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How important is provenance to you?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Ivy Mike, Aug 11, 2021.

  1. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike Member

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    I've been wanting to buy a couple more modern rifles lately and am just about out of room in my safe. The bulk of the room is taken up by milsurp stuff I inherited from my grandfather. Nothing all that rare or unique, probably only a couple thousand bucks all told, but I found something interesting in a trunk that I got from my dad's house when he passed away. I have the paperwork describing some of the weapons my granddad picked up during his time in the Pacific theater. My guess is this is he was able to ship some of this home as he was an MP and later part of the occupation force in Japan. There are two Japanese Arisaka rifles, a late war type 99 w/mum intact and a type 44 w/o mum, both with bayonets. Also included was a Belgian FN model 1910 in .32acp and a machine-made Army issued non-comm's katana.

    Does the paperwork add to the value at all? The weapons themselves were definitely used and are what I would call rack grade. I don't have a lot of history on these pieces other than what grandpa talked about a couple decades ago. He picked the rifles up on Okinawa, got the sword on mainland Japan during the occupation and the pistol from a "a Jap officer who didn't need it anymore."

    The rifles don't really have any value to me other than grandpa picked them up when he was my age. I've never even fired the Type 99. I take the sword out every once in a great while just to give the blade a wipe with an oily rag.
     
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  2. BLACKHAWKNJ

    BLACKHAWKNJ Member

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    Paperwork adds value, it's like purchasing a firearm in its original box, or getting a factory letter. Bat Masterson "authenticated" a lot of his firearms, in the 1960s a collector bought a black powder Colt SAA and received a factory letter showing it had been shipped to W. B .Masterson, Dodge City, Kansas in 1880. All firearms have stories but documentation proves them.
     
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  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I am not a collector but it is my OPINION that capture papers for enemy weapons would add to their resale value. Grandpa's paperwork would be a big bonus in the family heirloom category.
     
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  4. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    It might add value to the family heirloom category. But unless your grandpa was famous it probably won't add $25 in value to anyone else.
     
  5. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Sorry, but why would you even contemplate selling those family heirlooms? I can't even process that line of thinking.
     
  6. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Paperwork and the absence of importer marks add value to these types of items. I am lucky enough to be the owner of a Steyr made 1943 K98 with all matching numbers, several swastikas, and no importer marks, in good condition. Very possible it came home in a GI's duffle bag in '45.
     
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  7. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    Not only the bring back paperwork, but the story of how the firearm was obtained, and your grandfathers name and rank, what capacity he served in, and what battles he fought, adds to the value. Every detail is important to note. The more history that adds to its being where it is today, the better. Proof is important so the documents carry more weight than the story.
    If your grandfather was still alive the story written and signed by him would add interest and value. How much value ? Provenance value is determined by a number of factures, but always has some value to add to the firearm.
     
  8. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    In the end, it’s all just “stuff”. People build multiple buildings, rent storage lockers, run themselves out of their own homes with “stuff”. Think American Pickers. Americans are spoiled rotten. We’ve got fifty guns we never shoot and lust for #51.

    I grew up on a farm in a rural area. Lots of families got by with a single shot 12 or 16 gauge and a .22. A big collection was 8-10 guns total.

    In the end, we never own anything. We are simply gifted it’s use while we are here. Just like your grandpa got them from someone else, you got them from him. Someone will get them from you.

    If you have ANY debt, sell them and pay off whatever you can. Zero debt is your friend.

    If they mean little or nothing to me, it’s time to move along. Whether it’s now or ten years from now means nothing in the scheme of things
     
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  9. tark

    tark Member

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    I can't say it any better than mnrivrat already has.
     
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  10. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Does it have the "duffel-cut" stock? Thats usually a dead giveaway on a K98.
     
