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Don't raise the price, lower the value

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by FlSwampRat, May 1, 2019.

  1. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    So this customer brings in a Colt 1911. First I ran the serial number for two bits of info; was it stolen and when was it made. No and 1947.
    It had a cerokote job on it that was so bad it looked like paint. Including orange peel in a couple of spots. Some parts had been changed (barrel bushing, safety and slide release). I asked him why and he said the bluing was bad and so he called around and got the cheapest quote on coating the gun and he'd tossed the original parts. He thought it was worth more with the modifications.
    If they'd been done in 1948 or so when the gun was contemporary, I could understand it. but why take a fine 65+ year old gun (he had the mods done only a couple of years ago) and just lower the collector value. It wasn't a collector's piece in the late 40's, but to take a fine vintage gun and just..... Ugh.
     
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  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    i don't like what the guy did, but i don't have any problem with replacing worn parts to keep the gun in service and used for what it was made for.
     
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  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Had an older Colt Government that someone did a rather poor nickel plating job on. Had some mismatched parts but the gun had a fairly decent trigger. No collector's value but when I dropped a National Match barrel and bushing in it, man could that gun shoot, even with those tiny factory sights!
     
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  4. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    OP, you can't win them all. I have a mismatch 1911/1911A1 that someone had nickel plated. It works fine and I got it cheap.
    IMO guns are functional tools and I only have one that I've never fired.
     
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  5. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    My point was that he'd turned a collectible into a shooter. Nothing wrong with mismatched parts on a shooting iron, but if you have something that is all there original and it's truly vintage, at least keep the original parts and don't mess with the finish.
    I shake my head at all those classic motorcycles we turned into custom choppers when they weren't classics yet. Guess I'm just old and grumpy with a love of things of equal age. In the case of that Colt, it's 5 years older than me.
    I made him an offer based on it's shooting value, but he thought it was still a collectible. Difference of a couple of hundred dollars as far as I was concerned.
     
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  6. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    P.S. I have no safe queens, my guns are shooters only. I don't have the money to spend on sculpture. We're in agreement there.
     
  7. AZAndy
    • Contributing Member

    AZAndy Contributing Member

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    I like that! Never heard it put that way before. I must confess to having a couple of sculpture guns, though at least they were cheap.
     
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  8. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Put period correct parts on it. Bead blast and repark or melonite.

    Problem solved.
     
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  9. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    I'm not disparaging collectors who have truly collectible things. Just saying that if I buy a gun I buy it to shoot. If I had more money I could really dig a large number of "handle with gloves on only" guns, but I'm not in that tax bracket. I have no issue with the guy who owned that Colt shooting it or even swapping parts out to make it more usable to him as a shooter. But the idea of chucking the OEM parts just struck me as silly. I remember a lot of classic motorcycle stock parts that got chucked into dumpsters when someone was customizing a bike that are now like gold. Change the sights, slide release, whatever, they just pop off and you can put the real ones back if you want to sell it.
     
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  10. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    The fact remains that it is his gun and he's free to do as he wishes with it. The good thing about it is that any value it has lost will come out of his pocket if he ever sells it, not yours.
     
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  11. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I've rescued a few guns like that, where amateur or ignorant people have messed them up. I had a fine series 70 commander that someone molested- cheap "custom" gun show bought parts, some awful sights, etc- with the original parts tossed.. I wasn't able to put it back to original configuration, but I did make a nice custom carry piece out of it.
     
  12. Wisco

    Wisco Member

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    I see stuff like that at gun shows mostly. Superficially nice stuff, but further inspection shows non matching parts, buggered screws, cut stocks, etc.

    The guys want 100% blue book value for Model 70s, 94s, etc and they’re more like 50%...if I was even into fixing stuff.
     
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  13. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    This happens in other areas too. Some don't realize what they have nor really take the time to learn. Thus they do what they feel will bring more enjoyment for their type of ownership. With some massed produced items one may not know if they lose touch and to them the value from attrition only comes many-many years later.

    I was talking about baseball cards and comics I had as a kid with a collector. Some of what I have if they were in pristine graded condition could bring in the $35K-$50K range. As a 6-8 year old who thinks to treasure their comics and baseball cards in that way? We carried them in our pockets, read the comics, etc. I sold a few recently and was lucky to get $5 for one. If I had put them in protective sleeves with acid free cardboard backers, some of those could have been retirement funding.
     
  14. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    I think a lot of times this happens out of pure ignorance. People who aren't "into" vintage guns don't understand what they have or what they're doing. And then some don't want to hear it anyway.
     
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  15. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    Instead of looking at it like he lowered the value of his '47 1911... think of it as he raised the value of every other old 1911 in original condition!
     
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  16. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Maybe he’s just a shooter and wanted to keep it going.

    Or maybe he’s stupid.

    Either one is a legitimate reason to do what was described from the owners perspective.
     
  17. Dustbowl

    Dustbowl Member

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    Most of the time when I deal with this problem it’s because they didn’t know what they had. But if you tell them about the past value then they assume it’s collectible even though that’s gone. So now I only comment if it’s still in decent condition.
     
  18. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

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    Back in the 80s, I picked up a WWII vintage carbine that someone had hot-blued. The LGS that sold it to me said it was made in 42 by Inland, (small rear sight) and had virtually no collectible value as a result and sold it as a shooter. Wonder if the guy who mutilated it lived long enough to see how much value it would have had if he'd left it alone.
    Oh well, I got a great deal on it and it took a few coyotes and one mule deer doe, along with tons of rabbits and tin cans before we parted ways.
     
  19. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    That'll improve the situation, but it'll still always be a refinished gun now rather than original finish.
     
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  20. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I find it fascinating that people see a vintage firearm or vehicle perfectly restored through a combination of hard work and much time spent tracking down expensive parts, then look at their example, which is inoperable and has been sitting out in the open subjected to the elements for decades, and are somehow convinced they have similar value.
     
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  21. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    FYI, I'm a pawnbroker and he was trying to sell it to me. He wanted too much. I couldn't care less what someone does to a gun in their possession until it comes in my store and the person wants to sell it.
     
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  22. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    Well, the reason they're worth the $35K+ is exactly because we carried them in our pockets, flipped them playing odds and evens in the schoolyard etc. It made the pristine ones much more rare and therefore much more valuable. I can understand someone, when the gun was new and there were bunches of them, customizing the gun in question. Even then, however, safe the pieces you replace for future re-installation. These mods, however, were recently done. Kinda like taking that Amazing Fantasy #15, rolling it up and putting it in your back pocket nowadays just like we did in 1962.
    Again, it's not my consideration if someone does that to their possession until I'm involved with it being offered for sale or trade. You want to make that 6" Python into a 2" snubbie python with your metal cutting chop saw, hey, have at it. Just don't come to me and expect $2k as an offer price for me to take it into the store.
     
  23. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    A collectible with worn bluing is worth more than a refinished gun in pristine condition. Something of which a lot of people are unaware.
     
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  24. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    Exactly. I can't tell you how many students I had go through my CCW classes who would show me an old handgun and immediately say they were going to have it refinished. Usually including a polish "to make it look nice". I always advised against it usually with the argument that the condition it was in told a story about what the gun had been through. Nobody believed refinishing it wouldn't make it more valuable. Generally they didn't listen. Sadly some would look me up later to show me their ruined, vintage handgun.

    Dave
     
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  25. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    Cheap is good. Not as good as free, but you can't have everything.
    In college my fraternity's motto was "Nothing beats 'for free' ".
     
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