Kerr Revolver Serial # 9900

Manufactured by the London Armoury Company from 1859 through 1866 with a total production of about 11,500 pieces. With its 54 bore (44 caliber) and single action this 5 shot revolver was a favorite weapon of Confederate officers and calvary men.

Over 9000 revolvers were purchased by the Confederate States in three variations. Most of the wood grips have the JS/anchor viewers mark below the trigger guard. The three variations are serial numbered as follows: 1st 1 – 1050, 2nd 1051 – 2700, 3rd 2701 – 11,500. The highest known serial number confirmed to date bearing the JS/Anchor mark is 9975.

The Kerr (pronounced Carr) was preferred in the field with its ease of maintanence and repair. Having a Lock Plate (similar to a Rifled Musket) built into the wood grip handle allowed for easy repair of its internal hardware with the removal of two screws. It wasn’t as prone to fouling as other revolvers, such as the Colt and Remington and its early pattern arbor pin retaining catch which allowed the user to change cylinders quickly without tools.

Some of the Kerr Revolvers have unquestionable provenance, serial # 1041 was presented by President Jefferson Davis to Captain Given Campbell as well as serial # 8977 which was presented to Colonel Josiah Gorgas, Confederate Chief of Ordnance by the London Armoury Company.

Well known pages from the pocket notebook (ledger) of Lieutenant G. Julian Pratt, Company H, 18th Virginia Calvary. In his ledger (Squad Roll) he documents the names of troops, revolver types, and serial numbers. Among the serial numbers mentioned in his ledger are Kerr Revolvers 9240, 9740, 9927, 9949, 9955, 9961 and 9974. He makes mention of other revolvers Adams, Tranter and Webley but we’ll save that for another time.

My new Civil War Arsenal weapon is a 3rd variation Kerr Revolver, serial number 9900. It’s in good condition for its age, however the cylinder plunger may have been replaced at one time. The wood handle is in good condition with no cracks but on the left side someone has used a small wood screw to hold the handle tight against the frame of the revolver. It’s not uncommon for the wood to separate a bit here which could lead to the grip cracking.

This revolver does not have the JS/Anchor found on so many of the Confederate imported Kerr’s. Revolver # 9974, which is in a private collection from the Pratt ledger (squad roll) doesn’t have JS/Anchor viewers mark either. It’s fair to say that this revolver #9900 which is only 74 serial numbers away from that revolver and only 27 serial numbers away the lowest revolver #9927 in the Pratt ledger (Squad Roll) is a surviving Confederate Import.

Thanks for stopping by the Civil War Arsenal, if you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other weapons in my Arsenal feel free to contact me at attn: Gene West and if you have any Confederate weapons you’re looking to part with let me know maybe we can strike a deal.

26 thoughts on “Kerr Revolver Serial # 9900

  1. Hello,

    I recently came upon this little gem in a antique store in Tennessee. After closely Looking at the gun I found it has CPT. J.H Hannah engraved on it. I looked the name up and found he was a confederate caption/major. Was wondering how much this gun is worth and if there is any way to tell if it’s actually his and if was his how much would it be worth ?
    Thank you

    • David,
      What you have is either a 30 or 32 caliber rim fire cartridge revolver…..there isn’t a lot of information about this maker, however I think it was made with the help of Northern manufacturer “Whitneyville Arms”.
      There were many makers of this type of weapon at the outbreak of hostilities in the War Between The States. The revolver is not worth much on its own, however with the provenance of the inscription that changes its value……I’m reluctant to give you a value because I’m not really certain……..but if you were to twist my arm I would say Between 3 and 6K depending who is selling it and how large of an audience they have…….
      It’s a very nice find, wish I was so lucky….

      Regards Gene

  2. Hello!

    I have a pistol from the Civil War that was awarded to someone of significance at the time. I cannot seem to figure out who the individual was. My main question is how much could this revolver be worth? Im pretty sure its a Smith and Wesson Model 1, 2nd issue.


    David Ferreira

  3. Hi Gene.

    Hope you’re doing well. This is Michael Marks from the Texas Standard, a daily, statewide public radio program.

    Heritage Auctions is auctioning off a Dance Revolver this weekend. I hadn’t heard about Dance before now, and I’m interested in learning a little bit more about the story of the company and how its guns are currently valued. Is there someone knowledgable about this at Collectors Firearms who has some time today or tomorrow to answer a few questions?

    Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Feel free to either respond to this message or call me at (Xxx) xxxxxxxx Thanks!


