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An example of the stuff we should not be collecting with the future in mind—or maybe not?
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May 11, 2024 - 7:59 pm
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It has been suggested that the future of the Winchester collector’s marketplace will be increasingly bifurcated—stuff for those with an interest but for whom $1000 will always be a lot of money.  Or, stuff dripping with features and in the mid five figure range and up.  It’s hard to think of this as junk someday.  A Winchester 1894 in .38-55, 1905 production, with round barrel, button magazine, shotgun butt, pistol grip, condition.  Doesn’t have a lot of the features desired, such as octagon barrel, fancy walnut, checkering…. Forever out of reach of the financially challenged.

Hard to imagine relegating this one to the recycling bin someday, LOL!

Comments welcome!

 

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May 11, 2024 - 8:25 pm
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I sure like that rifle Cool

In the last couple of years I’ve heard a report on the percentage of American adults who couldn’t come up with $1000 in the event of a crisis. It was a hefty percentage.

I’ve also noticed that among people who make a good amount of money, many don’t have any actual money.  It all goes every month.  Large house payments, home renovations,  car payments, vacations and on and on.  As much as they may want one, there’s not several thousand left over for a collectable gun. 

We know gun ownership has been surging for the past many years.  The number of gun owners and new gun owners has been growing very rapidly.  I would venture the vast majority of these gun sales have been for pieces under $1000.  Handguns in the $500 to $700 range seem very popular.  Lots of AR type stuff being sold in that price range too.  Many people can come up with enough to buy those type pieces.

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May 11, 2024 - 9:24 pm
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Can’t find anything I don’t like about that rifle, Ian. I certainly do like the pistol grip and shotgun butt. I don’t have very many round  barrel rifles but they certainly handle better that the octagonal barrel so many folks seem to prefer. 

 

Mike

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May 11, 2024 - 10:46 pm
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I can remember when 1000 bucks extra was completely out of reach. Unobtainiaum! But such as life is, Kids, house,wife x2, divorce. But thru hard work and perseverance, a couple grand is easier now. I do feel bad for the kids as they have more crap and less free money to deal with now than ever. Henceforth hard to make collectors out of them. I am very lucky in that my son has a true interest in collectable fire arms and I happen to have a handful I will be able to pass down to him. The best part is he is actually excited about preserving said guns and not looking at the money. It is a sad state of affairs today that we are in.  

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May 11, 2024 - 11:01 pm
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oldcrankyyankee said
I can remember when 1000 bucks extra was completely out of reach. Unobtainiaum! But such as life is, Kids, house,wife x2, divorce. But thru hard work and perseverance, a couple grand is easier now. I do feel bad for the kids as they have more crap and less free money to deal with now than ever. Henceforth hard to make collectors out of them. I am very lucky in that my son has a true interest in collectable fire arms and I happen to have a handful I will be able to pass down to him. The best part is he is actually excited about preserving said guns and not looking at the money. It is a sad state of affairs today that we are in.  

  

Tom –  I can think of some 86’s you have there that I know you paid more than a couple grand for Wink

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May 11, 2024 - 11:16 pm
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The issue of ‘affordability’ keeps raising its head, so will again throw in my two cents worth.  It boils down to priorities.  Glen Hockett had a VERY extraordinary collection of high grade engraved and/or inlaid models 1894.  I used to set up next to him and recall when he brought them to their last display all together.  After that day they were sold by auction and various high rollers ended up with them.  Glenn was not rolling in cash.  He mortgaged his home a few times to buy several of the rifles.  I no longer recall enough details but one he mortgaged his home to buy it and then paid off his home over about 9 months if I recall correctly (which is likely not accurate anymore!).  I believe the rifle was priced at a mere $1200 to $1500 or so.  Maybe someone with better memory will chime in.  My point is by today’s standards, the engraved and inlaid 1894 was pretty cheap yet it required a SERIOUS commitment by Glen to acquire it!  Its all in the priorities one places on the rifle at hand as to if it is “affordable”!  Would you mortgage your home to buy a particular Winchester?  I won’t!  Yet another personal story if you will.  Back in the mid 70’s I found a first model/variation 1873 SRC that was engraved, then had been nickeled and gold washed.  Not the greatest of condition but go find another one!  It was available for sale for $3,000.  Much more than I had in my “play money” account.  My wife and I sat on the steps of the building and she finally talked me into buying it with funds from our household account.  BIG hole in the account!  It took much of the year to replenish those hard earned funds from my lieutenant’s pay (with little time in service).  I still have that carbine and will die with it!  It is beyond price in my mind as I still can see my wife sitting with me and hear our discussion!  Affordable?  You make the call!  Tim

