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Old December 8, 2016, 10:19 AM   #1
Skans
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Some guns just don't appreciate....

I sold an H&R .32 Self Loading pistol (sometimes "self-loader") around 1989-90 for $350 - or more accurately used it in a trade to acquire a Colt SP1 Carbine, adding about $100 IIRC to the trade for the AR. Wondering if I traded off a hidden gem prematurely back in '89, I checked Gunbroker to see what they are going for today. Starting bid prices ranging from $299 - $400 or so, but no bites. 27 years later and still selling for right around the same price I sold mine for.

I'm always perplexed at why some guns appreciate and become high-demand collectibles while others are doomed to the wastebasket of "just another old gun"
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Old December 8, 2016, 01:17 PM   #2
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its simply a matter of buyer (collector?) interest. Some folks seem to think everything old must be valuable. Others know better.

Quite simply it is supply and demand, and demand depends on popularity. And, popularity at the time you are looking to buy, or sell.

Have some popular movie action hero use one (or the villain use one) and you can find the price jumping, maybe even double, almost overnight.

If there's no particular demand, or a low stable demand, prices stay about the same, adjusted for our money's value.
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Old December 8, 2016, 06:30 PM   #3
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Get some well-known gun writer to do an article on the H&R for the AR or G&A and the value will go up at least $100 overnight.

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Old December 8, 2016, 06:46 PM   #4
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^^^
That about sums it up.
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Old December 9, 2016, 01:25 PM   #5
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James, you are 100% right about that. I have seen this happen before.
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Old December 9, 2016, 01:46 PM   #6
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"...why some guns appreciate and..." H&R stuff, along with H&A, IJ and a slew of other, low end, 19th Century 'pocket pistols', have been relegated to 'Saturday Night Special" class. Largely by the decree of unelected civil servants.
That kind of stuff is starting to get scarce in decent/shootable condition. It's also one of the few areas of collecting that is largely ignored and may be the only way a new collector can get started without spending his mortgage/rent money.
"...and the value will go up..." And right back down a month later.
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Old December 9, 2016, 02:52 PM   #7
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Personally I look for old guns that have managed to stay out of public interest for some reason. Some very interesting (IMO) guns that are inexpensive. Maybe I will get lucky, or just as happy to enjoy them for myself.
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Old December 9, 2016, 06:20 PM   #8
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On the other hand, some guns are just junk. H&R, H&A, IJ revolvers are examples.
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Old December 9, 2016, 08:47 PM   #9
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The only H&R revolver I have noticed holding value was the old octagon barrel Trapper model.

I have never handled one but remember reading about them as a kid. I think it was in "Fur Fish and Game".

Anyone know if the Trapper model is decent or not? I may just buy one someday for the heck of it.
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Old December 9, 2016, 11:12 PM   #10
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The H&R Sportsman is most excellent.
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Old December 10, 2016, 04:10 AM   #11
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The H&R's being referred to are the old .32 and .38 revolvers made before the 1940's.
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Old December 10, 2016, 05:08 AM   #12
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Clint Eastwood using a S&W model 29 in .44 magnum in the Movie "Dirty Harry" caused S&W model 29's to be cleaned out of gun shops nationwide, and at whatever price was asked. Worked great for S&W owners. The "New" owners didn't keep them long though.
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Old December 10, 2016, 05:51 AM   #13
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High priced guns normally sold in smaller qtys than the "cheap" ones so more rare.

High priced guns normally taken better care of than "cheap" ones so usually higher condition.

High priced guns normally better workmanship and materials so more durable, therefore desirable, to most people.

High priced guns usually have more advanced features (swing out cylinders, etc) so more desirable to most people.

All that said, I recently saw some model of H&R pistol NIB at a fun show. He had what I thought was an astronomical price on that but he got it.
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Old January 7, 2017, 05:24 PM   #14
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The fickleness of public opinion

I collect 'art deco' .32 ACP pistols. (I have one of the Harrington & Richardson Self loaders mentioned in the OP.) One of the reasons I started collecting old .32 autos was they were cheap. Lugers and Colt SAAs were way out of my grasp. Now, they've been 'discovered'. Forty years ago, gun shops and pawn shops could not GIVE Spanish made .32s away. Two years ago I found and purchased a nice Astra 300 for around $500 U. S. dollars.

I also collect WWI era rifles, especially military rifles. The U. S. rifles are expensive - Krags, M1903s and M1917s - but many European rifles are still 'comfortable' in price. Of course, some are difficult to find ammunition. (I have one rifle for which I must form cases from another caliber.) And they're getting rare - at least 'scarcer'. The rifles are still around, but they've been sporterized.

So why do some go up and others don't? Supply and demand, as usual. In this case, mostly demand. No one wants a 'Raven'. Probably, (hopefully?) not in another hundred years, either.
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Old January 7, 2017, 09:02 PM   #15
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Obviously at least some of the posters are not aware that H&R made auto pistols c.1912-1920. They resembled the British Webley pistols (yes, Webley made auto pistols, also) and were made under a license from the British company. They were odd looking, but worked OK. About 16,500 were made in .25 ACP and some 34,000 in .32 ACP. Unlike the Webleys, the H&R pistols had a striker firing mechanism rather than a hammer.

By all rights they should be high on any auto pistol collector's "wanted" list, but as noted, they excite little interest.

While Colt pistols are considered highly collectible, other American pistols of that era that, like the H&R, have only moderate collector interest are the Savage, the S&W (.35 and .32), the Fiala, and the Davis-Warner.

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Old January 7, 2017, 09:46 PM   #16
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Some of the least appreciating guns I have seen are the "Commemorative" guns.
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Old January 8, 2017, 03:50 AM   #17
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Well, I suppose that it is a good think that I don't buy them for their appreciation potential.
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Old January 8, 2017, 10:05 PM   #18
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Commemorative guns might have kept their value had not a few companies overdone the whole idea. As one of my friends put it, "Colt put out a commemorative for every time Sam Colt took a [censored] and it went from a good idea to just plain silly."

In general, the idea of "creating" a collectors' item just won't work, at least when they are mass produced. Oddly, most real collectors items were failures when produced, and part of the attraction is the rarity of guns no one wanted.

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Old January 24, 2017, 09:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
In general, the idea of "creating" a collectors' item just won't work, at least when they are mass produced.
Totally agree, and though not a handgun, I own a very good example, a Savage 1895, 75th Anniversary commemorative. It's almost totally loathed by Savage 99 collectors for it's gaudy brass appointments, caliber chambering which is 308 Win instead of a more traditional Savage round like 300 Savage, and production numbers which was in the thousands.

It's value these days is less than any "regular" Savage 99 though it has all the same features such as rotary magazine with round counter, pop-up loaded chamber indicator, etc that are so appreciated by the collectors.

On the positive side though, I have a nice 99 to take hunting, that has all the nice features and was affordable. Also, if I were to customize it, perhaps replace the buttstock with one that has a pad rather than chunk of crescent shaped brass, few would be outraged.
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Old February 1, 2017, 06:58 PM   #20
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The comment about "its old, must be worth money" is on the mark.

It's about 75% of the reason I don't mess with classic cars any more. Everybody thinks their old part must be worth a mint.

Sometimes I smile to myself about old firearm prices, as a few grand is a drop in the bucket compared to many classic car parts, but in reality, I see a lot of parallel between the two hobbies re: prices going up for the sole reason that people think the parts must be worth money. And some percentage of people buy them, and now they are "worth" at least that much to the current owner.
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