1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Advise please

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by duckfoot, Sep 8, 2003.

  1. duckfoot

    duckfoot member

    A neighbor down the street asked me to take a look at her late husband’s firearm collection and try to find out exactly what is taking up an entire room in her house. I started digging and have come up with 20 long arms and 10 pistols all in great shape and most in mint condition and LOTS of reloading equipment and supplies. Mostly WWI and WWII era some custom stuff. In Worn leather case I found a .375 double rifle with lots of really great engraving (can’t figure the maker). So the advice part is what to do with it all? I told her the ballpark amount she could get if she sold it all, but she said that “Henry†wouldn’t like that. I asked if she would be interested in donating items to museums and such. I asked if her kids or grandkids would like to have any of Henry’s guns and her reply was that none of the seem to be interested in that stuff or would sell it as soon as they could. She really doesn’t feel like keeping it there till it rots to dust because so much of her husbands time and life was put into caring and shooting those firearms. Gents and ladies, this old gal is tuff as nails but doesn’t have a lot of friends, except me the Mrs. and a few others her age, and I really afraid of steering her wrong or not seeing another option after it’s too late. ANY and I mean ANY advise or ideas would be welcomed

    She offered me the .375 for my trouble. I said no, but I said that I would like the Colt 1911 with the "property of the Army" stamp, if she didn’t mind. Her reply “that’s Henry’s favorite he would love for you to have itâ€. Ever see a grown man cry?


  2. CWL

    CWL Well-Known Member

    Take care of that lady duckfoot, she sounds like a real sweetheart.

    If those guns are truly collectable, start with any records that your friend may have kept. Serious collectors ought to have a reciept book, or collectors notes. He may have belonged to some sort of collectors society as well.

    30 guns aint all that much, perhaps you could list a few of the rarer-looking ones for people here to comment about.

    Contact local museums that have a firearms collection and ask if they wouldn't mind evaluating the collection as a possible donation to the general collection (make sure you arrange a "cannot sell" clause as part of the donation terms).

    Perhaps a local American Legion post is maintaining a collection of WWI-WWII firearms?

    Contact auction houses specializing in militaria to get their opinions about values, these often have Estate Sales specialists (you can forget to tell them that she doesn't plan on selling ;) )
  3. .41Dude

    .41Dude Active Member

    I would try to aim it at a museum. If no other family members are interested. A local man died here a couple of years ago (Boise, Idaho)
    and left his very extensive gun collection to our local historical museum. I have visited the museum a couple of times since they put most of his collection on display. I walked away in awe at what one man could collect.
    To leave such a gift for future generations to see was inspirational to me.
    I would also keep the .45 and enjoy it. Shoot it if it is a "shooter", or keep it well oiled in a place of honor in your home if it is too pristine to shoot. The lady is lucky to have found you for advice. There are too many people out there who think of nothing but dollar signs. Good luck to you.
  4. S_O_Laban

    S_O_Laban Well-Known Member

    Ditto on what the others have said. Glad to see you trying to keep this deal on the high road. You can't go wrong doing what is best for this widow.
  5. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Duck - you are truly a friend of Henry & his wife.

    It's better for us to sell our collections off than to leave the task to the surviving spouse. If that surviving spouse doesn't have any idea what it's worth, they can get taken for a ride and never realize the potential.

    Realizing my own mortality has really curtailed my buying. I've even considered drafting a will and leaving some guns to specific museums.
  6. duckfoot

    duckfoot member

    Well CWL the short list of what she has is:

    The rifles (I think but not 100% of the following)

    William Evans Double rifle in a .375 H&H (found the papers)

    Winchester Model 1885 High Wall Single Shot Rifle. in fair shape

    Nazi stamped 98k, looks mint.

    Remington 1903A4, in good shape.

    Three M1's, one mint, the other two in good shape.

    M1C, looks mint.

    M1986 Krag Jorgensen, in good shape. nice wood!!

    M1898 Krag Jorgensen carbine, looks in fair shape.

    M1873 Trapdoor Rifle in outstanding shape.

    And then more up to date stuff after that.

    The pistols (I think but not 100% of the following)

    Colt woodsmen good shape

    Colt 1911 Property maked Army (mine:D)

    Colt python, with out a letter in the S/N

    Colt SSA ? fair shape

    Mauser 96 (broomhandel) in fair shape

    Walther p-38 outstanding shape (seems to have been brought back by Henry's father)

    and then more upto date stuff after that

    Still looking for records for now because I only had a hour to look the first time. I'll be back over in the morning and try to find out what I can.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2003
  7. Majic

    Majic Well-Known Member

    Don't donate it to the museum, but rather lend it to them to dislpay. That way they can be seen by others, be cared for, and she retains ownership. Try the local military base as most have museums with large firearms displays. My father has loan the Army base near us firearms for display in the past.
  8. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

    Yup, here's the point where you run into problems. ;) Broomhandles, for instance, are a hobby unto themselves, with zillions of variations.