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May 11, 2024 - 11:43 pm
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One massive problem with regards to younger folks getting involved in collecting Winchesters—or anything else, for that matter—is child care expenses.  I’m not saying that the government should pay for this, but the cost of this when many are at the beginning stages of their career are enormous.  The only thing that defrays that is when Junior hits schooling age and basically being in school subsidizes child care expenses.  But, what job that you know of are you at less hours than schooling might be?  Basically, for me and my wife, the reason why we did not have kids was exactly this—inflexible employers, lack of anywhere else to go for employment, and no one to turn to nearby if in a bind.  But I digress.  My wife’s sister and her husband have two kids and they live in the Philadelphia suburbs.  One kid had her first birthday party today and the second one turned three earlier in the year.  The mother earns more than the father, both are professionals, earning good money, but not spectacular money, and their childcare expenses went down recently, not sure what they are now, but they were $39,000 a year.  That’s a lot of Winchesters like the one I posted, or one superb one.  Interestingly, I think my sister in law was very pro career and doesn’t like the idea of a woman not earning an income, and now I think she would rather stay at home with the kids but all the other expenses make that not possible.

And, sadly, as stretched as most are, the only time they can say they have an extra $1000 is during times like Covid when that money was sourced from free handouts.

It seems like it HAS to be there are some spectacular collections of Winchesters out there owned by a few select individuals.  Folks like Wes Adams come to mind.  When RIA has one after the other after the other high dollar Winchesters come on the market in a single sale and many such sales throughout the year, and their competitors have sales not as spectacular, but with some high dollar firearms, sure there’s the occasional guy who puts his pennies together and buys that spectacular Winchester once in a lifetime, but I just don’t see that number of individuals who can buy more than one in a lifetime, so it has to be a few big players unknown to me socking away this stuff.

In the line of work I’m in, when a customer has major expenses, it’s usually financed, meaning they don’t have the money now and future income for some time is promised elsewhere.

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May 11, 2024 - 11:53 pm
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tim tomlinson said
The issue of ‘affordability’ keeps raising its head, so will again throw in my two cents worth.  It boils down to priorities.  Glen Hockett had a VERY extraordinary collection of high grade engraved and/or inlaid models 1894.  I used to set up next to him and recall when he brought them to their last display all together.  After that day they were sold by auction and various high rollers ended up with them.  Glenn was not rolling in cash.  He mortgaged his home a few times to buy several of the rifles.  I no longer recall enough details but one he mortgaged his home to buy it and then paid off his home over about 9 months if I recall correctly (which is likely not accurate anymore!).  I believe the rifle was priced at a mere $1200 to $1500 or so.  Maybe someone with better memory will chime in.  My point is by today’s standards, the engraved and inlaid 1894 was pretty cheap yet it required a SERIOUS commitment by Glen to acquire it!  Its all in the priorities one places on the rifle at hand as to if it is “affordable”!  Would you mortgage your home to buy a particular Winchester?  I won’t!  Yet another personal story if you will.  Back in the mid 70’s I found a first model/variation 1873 SRC that was engraved, then had been nickeled and gold washed.  Not the greatest of condition but go find another one!  It was available for sale for $3,000.  Much more than I had in my “play money” account.  My wife and I sat on the steps of the building and she finally talked me into buying it with funds from our household account.  BIG hole in the account!  It took much of the year to replenish those hard earned funds from my lieutenant’s pay (with little time in service).  I still have that carbine and will die with it!  It is beyond price in my mind as I still can see my wife sitting with me and hear our discussion!  Affordable?  You make the call!  Tim

  

Tim –

Thanks for sharing your story.  Very interesting and enjoyable to read.  Your story highlights the huge impact of the, “right wife” to a Winchester collector.  Maybe this matters less to the high rollers but for the rest of us mortals, it can make a big difference.

Reminds of a story from a small gunshop owner I knew (call him Bob)  He passed away a good while back.  He told me of a friend/customer he had who had a wife who was extremely unsupportive of his gun hobby.  She detested guns and money being spent on guns.  She didn’t want anything to do with (or know anything about) his hobby.  He was relegated to confining his hobby to a small room in his attic.  I don’t know how much he had accumulated but he had collected over many years.  So, the fellow passes.  After waiting an appropriate amount of time, Bob called on the widow at her house and inquired about the collection.  He vividly recalled the way she scrunched up her face when the guns were mentioned and said something to the effect of just get them out of here.  So, he obliged.    

