November 18, 2021
Dad used to say, “Something’s only worth what someone’s willing to pay for it.” I’ve spent my life struggling to argue with his statement because I tend to be sentimental. What I own is always worth more to me than what I’ve wanted to accept in exchange. That said, I love finding deals.
I surveyed the wares at a recent gun show. The vendors were fewer than in years past, but there was a record number of attendees. Many sellers had raised prices to make more money than what guns and ammo typically sell for. This was especially so with firearms having collector interest.
A table displaying some 20 Colt Single Action Army revolvers didn’t have one marked for less than $2,500. And if there was a factory letter with it — which most on the table had — prices started at $4,500 and ranged to $20,000!
Another vendor was selling M1 Carbines and parts. You see, I’m in the market for a historically correct shooter. I carefully looked over a National Postal Meter M1 Carbine first, which isn’t a common brand. My smile turned into a frown after flipping the tag. “$3,500,” it read. Confused, I set it down and shuffled through the standing crowd to look at an Inland M1. $2,900? What’s going on here? I thought. The “42nd Edition Blue Book of Gun Values” list these at $1,950 for the National Postal Meter model in 98 percent condition — which it was not — and $1,675 for the Inland!
A Winchester Model 1873 made in 1889 in .38-40 tempted me for $1,695, which seemed fair, but at that moment my enthusiasm was soured. Leaving a gun show empty-handed is never fun. Now I wish that I had pulled the trigger on that ’73.
Even though I opined that the show’s prices for firearms, ammunition and optics were too high, there were plenty of people who felt differently. I witnessed stacks of greenbacks changing hands. This is how one seller justified his pricing on boxes of 9mm: “Someone in this building will pay a dollar a round.”
On March 26, I attended a virtual auction of guns from Ted Nugent’s collection. I knew he was a proponent of the 10mm and Smith & Wesson revolvers, so I wasn’t going to miss it. Handgun Editor Jeremy Stafford previewed the Lots during a video exclusive that was posted a day prior at gunsandammo.com. Stafford’s interview with Nugent revealed several interesting backstories, so I registered to bid.
For hours, gun after gun exceeded auction estimates. Romanian WASR AK-style rifles that were left-over gifts to the crew of his 2012 tour sold from $4,000 to $5,000 each. A cased Smith & Wesson Model 629 presented to Nugent by the band KISS after a tour sold for $8,000. Another concert gift, a custom-engraved Browning Hi-Power with pearl grips, brought $16,000. (The estimate was $2,000 to $3,500.) Sale prices were unbelievable.
Among the winners, however, was Derek Sevcik, executive vice president and group publisher for the Outdoor Sportsman Group. He placed several bids and scored a nickeled Smith & Wesson Model 629 with 8 3⁄8-inch barrel. At $2,250, I thought that he paid too much, but now that I’ve thought about it, I realize that I was wrong. He paid exactly what it was worth.
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