    Had a guy come in the store the other day and ask what his Luger was worth. I asked him what kind of Luger it was, and he replied "German." I told him "Well, somewhere between $200 and $35,000, depending on the specific variant and condition." ;)
  9. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Well-Known Member

  10. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Well-Known Member

    Do they deactivate or demill guns that go into museums?

    I was at the Admiral nimitz museum / museum of the pacific war
    (lots and lots of guns) and there was a small sign that read something to the effect that they deactivated some of Nimitz's guns so they could be
    put on display.

    I would make sure that worst they would do is remove the firing pin.
  11. duckfoot

    duckfoot member

    I think that she might be leaning to the donation route because that's the only idea that I didn't get an immediate no to. We shall see, I'll keep you up dated.

  12. denfoote

    denfoote Well-Known Member

    If she wants to go the donation route, contact the NRA. They have a fine museum!! :D
  13. greyhound

    greyhound Well-Known Member

    Sounds like that gentleman may have been in the ETO during WW II.....God Bless him!

    My how things change...wonder how many AKs and Hi-Powers our lads will be bringing back from Iraq?

    Many small towns will even have museums. I was visiting the GFs parents in Alabama, and the tiny town of Aliceville, AL used to have a German POW camp there, and they had a little museum with some of the stuff local fellows brought back, uniforms, weapons, etc. I'm sure some of these types of places operate on a shoestring budget and would greatly appreciate the help.

    The GFs grandfather flew bombers over Germany, and it was way cool to see his uniform and souveniers on display for future generations.
  14. Monte Harrison

    Monte Harrison Well-Known Member

    Are you kidding? I got choked up just reading that.
  15. Hutch

    Hutch Well-Known Member

    Altho' it seems like a dream job, the process 'Foot is going thru is jinn-you-whine PITA. It's worse if the widder really, really needs the money. If this 'un does, I'd recommend making her a modest cash offer to start, with the understanding that if further research (or offers) reveal that any of the guns is worth a bunch more than you thought. you make her whole on that deal. The offer of a gun to do this is a nice gesture on her part.
  16. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Well-Known Member

    With anything but guns, i'd say they belong in a museum, however, no one can get a proper appreciation for a firearm by looking at it as it gathers dust in a glass case.

    I'd make the widow an offer on them, or arrange some sort of loan or something so you can expose more shooters to these pieces.

    Consider talking to the fellers at oldguns.net.
  17. 45R

    45R Well-Known Member


    Your a true gentleman!!

  18. mormonsniper

    mormonsniper Well-Known Member

    It sounds as if she is by herself.... If this is the case, I recommend a complete inventory of all firearms and then try to find a way to secure them before anything else. If there is no "gun safe", then split up the inventory and store at trusted friends places. Keep possible loses to a minimum.
    Give her a copy of the inventory (inventory it with her there) and then keep a copy for yourself. Get this done then find a way to satisfactorily dispose of the firearms. The previous suggestions on equity to the widow are great should the firearms be worth more than you might initially give her.
    I would also check on insurance riders to make sure the firearms are covered against theft, loss, etc. many insurance companies require "extra" to insure highly desireable items, like guns, jewelry, and other expensive "stuff". We might all check or insurance policies from time to time.... Sorry this is so long.
    Blessings to all.
  19. HankB

    HankB Well-Known Member

    I differ from the others here . . . I would NOT put them in a museum. Museum collections change, and who's to say whether or not some future curator is a member of HCI and decides to have them melted down? Or locals protest, and they get removed from display?

    There seem to be some mighty fine firearms there . . . but candidly, unless there's some documented "history" behind some of the firearms, it doesn't really sound like it's the basis for a museum display. Philosophically, I'd MUCH rather they were in the hands of shooters who will use them and appreciate them for what they are, and maybe pass them on to THEIR kids.

    Sadly, that means the collections will probably be broken up, but that way it may bring a smile to MANY individuals.

    And kudos to you, duckfoot, for your integrity. Passing on a double rifle for a 1911 demonstrates that you really are trying to help the lady, and not take advantage of her.
  20. gulogulo1970

    gulogulo1970 Well-Known Member

    Duckfoot your doing a good thing. Just do what you and her feel is right. You can't go wrong helping somone else.

Share This Page