Author Topic: Antique Arms and Investing  (Read 11719 times)

timM

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Antique Arms and Investing
« on: May 20, 2009, 06:37:40 AM »
Investing in Antique Arms is an interesting topic.  Mostly not well understood by those who have not seriously been in the realm.  From my experience collectors who invest in antique arms mostly do not cut a fat hog at sale time.  It is a very enjoyable place to park some money with the hopes of not going backwards at sale time.

An example might be to buy a good gun for $20,000.00 and own it for 5 years, what is a reasonable return?  Own it for 10 years what do you have to get to justify the expenditure?  What are the costs involved in reselling that item.  Calculate any simple interest return amount (loss of interest not earned by not having a conventional investment) and deduct costs associated to selling it.  Do the math and then decide if that is the fast track to wealth?

The folks that I have seen do well are the dealers who work hard at it or maybe the hard core  opportunist.  Most true collectors I know or have known realize that the greatest profit is the opportunity to purchase a great gun for anything close to a real price.  tim

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2009, 03:44:09 PM »
They key is don't buy stupid. You need to buy low and sell high. i have walked past many guns I would have loved to own but I knew they were over priced and I'd never get my money back. I have done great buying and selling guns. I can usually double my money in 5 to 7 years of ownership. Quite often I can make 10X my investment in that time. You just have to know when to buy and when to pass. I've been real happy I didn't invest my money in the stock market.....
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Offline mbriggs

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2009, 10:30:33 PM »
I would agree with Mike Brooks.  I have purchased and sold close to 100 North Carolina Longrifles over the last thirty years and have always made money on my investment.  As far a buying Longrifles to collect and keep, I have always recommended that you should buy what you love.  I find it is very important to purchase the rarest and the best quality rifles.  It is better to buy one $10,000 longrifle than purchase ten $1,000 longrifles.  The one great gun will go up more in value and be easier to sell than the ten lesser rifles ten years from now.  I keep only the rarest and the best of what I find here in North Carolina. 

Over the years I have purchased several great rifles at retail plus prices like when I purchased my J.M. Wood tiger striped half-stock for $2,500 in 1998. A good Jamestown rifle was selling for around $1,000 back then and I have never heard of anyone paying over $2,000 for a rifle like that.   I knew I was paying too much at the time, but it was the best half-stock, percussion Jamestown rifle that I had ever seen and still is.  Today, I would not take $10,000 for it.

Here are a few photos of this rifle.















You never get tired of owning the best there is.  I have enjoyed owning and looking at this rifle for the last eleven years. 

I have found it is much better to purchase guns from out of the families they have been in for years than to buy them from other collectors or dealers at retail prices.  I set up a display of my rifles twice a year at a large modern gun show.  I have at least ten people come up to me at every show and say I have one of those.  I have been able to add a number of great rifles over the years at wholesale prices this way.   
C. Michael Briggs

Offline WElliott

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2009, 11:03:44 PM »
Always buy quality (the best you can afford), buy what you like, and be patient. 
You will never loose that way, and it is infinitely more enjoyable than the stock market.
Wayne
Wayne Elliott

Offline JTR

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 06:59:09 AM »
Gun collection; Up 50%.
IRA account; Down 50%.

But I buy them because I enjoy them!
Enjoy looking at them, touching them, petting them, and aiming them at birds out in the trees. We don't have anything bigger than birds around here except people, and it wouldn't go well to be pointing them at people!

Like most guys I can't afford to buy the best, but have gotten lucky a few times. And a few times have traded several guns for one better one.

As an investment? Right now certainly better than stocks! And the enjoyment level is unsurpassed!

John
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jwh1947

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2009, 12:46:48 AM »
This is a subject I feel comfortable commenting upon.  I was born in 1947 and have been collecting firearms since 1959.  Remember, this was just after WWII and there was absolutely no stigma about gun collecting, even for us 12-year-olds. 

