It’s here! For your favorite Civil War buffs, antique gun collectors and especially anyone interested in Harpers Ferry, the must-have book for their library (think Christmas gift) is available now.

“Harpers Ferry Arsenal and Joseph Perkin: The Classic Arms of the Early Years” by Rick Hudak promises to become one of the most important reference guides for collectors, libraries and traders interested in early arms manufacture, and particularly the 2048 pistol pairs made there. A bonus feature at the site is a forum for collectors to trade information to update sightings of coveted firearms.

A mix of history and mystery, Hudak’s new book is a feast for the eyes. Artfully designed and printed on high-quality paper, “Harpers Ferry Arsenal and Joseph Perkin” is filled with 395 color photographs which capture the detailed marks, assemblies and textures characteristic of the M1795 Muskets, M1803 Rifles and the M1805 Pistols made at Harpers Ferry, and includes original photos of private collection pieces never-before published.

The History

Harpers Ferry Arsenal produced the finest U.S. military firearms and pattern pieces during the first half of the 19th century, transforming the workforce from artisan craftsmen to task assigned employees in order to achieve consistencies critical to the repair, replacement and reliability of the weapons.

These were state-of-the-art firearms in use during the War of 1812, providing American troops a significant advantage over their British-backed counterparts.

The Mystery

It was common knowledge that 4,096 M1805 Pistols were produced at Harpers Ferry from 1806 through 1808. But because the highest serial number on record to be seen was 2048, it was assumed that the last half of the pistols was lost – at sea, in a fire, it was a mystery – until 1968.

At that time, it was determined that the M1805 Pistols had been made in pairs, with each twin sharing the same serial number. Thus, there exist 2048 Harpers Ferry M1805 Pistol pairs. Collectors began searching for pistols bearing the same serial number.

The best examples of these pistols can sell upwards to $40,000.00 or even more! The “Holy Grail” for many collectors was to acquire a pistol pair. To date, no matched pair has been recorded as ever being sold, therefore, it is only speculation as to what the value would be.

The List

“Harpers Ferry Arsenal and Joseph Perkin” lists, by serial number, 520 of the 4,096 M1805 Pistols made at Harpers Ferry, and documents where, when and by whom they have been seen. With more photos of M1805 Pistols than in any other one source, Hudak’s book features several matched pistol pairs, many of which were unknown prior to this publication.

This book will serve collectors at shows, auctions, pawn shops or online, who are searching for a match to a known gun. It is an invaluable aid in the ultimate scavenger hunt.

Beautifully designed and illustrated with 395 full color photographs featuring rare and never-before-published images, the book represents the passion, camaraderie and persistence which collectors share.