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Old April 15, 2018, 05:36 PM   #1
cjwils
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Is this engraved S&W 1917 worth the price?

S&W model 1917, 45 ACP. Apparently the commercial version of the 1917.
"Restored and engraved."
https://www.gunbroker.com/item/764587558

What do you think?
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Old April 15, 2018, 05:44 PM   #2
Bill DeShivs
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Engraved and reblued, not restored.
Mediocre engraving.
Pitted up guns are good candidates for gussying up- as it covers the bad areas.
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Old April 15, 2018, 07:53 PM   #3
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All the sellers guns are very optimisticly priced. That one is especially overpriced. Note that the blueing on the cylinder and frame are different shades of blue. The engraving has good coverage but is mediocre at best. Note the dots on the topstrap. They aren't even in a straight line and the spacing is not consistent. Many of the photos of the engravings are slightly out of focus. This is probably intentional. The grips don't fit very well. I could probably find more wrong with it in person.

If people want to restore these old guns and charge premium prices that's great, but the work needs to be premium quality if they expect to get top dollar.
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Old April 15, 2018, 11:09 PM   #4
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What makes an engraved gun worth anything more than a regular one? (absent any particular historical association?)

Only the execution of the art, and the tastes of the purchaser. As noted, the work isn't top quality, and the style doesn't appeal to my tastes, so to me its not remotely worth the asking price.

on the other hand, the seller clearly thinks it is, and all he's got to do is fine one person who agrees with him, and has the cash...

It's not impossible to have a mechanically unsound gun engraved (instead of properly fixed), and sell it, because, after all, no one would shoot an engraved gun much, right???

There are people who do that kind of thing, or so I've heard...

People pay huge amounts for something they say is "art", that to me, isn't.

When you see something like this, and wonder at its worth, you need to know the kind of cost it took to create it. I have no idea, myself, but an engraver could tell you what "dollar level" job it was, so you could figure that against the asking price,

What I mean is, an $800 gun and a $500 engraving job does not make a $2200 gun. Or at least not to me.
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Old April 15, 2018, 11:50 PM   #5
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I have a S&W M29 4" that is engraved and has gold inlays.

It isn't as extensive as the one you posted, but it is ornate.

The cost was no where near the bid price on the M1917.

By the way, I didn't purchase the gun, it was given to me, but I know what it cost.

Even though I know I will take it in the shorts, I am gonna trade it for something I can shoot in the near future.
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Old April 16, 2018, 02:46 PM   #6
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Nicely done. Not museum quality but not a museum grade price either. It's a long way from some of the crap work that gets listed on GB. Probably a little high but there's no wait either.


Quote:
What I mean is, an $800 gun and a $500 engraving job does not make a $2200 gun. Or at least not to me.
It doesn't but one also has to factor in custom grips, polishing and refinishing. Not to mention shipping. Overnight shipping from you to the engraver, to the refinisher to the grip maker adds up quickly. Been there, done that. You have to decide going in if it's worth the expense and resale is usually not a concern. You do this to own it, not to sell it.

Quote:
Even though I know I will take it in the shorts, I am gonna trade it for something I can shoot in the near future.
Why not just shoot it and enjoy it?

Last edited by jackmoser65; April 16, 2018 at 02:52 PM.
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Old April 16, 2018, 04:33 PM   #7
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One rarely gets a return on any sort of customization of firearms. Or cars. Or houses. Or anything.
"Custom" usually means made for the orderer. Hard to find someone who wants exactly the same thing.
I might pay an extra $50 for that engraving.
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Old April 16, 2018, 08:18 PM   #8
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https://www.gunbroker.com/item/764177106
I can't imagine paying more for the gun you linked than that Hi-power.
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Old April 16, 2018, 11:11 PM   #9
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Factory engraved and verified increases the value considerably, the pistol in question should be valued less by a great deal than an original 1917. The least he could have done for that price is blue the obviously added lanyard loop.
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Old April 16, 2018, 11:17 PM   #10
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Custom guns don't lose money like they used to. Try buying a used Linebaugh and see how cheap you can get it.