I'll start with a story, and it is true.  We kids in Steelton used to congregate on Bethlehem Steel's scrap-steel dump.  The company successfully bid on thousands of tons of battlefield scrap, and in it were countless German and American bayonets and helmets, piled in 40-foot-high scrap heaps, which, risking teatanus and deep wounds, we would climb and canvass.  We only took the unbent bayonets and the not-too-badly dented helmets.  Sometimes a real crisp one would surface.  There were also loads of Browning .30 and .50 machine guns.  Again, we were seeking unbent barrels and receivers that worked (none were torched).   I was too little to carry a .50 BMG, so my garage was loaded with .30's.  In those days a .30 would fetch a 6-pack of Coca-Cola...the small bottles.   Yes, we learned to rebuild them and make them work.  Many of our creations were registered in the November 1968 BATF amnesty period and are working today.  Incidentally, if the compamy cops caught you they scolded you and drove you home to your parents.  That was it.  Just business as usual in the 1950's in my neighborhood.

That led to dealings later on with Sam Cummings at Interarms in Alexandria, Virginia.  He owned most of the warehouses around the Strand, now a glitzy, upscale shopping and restaurant area.   Interarms offered a 25% discount if you had an account and bought 3 or more items at a time.  Yes, I met Sam several times.  You should have seen his Luger collection in the main office.  But the real contact was an armorer who worked in the warehouse.  It was my dad's idea to buy him a carton of Kool cigarettes one day, and from that time on I had a friend and a direct contact in the warehouse when the crates were opened.  What a time.  Those crates often had extra goodies in them that did not appear on the manifest.  The warehouse was a great place to hang out.  Christmas 365 days a year.  To cut to the chase, these trips paid the tuition for the first two years of college.

My junior and senior year was subsidized mainly by selling MI and .45 Colt parts bought directly from Uncle Sam by the ton.  At Letterkenny, they weighed your truck going in and again when you exited and charged you by the pound/ton for the difference in total weight.  My buddy and I set up at the old Hagerstown gun show and often at the old Allentown show at the motel.  The money was good and the work fun.  We figured that an M1 hammer cost us 1 cent.  Our price was $3.50 and we beat the competition by $1.50.  Not bad for two youngsters.   

Any extra loot was divided among beer, good looking girls, and guns, not necessarily in that order.  Some I still have to this day...I kept one girl and many guns.

I've sold off one large collection and have accumulated another one during the past 20 years.  I would say, all in all, yes, it has been better than the stock market or other paper investments.  One of the reasons is that is primarily a cash business.  Another reason is that you can circumvent the broker by becoming one yourself.  The trick has been directly stated by others on this stream.  Be a selective buyer.  Spend your time before you spend your money.  Learn, study, then make a purchase or two, if you are so inclined. 

Never buy junk.  Contrary to what antique hucksters tell you, today's junk is tomorrow's junk.  Junk is junk.  Look things over closely.  If anything bothers you, walk away.  The flaw will never go away but it will increasingly bother you.

Kentucky rifle collecting was late in my second wave of collecting.  Compared to other areas of gun collecting there's a lot of bad specimens out there... heavily and poorly restored...wrong locks, funky extensions, married components, flat-out misrepresentation, and bunko artistry at its worst.   Be forewarned, lots of these guns are hanging on smiling hucksters' sales racks as we speak.  That's why they are there and not already in the better collections.  The stuff you see at shows is often lacking in quality and/or grossly overpriced.  The really good stuff gets sold to specialized collectors by phone call; they never make it to a gun show table. Don't get me wrong, counterfeiting and creative "enhancement" of guns is not limited to Kentuckys.  Colt and Luger collectors, especially, can relate similar horror stories.  But the percentage of bad specimens out there in the longrifle spectrum is greater. 

You men who have said that the key is prudent buying are right on the money.  You make your money when you buy, now when you sell.  The sales price is essentially fixed by the marketplace.  The variance is in what you choose to put into the piece in the first place.  That's where you make it or get made.  Auctions are also shaky.  They are good places for the informed to dispose of dirty pieces without having their name attached to the junk.  Be careful.

