12-gauge side-by-side boxlock with 28-inch barrels, 2¾-inch chambers and ejector grade 7 is one of 22 made in 10-, 12-, 16-, 20-, 28-gauges and .410 caliber. The gun was made for Harry W. Stephenson, M.D., of Iola, Kansas, with customized stock dimensions. The barrels are engraved at the breech with oak leaves and acorns and are held together with a concave tapered solid matted game rib.

    The top of the right barrel is marked “Ithaca Gun Co.”; the left, “Ithaca N.Y.” The case-colored frame is engraved with finely detailed oak leaves and acorns with a fine stippled background. The left side displays two gold ducks lifting off the water alongside a single gold cattail; the right, a feeding hen and standing cock pheasants in gold. On the bottom above the markings “Made in USA,” a gold heraldic eagle clutches arrows in its talons. The bow of the trigger guard sports a gold bust of an elk.

    Reference material suggests that this is the work of William McGraw, Ithaca’s premier engraver. The highly figured exhibition-grade black walnut pistol grip stock has fine checkered side panels and a fine fleur de lis checkered pattern on the wrist and pistol grip. The butt is fitted with a skeleton steel plate with a fine-checkered wood interior, and the doctor’s initials are engraved in the gold shield on the underside of the stock.

    The splinter forend of like-walnut quality also has the fleur de lis fine checkered pattern and an inlaid Deeley and Edge forend fastener. The single trigger has a gold wash and is integrally related to the external cocking indicators protruding out of the frame behind the fences. The barrel flats have been burnished with a jewel-like appearance, and they display the serial number 455781 and the grade 7 consistent with that on the water table of the frame and underside of the forend iron. The water table also displays the grade 7 and a 12, denoting the gauge.

    It is difficult to assign an estimated value to this beautiful NID Grade 7 Ithaca side-by-side in its near-new condition because in the collector or museum arena, it should bring $20,000 and possibly as much as $80,000.


    Wolfe Publishing Group