Location: Eibar, Spain
The Orbea family began making firearms around 1538. Orbea Hermanos was founded in 1859, and in 1897 the name was changed to Orbea y Cia. In 1936 it discontinued firearms manufacture and focused on bicycles, which it continues making today. It was possibly the largest and best of several Spanish handgun manufacturers of the era. Other Spanish makers of the time producing similar products included Garate Anitua, Euskaro, and Trocala Aranzaral. Eibar was the center of Spanish arms manufacture, much as Liege was for Belgium. Guns made by these firms, and others that were possibly unmarked other than “Fabricada en Eibar” (or similar), will have values much the same as or a bit less than the Orbea products. Orbea primarily made copies of firearms by other firms, including Lefaucheux pinfire revolvers, Kerr revolvers, Berdan carbines, Remington carbines, S&W Russian Model revolvers, Merwin Hulbert revolvers, S&W .44 Double-Action top-break revolvers, and S&W Hand Ejector revolvers. Orbea made military sales to Italy, the Philippines, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom (WWI England, Royal Ulster Constabulary, and New South Wales Police Force), and France. Spanish handguns by Orbea and others will sometimes be found with exquisite gold damascene decoration, and these pieces will bring substantial premiums for their artistry and rarity. This maker’s listing is recently expanded, and reader input on Orbea and other Spanish revolvers is invited.
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ALefaucheux Pinfire TypeMod. 1884Hand Ejector Revolver