Saturday, March 09, 2013

Condition Is Everything Part II

"Hey, how much is my gun worth?"

"Do you have it with you?"


 Below are two Remington 51 .380ACP pistols, both of which could honestly be described by a non-collector over the phone to the poor gun store clerk as "Well, it's in pretty good shape..."

And they both are. They're both all there; the grip panels are intact and all the markings are clearly legible; their bores are both good and both function and still possess their original magazines...

The top pistol was probably made in 1919 (serial number in the mid 4-digit range) and is about a 95% gun. It has light wear on the high spots around the muzzle and a freckle or two here and there, and nosing around the web and looking at the Blue Book, I wouldn't be too embarrassed to hang a $600 price tag on it at a gun show to see if anyone bit.

The gun below it is also mechanically solid, all there, and functions fine. It's right on the borderline between a Variant I and a Variant II (it has the Remington logo on the frame and the .380 marking on the chamber, but it still has the old 9-serration slide) which dates it to 1921. While it's all there mechanically, the finish is worn to a dull gray patina in most places and there's evidence of previous pitting on the slide... Let's call it 40%, which puts book at $225.

You can see why one of my least favorite phone calls was the ol' "How much is my gun worth?" (There was always an awkward silence as I fought back the urge to say "Hold it up to the phone where I can see it better.")


Jeffro said...

It always depends.

Phillip said...

"Hold it up to the phone where I can see it better."

What's cool is nowadays you can, if the people on both ends have smartphones. This futuretech is cool.

d said...

Thanks for reminding me why I don't (can't) work in contact with the public!

"What's my {vague description} worth?"
"What gun is best for my grandma?"
"I shot a gun a long time ago, I think it was a rifle with a wood stock, but it might have been a plastic revolver ... can you help me find one?"

Kristophr said...

d: The third person obviously needs a Mosin-Nagant.

Insist that this rifle is the gun he shot a long time ago.

global village idiot said...

I have a fair idea which end of the gun the bullet comes out of, but what I really know well is older watches. It's what comes of growing up in a family of watchmakers.

Watch values are easy. There are three ranges and it's only for watches in running condition. So when a person says "How much is my watch worth?" I can simply say,

It's worth between X and X+Y depending on its condition.


Firehand said...

Reminds me of a too-often phone call at work:
"Why can't I enter this?"
What happens when you send it?
"It's rejected."
Ok, what does the reject say?
"It says REJECT."
And so on.

d said...

Thanks, I'll now advise all people with that question that it was a M-N of some made-up-on-the-spot variant.

Much as I always identify vague "please ID this gun" online postings without pictures as velo-dog revolvers (and I'm right a surprising percentage of the time on those!)