Best bets.  Be patient.  Gain some detailed knowledge.  Buy an occasional piece from acquaintances when they choose to peel one or two off.  Be prepared to pay a fair sum for quality material.  Enjoy it and don't expect to turn around and sell it for a big profit anytime soon.  Another caution:  old guns...even the good ones...are not always easy to sell.  Lots of guys might admire a piece and even really desire to have it.  But price tags in the many thousands of dollars eliminate most potential buyers.  Moreover, most serious collectors don't want to put $10,000 into a $10,000 gun.  They like a bargain, too.  Do you fault them?  That's why keen purchasing is the key.

Two things I learned early on often help guide me. #1--You can't own them all. #2 Paying retail for a wall full of old rifles is about as promising in a financial sense as taking that amount of money to a slot machine parlor and feeding a $100 machine.  Neither is going to be recommended by finance majors.  Dealers often use the 2 for 1 ratio.  Buy for $1 and sell for $2.  In case you never thought about it, that is rather standard.  Some of the nicer $35,000 guns I've seen were bought for $3500...a flat 10% of the retail value.  These buyers not only sleep at night but brag about the "killing" to their friends.  If their consicence is clear, so be it.  They don't appear to be riddled with guilt, and given the chance, would I do it?  If you quote that price and offer it to me for that, yes, without equivocation.  Bottom line...if you profit from the gun business it will usually be due to your understanding and application of basic business practices, not luck, fate, or chance.  For me, the key has been lots of movement and a quick return on outlaid cash.  I've been known to own a gun for less than 24 hours if I can turn a quick double-digit profit and immediately reinvest the cash.  The gun business is a business.  Frankly, when I set out to generate some fast cash, I do not fiddle at all with Kentuckies.  There's more action in crisp military arms...lots more.  I have a few Kentuckies because I like them, not because I expect to get rich off of them. 

Another grim point.  The pool of gun-loving Americans is dwindling.  It pains me to say this, but you rarely find young people at gun shows, and never find them with money, unless they are a drug dealer looking for a Tec-9.  As a percentage, fewer and fewer youngsters are taking up hunting and collecting.  That means a smaller pool of future gun investors.  Not good news for those of us with lots of stuff.  So there's the shark pool.  Swim at your own risk.

 

Offline Curtis

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2009, 06:23:13 PM »
Jerry,

A very interesting and informative read there!  Also a lot of good "common sense" pointers that are easily overlooked.  Thanks for taking the time writing that post.

Curtis Allinson

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Offline mr. no gold

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2009, 06:45:02 PM »
Well said, Jerry! There is no short cut to wealth in gun collecting though I know some people who have worked long and hard enough to be doing pretty well. If I had it to do over again, I probably would collect good Colts and Winchesters since they are somewhat easy to sell. As to Kentucky Rifles; high in price to buy and hard to sell.
You must have had a ball as a kid in all those piles of militaria. Hey, since I was alive in WW II I have always wanted a Garand that someone just reached down into the foxhole and pulled it out; one that is reasonably old and not remanufactured. If you know of one such for sale, please let me know. I carrried a carbine in the Army and don't much care for them though I should probably get one of those too. I would even trade a nice Kentucky for the two.
Dick

jwh1947

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2009, 07:13:01 PM »
Dick, I have about eight real good Garands.  Might part with one if we can get together.  Incientally, I still have the one I bought from Interarmco in 1960, subsequently rebuilt with NM parts, and accurized myself.  I took medals with it at Camp Perry in 1963 and 1964 as a member of the PA state team.  That one I keep.   JWH

Offline JTR

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2009, 07:20:07 PM »
And your right about most collectors being old geezers! Probably because it takes that long to have a reasonable amount of disposal income to get into it.
As to lack of interest, if Disney would re-run the old Davy Crockett series we'd have a new generation of budding shooters and collectors.

John
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jwh1947

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2009, 08:42:34 PM »
John, you are correct about Davy Crockett, but I would assume that the series would be considered politically incorrect today, with the shootin' and all.  Before I check out permanently, I expect to see school history textbooks explain that the battle of Bunker (Breeds) Hill was won without firearms.

I was thinking last night about the steel dump.  Yes, It was the time of my life, but I was too dumb to realize it at that age (not to say that I am any britghter now).  When we left the house our moms always said "Stay off the dump."  We'd reply, "Yes, mom," and head right over there.  It was compelling, especially a day or two after you heard the big electromagmetic cranes removing a layer of scrap.
That meant all fresh stuff to sift through.  You were limited only by how much you could carry.  You could make a couple trips back and forth before lunch.  The price was right and the supply limitless.  Remember, stuff was not commanding 2009 prices. 

