Price check on a ratty Marlin 39A


buzz meeks
September 7, 2008, 08:48 AM
Hi. Title says it all, mostly. A local retailer with famously high prices has got a 1957 Marlin 39A rifle in its used rack. Price is four hundred ($400.00) bucks. The piece is missing its original rear sight and front sight hood. An earlier owner inlaid the forearm with some kind of fake ivory embellishment. In addition, the metal finish is marked by some minor surface rust. The rifle appears to have been shot quite a bit. On the bright side, the rifle comes with a Williams 5D and the wood is in really good shape.

That's it. I've only given the rifle a cursory once over. Haven't even checked the bore or cycled the action. Just wondering about the price. Seems really high.

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September 7, 2008, 08:59 AM
$200 for that condition might even be too high. I would not be supprised if the dealer got it for under a $100.

September 7, 2008, 09:39 AM
With $400 being within about $100 of what you could likely buy a brand new one for at "Big Box" retailer with a bit of shopping, then the price he's asking for it in the condition you describe seems borderline outrageous to me.

As for any "collector" value a piece from 1957 might've had, that went pretty much down the tube when the original sight parts disappeared and wood got Bubba'd. It's been my experience that the single most important factor most serious collectors look for in an item is that everything is as it was when it left the factory, followed by overall condition as a percentage of NIB.

Personally, unless the year 1957 has some overwhelming significance to you, I think you could look around a bit and get a much nicer M-39A for the money.

As for a Williams 5-D, Midway had 'em for about $35 in their flyer recently. Since virtually all post-war 39's came from the factory D&T'ed for a receiver sight (until very recently) I wouldn't consider the fact that the one you mention has one as being anywhere near enough of an "enhancement" to rationalize purchasing it, even if he knocked $100 off his asking price.

It'd cost a good deal more than that to find and obtain the correct-to-period OEM parts you'd need to restore it to a point where it might regain any significant whatever collector interest it may've once had. And even then, there's not a large chance that you'd be able to get a 'break even' price for it in the foreseeable future, given the other condition factors.

YMMV, but I wouldn't give $300 for it unless the bore and action parts were essentially in excellent shape and I really wanted one badly.

If your interests lie in

September 7, 2008, 09:57 AM
$250 or less. $400 will get you a Marlin 39A in GOOD shape, and not much more cash will get you a NEW Marlin 39A.

September 7, 2008, 10:43 AM
Picked up a used Marlin 39A in far better condition than that for $265 in a local pawnshop a few months back. Of course, when I first used it it had feeding problems (probably why the seller sold it to the pawn shop), but the pawn shop didn't know that and tightening the pivot screw on the "elevator" ramp fixed it.

September 7, 2008, 10:46 AM
Sounds like a definite "Don't buy" to me.


buzz meeks
September 7, 2008, 01:44 PM
That's what I figured folks. A definite pass. Thanks for all the opinions and insight. The only thing I might do is wait half a year or so and if it's still there make a lowball offer. I want a shooter grade 39A but I also want a shooter grade price.

September 7, 2008, 02:42 PM
I am looking for another old 39A myself, but $400 for what you described is way too steep. I would probably give $200 for it if it functions right (because my sons both want one) but I gave about $325 for a 1977 in about 85% condition with a new rear sight and tube.

September 7, 2008, 03:01 PM
Pass on that. 175-200 at most.

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