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May 12, 2024 - 12:18 am
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Tim , I have a very similar story only it was a 1893 engaved Marlin. I paid $2000.00 for it in 1974 at the Denver show We had just bought/mortgaged,  Our first house for $12,000.00. I had to call My banker for an increase in the mortgage funds to buy it. After much discussion, It all worked out . 

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May 12, 2024 - 12:59 am
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Henry Mero said
Tim , I have a very similar story only it was a 1893 engaved Marlin. I paid $2000.00 for it in 1974 at the Denver show We had just bought/mortgaged,  Our first house for $12,000.00. I had to call My banker for an increase in the mortgage funds to buy it. After much discussion, It all worked out .   

Do you still have that rifle?  What’s it worth now?

I think Marlin produced an extremely high quality product and I’m a wannabe Marlin collector, but it likely would prove to be an extremely poor investment.  You don’t know how much it pains me to write that.

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May 12, 2024 - 5:07 am
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I have a hard time feeling sorry for the younger generation when their Apple smartphone costs more than most of the rifles in my collection.  $1000, seems no problem when the next latest/greatest cell phone comes out.  It is all a matter of priorities and preferences.

Best Regards,

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May 12, 2024 - 10:23 am
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steve004 said

oldcrankyyankee said

I can remember when 1000 bucks extra was completely out of reach. Unobtainiaum! But such as life is, Kids, house,wife x2, divorce. But thru hard work and perseverance, a couple grand is easier now. I do feel bad for the kids as they have more crap and less free money to deal with now than ever. Henceforth hard to make collectors out of them. I am very lucky in that my son has a true interest in collectable fire arms and I happen to have a handful I will be able to pass down to him. The best part is he is actually excited about preserving said guns and not looking at the money. It is a sad state of affairs today that we are in.  

  

Tom –  I can think of some 86’s you have there that I know you paid more than a couple grand for Wink

  

Steve, you are correct there. But 10 years ago and before, I would not have been able to do that. I also learned earlier, that  $2000 won’t get you much of an 86.

And to JWA, you sir hit that nail on the head about priorities. Let’s not forget how much they are willing to spend on upgrades to their X box!  

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May 12, 2024 - 10:55 am
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oldcrankyyankee said

steve004 said

oldcrankyyankee said

I can remember when 1000 bucks extra was completely out of reach. Unobtainiaum! But such as life is, Kids, house,wife x2, divorce. But thru hard work and perseverance, a couple grand is easier now. I do feel bad for the kids as they have more crap and less free money to deal with now than ever. Henceforth hard to make collectors out of them. I am very lucky in that my son has a true interest in collectable fire arms and I happen to have a handful I will be able to pass down to him. The best part is he is actually excited about preserving said guns and not looking at the money. It is a sad state of affairs today that we are in.  

  

Tom –  I can think of some 86’s you have there that I know you paid more than a couple grand for Wink

  

Steve, you are correct there. But 10 years ago and before, I would not have been able to do that. I also learned earlier, that  $2000 won’t get you much of an 86.

And to JWA, you sir hit that nail on the head about priorities. Let’s not forget how much they are willing to spend on upgrades to their X box!  

I do not want to be stereotypical, but I don’t know how to, otherwise.  Yes, it’s all about priorities.  I don’t have many other “priorities”, as others might—I don’t know what an X box even is, I don’t waste money on tattoos or lots of jewelry.  “Experiences” are of little interest—I eschew restaurants, when I travel, it’s minimal and I stay at economical places.  I go to Great Britain once in a blue moon just because I like it and I make good use of staying at Youth Hostels—which just aren’t for youths.  Some have other passions, but, in order to have a nice collection, many sacrifices are required.

Edit:  A few other things come to mind.  I’m not into expensive cars, I don’t attend concerts, I do attend minor league baseball games locally at $12 a ticket, I’m not into motor homes, boats, paying for college for others, etc, all of which suck away funds.  I am into purchasing quality publications which relate to my interests as even an expensive firearms book is much cheaper than a costly mistake.

