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Old November 11, 2013, 09:13 PM   #1
wick73
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1880 S&W .38 Fair market value??

Trying to get an idea of the fair market value of my 1880 S&W .38 It is in perfect working order old hand made real mother of pearl grips. Help.
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Old November 11, 2013, 09:33 PM   #2
James K
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That is the .38 Double Action, Second Model. They were made from 1880 to 1884, with about 115,000 made, so it is an antique under federal law. With so many made, they are pretty common and don't bring big bucks. Also that one appears to have been re-nickeled, which effectively eliminates any collector interest. Worse, the grips, while they appear to be genuine mother of pearl, don't fit the gun well and are in poor condition. They may have been taken from another gun.

I would say that the retail value would be under $200, and that on a good day.

Jim
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Old November 12, 2013, 08:16 PM   #3
wick73
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Jim K

That is the .38 Double Action, Second Model. They were made from 1880 to 1884, with about 115,000 made, so it is an antique under federal law. With so many made, they are pretty common and don't bring big bucks. Also that one appears to have been re-nickeled, which effectively eliminates any collector interest. Worse, the grips, while they appear to be genuine mother of pearl, don't fit the gun well and are in poor condition. They may have been taken from another gun.

The grips were hand made by the gentlemen's grandfather over 50 years ago. After the original ones cracked in two. So that clears up assumption #1. Assumption #2 the gun has never been re-plated and has been in a trunk for 40 plus years. Assumption #2 cleared up. Of course you are only looking at a few pictures and do not have it in your hand for closer inspection. But thanks for your expert reply. The proper thing to have done before replying to my post would have been to asked a few simple questions before making statements/ assumptions about what (you think) about someone else's item on a post. Have a great day.
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Old November 12, 2013, 08:21 PM   #4
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Old November 12, 2013, 08:28 PM   #5
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Not only has that gun been re-finished, but it was rusted and heavily buffed beforehand. I have no idea what you think it is worth, but if you can get more than my estimate, good luck to you.

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Old November 12, 2013, 08:34 PM   #6
Hawg Haggen
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Been in a trunk for 40 years. That still leaves 93 years. A lot can happen in 93 years including being replated which in my opinion it has been. The grips are a crappy fit and do not increase value but rather decrease it. In my opinion James was being generous with the value.
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Old November 13, 2013, 12:38 PM   #7
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WOW

Not only has that gun been re-finished, but it was rusted and heavily buffed beforehand. I have no idea what you think it is worth, but if you can get more than my estimate, good luck to you.

Jim

I respect your estimate but not your assumptions. I was only stating the facts as I know them. How can any of us tell if it has been re-finished by a picture? I hope you can explain that to me so I can tell next time. If it has been re-rinished why is the lettering so nice as it is very easy to disfigure with very little effort. As far as rust? Two small wear spots in near the same location on each side of the barrel. Yes the grips suck big time thats way I am replacing them with a set of near mint originals. I was just telling the story of them for info purposes only. Sorry was not trying to offend.
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Old November 13, 2013, 10:57 PM   #8
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If Mr. James K says that the pistol has been refinished, believe him. James knows more about guns then any ten people I know.

The man is the resident cornucopia of knowledge.
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Old November 13, 2013, 11:07 PM   #9
Jim Watson
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Looks like the hammer is plated, trigger too, I think. Smith doesn't do that.
The rib markings survived but some of the contours didn't. Looks like the top latch checkering is gone, but that may just be the poor pictures.
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Old November 14, 2013, 06:42 AM   #10
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I'm no expert on antique gun values but in my gun shop wanderings I have seen many of those guns in similar condition for sale in the $200 range.

They don't seem to be fast movers though, I suspect people buy them for their novelty, sort of a coffee table discussion piece if you will.
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Old November 14, 2013, 11:14 AM   #11
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The local Gander Mountain has four or five of that vintage, mostly Safety Hammerless. None are correctly identified. I worry about somebody buying an antique .32 S&W and loading it with the .32 ACP shown on the shelf card. About a 50% overload in very mild steel.
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Old November 14, 2013, 12:04 PM   #12
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Per letters I received from the knowledgeable Roy Jinks S&W does not /did not plate hammers and triggers. Thats the first dead give-away that a gun has been re-plated/refinished.
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Old November 14, 2013, 08:37 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone that replied

I want to thank all of the expert advice/ as I surly am not one. That's why I ask ??'s I'll Be sure to remember all the advice. Have had several guns of this nature/ not any S&W's and they all had Nickel plated hammers and triggers?? H&R, Hopkins & Allen and the like. They must have all been plated then. You learn something new everyday. I must have good luck as I sold it for $250 within minutes of posting it. It is a great functional piece, tight and shoots very well. Ammo is crazy high priced as it is more a collectors piece. It's defiantly not your average everyday .22 plinker. I write this with all sincerity and hope to have not offended anyone.
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Old November 14, 2013, 08:43 PM   #14
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I doubt very much that Wick73 will believe me or accept anything that is said here, but others might be interested in my conclusions and why I reached them. With the understanding that I am going by pictures, here is what I see.

The top of the barrel has a number of areas that look very much like they were rusted, and then plated over. There was some attempt made to remove that rust without removing the markings, but that was only partly successful.

The side pictures show the top strap and the hinge rounded off; those areas are always flat, with sharp edges. The sideplate seam is visible and obvious, indicating that the sideplate was polished while detached from the gun. S&W polished the sideplate and frame together, and the seam is nearly invisible on a "like new" gun. The screw heads are buggered up, clearly indicating that the gun has been worked on a lot; that would not necessarily mean it has been refinished, but it does mean that the gun was disassembled many times, whether for refinishing or for repairs. Either way, not a good sign for anyone buying or appraising the gun.

The overall finish does appear to be nickel (not chrome as many refinished guns are) but has been scratched and worn after the plating was done. The hammer and trigger are plated, something S&W did not do and even a careful re-plater who knew guns would not do, but which many small plating shops did as a matter of course.

So when was the refinishing done? I don't know, but given the wear on the finish I would say it was done some time ago, and the gun used a fair amount afterward.

Jim
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Old November 15, 2013, 08:56 PM   #15
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wick73 may I suggest posting the pictures and information you have on the Smith And Wesson forum and see what the S&W collectors think.
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