Early Benjamin flyer
Early Benjamin flyer
With thanks to D T Fletcher, who spotted this on Ebay. He said: "Been a long time since I've sweated out one like this. Usually it's only a variant of something I already have but this is unique and is likely the earliest Benjamin flyer of this type. It's the first time for me to see one. Wouldn't be surprised to never see another one."
Later, he said: "Looking closely at the smudged areas, it's clear that these were the result of two of these flyers sticking together. The two ended up stuck and somebody separated them and tried to scratch off some of the glue. It's probably possible to remove these but since they are part of the manufacturing process, I will not clean them off. Otherwise, this flyer is in absolutely new condition.
It can be interesting trying to determine exactly in what order any of these early Benjamin flyers belong in the collection; before about 1945 there are no dates on anything. The only solution is to go by the models seen in each item. As it turns out, this flyer is unique, prior to this, the literature has the model 700 and model 200 (aka model G) and this flyer has the model 700 and the model 300 (only). The next item, a BB Magic booklet, has the full complement of 300/317/322 along with the model 700. The next flyer in the collection has all of the pistols along with the rifles and 700.
Date? Circa 1933/34.
This had to be an interesting time for Benjamin. Sales were devastated by the Depression. That Benjamin produced a slew of new models during this timeframe is for the simple reason that the executives had nothing else to do but design airguns. As always with Benjamin, the executives of the company designed the airguns, there were never any design engineers at Benjamin. This flyer introduces the first of the really new designs. The model 300 is the first bolt action breech loading Benjamin single shot.
The item just before this 300/700 flyer is also interesting and I suspect goes with the flyer. It's an old Shooter's Art booklet, advertising the obsolete model F, that has been handstamped as BB Magic along with an NRA stamp (not that NRA, National Recovery Act an early Roosevelt admin program to fight the depression) Pretty certain that the person doing the stamping would have been an NRA employee. My guess is that the BB Magic booklet that anyone asking for one, as described in the flyer, would have received one of these overstepped Shooter's Art booklets.
Benjamin Flyers (3' x 6") pre-war: rev. 7-11-2018
1) circa 1934, models 300, 700; background color, red; cover, "New Presenting Benjamin Genuine Compressed Air-Rifles with Bolt Action Hammer Fire Hair Trigger More Power"
2) circa 1935, models 100, 122, 177, 300, 317, 322, 700; background color, red; cover, "Benjamin Genuine Compressed Air Rifles Air Pistols with Bolt Action Hammer Fire Hair Trigger More Power"
3) circa 1936, models 100, 122, 177, 300, 317, 322, 700; background color, green; cover, "Benjamin Genuine Compressed Air Rifles Air Pistols with Bolt Action Hammer Fire Hair Trigger More Power"
4) same as 3) except new type set, background color is red and the cover text is now, "Benjamin Genuine Compressed Air Rifles Air Pistols Bolt Action Hammer Fire Hair Trigger More Power" (no "with".)
5) circa 1937, same models and prices as 3) and 4), red background color, front cover has picture of man shooting rifle at target on a tree; cover text, "New Easy to Pump Benjamin High Compression with Safety Air Rifles and Pistols"
6) circa 1939, models 110, 112,117, 310, 312, 317, 150, 710; green background; cover text, "The Benjamin Hit Review New Easy to Pump Benjamin High Compression with Safety Air Rifles and Pistols"
7) circa 1939, identical to 6) except over-print price updates on darts and pellets.
8) circa 1940, models same as 6) and 7); green background; increases 112, 117, 312, 317, 150, 710 all $10. 110 n/c at $8.50. 310 n/c at $7.50, front cover, " Benjamin HC High Compression Pellets Scientifically designed to form a tight seal in rifled barrel, to prevent loss of compression, assuring maximum power and accuracy in all rifled models. Air Rifles Benjamin Air Pistols Benjamin Air Rifle Co. St. Louis,, MO., U. S. A."
9) circa 1941, identical to 8) except "DISCONTINUED" ink over-stamp on both models 150 and 710.
10) circa 1944-45, green background; new models 130, 132, 137, 310, 312, 317; cover text, "Be Prepared! Ask about the NEW Benjamin Target Pistol Benjamin Air Rifle Co. St. Louis, MO., U. S. A.", drawing of a minute-man. Note: this was the war-time Benjamin flyer. The prices are mostly the same as the previous 9) flyer but are well below those listed in Jan. 1946. Where exactly this flyer belongs between 1942 and 1945 is unknown. I would lean towards 1944-1945.
The next flyer in the collection is dated 473 (March 1947) and has all the same models as 10) except the model 720 has been added.
With 9 flyers between a span of 7 years, plus the wartime flyer, it would seem that there isn't too much room for more, but, with something like this it's just impossible to tell for sure. If anyone has what they think is a variation, let me know."