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Is provenance worth more
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April 23, 2022 - 3:49 pm
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I am looking to get members feelings on provenance. Do people think a gun that comes from a well known collector add value? If so how much more. 

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April 23, 2022 - 4:49 pm
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It does not,  there has been big time collectors who had questionable guns in there collection. When you become a big time player, all the dealers try to feed you iron and at times they are guns with issues and they don’t catch it so having a gun from a big collector does not mean its a right gun.  Now a famous person that is a collector is a different story and then you want a well documented history including a notarized letter or a good photo with the person holding the gun that positively ID’s the gun.Without solid documentation the gun will not reach its full potential. Every time the gun changes hands the buyer is always to question is this story real or was it concocted to jack the price up. Even if you buy a gun from old time family and have them write down the history on  the kitchen table and sign it but don’t get it notarized you know it real because you were there but the next person may not. I’ve bought nice guns and tracked it back to a family and paid them $100 to notarize a letter.

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April 23, 2022 - 4:54 pm
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If by “collector” you mean a well-known rich guy who had the dough to buy anything he wanted, I say hell no.  If you mean a collector who was also a serious historian, like Gary Quinlan, John Dutcher, Larry Wilson, Bill Brophy, & many others, I’d say yes. 

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April 23, 2022 - 5:07 pm
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1873man said  Even if you buy a gun from old time family and have them write down the history on  the kitchen table and sign it but don’t get it notarized you know it real because you were there but the next person may not. I’ve bought nice guns and tracked it back to a family and paid them $100 to notarize a letter.

Bob  

Notaries merely affirm the identity of the person putting his signature to the document, but are in no position to validate the “real story,” whatever it is.  As for “family histories” passed down from one generation to the next, they’re highly unreliable, as folks bringing their “family heirlooms” to the Antiques Roadshow find out all the time.

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April 23, 2022 - 5:29 pm
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  This is just my opinion. If a collector has a gun in their collection for a long period of time it stands to reason they liked it. The next question is, why our they selling it? The next question is, are they being honest with you? The next question is, are they knowledgeable enough to know what they have? The final question is, do you know the seller good enough to trust him?

 Provenance on big money guns does help, it proves it existed and was known in the past. Being owned for a long time by a honest gun dealers or collectors does make it easier to pull the trigger on a purchase, but does not add dollars to the sale. You still have to know what your looking at and the gun has to stand on it’s own!

 I’m not talking about a gun with historical significance.   T/R

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April 23, 2022 - 6:02 pm
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The only provenance I have on my Model 42 is the engraving on the side plate.  I was told that the engraving lowered the value about 50%.  The person who’s name is on the gun worked for Du Ponte as the man in charge of powder development.  He also was in charge of all the shoots that took place at DuPonte’s  Brandywine trap facility.  He was also the interim President of AATA when it was formed.  He was replaced by John Philip Sousa as the first elected President of the AATA (later just the ATA).  He remained active in trapshooting into the 1970s.  I just don’t have any hard copy provenance.  Bummer!  RDB

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April 23, 2022 - 6:35 pm
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I would pursue him on line. There is audio interview with him in 1958 where he discusses his history. You might find where he talks about a 42 given to him engraved with his name. That would turn a 50% loss to a 50% profit

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April 23, 2022 - 8:02 pm
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I tend to agree with the adage, “once you own a gun you will never look at it with fresh eyes again.”  If a gun has been in a collection for 40 years, only someone who doesn’t own the gun can look at it with fresh eyes.  

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April 23, 2022 - 8:54 pm
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To 1873man,  Your ability to use the computer far exceeds mine and my results are far from yours.  I have not been as successful as you.  I will continue to pursue answers.  Thank you.  RDB

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April 23, 2022 - 8:55 pm
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Regarding provenance concerning “record of ownership“, I agree that just because it came from some well known wealthy collector, it doesn’t do anything for me to boost the value of a piece. The provenance needs to establish something meaningful, other than who owned it in the past, especially when the original purchaser isn’t established or well defined.

Regarding provenance concerning “the place of origin or earliest known history of something”, if a piece is historical in nature then I tend to think having an established history of ownership or more importantly establishing a history about an original owner is important and increases the intrinsic value.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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April 23, 2022 - 9:03 pm
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clarence said
If by “collector” you mean a well-known rich guy who had the dough to buy anything he wanted, I say hell no.  If you mean a collector who was also a serious historian, like Gary Quinlan, John Dutcher, Larry Wilson, Bill Brophy, & many others, I’d say yes.   

By collector I mean a person that spent years obtaining these firearms and enjoyed preserving them for future generations. I am talking about that if you saw a gun that I have in my small collection vs a gun from say, Milan Turk or Perry White or John Lipski, and, these people may not be known to all, but they are know to me, and I’m sure a few others .Would it make a difference? Or how about A George Moeller gun or a Winchester that was owned by Mr. Madis? 

