The “Firefly” (unguarded trigger) with Box by Edwin Anson & Company (1925-1933)

A boxed Firefly! You don’t see boxed ones very often! In fact, I’ve only ever seen a few and mostly those have been photographs.

An intact box with inner and outer labels together with the pellet compartment lid that is often missing.

As far as I can tell, this box is complete. Not many, well there aren’t many Firefly boxes at all for that matter, have both their external and internal labels. Nor do they all have their pellet compartment lid with a ribbon pull cord. This one also has some “hollow slugs”. Whether they are original or not who knows.

There’s not too much to note about this Firefly that I haven’t written about previously. However, I did find that this Firefly had an extra set of holes at the muzzle end of the barrel just as was found on the “guarded” Firefly. Whilst this isn’t found on all Firefly air pistols, we can now say that it isn’t unique to the guarded Firefly.

The finish of this Firefly is original and has been kept in great condition which you would expect when any vintage air pistol is complete with its box. There is no flaking of the nickel-plated tube and the black enamelled grip shows just a small amount of wear. That’s not to say that this Firefly hasn’t been used though. The muzzle shows a fair amount of use where it has been pressed down on a surface whilst the pistol was cocked. As typical with these air pistols, the spring that connects the breech pin to the compression tube had been lost.

Stripped down to its component parts.

You’ll also notice that this example has the twin concentric spring configuration that has been noted by other authors. Both the piston seal and the leather seal on the black wooden “shroud” are original and in excellent condition. Only the “Anson” stamp on the trigger appears to show signs of significant wear. Maybe it had always been this way since it left Anson’s workshop. Just like all the other known unguarded Firefly air pistols, there is no trigger adjustment screw. Yet the pistol has an exception trigger with a very light pull and let-off.

Blue label of the guarded Firefly box with a “swastika” border.

One thing I have noticed is something about the box label. In my article about the guarded Firefly, I mentioned that the border around the inner lid label was comprised of blue swastikas. The labels of this example have a border comprised of red swirls with one attached to the outside of the lid and the other on the inside of the bottom of the box. The inside of the lid is plain with no label. I have seen a Firefly box with both a red and blue label. The blue label was on the outside of the lid and the red label pasted to the inside base of the box.

Red label of the unguarded Firefly box with politically neutral swirl border.

It’s difficult to theorise why Anson would have used a swastika design on his label. The swastika was adopted by the Nazi party in 1920 which is five years before Anson produced his Firefly pistol. So the swastika would have been fairly prominent at that time. It’s possible that Anson decided to stop using the blue swastika labels at some point in favour of the politically neutral red swirls at some stage. Hence some boxes are seen with just the blue labels, some with a mixture of the two labels and some, as in this example, just the red labels as the blue labels were phased out. For certain it is known that when the Nazi party came to power in 1933, they implemented a law restricting the use of the swastika. Whilst that wouldn’t affect sales outside of Germany, anyone using the swastika on a product on sale in Germany would have faced criminal proceedings. I think we can all agree that this would be something everyone would have wanted to avoid!

However, as far as we know, by 1933, the Firefly was no longer being advertised and thus I very much doubt this was the reason for the switch of design. Whilst many were using the swastika to promote their goods during this period, it’s probable that non-German companies would have distanced themselves from any such association as events in Germany unfolded.

What is also interesting is that where the blue label states Anson as the manufacturer of the pistol, the red label is devoid of any such information. Perhaps this was done at the request of a distributor who didn’t want other dealers going direct to Anson.

So there it is. A boxed unguarded Firefly. If you have any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer.

Until next time, happy shooting!

Jimmie Dee

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