I also disagree that the gun in question is worth less than a comparable 1917. Total hogwash. Just because it's only worth fifty bucks to you doesn't mean it's not worth a lot more to someone else. Baffles me that people who would never pay for engraving always feel the need to comment on it.
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Old April 17, 2018, 12:32 AM   #11
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I'm a hand engraver. I feel pretty qualified to comment on it.
Now- this gun may have been an absolute piece of crap, and the refinish and engraving may make it look 100% better than it did-but you still have to judge the gun for what it is.
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Old April 17, 2018, 10:05 AM   #12
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I had one back bout 15 years ago .. That had the barrel bobbed to 3.5 inches .. transformed to true DAO and had a sweet parkerized finish .. I bought it for 320.00 sold it for 450ish ?
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Old April 17, 2018, 10:14 AM   #13
Mike Irwin
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Engraving is better than mediocre, but it's still not top notch quality.

Additionally, the engraver committed a cardinal sin of engraving an S&W revolver -- engraving in the cylinder bolt dragline. It it's used more than a little bit, the engraving will be damaged.

Is it worth the current asking price?

Short answer, no.

Long anser, hell no.
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Old April 17, 2018, 10:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmoser65 View Post
Custom guns don't lose money like they used to. Try buying a used Linebaugh and see how cheap you can get it.

I also disagree that the gun in question is worth less than a comparable 1917. Total hogwash. Just because it's only worth fifty bucks to you doesn't mean it's not worth a lot more to someone else. Baffles me that people who would never pay for engraving always feel the need to comment on it.
Well in that case, it sounds like the gun is a great deal at $2,295. I'd suggest you buy it before someone else snatches it up.
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Old April 17, 2018, 11:01 AM   #15
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Well in that case, it sounds like the gun is a great deal at $2,295. I'd suggest you buy it before someone else snatches it up.
Try reading the thread before responding. I'm pretty sure I already said it was too high.
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Old April 17, 2018, 01:29 PM   #16
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"Custom guns don't lose money like they used to. Try buying a used Linebaugh and see how cheap you can get it."

Really.

You're equating a firearm from a well known, well respected craftsman like Jack Linebaugh with a relatively common commercial firearm that's been... somethinged... by an unknown?

Really?






"Baffles me that people who would never pay for engraving always feel the need to comment on it."

Baffles me that people who can't recognize middle of the road, low-value engraving think that attacking a gun with a finishing nail somehow enhances its value...
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Old April 17, 2018, 01:50 PM   #17
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It's John Linebaugh or it could be his son Dustin as well.

Context is critical. This is the generalized comment I was responding to.

Quote:
One rarely gets a return on any sort of customization of firearms. Or cars. Or houses. Or anything.
"Custom" usually means made for the orderer. Hard to find someone who wants exactly the same thing.

Quote:
Baffles me that people who can't recognize middle of the road, low-value engraving think that attacking a gun with a finishing nail somehow enhances its value...
So "middle of the road" engraving is akin to attacking a gun with a finishing nail? You know the Keith #5 was done with "middle of the road" engraving. Which is to say, engraving that your average person can afford without going to the expense of master level work like that of Mike Dubber or Howard Dove. Which would be at least double the asking price of this specimen. It is not the best work you'll ever see but it is a hell of a far cry from "attacking with a finish nail". To characterize it as such is to betray either total ignorance on the subject or some sort of personal bias. It is good work and even "good" work costs money. Unless there was some sort of flaw or mechanical shortcoming not apparent in the pictures, I would fork over the asking price but would gladly pay at least $1500 for the gun in question.

The critics are all focused on what may be wrong and ignoring what may be right. The gun is obviously refinished but they did a fair job at maintaining surface integrity. The side plate was not polished separately. The lettering is all still in good shape. The screw holes are not dished out. Many 1917's were fairly rough and now all of that is gone. Not gonna appeal to a collector but collectors aren't the only ones that buy old S&W's. It's a nicely refinished old S&W that decent engraving that will certainly appeal to those who like that sort of thing. It appeals to me more now than it would in its original condition.
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Old April 17, 2018, 02:22 PM   #18
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The gun looks pretty good to me, while conceding that the size of the pics and the quality of my monitor are apparently conspiring to prevent me from seeing how middle-of-the-road the engraving is?