Three of us boys and one girl set up a little shop in my garage.  I had an old leg vise and with a home made barrel wrench and cheater bar we could remove rusty .30cal barrels.  A guy named J. Curits Earl from Arizona sold us new barrels for $15 each.  All gut parts could be had from local government arsenals and parts distribution centers.  You just told an employee want you needed and in a few days it would appear, often in GI brown wrap.  I lived in the heartland of military materiel, and it was a different era.  Those days are long gone.

What might be of interest to you younger readers is the tone and temperament relating to guns in those days.  We test fired the Browning .30's back at the dump...plenty of room and you could see the cops coming because there was only one access road.  One day those rascals outfoxed us and lay in wait behind an adjacent scrap heap.  As soon as we let a burst rip out of that Browning, out pops John Law and his sidekick.  They give us and the gun a free ride home, chewing us out all the way back and talking about safety and liaibility, which sounded like pure nonsense to us kids.  The cop takes me and the gun to the front door, leans the gun by the front door and says to my mom, "Your son was trespassing on company property again and look what he was doing...he was shooting this machinegun."   After a few more words he turned around and left. He did not confiscate the Browning.  I didn't get a whipping, but was grounded for 3 days.  I spent the time rebuilding another Browning.  Sure cured me.

A related story.  In 11th grade I had to give a talk in history class.  I brought in a Trapdoor, a Krag and an M1 and discused the evolution from single shot to semi-auto.  The guns remained in the teacher's closet until school dismissal.  When I went to fetch them, the teacher said. "So you like guns.  I am getting married and need cash.  I have a Winchester Model 12 I would like to sell."  All I had to do was have my dad call him and OK the deal.  I bought the gun...from my teacher, on school property.  Now if that doesn't underscore the difference in the culture in that day, I don't know what does.  Probably sounds like a fish story to those of you who didn't live through it. 

The story of my first Kentucky might also be of interest.  The AMVETS held a bingo game (entirely illegal in PA at the time) on the second floor of the Steelton Borough municipal building on Friday nights.  On the first floor sat the police desk sergeant.  He could actually hear the bingo numbers being called.  Again, this was Steelton, a somewhat unconventional place and an absolutely wonderful, gritty town in which to grow up.  Well, the AMVETS had a grouping of M1917 Enfield rifles that they used for honor guard on Memorial Day.  I volunteered to keep their guns clean.  I found in the gun storage area a beautiful percussion longrifle made by Shell and Earley of Dauphin Co., PA.  I went to the post commander and told him about it.  It was news to him.  He asked around and nobody knew about it or cared otherwise.  He handed it to me and said, "One good turn deserves another.  Take this for your services."  Unfortunately, I sold the gun to a friend in a weak moment and blew the cash on gasoline and a wild vixen, as I recall.  Hormones control more than most wish to admit, especially at 16.

Point being, we live in a different world and, from all appearances, we will never return to the old one.  My memories, though, are fond and rich.  Yes, those were the good ole' days. 

Incidentally, back in those days, the DCM sold '03A3 Springfields for $15.50.  The extra 50 cents was for packing and handling.  Most old timers know this.  What they may not know is that the DCM had countless small groupings of arms, too small to advertise, and if you knew somebody at Letterkenny Army Depot you could buy any of them for $15.  I got a mint Mark 1 Ruger, stamped U.S. Property, a Colt Aircrewman, several M1922M2 Springfields, and a High Standard M103 w/ property marks.  Each cost $15.  Most were like-new.  We knew a secretary in the distribution office and she would give us a heads-up whenever new stuff was available.  Her name was Lois and we gave her $2.00 every time we bought a gun. 