  11. commygun

    commygun Member

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    Depends entirely on the gun and what value I attach to any provenance. I’d love to have a pristine Browning 1955 and you can keep Gavrilo Princip’s FN 1910. OTOH, I’ll take that battered Nagant 1895 with the NKVD provenance (whatever that would look like) and you can keep the minty Century ‘90’s import.
     
  12. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Nope- stock is fully intact
     
  13. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Like Mnrivrat said; If I’m collecting a WWII rifle, having an unmarked gun with the paperwork and bring back story sure makes that rifle more interesting (aka desireable), so I’m willing to pay more for it all together than just a generic gun with ground off marks at a gun show.

    Sooo, if you have authentication paperwork, photos, etc. keep them with the gun(s) in case you do decide to part with it (them).

    Stay safe.
     
  14. Basura Blanca

    Basura Blanca Member

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    I inherited quite a few guns many years ago, a few being wwii relics that had paperwork. One is a Mauser pocket pistol with a holster. The notes for it indicate that there was also a sword and scabbard, but those were apparently lost at some point and everyone who would know anything is now long dead. Having the paperwork is cool, but the story went that this was something my grandfather traded some other guy something else for so the provenance isn't anything heroic or fancy. What's better and more important to me personally, is there are some postwar pics of my dad and uncle, along with grandpa, shooting this and some of the other guns in a field somewhere in the middle of Los Angeles, presumably the Hawthorne area, maybe near LAX. It's hard to tell exactly where. The reason that guns stands out above the others is because there's a story in there, even though it's rather mundane and that there's definitive proof it was used and enjoyed by family members who've passed.
     
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  15. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    True documentation, which can be found, must be pretty rare.
    I can't imagine selling any such gun.

    My late father-in-law "liberated" a few handguns (officers had the first access) from Nazi leader Hermann Goering's house in Bavaria. John was a Quartermaster, and had volunteered to be attached to the 101st Airborne, during every campaign (was shelled in Bastogne Belgium).

    But John had no documentation (might never have existed) or photos of the gun's origin in Hermann Goering's house, or earlier ownership, and over a few years gave them to people back in the US when he owed them a favor.
     
  16. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    I get your point on stuff. I am the 4th son of a share cropper and got by with very little stuff as I grew up. My first gun was a .22 single shot rifle that was used to put meat on the table. Often the price of a box of shells was not available. A local gas station sold .22 LR ammo by the each for 1 cents so a nickel put 5 rabbits or squirrels on the table if I did my part. The gun bought used for $8.75 as I recall.
    As to collecting stuff I will say this. Whatever makes you happy in life is not a bad thing. Looking forward to the next item gives you a sense of purpose, and whatever you collect is not a worthless piece of stuff. Often items collected can grow in value a lot more than the .06 % you draw from your checking account balance. In the case of firearms you also have the pleasure of usage if you want.
    Anyone who has gotten in touch with their mortality recognizes that nothing can be brought with you when you leave this existence. That makes having stuff you can enjoy in any manner today all that more important . I have been at times debt free, and at other times had some debt. I didn't feel any difference. Debt is only a problem when it is not managed well. To much debt of course is an issue that should stop you from buying stuff , and should prompt the sale of stuff to get debt under control.
    Some people strive to have a large bank account, others spend their money on travel or eating out at fancy and expensive restaurants. Enjoying your life in any manner that hurts no one else is what I see as being most important. There are much worse endeavors than spending your money collecting firearms.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
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  17. caribou

