Henry Tolley President 12ga St. Marys London

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Spec.-K, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Spec.-K

    Longview, WA
    Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone.
    My soon-to-be father-in-law has asked me to find information on this antique shotgun.
    It is in great shape for its age!
    The wood looks amazing, and so does the CCH.
    I haven't been able to find much on this gun, especially one marked President, his name on both sides, and a "1111" serial number.
    Any collectors out there want to tell me about it? ;)
  2. EMP9596

    Two Trees West of Camas, WA.
    Active Member

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    Poke around in here: Shotgunworld.com • Index page

    "Despite the "London", Tolley was a Birmingham maker.

    Tolley guns are well respected in England; many are still in use.

    James William Tolley was born in 1832. No birth date is known for William Tolley who was probably the younger brother.

    The firm appears to have been established in 1858 at 22 St Mary's Row, Birmingham.
    They started in business by making large quantities of cheap guns, some for the African market, but were soon producing higher quality guns. An 1862 advertisement stated "Gun rifle and pistol manufacturers, Contractor for Military Arms, Breech Loading Guns, Pistols, also all guns suitable for the African markets". In 1866 they entered a gun in the Field Gun Trials but came 32 out of 32. In the early 1870s the firm moved 19 Loveday Street. From the late 1870s the building was named the Pioneer Works.
    In 1871 James Tolley became a shareholder in Braendlin Armoury Co Ltd (see Braendlin Armoury Co Ltd). By 1879 the firm was much more successful and started to acquire a reputation for large bore double barrelled guns and rifles which often used Henry Tolley's patented Giant Grip (see Henry Tolley of the Times Works, 65-66 Weaman Street). In that year a provisional patent (No. 5002) was registered for a breechloading action, but the description of the invention was unclear, it was not registered or used to any great extent. Tolley "Perfection" models may have used the patent. J & W Tolley were ater known for their "Altro" 12 bore sidelock or boxlock gun, about which the firm said "This new weapon is equally suitable for ordinary game, as well as for duck or for pigeon shooting. This gun will be most useful for sportsmen who do not wish to keep more than one gun for all purposes." It weighed 7 1/2 lbs and was chambered for a 3 inch cartridge. The same gun with unchoked barrels for shooting ball ammunition was named the "Ubique". Neither gun proved very popular probably because they were heavier than normal.

    In about 1883 the firm opened a shop in London at 1 Conduit Street, and in 1894 this moved to 59 (New) Bond Street. George Bayliss (of the large Birmingham family) was the Manager from 1883 to 1903
    (when he established his own firm).

    By 1894 the firm's reputation as makers of wildfowling guns was well established and the firm had been appointed gunmakers to the King of Portugal. At about this time they were also appointed Gunmakers to the Persian Royal family. It was probably at this time they opened a shop in New York.
    In 1901 they became a limited liability company. Between 1904 and 1909 no London shop was not recorded, but it probably existed because the company was recorded from 1909 at 5 Regent Place, Regent Street.

    In 1914/15 the Regent Place shop closed.

    James Tolley died in 1916, and it seems the firm was bought by Holloway & Naughton because in 1919 they were recorded at 10 Vesey Street. Holloway & Naughton occupied 10, 12 and 14 Vesey Street at that time.

    From 1924 to 1927 the firm's address was 10, 12 and 14 Vesey Street but in 1928, and again from 1947 to 1955, it was 10 Vesey Street. In 1929 Holloway & Naughton (and J & W Tolley) were taken over by
    Skimmin & Wood who moved into their premises at 10, 12 and 14 Vesey Street (from 1932 to 1939 10 Vesey Street was occupied by R B Rodda & Co).

    In 1955 guns ceased to be produced under the J & W Tolley name.

    In 1964 the firm of Skimmin & Wood was bought by F J Wiseman & Co Ltd of Cannock, Staffordshire

    Hope this helps?

    As far as value it appears to be Damascus steel black powder firearm. Value?? 400.00 to possibly several thousand and that is just a guess?

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