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1953 model 94 engraved
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April 28, 2021 - 4:01 pm
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I have a good friend that bought one from a buddy’s estate. He’s wondering what it’s worth. Has a bear on one side of receiver. Two deer (buck and doe) on the other. The stock has a heavy engraving of (I think) a deer. A used one went through Rock Island a while ago. Some engraving is the same but his is more extravagant. Had to be the same place though as some is the same. My buddy’s is unfired. 

Link to rock island one https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/55/3036/winchester-94-carbine-3030-win

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April 28, 2021 - 4:18 pm
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The engraved Model 94 sold at Rock Island is not a factory original gun. The engraving & stock carving on it was aftermarket work, and I suspect the same is true for the one your friend just purchased. If he paid more than what the gun at RIA sold for, he paid too much for it.

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April 28, 2021 - 5:28 pm
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Bert H. said
The engraved Model 94 sold at Rock Island is not a factory original gun. The engraving & stock carving on it was aftermarket work, and I suspect the same is true for the one your friend just purchased. If he paid more than what the gun at RIA sold for, he paid too much for it.  

Hmmmm…the RIA one sold in 2012, was used with less engraving. His is unfired with a more detailed engraving by the same guy and it’s worth no more?

You new to this hobby?

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April 28, 2021 - 5:49 pm
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[email protected] said

Bert H. said
The engraved Model 94 sold at Rock Island is not a factory original gun. The engraving & stock carving on it was aftermarket work, and I suspect the same is true for the one your friend just purchased. If he paid more than what the gun at RIA sold for, he paid too much for it.  

Hmmmm…the RIA one sold in 2012, was used with less engraving. His is unfired with a more detailed engraving by the same guy and it’s worth no more?

You new to this hobby?  

Sure… the past 40+ years I have spent collecting Winchesters has been a total waste of my time, and the reference book I co-wrote (The Red Book of Winchester Values, 4th edition) was another complete lack of understanding about the values of non-factory original aftermarket engraved Winchesters.

Bert Hartman

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April 28, 2021 - 10:30 pm
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Bert,

A very restrained response.Wink

Tom

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April 28, 2021 - 10:44 pm
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Bert H. said

Sure… the past 40+ years I have spent collecting Winchesters has been a total waste of my time, and the reference book I co-wrote (The Red Book of Winchester Values, 4th edition) was another complete lack of understanding about the values of non-factory original aftermarket engraved Winchesters.

Bert Hartman  

 

Is it your view that a 1953 Winchester loses value over time? 

A used 94 sold in 2012 is comparable in value to an unfired rifle thats exactly the same year/model but a level up in engraving by the same engraver?

The fellow overpay in 2012? 

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April 29, 2021 - 2:20 am
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[email protected] said 

Is it your view that a 1953 Winchester loses value over time? 

A used 94 sold in 2012 is comparable in value to an unfired rifle thats exactly the same year/model but a level up in engraving by the same engraver?

The fellow overpay in 2012?   

 

It is my view that any Winchester (regardless of its date of manufacture) loses value the minute somebody decides to start engraving & carving on it… unless that person is (a) a Winchester factory engraver, or (b) one of the well known highly regarded master engravers.  To that point, the gun in question was “customized” by an unknown person.  In the Winchester “collector” community, that gun is a non-factory original piece.  While some people might think it is worth a small fortune, die-hard Model 94 collectors do not.  And No, it is very unlikely that it will increase in value (at least in the Winchester collector market) regardless of how much time elapses since it was originally manufactured.  The value clock stopped the minute the chisel hit the receiver.

 

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April 29, 2021 - 10:52 am
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Could your friend send you some pictures to post? I am not an expert but it would help to compare.

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April 29, 2021 - 4:36 pm
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[email protected] said

Is it your view that a 1953 Winchester loses value over time? 

A used 94 sold in 2012 is comparable in value to an unfired rifle thats exactly the same year/model but a level up in engraving by the same engraver?

The fellow overpay in 2012?   

Bill if you like the gun you should buy it.  That’s the number one rule of collecting. Most of us collect unmolested guns.  There is a value to your gun but we would say that it is of a lesser value. Most likely the value of this gun will not go up unless you find someone that likes fancy modified guns.  Go shoot it and have fun.

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April 29, 2021 - 4:55 pm
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Bert – 

But it’s unfired  Laugh

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April 29, 2021 - 5:04 pm
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steve004 said
Bert – 

But it’s unfired  Laugh  

That was just one of the ignorant statement that was made thus far…

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April 29, 2021 - 9:13 pm
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Bert H. said

That was just one of the ignorant statement that was made thus far…  

What’s wrong with the term “unfired”? I take it to mean that it’s not been shot since someone bought it. They all test fired at the factory? 

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April 29, 2021 - 9:18 pm
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Chuck said

Bill if you like the gun you should buy it.  That’s the number one rule of collecting. Most of us collect unmolested guns.  There is a value to your gun but we would say that it is of a lesser value. Most likely the value of this gun will not go up unless you find someone that likes fancy modified guns.  Go shoot it and have fun. 

I was just trying to help a buddy figure out his rifle. I have a bunch of Winchester shotguns. They are cool but no rifles that amount to much. Several of the shotguns are Parker Reproductions. They are all “unfired”. 

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April 29, 2021 - 9:20 pm
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gobblerforge said
Could your friend send you some pictures to post? I am not an expert but it would help to compare.  