    • Tries calling but got no answer, below see the attachment for information you requested.
      The Dance revolver is extremely rare…. I have never handled one, so I feel uncomfortable giving instructions….. however I do have more information about them if needed.
      Kind Regards, Gene

  4. Hello Gene,
    I have some Civil war period pistols. (1) 1847 Colt Dragoon -1st Model sn 4690 , (2) 1851
    Colt Navy – 2nd Model sn 2626 & 2627. Also have a flintlock pistol – 1836 A. Waters marked Milbury, MS 1839. I’ve included some photos for you to review. Let me know your thoughts.
    Thanks in advance for your time,


    • Mark,
      The 1st revolver I do believe it to be a “Colt First Model Dragoon Revolver”, Civilian due to it not having any cartouches on its grips. There seems to be significant value to this weapon
      The next 2 Colt Revolvers you have are both “Second Model, Square Back Trigger Guard, Colt Models 1851 Navy Revolvers”, but what I find curiously interesting about them is the sequence of serial numbers. It’s clear they were purchased at the same time based on condition and ownership. That in it self can increase value having 2 of the same model revolvers that have been paired together for 160 plus years……very cool.
      The flintlock pistol you have is a “Model 1836 Flintlock Pistol By Asa Waters…….many of these types of pistols were converted to percussion cap in the 1840’s making them a nice addition to a weapons collection.
      I’ve included attachments below of additional information as well as prices……none of your weapons are in fine condition, so evaluate values fairly if you look to sell.
      If you have any further questions feel free to ask.

      Kind Regards, Gene West

  5. Hello Gene,
    Thanks for your reply, it was nice of you to take time and review photos plus give the short description of the pistols. I inherited them 22 years ago when my pa passed. I displayed them for awhile in a glass case but now they’re wrapped up & in a box in the closet. I realize they are not of fine grade and have some flaws but still are nice specimens with some “character” as they were used during their day and not drawer queens. I would sell them if I could get a fair price as you state but to who ? I’m not looking to make a six figure fortune (sic) or anything but still get compensated for some very good weapons. I reviewed the attachments for prices and would have to talk to who ever might be interested to see if the price is good for them as myself. Any help in that area , if you can help , would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance for your guidance in this endeavor of mine.



    • Without seeing any marking or proof marks that may be on the weapon it’s hard to say exactly where theses flintlock pistols originated, however it’s my opinion they are from Eastern Europe……probably India.
      I can assure you they are not American or Western European made…….they are not my area of interest or expertise so I can’t offer any more information.

      Kind Regards, Gene West

  6. I was recently given this gun by my dad it was passed down for three or four generations and it fell on my hands if you weeks ago . I honestly hate guns but I think this is a pretty cool looking thing I was wanting to Know what kind of guy it is, what it might be worth, and if you know anyone who would possibly want to buy it . Thank you for your time I appreciate it

    • Jennifer,
      Please provide quality images of all markings on the revolver…..that includes names, addresses, serial numbers, etc……only with this can I determine estimated grade and value…..

      Kind Regards Gene West

    • Jennifer,
      I believe your revolver to be a Whitney Pocket Model Percussion Revolver, Second Model, 1st Type…….in not quite “good” condition…….yours is missing the wing nut that secures the cylinder pin. Below is an attachment which shows description and price.
      Unfortunately there’s not a lot of value in the revolver…..i would estimate its values to be between $150.00 – $200.00……if the wooden hand grips weren’t so damaged and the wing nut was still in place its value would be closer to the value on my attachment, of $375…….hope this helps.

      Kind Regards, Gene

  7. Greetings from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!
    I have a civil war pistol and holster (Colt 1860 Army) which I inherited 45 years ago. The pistol was captured from a union solder during the battle of Gettysburg by Elgar Tschiffely(Elgar belonged to Company A, First Maryland Cavalry, Confederate Army, and was the last living Montgomery County Maryland confederate soldier.)
    The gun has been untouched these last 50 years but shows the hard use it must have sustained during the war. One side of the end of the barrel distinctly shows ware from being worn on horseback and rubbing against saddle fasteners. The holster and gun butt have his initials carved into them. The Holster is badly cracking and the brass button is unattached but included.
    I have the inheritance paper work from the lawyer from 1973 which describes the above provenance.

    Any help on getting a current appraisal would be great.


    • Jack,
      There are many who may be able to help with appraisals on the revolver you have, but more then likely you would have to let them examine the weapon. Which would mean to would have to ship it to them……another option would be to go to a Civil War Show near you……this may be the best option since there will be dozens of prominent dealers there.

