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 JC Higgins Model 85 d.o.b.?....
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El Mariachi
Junior Member

USA
376 Posts

Posted - 11/26/2011 :  12:25:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow, talk about an obscure little pistol with not much info available. I just bought one off G/B the other day, s/n #5260XX. Can't figure out when it was built (which means I can't truly prove that it's C&R eligible). I've been poking around the 'net for hours and have only seen five other Model 85's for sale/or sold over the years. All of them except one had six digit s/n's, starting with '5'. The fifth one supposedly has a four digit s/n, but it starts with '5' too. I just e-mailed that seller a minute ago to have him look at his pistol very carefully to see if there may be two more numbers on it. One of the other pistols was sold on Heritage Arms Auctions a couple of years ago----that listing showed a serial number of 5092XX, and said it was built in 1950. Which would be great for me if true.....but I can't yet verify that.

And as we all know, the JC Higgins line was dropped in the end of 1961 and replaced with Ted's line of firearms (though John Stimson said somewhere that he recalls a Sears catalog from 1962 that had a few Higgins guns in it). Ahhhh, the mystery deepens, yes? Anyways, if any of you Folks can help me pin the date down on this, I'd be most appreciative.....


Regards,

El

(edit to add----the Sears number on this is 590.850)

I support happy marriage. As long as both chicks are hot.....



Edited by - El Mariachi on 11/26/2011 1:21:45 PM

rufe-snow
Advanced Member

15835 Posts

Posted - 11/26/2011 :  12:48:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Believe it's the same as the High Standard Sentinel, 9 shot, .22 revolver. Made for Sears as the J.C. Higgins Model 85. The serial number dates it to 1956.

It's very difficult to actually figure out how many of any handgun High Standard actually made. Most all their handguns from the early 30's to at least the late 70's were serial numbered sequentially. This started at 5,000 in 1932 and was over 2,000,000 in the 1970's.

I believe that High Standard manufactured guns in "runs" of similar models, then put them in storage until they were ordered by wholesalers and retailers. Although your revolver was made in 1956, Sears might have not actually put it in stock for sale till many years latter.



Wrong gun! The Model 85 was made by Unique in France, not High Standard in the U.S.A. Can't help you as to it's age, or number made for Sears etc.


Edited by - rufe-snow on 11/26/2011 1:01:44 PM
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El Mariachi
Junior Member

USA
376 Posts

Posted - 11/26/2011 :  1:26:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Actually Rufe, these were made by the French company MAPF ( Manufacture d'armes Pyrennees Francaise). These Higgins are really 'Unique Modele D2's. And sometimes also called Unique Corsairs.

Totally different pistol from the High Standards.....

I support happy marriage. As long as both chicks are hot.....


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JohnStimson
Junior Member

USA
376 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2011 :  04:33:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
El,

The Unique pistols were sold by Sears in the early to mid 1950's but I have not seen any referred to as the Model 85 in the Sears catalog. They also sold a Star Model F and a Beretta around that time. About the time or a little later that Sears began selling revolvers and pistols with the J. C. Higgins trade name, the foreign pistols except for the little Beretta were no longer cataloged.

Yes, the J. C. Higgins name was still being used in 1962.

The following models were advertised as J. C. Higgins models in the following catalogs in 1962.

Spring & Summer catalog
Western style revolvers - catalog numbers 130, 127, 134, and 127
Model 80 pistol - catalog numbers 2180 and 2181
Model 88 revolvers - catalog numbers 124, 125, 12255, 12256, and 12257
Model 33 Pump .22 rifle - catalog number 205
Model 25 Semi-auto .22 rifle - catalog number 212
Model 31 semi-auto .22 rifle - catalog number 239
Model 51L center fire rifles catalog numbers 53 and 54
Model 20 Shotguns catalog numbers 13, 11993, 1, and 2
Model 21 Shotguns catalog numbers 11994, 11995, and 11997
Model 66 shotguns catalog numbers 80 and 27

Fall & Winter catalog
Model 20 Shotguns catalog numbers 89 and 16
Model 21 Shotguns catalog numbers 11994, 11995, and 11997
Model 66 shotguns catalog numbers 80, 23, 63, 64, 65, 27, and 24
Model 14 Shotguns - catalog numbers 86, 87, and 88
Model 51L center fire rifles catalog numbers 49, 52, 53 and 54
Model 35 Pump .22 rifle - catalog number 48
Model 25 Semi-auto .22 rifle - catalog number 212
Western style revolvers - catalog numbers 130, 127, 134, and 127
Model 80 pistol - catalog numbers 107 and 108
Model 88 revolvers - catalog numbers 124, 125, and 12257

Winter Sale catalog
Model 20 Shotguns catalog numbers 11992, 11991 1, 2 and 3

Christmas catalog
No High Standard guns advertised as J. C. Higgins but a lever action center fire rifle and some other sporting goods were listed as J. C. Higgins brand merchandise.

After 1962, some of these same models were still being sold for a year or two. The Sears manuals have of that time have several that are just marked "Sears" and others that are marked "Ted Williams".

I believe that your Sears Model 85 is indeed a C&R but it may be tough to prove it.



Rufe.

High Standard did indeed produce the guns in production lots but they were seldom in inventory very long. The pistols were in general produced in fairly small lots. some models of the derringer and revolver were produced in much larger lots. Some guns did sit in inventory for months or in a few cases for years. For the time when records show the dated the guns went to assembly and completed assembly there is one example of a pistol going to assembly in mid 1976 and being completed in late 1977 after the move to East Hartford which occurred in the Feb-June 1977 time frame.

I cannot comment on Sears inventory control system since I have nothing to support any speculation

There are some difficulties with determining how many guns High Standard made. but for the most part the counts are probably within a +/- 5% for a time when the factory records now held by the ATF have issues that makes saying for certain that we know a precise count. For other times and models the counts for some models are mostly exact counts.

My research continues on the quantities produced of the various High Standard models and I have begun to create a listing of the Models with the smallest production numbers. By my current counts, there are just over 170 High Standard models and variations with production numbers under 1000 guns.


John Stimson, Jr.
www.histandard.info
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