I was thinking more like $3500, because I saw one at Chuck's Firearms for that much and it is not near as good of shape.
Would you believe a yard sale for $100, "because you can't get ammo for it anymore?" That would make a good story, but it wouldn't be the truth. This rifle was brought home by a US Navy carpenters mate (now known as damage controlman) on an LST which was the 3rd vessel inside Tokyo Bay on 29 August 1945 for the surrender ceremony. After unloading security troops, weapons, and vehicles on the Japanese navy pier and establishing a perimeter, the sailors were allowed to go ashore in small parties for short periods to gather souveniers. There was a pile of rifles on the pier. The sailor who chose this rifle picked it up because "it was different from all the others." After a couple of days, the skipper on the vessel ordered all souvenier small arms turned in to the gunners mate so that the mums could be defaced (McArthur's orders) and the firing pins be removed. The rifle was turned in, recorded in inventory, the firing pin removed. Upon returning to the US (San Diego), the rifle was taken out of inventory and returned to the carpenters mate. Unknown to the captain, the carpenters mate and the gunners mate were best friends. The rifle was returned to the carpenters mate with an intact mum and the firing pin (with the correct number) was returned separately.
So, how much did I pay? Nothing. The carpenters mate was married to my mother's older sister. He knows that I have a WWII collection and a while back he and I had a discussion that war trophies are such a piece of history need to stay in the family. A few months ago, my aunt died. This weekend was the first time that I had a chance to see him since the funeral. He literally lives out in the middle of nowhere. I was asking him about some of his Navy days, and he asked if I remembered our conversation. I told him I did, and he said, "I want you to keep my war trophy in the family." He took me back to his bedroom and pulled the rifle out. It was wrapped in an old curtain. When he unwrapped it, I almost peed myself. I told him one of his grandsons should have it. Neither of his children nor any of his 4 grandchildren have any interest, so he gave it to me for safekeeping.
It will hold a place of honor alongside the Type 99 that was brought back from the Philippines by my wife's cousin.
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