Author Topic: Couple of Questions on Sell, Berry, Bonnewitz  (Read 775 times)

Offline BradBrownBess

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Couple of Questions on Sell, Berry, Bonnewitz
« on: November 28, 2021, 05:53:04 AM »
I know its hard to even phrase questions like this because rifles are 100% individual pieces and dependent on so many factors.
I've been researching, bidding, and doing homework on long rifles and builders for a while but not long enough to feel really at home.
I've always been a military (musket) and Civil War arms collector.
Prices seem to be just all over the map on these - meaning top rifles signed by top builders.

I know recently the very restored early Dickert sold for almost 50% below the low estimate on Rock Island I believe.
The famous Antiques Roadshow video with W. Guthman has that Dickert dropping 50% since 2000 I think.

Yet I have seen some skyhigh prices on a few rifles and more on other collectibles (right now a Ben Franklin signed doc with very little rarity is at 30K and climbing on an auction sight - I have no idea why). Baseball cards (I dont collect but a friend does) have reached insanity where hedgefunds have been formed to buy pieces of them (like stock in a company).

Of these three builders given everything about the same - Age (roughly) - condition (VG+ to EX) where would you rank them as far as desirability and price?
Strangely I find Peter Berry's work to touch me even though some consider it odd.

Again I hate asking prices on rare arms like this - it's not the main point but I'm feeling a little out of my element.
Would 35K - 50K be Auction estimates on top pieces (very min restoration) and high condition?

What would a slightly poorly fitted reconversion do to an otherwise stunning piece?
What about an older complete refinish?

I'm just asking for opinion and ballpark. Just another gauge to go by - I always search the finished big auction results (but again WOW they can vary).
Any help and any opinion welcome!!



Offline WESTbury

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Re: Couple of Questions on Sell, Berry, Bonnewitz
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2021, 04:46:11 PM »
Brad,

My feeling on these as to value is that a lot of it is psychological based on emotion and want. Many of these high end rifles have been featured over many years in books. The same rifles over and over and over again. They really do not seem to change hands very often, so as a result, pent up demand reigns supreme. The same is true for muskets and other collectables for that matter.
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Couple of Questions on Sell, Berry, Bonnewitz
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2021, 04:56:49 PM »
I donít think itís easy to rank or predict the going auction prices of longrifles based on maker. Rarity, the condition and decoration on the rifles, and when they were made in a 30-40 year career of gun making could all impact value. Some makers like Bonewitz seem to have less variety in their style than others. In those cases, recent auction prices can be a good indicator if you take condition into account. Among those Iíd pick a Frederick Sell. $30,000 would get you a lot of rifle.
Andover, Vermont

Offline WESTbury

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Re: Couple of Questions on Sell, Berry, Bonnewitz
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2021, 09:01:24 PM »
Here is an example of a rifle by John or Jacob Graeff that sold for three times the estimate in 2011. Somebody wanted it very badly.
https://www.cowanauctions.com/lot/18th-century-raised-carved-kentucky-flintlock-long-rifle-by-j-graeff-99243
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Offline BradBrownBess

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Re: Couple of Questions on Sell, Berry, Bonnewitz
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2021, 08:56:59 PM »
That Graeff had everything going for it - all the bells and whistles plus early, and untouched/unrestored.

Someone did want it very, very badly that's for sure. Something I believe that has had a downward effect on collectibles is "online auctions" - now many auction houses are going only online. It takes seeing, holding, touching, etc in a room full of hungry buyers to really build excitement. Also the buyers Premiums are really creeping up - 30% is not unheard of now and almost all charge sales tax now. 5 years ago that would be 20% with no sales tax - that's going to take a lot of zap out of final prices. Oh and shipping - ouch - UPS a fully insured 75K long rifle and thats another $1000 dollars.

Thanks for the replies, opinions, etc.