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May 12, 2024 - 2:45 pm
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No Ian I had to sell off My Marlin collection back in the 1980’s, I got in to the silver    market and Bunker Hunt got most of Our money so had I had to sell soe things in order to keep the house etc. I see similar Marlins now for $30, 000.00 plus. I always figered a Marlin was a better gun than a Winchester , I’m sure there’ll be lots here dissagree just like I always figured a Remmington was a better gun than a Colt, They just didn’t get the publicity.

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The best investments a Winchester collector can make are 

1. A good library. Study your subject. Use the Web cautiously and beware the gun store commandos. Don’t be afraid of libraries. 

2. Join WACA and use the forum as a major resource. Read about four times as much as you post. There is a huge reservoir of experience and knowledge here. You can’t buy the quality and soundness of the FREE advice our genuine experts in their fields will cheerfully give you.  Try to attend some WACA shows and meet your colleagues.

3. Read back issues of the Collector, extensively. Not on your phone. You’ll go blind. Use a big iPad or your laptop.

4.if you can find the DVD set of the GUN DIGEST, which sells for less than 20 bucks, buy it. Read the editions up to Amber’s retirement. Skim the TOC of the editions edited by Warner and read selectively to learn historical sequence and context. Ignore the later editions. 

- Bill 

 

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May 12, 2024 - 4:39 pm
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My wife and I worked 45 years before we retired.  We paid for child care and put our daughter through college.  Our house cost $30,000 in 1974.  It has been paid off and refinanced several times.  The GI Bill helped with the down payment and financing.  Our parents thought we were crazy because their houses only cost around $12,000 some years earlier.  We live modestly and saved some money. 

When I first started collecting I was lucky to buy 1 gun a year. The average for a good, not great, Winchester lever action was in the $2000 to $3000 range.  Some for more and some for less.  The first gun I bought was a model 97 in great condition.  It cost $350.  That same show I bought a 1892 for $2,250.  I don’t have the 97 but I still have the 1892 and it is worth a couple times what I paid for it. 

Collect what you like, buy the best non molested gun you can afford. Trade up and in time you will be surprised what you can do.

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May 12, 2024 - 9:31 pm
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At my income level I wasn’t able to buy collector firearms but several years back I was fortunate to have a bit of money to invest and did pretty well. Some of it I invested in blue steel & walnut and a library to help understand them. Unfortunately I also poured quite a bit into starting a small business but I think many of us understand how that works. I’m retired on a very small income but I’m having fun. My “retirement business” keeps me busy enough and may even put a few extra bucks in my pocket someday…but I’ll likely blow it all on some old Winchester.

 

Mike

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May 14, 2024 - 9:35 pm
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I received the factory letter for the rifle posted in Post #1 of this thread.

Serial number applied 28 Sept 1905

Rifle

.38/55

Round barrel

Plain trigger

Plain, pistol grip stock

Sights:  Lyman front & flat-top sporting rear sight for smokeless

1/2 magazine 

Rubber plate

Nickel steel

Received in warehouse on 11 October 1905

Shipped from warehouse on 11 October 1905

Order number 29684

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May 14, 2024 - 9:42 pm
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mrcvs said
I received the factory letter for the rifle posted in Post #1 of this thread.

Serial number applied 28 Sept 1905

Rifle

.38/55

Round barrel

Plain trigger

Plain, pistol grip stock

Sights:  Lyman front & flat-top sporting rear sight for smokeless

1/2 magazine 

Rubber plate

Nickel steel

Received in warehouse on 11 October 1905

Shipped from warehouse on 11 October 1905

Order number 29684

You did very well… It appears that the rifle matches the letter perfectly! Cool

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High-walls-1-002-C-reduced2.jpg

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May 14, 2024 - 9:52 pm
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Bert H. said

mrcvs said

I received the factory letter for the rifle posted in Post #1 of this thread.

Serial number applied 28 Sept 1905

Rifle

.38/55

Round barrel

Plain trigger

Plain, pistol grip stock

Sights:  Lyman front & flat-top sporting rear sight for smokeless

1/2 magazine 

Rubber plate

Nickel steel

Received in warehouse on 11 October 1905

Shipped from warehouse on 11 October 1905

Order number 29684

You did very well… It appears that the rifle matches the letter perfectly! Cool

  

Thank you, Bert.

I guess this is the flat-too sporting rear sight for smokeless?  I wouldn’t be able to describe it as such without the letter.IMG_2904-2.jpegImage Enlarger

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