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The Good Old Mail Order Days

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by Clermont, Jan 4, 2012.

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  1. Clermont

    Clermont Member

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    The first advertisement for Hotchkiss machine guns, offered by Numrich Arms Company of West Hurley, New York, is from the November 1956 American Rifleman. The second advertisement for Boyes anti-tank rifles, offered by Ye Old Hunter of Arlington, Virginia, is also from the November 1956 American Rifleman. The third advertisement for Boyes anti-tank rifles, offered by Winfield Arms Corporation of Los Angeles, California, is also from the November 1956 American Rifleman. The fourth advertisement for unidentified WWII anti-tank cannons, offered by Potomac Arms Corporation of Alexandria, Virginia, is from the May 1965 Shooting Times. Only the Numrich Hotchkiss machine guns were deactivated, the rest were live and shootable.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2012
  2. crazy-mp

    crazy-mp Member

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    Less than a dollar a round for anti-tank ammo. Just think in 1956 minimum wage was raised to 1.00.

    I wonder how many of those are still floating around that were never registered.
     
  3. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    Great post and I always enjoy seeing ads and hearing stories before the 1968 GCA. Does anyone want to attempt to guess what those items are selling for today? If they are still available?
     
  4. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    I remember my Grandpaw getting guns from Sears by Mail! It was great to run out and meet the Mailman and be handed a boxed Shotgun or Rifle.
     
  5. Sobel

    Sobel Member

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    It looks like you could get a anti tank cannon of doom for the price of a Mosin nagant , how i wish i was alive in those days. Buy 4 give em to your kids sell em 4 generations later and your family will be rich.
     
  6. Clermont

    Clermont Member

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    Here are other pre Gun Control Act of 1968 mail order advertisements.

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  7. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    1956 Gun Control

    "...Note: With revolver orders enclose signed statement,"I am not an alien,have never been convicted of a crime of violence, am not under indictment or a fugitive. I am 21 years or over." ..." From the Winfield ads



    Thank you for posting these...This is priceless
     
  8. Ian

    Ian Member

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    I had the chance to chat with an elderly gunnie recently who owned one of the mail order Lahtis for a while. He and a friend would do mag dumps from it - apparently when using the ski mounts on snow, 10 rounds will push you back about 6 feet. :)
     
  9. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    My dad was a young kid in the 1950's, and when I was growing up I used to ask him questions about what those days were like. One thing he always told me was that things were cheaper then, but people made alot less money. He told me a story about when he was a teenager in the 1960's and he wanted to get a really nice gift for his brother's college graduation. The gift cost $5, but that money was hard to come by, and his dad only brought home about $30 each month.

    So yeah, those guns are way cheap compared to now (expecially compared to the percent of your income it would take to buy one these days), but back then I'm not so sure how many people, especially in the rural midwest, were able to drop $100 to buy a gun. That would have been more than a month's pay for my grandpa.

    It'd be nice to see the "mail order days" come back, but honestly what I would rather see is a country based on sound financial practices, common sense, and people getting back to being more self-reliant. It seems we have about an equal chance of either one happening. :scrutiny:
     
  10. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    A Long Lee for $20... ug I wish.
     
  11. langenc

    langenc Member

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    I had an acct w/ Western Gun & Sullpy in Lincoln, Nebraska.

    Could order and gun (had to pay up front) wholesale and it would be on the back porch in about 8 days. Had to mail order both ways-and sometimes had to wait for check to clear-no plastic in those days-late 50s-early 60s.

    Still have the Mossberg 22LR I bought myself for HS graduation ($28). The place I worked wanted to get me something for grad. I selected a Weaver B6-(3/4" tube). I could have gotten a K series (K4 or K6) but I didnt know they were buying. K6 then w/ mounts was less than $20, Id bet.
     
  12. fehhkk

    fehhkk Member

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    Wow, amazing!

    I was just converting all these prices in my head by adding a zero to everything. :O
     
  13. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    I remember. I bought a brand new, unfired Brit Mk 5 Jungle Carbine from Klein's in Chicago for $29, had it mailed to me. Hey, I can also remember buying spam cans of carbine ammo from DCM and going down to the Railway Express office to pick it up.

    About 1963 I drove up from South Carolina to Alexandria VA and went to Interarms to see what they had to offer. I bought a couple of rifles and on leaving, just next door to them, I saw some of those 25mm French artillery pieces for I think about $90. I was going to buy one and pull it back home but the tires were so bad both needed replacing. It was late in the day and I didn't have enough money to buy tires AND get a hotel for the night so I passed on the field piece. I still wonder if I made the right decision.

    And I bought a Boyes AT rifle and several boxes of ammo at a gun show about 1966, and registered it along with a few other goodies in the amnesty in November 1968. Ah yes, those were the days.
     
  14. mgregg85

    mgregg85 Member

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    Kinda sad to think about how many of those fine rifles were mangled with hacksaws and sandpaper and what not.
     
  15. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Member

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    I don't know exact conversion prices but I don't think those ads were "deals" even back then. I'm pretty sure that $2X dollars for a rifle pre-68 was more than the $1xx we pay for mil surps when they hit the market. Also, the ammo was much more expensive back then.
     
  16. theman838

    theman838 Member

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    The Mosin is just is just 60 less.
     
  17. toivo

    toivo Member

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    Cool ads! Before anybody goes gaga over the price, try adjusting for inflation.