American Handgunner magazine had a cover story some years ago, of the editor's dream pistol, a fully-engraved Caspian 1911 that was shown in minute detail.
I thought the engraving on that particular gun was bad, but maybe it's because the excellent photography exposed every wart, while the "commercial 1917" just isn't shown in enough detail to tell?

I saw an absolutely spectacular engraved 1911 at the NRA convention, maybe 20 years ago. It was one of the most beautiful pistols I'd ever seen . . . until I saw it was an Auto-Ordnance pistol! It's like that hand-rubbed, twenty-coat, mile-deep lacquer paint job on a Yugo.
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Old April 17, 2018, 03:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmoser65 View Post
It's John Linebaugh or it could be his son Dustin as well.

The critics are all focused on what may be wrong and ignoring what may be right. The gun is obviously refinished but they did a fair job at maintaining surface integrity. The side plate was not polished separately. The lettering is all still in good shape. The screw holes are not dished out. Many 1917's were fairly rough and now all of that is gone. Not gonna appeal to a collector but collectors aren't the only ones that buy old S&W's. It's a nicely refinished old S&W that decent engraving that will certainly appeal to those who like that sort of thing. It appeals to me more now than it would in its original condition.
There are plenty of things wrong with the gun. First the finish on the cylinder and the frame do not match - not even close. The side plate seam isn't dished out but there are spots where the side plate appears to be mangled on the bottom. The screw holes aren't dished out. but the screws are terribly mangled. They should have at least spent $5 on new screw. The circular engraving doesn't flow very well in a number of spots. Even the straight lines are not straight. Look at the at the sides of the top strap. Look at the top of the top strap. The dots are not evenly spaced, not applied with the same pressure, and are not even close to a straight line.

There are spots where the engraving is good and it should enhance the value of the gun, but the warts are what people pay attention to. There is a huge difference between getting every detail correct and getting 90% of the details correct.
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Old April 17, 2018, 05:04 PM   #20
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Yes and that's what separates a $1000 job from a $5000 job.
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Old April 17, 2018, 07:46 PM   #21
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I spend quite a bit of time on auction sites and classifieds. More time than I spend shooting to be honest. I haven't seen any increase in the valuation of customized or modified firearms.
In every field there are a number of well known artisans/tradesman. Their work will hold value much better than a no-name and always has held value better. Once they die their work may exceed its purchase price even adjusted for inflation.
No-name, mid grade, cnc, work almost NEVER goes for much at all over retail of original model and often goes for less. Sure, you might find a seller who will pay more, but that isn't the norm.
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Old Yesterday, 12:58 AM   #22
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Jackmoser, I just happen to have paid extra for factory engraving on my Colt SAA Pistols and S&W’s as well...the engraving on the pistol shown is substandard and any knowledgeable collector would pass on it. If it is ok to you I guess the pistol is still open for bids.
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Old Yesterday, 01:10 AM   #23
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Quote:
I spend quite a bit of time on auction sites and classifieds.
I don't know what you're looking at but no one is losing money on custom revolvers by well known gunsmiths.



Quote:
I just happen to have paid extra for factory engraving on my Colt SAA Pistols and S&W’s as well...the engraving on the pistol shown is substandard and any knowledgeable collector would pass on it. If it is ok to you I guess the pistol is still open for bids.
So have I but this is not a factory engraved gun. It's been refinished and engraved after the fact so it's not a collectible in any way. It's also not priced as such. How much is a factory engraved 2nd model hand ejector going for nowadays? Sorry but you haven't looked at substandard engraving if you think that's what this is.
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Old Yesterday, 05:23 AM   #24
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Engraved guns are like Liver and Onions. You either love it or hate it. While I'm not really a fan of engraved guns, the obvious buggered screws bother me more than anything. Kinda like puttin' a custom paint job on a car without fixing the rust spots first.

Not worth the monies to me, but others are free to disagree.
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Old Yesterday, 07:11 AM   #25
Mike Irwin
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I'd missed the buggered screw head.

That simple fact alone calls into question the validity and quality of the supposed "professional" restoration.
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