How much is my W. Richards worth?

This is an extremely common question with a complex answer. Everyone is hopeful for a valuable gun by the great English maker, Westley Richards. However, there were other respected English makers who used the names William Richards or simply W. Richards. There was also any number of Belgium knockoffs which were cheap copies trying to use a famous name for their advantage. This short article will give you a better idea to discover what you really have.

William Westley Richards is a famous English maker of medium quality to high quality guns. Many of his guns were meant for export to India and the colonies and some of his guns were of “best” quality. The value of the particular gun depends upon the individual gun at hand. They will ALL be marked “Westley Richards” as his father made guns under the William Richards moniker. There was another medium quality maker in England by the name of William Richards and you may see either that name or simply “W. Richards”. These are good guns and all will have English proofs on the barrels.

The low quality guns are usually stamped “W. Richards” and may even have a London or Birmingham street address on the barrel flats. The name and address on the flats is completely unimportant. These are guns made in Belgium and the tell tale signs are the proof stamps on the barrels. The Belgium proofs are either a scripted EL or more often a block lettered E over LG usually within an oval under a crown. A crown over block lettered PV is a more modern Belgium mark. These are the things you do not want to see but are only too common on W. Richard's guns. Belgium made some fine guns and barrels, but probably led the world in the production of really crappy guns for export. These guns were workhorses that sold for $5 even after a 60% import duty.

Submitted by: Pete Hiatt

Dave Weber
DoubleGun Evangelist
In Charge But Not Responsible