I can’t figure out how to post pics. My cell is (218) 256-1508. I could text them. 

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April 30, 2021 - 2:04 am
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My rule of thumb for evaluating engraved or restored guns is 50-75% of the cost to engrave or restore the firearm. That may seem harsh but that’s what I’ve seen several sell for. A serious collector generally won’t even pay that. That’s actually good news for those of us that enjoy a tastefully engraved or restored firearm as long as we’re buying and not selling. Chuck is right; if you like it, buy it! 

And Bill; please don’t be so hard on Bert, he’s young but he’s learning more every day. Wink

 

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April 30, 2021 - 2:40 am
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TXGunNut said
My rule of thumb for evaluating engraved or restored guns is 50-75% of the cost to engrave or restore the firearm. That may seem harsh but that’s what I’ve seen several sell for. A serious collector generally won’t even pay that. That’s actually good news for those of us that enjoy a tastefully engraved or restored firearm as long as we’re buying and not selling. Chuck is right; if you like it, buy it! 

And Bill; please don’t be so hard on Bert, he’s young but he’s learning more every day. Wink

 

Mike  

The problem with Bert….he is probably old and he is a bit arrogant. Crotchety old guy is the first thing I thought and I’m 61. Has an issue with “unfired”. Not sure what his issue is. However at the beginning of this his opinion was that in 2021 an “unfired” rifle was worth no more than what a used comparable rifle sold for 10 years ago. That makes no sense to me. 

I’m not interested in this rifle at all and my buddy isn’t interested in selling it. He just wants to know what he has. Any ideas as to who did the engraving? There’s a link to the 2012 auction rifle earlier in this thread. There are no initials in the engraving. Are you familiar with Pauline Muerrle? Feedback from them was that it’s not factory engraving but they had no idea who did it. Someone on a FB site thought new winchesters were sent to Japan by dealers and brought back and sold. 

I have a bunch of Winchester shotguns. Not into rifles much. Many years ago a buddy and I had a chance to buy lots of Winchester double barrel shotguns from one source. We did. Still have them. 

Bill

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April 30, 2021 - 3:51 am
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Bill,

I will be 61-years old this coming August 12th.  Not exactly an “old man”, but may have to plead the 5th on the “Crotchety” adjective.

As for being arrogant… I suspect that you mistake my “frank” approach and prose as such.  I tend to be very to the point when I write things, and that is a result of the 21-years of my life that I spent in the U.S. Navy Submarine Fleet… written communication always needed to be very clear and to the point..  Rest assured, my demeanor is much different in person.

In regards to “unfired” that is an inaccurate adjective to use for any Winchester firearm.  Every single Winchester firearm was fired multiple times before it left the factory.  There was a very good article on this very topic in the most recent edition of the “Winchester Collector” magazine.  The reality of the gun in question, is that you “suspect” that it may not have been fired after it was embellished in the aftermarket.

Bert – U.S. Navy retired, (1979 – 2000)

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April 30, 2021 - 12:39 pm
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The, “unfired” descriptor bugs more than a few of us here.  This description is often used as a descriptor by various sellers.  Many of us here prefer precision and accuracy.  This includes the manner with which a firearm is described.  Another occurrence that has happened to some of us here is we have been approached by owners of rifle requesting an opinion as to whether their rifle is, “unfired.”  I don’t consider myself an, “expert” but when it comes to this question, I am always willing to render a definitive opinion.  I tell such individuals, “yes, I can absolutely tell you if your rifle has been fired or not.”  Their response is, “great, I’ll go get it.”  My response is, “no need, I can tell without even examining the rifle.”  At this point, I usually receive an odd look.  What’s going on of course, is, as Bert outlined, I know all Winchester rifles were fired multiple times before leaving the factory.  Hence, none of them can be unfired.  Once we dispense with this, the question often becomes, “well, ok, but can you tell if it has been unfired since leaving the factory?”  Really?  It was fired multiple times at the factory – did the owner fire it maybe one time and put it away (as is the case with some rifles) or did they never fire it?  That is beyond my expertise.  I will say, if the owner fired it and didn’t clean the bore after, we know it has been fired after it left the factory.  We know that, because the factory cleaned the bores after they test fired the rifles.  However, if the bore is clean, I don’t think there is any expert who can say the rifle hasn’t been fired since leaving the factory.  And by the way, most sellers who allege the, “unfired aspect” make sure the bore isn’t dirty.  

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April 30, 2021 - 1:25 pm
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I’d listen to what these guys have to say. They have told me all kinds of things I didn’t want to hear, but I haven’t taken offence because I’m learning things I didn’t know before, and this is about the only place that you can find advanced Winchester collectors that will share their lifetime of knowledge with you.

As to the gun pictured above, several some ones must have wanted it pretty badly and had a bidding war.  In my opinion, the engraving is mediocre at best and the raised relief carving on the stock should be considered awful. Overall, a very amateurish attempt at decoration.  After market decoration will generally devalue just about all guns, unless it has been executed by a well known and very talented carver and engraver.  

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April 30, 2021 - 5:32 pm
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I don’t really have a problem with a honest guy that doesn’t know guns well or even the honest ones that do but says gun is unfired.  What he often means is that it is such great shape it looks like it is unfired.  It is only the gun dealers that I worry about.

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