Now for one that will absolutely make you sick.  An acquaintance was the son of a gunsmith.  He had a barrel full of Kentucky rifles, all in a state of disrepair...future projects for a rainy day which never came.  Out of sheer boredom we would occasionally take a Kentucky out to the tree stump, brace it down and see how much nitrocellulose powder it would take to blow the iron barrel to bits.  Normally about 75 grains of 4895 mixed with an equal amount of Bullseye and packed with mud will lay waste to the best iron barrel.  Some were signed.  We didn't care a hoot.  There was a whole barrel full and a couple were never missed.  Not proud of it, just the truth.  JWH




Offline mr. no gold

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2009, 09:08:15 PM »
Thanks for the response, Jerry. The wife and I talk about going north on the next trip; she is burned out on going back east, she says. A new direction, scenery and people would be a good thing. It wouldn't be until fall most likely, so when the plans are cobbled together, I'll be in touch with you.
I don't need a great speciman; would like to have an 'as found' gun that was not rebuilt. I don't hunt or shoot (as if anyone could down here in the bankrupt, people's republic of california), so it will just be a treasure.
Was at the NRA meeting in Phoenix and the serial number one million Garand was on display in a nice case. It had been presented to John Garand by the governement. It almost goes without sayng that it won a silver medal.
A lot of Kentuckys and other old guns were thrown away, given away, or sold. The one in my family was taken to a dump back in the early 1900s, too early for me to go out searching for it. You talked about playing with them and sometimes blowing the barrels out; a neighbor in So. Illinois did that and had his hand around the barrel when it blew.
That's right: it took his thumb off as slick as a whistle.   
Okay, enough. I'll be in touch.
Dick

Offline T*O*F

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2009, 09:14:05 PM »
Dick,
In case you and others didn't know, you can still obtain Garands thru the DCM by completing the course of fire and belonging to an accredited club.  Most clubs who are affiliated with the NRA hold the course at least annually.
Dave Kanger

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Offline mr. no gold

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2009, 09:24:48 PM »
Thank you TOF. I will explore that avenue too, even though it was my impression that a lot of the Garands they are giving out now are lend-lease arms that are coming from all over the
world. Still, it doesn't hurt to ask. Thanks again.
Dick

Offline Fullstock longrifle

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2009, 09:48:07 PM »
Great story Wayne, you made me think of some stories of my own.  I hope this isn't inappropriate for this posting.

I was born in 1947 as well.   It was a great time to be a kid, but I'm sure some of the things we did then would horrify today's PC society. Here's an example.

I was born in Pennsylvania, but grew up in the Washington D.C. suburbs, in Maryland.  The Washington Beltway was completed in 1961 and it was the talk of the town, everyone wanted to drive it.  The Woodrow Wilson Bridge was part of the beltway and crossed the Potomac River where Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. all met.  As a matter of fact, Washington owns the center of the bridge and still mans the draw bridge tower.

Anyhow, starting in 1961 or 62, until I was able to get a car, my buddy and I would hitch hike from our homes to the Wilson Bridge (a distance of about 10 miles) and hunt for ducks on the Maryland shore.  From where we hunted, you could look up the river and see Alexandria and the Washington Monument in DC.  One day we had gotten a ride to the bridge and as we walked across the beltway with our shotguns, we jumped a pair of Canadian Geese, and we shot both of them from the berm of the Beltway.

At the end of our hunt, we proudly stood on the shoulder of the beltway with our days kill (including our unloaded shotguns) and hitch hiked back home (we got a ride right away).

Looking back on it, I can see all of the problems and dangers with what we did as kids, but in all of my hunting trips to the river (and there were many), we never had to wait long for a ride, and no one ever had any concerns about our activities.  I can remember waving from the shoreline at the police as they drove by, once they saw what we were doing, they just waved back and continued on their way.  Can you imaging the commotion if such a thing was done today, it would be the lead story on the 6 o'clock news and the swat team would be dropped in from helicopters!  It was a different time, and in my mind, a better time.

Thanks for jarring my memory Wayne.

As for me, I collect Kentucky Rifles because I enjoy them.  I never buy a rifle with selling it in mind, I always try to buy what I like (and think I want to keep).  I have to admit to having made some not so smart purchases from time to time, but I usually got my money back when I let them go.