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April 23, 2022 - 9:04 pm
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rogertherelic said
To 1873man,  Your ability to use the computer far exceeds mine and my results are fare from yours.  I have not been as successful as you.  I will continue to pursue answers.  Thank you.  RDB  

Here is the link. All i did was to google the info on the side of the gun.

https://digital.hagley.org/1970370_71813_Doremus_part6

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April 23, 2022 - 9:52 pm
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1873man,  Thank you.  I wish I has the expertise to find this sort of information on my own.   I did not get the results you did when I googled his name.  So thankful to have your help.  RDB

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April 23, 2022 - 10:52 pm
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oldcrankyyankee said

By collector I mean a person that spent years obtaining these firearms and enjoyed preserving them for future generations. I am talking about that if you saw a gun that I have in my small collection vs a gun from say, Milan Turk or Perry White or John Lipski, and, these people may not be known to all, but they are know to me, and I’m sure a few others .Would it make a difference? Or how about A George Moeller gun or a Winchester that was owned by Mr. Madis?   

It doesn’t take “years,” or standing in lines for gunshows, etc.  All it takes, if your pockets are deep enough, is notifying major dealers that you’re “very serious” about acquiring such & such, & the desired results will soon follow.  It isn’t even necessary to tell them “price is no object,” because that they will understand.  I wouldn’t pay one cent extra for guns having been owned by the individuals you named, unless they have authored scholarly articles on the guns in question. Madis is not an ordinary “collector,” but a legit historian.  Even so, I wouldn’t add value to a gun that had merely been in his possession (there are thousands of them), unless it was also documented in one of his books.

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April 23, 2022 - 11:57 pm
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Even the very best collector of quality firearms may have a few questionable pieces or even something characterized as junk.  The most common way for this to happen is having to acquire a small collection to purchase one or two quality pieces and if they haven’t managed to move the junk (a refinished or heavily modified piece) by the time of their passing, it becomes a piece within a collection of quality pieces that isn’t quite at the level of—or even far removed from—all the other cherry pieces.

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April 24, 2022 - 12:55 am
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I think there are examples of where a collector is selling an item that has changed hands several times and it may be helpful for the potential purchaser to know that this collector has preserved the provenance and maybe written something explaining how the item came to be in his possession. 

 

Mike

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April 24, 2022 - 1:45 pm
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mrcvs said
Even the very best collector of quality firearms may have a few questionable pieces or even something characterized as junk.  The most common way for this to happen is having to acquire a small collection to purchase one or two quality pieces and if they haven’t managed to move the junk (a refinished or heavily modified piece) by the time of their passing, it becomes a piece within a collection of quality pieces that isn’t quite at the level of—or even far removed from—all the other cherry pieces.  

I knew an elderly collector and he had some pieces I was very interested in.  We had talked for years about some pieces coming my way.  Although he was somewhat receptive, it never seemed to quite materialize.  It’s no surprise that the pieces I was most interested in were the pieces he most wanted to keep.  I figured out this had a lot to do with why my efforts weren’t moving anything forward.  I changed my strategy and found when I pursued a few low-end pieces (i.e. two were reblued; one was 0% condition), he softened up and they came my way.  Acquiring these pieces was a door-opening move.  Did it work out?  Well, no.  Time is rarely our friend. He passed away and the family had a big auction house come and pick everything up.  And, they sold for big auction house prices.

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April 24, 2022 - 2:42 pm
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steve004 said
Acquiring these pieces was a door-opening move.  Did it work out?  Well, no.  Time is rarely our friend. He passed away and the family had a big auction house come and pick everything up.  And, they sold for big auction house prices.  

That scenario is a common one:  a good friend of the owner has an “understanding” with his family, which is immediately forgotten when the family gains full control of the loot.  And even if they “sold for big auction house prices,” that doesn’t mean the family realized more from the sale, after paying the auction commission, than they could have gained in a private sale; but you can’t argue with greed.

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April 24, 2022 - 10:23 pm
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oldcrankyyankee said
I am looking to get members feelings on provenance. Do people think a gun that comes from a well known collector add value? If so how much more.   

For me, not at all from a well known collector. All the reasons above.

Owned by a President or famous historical person, yes. 

RickC

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April 24, 2022 - 11:48 pm
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The original question was “does a gun from a well known collector add value”? The answer from responding forum members has been a resounding “no”. Well, I do not disagree in principal but then then there is reality. I would not even be able to count the number of guns I have seen sold over the last 50 years by well known dealers/collectors which asked and received a price above what anyone else could ask and receive, because the tag on the gun at a gun show or the description of the gun in an advertisement said “from my personal collection”. This continues to be the case in this new world of auctions – you continually see the statement “from the collection of xxxx” which generally contributes to reaching a crazy price. People are willing to pay crazy prices if a gun for sale was in the collection of Tom Sellick or has a museum letter for the gun addressed to Hank Williams Jr – that’s just life in the fast lane!

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