Iver Johnson Arms Commemorative Carbines

Post WWII Commercially Manufactured M1 Carbines (U.S.A.)


The Commemorative Carbines


Iver Johnson Arms

Jacksonville, AR


Section ISection IISection IIISection IVSection VSection VI
Iver Johnson Arms
Models Serial Numbers
Dates of Manufacture
Parts Brochures, Price Lists,
Fliers & Manuals


Commemorative ModelYearsApproximate Quantity
    World War II 40th Anniversary
1985-1986 1,950
    Stars & Stripes 50th Anniversary
    National Guard 50th Anniversary
1991 less than 500?

Value and Commemorative Carbines

Any carbine that is brand new, never fired, in the original box, with all the original paperwork, and with all of it in "like new" condition will have a greater value than the same carbine if it has been fired or is absent any of these original items. "Collector Value" lies in the former, not the latter. Especially if the carbine is a "Commemorative Carbine". All of the commemorative carbines made and sold by Iver Johnson's Arms were made as carbines capable of being fired. Doing so removes the carbine's "Collector Value".

The D-Day and 50th Anniversary commemorative carbines made by Iver Johnson have been popular with shooters. The D-Day carbines usually having a slightly higher value due to the laser etched scene in the stock. While not of interest to most collectors, shooters have been willing to pay a little bit more for these particular commemorative carbines. But their value is based more on appearance and condition than their commemorative background.

The WWII Commemorative made by Iver Johnson's Arms for The American Historical Society was manufactured and sold as a true collectible. The quality of the wood and workmanship is far superior to that of the D-Day and 50th Anniversary commemorative's. Shooting a WWII Commemorative defeats it's reason for existence and totally destroys it's "Collector Value".

Keeping these commemorative's in perspective, even in new mint condition with all the original accessories and paperwork, they do not and will not have the value of an original WWII U.S. M1 Carbine manufactured under contract to the U.S. government.

This said, all value lies in the eyes and mind of the person who either owns it, or wants to own it.

The D-Day Commemorative (1980)

With a full page advertisement in the January 1980 issue of The American Rifleman, Iver Johnson announced the Iver Johnson's Arms D-Day Commemorative Model Carbine. This was the first commemorative carbine released by anyone. Because of the success of the D-Day Commemorative a number of companies, Iver Johnson's Arms included, would eventually manufacture a number of limited quantity commemorative carbines to commemorate various dates or events in history and/or branches of the U.S. Military. The D-Day Commemorative was limited to a production run of 10,000 with serial numbers preceded by the letters DD. All of these were manufactured by Iver Johnson Arms in Middlesex, NJ.

The only difference between the D-Day Commemorative carbines and the standard Iver Johnson M1 Carbines was the stock and the items included with the D-Day Commemorative that were not available with any other carbine.

Operation Overlord
June 6, 1944

The American Rifleman January 1980

Items included with the D-Day Commemorative M1 Carbine:
  • Two 15 round magazines
  • Canvas double magazine pouch
  • Color poster of D-Day invasion
  • Set of dog tags
  • A copy of the book Up Front by Bill Mauldin (the story of the D-Day invasion)
  • Iver Johnson M1 Carbine Manual

This is the only carbine manufactured by Iver Johnson with the Middlesex markings on the left side of the receiver.

The WWII Commemorative (1985)

Beginning with the January 1985 issue of The American Rifleman, The American Historical Foundation began advertising a 40th Anniversary Edition WWII Commemorative Carbine. A Limited Edition of 2500 carbines selectively plated with 24k gold for $695, with the option of a solid walnut display cabinet for an additional $175. All of these were manufactured by Iver Johnsons in Jacksonville, AR. The gold plating was added by a company contracted by The American Historical Foundation.

American Rifleman January 1985

Initial production was limited to pre-orders. Additional commemorative carbines were manufactured as orders were received. Serial numbers began with the prefix WW, starting at WW0001. The highest serial number observed so far is WW1945. Given the quantity manufactured was actually based on the number of orders, it's possible they never reached the full 2500.

The American Historical Foundation
40th Anniversary Edition WWII Commemorative Carbine
manufactured by Iver Johnson Arms of Jacksonville, AR

In 2010 The American Historical Foundation offered Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines commemorative carbines (limited run of 500 of each) manufactured by Auto-Ordnance at $2495.00 each.

The 50th Anniversary Commemorative Editions (1991): The Stars and Stripes Commemorative and The National Guard Commemorative

The April 1991 issue of The American Rifleman carried a full page advertisement introducing Iver Johnson's Stars & Stripes 50th Anniversary Commemorative edition. The following month in May 1991 The American Rifleman carried a full page advertisement introducing Iver Johnson's 50th Anniversary National Guard Commemorative edition. Both of these commemorative models were spin-off's of the earlier WWII Commemorative Carbine manufactured by Iver Johnson for The American Historical Foundation.

These last two commemorative's were intended to clean out the backlog of carbines that had not sold due to the mass influx of surplus GI carbines imported by private companies from nations who had purchased them or received them from the U.S. government. The import, distribution and sales of these surplus GI carbines had begun about 1985 and was still ongoing in 1991.

Both of these commemorative's featured the standard Iver Johnson carbine stocks, which were inlet on the right side of the buttstock to hold a medallion specific to each commemorative. The Stars and Stripes Commemorative's featured a round medallion of a design resembled the U.S. flag. The National Guard Commemorative's featured a medallion of a design resembling one of the many state flags flown by that state's National Guard.

Examples of the Medallions of the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Carbines

Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana

Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina

Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee

Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Stars & Stripes

Some of these commemorative's included the gold plated parts, some included only a few gold plated parts, and some were built and sold with no gold plated parts. The two parts most commonly found on each were the stock with the medallion and the slide with the markings of the 50th Anniversary Commemorative's. Some of these carbines were blued, some were parkerized.

Serial numbers of these two commemorative's are intermingled with the standard model carbines between AA66700 and the end of production at approximately AA73400, with the majority of carbines in this block of serial numbers being the Stars & Stripes Commemorative's.

Although the advertisements for these commemorative's were published in April and May of 1991, advertisements are usually prepared and submitted 6 or more weeks in advance. Iver Johnson's Arms was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy (re-organization attempt) at the time the ads were places and may not have foresaw the conversion of the bankruptcy to Chapter 7 bankruptcy (end game) on March 12, 1991. By the time the advertisements appeared in The American Rifleman these carbines were no longer available from Iver Johnson and those eventually sold retail had already been provided to distributors.

A large quantity of the medallions for the National Guard commemorative's were purchased in early 1994 by Numrich Gun Parts from the bankruptcy trustee's auction of Iver Johnson's assets. Very few of the National Guard Commemorative's have been observed to date.

It's worth noting that Numrich Gun Parts purchased large lots of the receivers, barrels, stocks, and parts used by Iver Johnson's Arms throughout production, including some of assets left over by Universal Firearms. Numrich has sold these parts individually and in small lots to gun owners and gunsmiths so it is not unusual to see these parts on models they were not intended for or on carbines other than those made by Iver Johnson's Arms.

The 50th Anniversary National Guard Commemorative Edition

The American Rifleman
April 1991

The 50th Anniversary National Guard Commemorative Edition

The American Rifleman
May 1991