    caribou Member

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    Its not hard and fast rules, but here go's on Trophy's and WW2
    In Europe, during the war, if you could fit it in a duffel bag, it could be shipped home, hence the "Duffel cut" in many stocks. You didnt need high ranking approval or a box, just your personal duffle.
    You didnt want to get caught with contraband weapons or explosives, it was made clear you would lose everything, lose pay and rank and maybe jail.
    That was stopped at wars end and then approved trophy papers were needed and a box made for shipping approved guns home.
    In the Pacific, rifles captured during the war were easily crated and sent home, no problemo, Chrysanthemum intact and all (What ever fit in the box)
    I imagine some rifles came home from the Pacific in duffel bags, but taking home a trophy was routine in that war, and Type 38 Rifles are fairly long. Type 99's are almost K98k length.
    After the war, Occupation troops in Japan could take home crated rifles , but with the mum destroyed, as all rifles in Japan had the Mums scrubbed.
    In occupied areas out of Japan, The Mum was allowed to be kept intact if it was a trophy going home.
    Pistols, knifes and swords were take 'em as you get 'em in both theaters.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  18. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike Member

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    Because they are tools. It's not like there aren't hundreds of thousands of these things kicking around. I have a couple other items from him that I won't sell like his Springfield 1899 Carbine that was his deer rifle. I've never fired it either but it's in beautiful shape, despite being put in a monte carlo style sporter stock. One day I might try to find an original stock but probably won't. I have a Marlin Model 39 from him as well that is never getting sold unless someone just has to have it. It has the star on it, octagonal barrel too. Not a 39A, an OG 39. There's also a Colt New Army in .38 long that I don't think I'll ever part with.

    but the war trophies? Meh. I was giving serious consideration to rechambering the Type 44 into 6.5 Grendel before I found the papers.
     
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  19. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike Member

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    Interesting. Good to know, thanks for the heads up.
     
  20. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    The Lebel bayonet and Iron Cross (from a German who didn't need it anymore) that my Grandpa brought back from the trenches of WW1 are priceless to my family. We also have items he picked-up from Okinawa and the Nagasaki area of Japan as a Red Cross Field Manager in WWII, some of very high value, but it doesn't really matter as they are not going anywhere.

    I hope you are the end of the bloodline and none of his other descendents might want the weapons.
     
  21. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Gunto, not a katana. The issue gunto (issue blade) is worth @$200-250. The guns are worth more.
    Also, you might want to have someone who knows Japanese blades look at the gunto. Many were family blades cut down a little to fit the issue Tsuba and saya. My Dad had one his uncle, an Intellegence officer, brought back from the Pacific. He put an ad in the paper, and the guy who paid $400 for it, told him it was a family blade, named the family and the swordmaker, it dated from the 18th century. The previous owner had been an officer, so the saya was fancier than the issue metal one, but the Tsuba was issue.
     
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  22. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    The value added will be to the person interested in buying as buyer ALWAYS determines the value of anything.

    I collect USA made precision tools as hobby and other odd items as well. I do not buy anything for appreciation value rather what that item brings to my heart. When I hold a machinist tool in my hand like Brown & Sharpe micrometer while reloading (Bought from a pawn shop for $5 as a bonus while buying a like new gas auger), it brings me thoughts of years of tool use during heydays of manufacturing in the USA. If there was additional paperwork or factory boxes like Starrett calipers, micrometers and tools came in (Bought from a retired machinist/engine builder), it would add value to me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
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  23. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Nice find! (The Browne & Sharp mic)
     
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  24. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike Member

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    Nope, not the end of the bloodline and I don't really care. Good for you and your family.
    Since this seems so important to you, would you like to make me an offer on the lot? Two rifles w/ bayonets, sword and FN 1910? The FN safety doesn't like to stay up enough to hold the slide back, and one of the grip panels is damaged. But I do have the original Belgian-made holster. And of course, the paperwork for it all. I have a request in to the National Archives for his service record but I do recall him saying he was a sergeant in the US army. I'll know more in the next month or so.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  25. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike Member

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    Funny you should mention that. I do have his old toolbox with machinists tools, some of which are still in their packages. Also have a couple of his union cards with his dues stamps in 1962 from the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union. He went to work as a maintenance worker in a local shipyard in Southern California and later as a machinist, and finally ended up at the Mobil Oil Refinery in Torrance, CA.
    Those, however, are never leaving me.
     
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