    $1 in 1960 = $7.46 in 2011

    That $79 Enfield costs $589.34. The $49.95 Luger costs $372.63. Still really cool, though.

    I grew up about 15 miles away from Numrich Arms. They used to have a howitzer on the highway next to the sign that showed you where to turn off to get to the store. It was rigged to shoot a little flame out of the muzzle at regular intervals. As a kid, I thought that was pretty cool. I don't remember when they took it away.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  18. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    The first shotgun I bought, a Sears-Roebuck 12 ga double (Stevens 311, rebadged "Sears") sold for $79.95 in their catalog. I was 15-16 at the time, and my mother had to call and order it, but it was just delivered to the house, C.O.D. (Does anyone even ship "C.O.D." anymore? Probably not.). I also ordered a couple of boxes of shotgun shells (Sears/Ted Williams) and a brown canvas hunting coat. Total bill was probably still less than $100.00. This would have been in the mid 60's, just before the GCA 68 got passed.

    I worked on a farm that summer to earn that money. Five dollars a day, 10-12 hour days. Of course grown ups made more, but that was big money back then for a kig growing up out in rural Virginia.

    I see those Sears/Stevens 311's once in while still today. They seem to go for $350-400.00.
     
  19. Saakee

    Saakee Member

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    I see CODs going in to gun shops all the time. Lots of warehouses send their stuff to retailers COD but home delivery is pretty unusual nowadays (aside from food delivery like pizza or chinese) i believe since the majority of organizations no longer have their own delivery services. Credit/Debit has mostly killed it though.
     
  20. Clermont

    Clermont Member

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    The WWII cannon, on Route 28, was part of a billboard advertising Numrich Arms. It used propane and was timed to shoot a flame out of the barrel every minute or two. I suspect the Gun Control Act of 1968 was responsible for the cannon's removal. Numrich still has, I believe, two cannons kept on their property, outside of their facilities. Weather and time has taken its toll on these two cannons.
     
  21. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    February 1964
     

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    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  22. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    crazyjennyblack said:
    The federal minimum wage was raised to $1 in 1956.
    That means at a 40 hour full time work week at minimum wage someone made $40 a week, minus taxes.
    Or over $160 a month minus taxes, working minimum wage.
    Not a lot but certainly not $30 a month. Maybe $30 spending money after bills. Most people don't work minimum wage either.


    toivo said:

    Now lets compare a Mosin listed for $20 back then, with today's minimum wage of $7.25.
    Back then it took 20 hours working minimum wage to buy the Mosin.
    Today it is around $100 retail, regularly seen for $90 on sale.
    Today it would take 13.79 hours working minimum wage to buy that rifle.

    However a Mosin back then was probably a more desirable technology when bolt actions were more dominant than semi-autos and an inexpensive slightly less accurate bolt action not much of a sacrifice.
    So its not a straight inflation comparison, as a bolt action of moderate accuracy is not in high demand today.
    The Mosin was first made in 1891, produced in massive numbers to arm the Czars forces, and still produced into the 1960s, and was the standard rifle and fielded in WW2 by the Soviets.
    It was the mass produced Russian Empire/Soviet rifle.
    It was a cheap rifle out of date as of about WW2, when semi-auto came to dominate.
    So by the 1950s it was only retired for around a decade, and was at most a 60 year old design.

    So compare it to something similar today. Can someone today get an inexpensive milsurp semi-auto rifle, for about 20 hours of work at minimum wage? A 10-60 year old design and model that was mass produced? $145?
    No way.
    Of course part of that is because civilians cannot legally own or import most more recent milsurp rifles produced at low cost, because they were designed select-fire. Otherwise you probably could get an AK-47 that had been retired from service for close to that cost.
    So the 1950s Mosin equivalent of today, a mulsurp AK-47 is out of reach.
    And a sheet metal AK-47 shooting an intermediate power cartridge likely costs less to make in massive numbers than the Mosin Nagant using full power ammunition did in its time.
    Yet you still can't get the kind of deal on milsurp today that you could back then.

    So you cannot just compare straight across the board. The technology displayed on those adds was more recent and more in demand, and while milsurp in huge numbers post World Wars, commanded higher prices for the rifle itself (not the collector's value of some of them today.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  23. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    Clermon, not to derail your thread, but is there a reason why the font in all of your posts is so big?
     
  24. Clermont

    Clermont Member

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    The font in the opening thread was a little larger than I wanted but I think the size of the rest are okay, for those of us who require glasses to read small print, for easy reading. How is this size, better? I can adjust.
     
  25. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

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    Dude, this is one GREAT thread. A classic. The pictures and fliers are what did it. Just makes you sick. I had an old Sears ad for a Tommy gun (great for home or on the ranch!) with an old timer on the front porch of his shack holding his Chicago Typewriter at the hip. I wish I still had it, it would be nice to add here.

    Makes you wonder what some of this junk will be going for later on. I've already decided to invest in arms and not gold, I know more about it and it is a lot harder to steal someone's guns than it is their gold --not to mention the fact I missed out on the gold steal, the buy time was right about the time Bush took office or in the '90's. At the moment, I'm banking on what the Smith and Wesson 3rd gen. autos will be worth in 30 years, because in 30 years they'll most likely all be plastic save a few 1911's.
     
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