      Having access to so many dealers is always good since many will discuss with each other the provenance, condition and rarity of the weapon. Mansfield Ohio is one of the biggest CW shows in the country if by chance you could make it there with the weapon.

      Regards, Gene

  8. Hello Mr. West,
    I’m hoping you can shed some light as to approximate value for a Confederate made ( maker unknown ) 1851 Navy pattern revolver identified to Capt. Edward A. Palfrey. According to the National Archives he served with the General Staff
    Officers Corps, Division & Brigade Staff for the C.S.A. He also graduated from West Point and was appointed Adjutant General stationed at New Orleans.
    His name is engraved on the revolver’s backstrap as the pix show. I have found no makers marks or numbers on the gun to indicate who produced it. Mechanically the cylinder rotates only by hand. The hammer will not hold at half cock and only sometimes holds at full cock. The trigger will release the hammer.
    The gun has darkened with a uniform patina and appears all original. It is missing two nipples.
    Thank you for your time and help.
    Best wishes,

    • John,
      Unfortunately I won’t be able to help you, I am not well versed in CW revolvers especially ones with provenance…..such as yours. There are many CW dealers that may be able to help you however there time is precious and they generally won’t get involved unless they can make money doing so.
      The more prominent dealers receive dozens of emails and phone calls everyday for valuations about CW items. Unfortunately they have businesses to run spending weeks out of every month on the road going from show to show, purchasing collections throughout the country as well as raising families.
      Sorry I couldn’t be more help, I would recommend going to a CW show with the revolver and ask the many dealers there opinions on valuation……most will be happy to help with any questions you have while working there table at a show. The advantage at a show is they can collectively speak amongst each other helping with any questions, valuations and condition issues…..oh and they won’t charge you for it.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, Gene West

  9. Dear Mr. West,

    I am coming to you asking about an Ancestor’s pistol (Navy Colt, .36 caliber). This ancestor was part of the 4th Louisiana Battalion that was transferred up to the Virginia area sometime in 1863? *I am not sure of the year but I do know that he (Meek Madison or MM Fondren) enlisted into the Louisiana regiment and then ended up in Virginia shortly thereafter. The other details, I do not know? I would like to know though, so if you have an idea, that would be great.

    Nevertheless, he survived the war and came home with this Navy Colt pistol in his possession. I do not know where it was from either? I was told that infantrymen were issued rifles and not pistols, is this correct? Either way, who knows where, when or how that pistol ended up in his hand?

    I will not bore you with the soap operatic details of this family heirloom that was taken and sold very recently by a completely moronic cousin of mine but I did want to ask if you could tell me when those types of guns (Navy Colt, .36 caliber) would have been produced for the Civil War?

    More specifically, are there specific serial numbers to look for on these pistols that would indicate were they were issued/used? (Ex: Virginia? Texas? Louisiana?, etc.)

    I thank you so very much for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.



    • William,
      Below I’ve included an attachment from the CW data base that gives very limited information on Meek Fondern………it’s hard to say if the revolver was one he carried during his time at war. Maybe it was a war trophy he brought home, all weapons would have been confiscated during the surrender process, maybe he served in a Cavalry unit at sometime (revolvers were cavalry men’s weapon of choice). It’s hard to say we can only speculate at this time.
      There should be serial numbers on the revolver and possibly a cartouche on the wood handle, the cartouche would tell if it were a Federal purchased weapon that wound up in a Confederates hands. I don’t know of any revolvers that were issued to Infantry men during the war. But research can prove me wrong.

      Regards, Gene West

    • I’m not certain there’s any place you can find the information you’re looking for. There are some assorted Confederate Officers Squad Roll’s that survive but most have been destroyed. I’m guessing it wasn’t important to protect those documents following the war. The one ledger that I know about is called the Pratt Squad Roll……Lieutenant G. Julian Pratt kept records of his men’s weapons. I’ve included an attachment below……for collectors of Kerr Revolvers it’s important because he records the Serial Numbers. Like I said earlier not many survive and if they do I don’t know of them.

  10. I have a 3rd model Tainter Ball and powder 44 I believe, It’s serial # 17800. From note I have reviewed the Confederate Models went up to around 9,000 for double triggers. I am trying to find out were this falls in for the year. Any help

  11. The black powder pistol is double trigger and marked William Rowntree of Barnard Castle. No 17,800. Maybe that will clear up my question I posted earlier.

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