Like most collectors, unless you are wealthy (and I'm not), I've had to let some things go from time to time to get something else, but through the years by carefully buying what I enjoy, I've always done well when it came time to move them on.

Frank
« Last Edit: May 28, 2009, 11:48:36 PM by Fullstock »

jwh1947

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2009, 12:11:08 AM »
Good post, Frank.  Can you imagine walking through Anacosta with a shotgun today?  You wouldn't get past two blocks.

Regarding Garands.  I have been a volunteer armorer at CMP in Anniston, AL.  The Garands they sell now are all arsenal rebuilds.  Service grade is around $600.  None available now are "as issued from manufacturer." Those are the top grade...$1400, if I am correct...and they are not now available.  Lots of the guns now in stock came from Greece and they are indistinguishable from any others, except some of the lower grades have European wood.  CMP is a good source for "shooters" and when they offer their "collector grade" they are the cream of the crop, but not cheap.  Again, there are Garands and there are Garands.  You don't always get what you pay for, but you always pay for what you get.  JWH

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2009, 01:08:34 AM »
Oh, and one more thing.  Since this is a stream for gun collectors pertaining to investing, let me say the following.

Investing cannot be seen as a one-dimensional endeavor.  For instance, let me tell you about my past three months.  Several months ago, our stock market was hitting bottom, people of all ages were pooping in their drawers, and stockbrokers were hunted prey.  I bought stock with enthusiasm.  I bought when others ran for the window.  It is something I study and I knew what to buy.  Again, I am an independent investor.  I have a broker, but rarely listen to him.

Now, for the double whammy.  Recall the present state of affairs.  No availability of quality  .9mm, .45ACP, etc.  No Kel-Tec P3AT's and Colt AR15's scarce.  OK, time to thin out the excess.  Don't have a gun chambered for that case of ammo? Dump it at the inflated price.  Don't need that second AR?  Sell it to a dealer for more than you paid.  Thin out the things people want.  Fact is, they will always b availble.  It might sound fatalistic and crass, but somebody you know will die and have an AR or Colt that the widow wants to get rid of a lot sooner than they'll leave a Kentucky rifle.  This shortage is a politically created shortage where the Democratic political machine and the manufacturers and distributors, and little guys like me with inventory are making out.  Got to take advantage of it.  That's investing.  Might spend the extra loot on a new Kentucky.  JWH

jwh1947

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Re: Antique Arms and Investing
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2009, 07:03:20 PM »
Let's call this one "True Confessions" or perhaps "Errors that were averted."  I just want y'all to know just how good some of these conteporaries are.  About 18 years ago, or thereabouts, I was at the old Baltimore show at the armory downtown at Preston and Howard Sts.  I had been studying Kentuckies for a while and saw a great Berks County rifle on a table that looked reasonably priced.  I looked closely and decided I liked it.  It was/is a good looking piece.
I called upon my old friend Carl Pippert...may his soul rest in peace...to examine the gun.  He got about 3 tables away from it and said in his Southern drawl, "Is that the one?  Boy, you don't want that one on your original wall, because I made it."  I felt about 1/2 inch tall.  What it told me was that I still had a lot to learn.  That led to a talk with Carl about locks, wear points and ageing/antiquing.
At least I had an excuse on this one...I was a freshman at the Kentucky business in those days.

The next one is worse because I had been around Kentuckies for some time.  I was in Allan Martin's gunshop wasting his precious time one day and pulled off the wall a beautiful Jacob Dickert.  I looked it over carefully, as is our normal custom.  I said, "Where did you get this original?  Obviously, you are going to copy it for a customer."  He just chuckled and said, "Earl Lanning made it."  Guys, it was that good.  If Jacob Dickert returned from the grave and looked it over, he would have misconstrued it as his own work.

Talking about "master gunsmiths," Carl and Earl are grand masters.  Martin is also a true master.  He drives himself to learn more and do better with every gun.  His attitude, work ethic, and discipline complement his innate skill.  For investment purposes, rifles made by these men are what you can call "blue chip" firearms.  Also, if you ever see a rifle signed Ditchburn, Bahr, Brennan, or Wheland, you are looking at some of the best the world has to offer.  That's just one gun enthusiast's opinion.  JWH