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Some hints in collecing guns

Article about: I have worked several years as artillery-officer is Finnish Navy, collected guns for 25 years and lived and seen them much much longer time. I have sold them, bought them, repaired them and

  1. #1

    Default Some hints in collecing guns

    I have worked several years as artillery-officer is Finnish Navy, collected guns for 25 years and lived and seen them much much longer time. I have sold them, bought them, repaired them and have a luck to have as my friend one of most outstanding finnish gunsmiths. An other good collegue was most best antigue-arms dealer in Finland, till he passed away. which was a greatest loss to finnish guncollecting ever. He was trustworthy and great teatcher. So I would like to share some of my observations during the years, even if I am quite sure that most of this is too painfull to read and accept, so better to forget it.

    When collecting military arms, one must note few things:
    - military pistols are carried in holster - it allways note allways leaves it´s marks to a gun - no matter if the gun is Parabellum P-08 or FN GP-35. Theese marks of use are allways alike cause in many cases the holsters are alike.

    - German army was desperately suffering lack of pistols during WW II. So all pistols what they get their hands were used by army, SS or so. Theese guns have signs of use, cause even if they were protected by holster they recieved constant hits and rubbing by holster cause the carrier or individual soldier was moving. Guns were pulled out of holster - and all this leaves marks to a gun.

    - I had in my collection a FN GP-35 owned by finnish general Gustafsson, who never was in fortline. This gun had papers so I knew who had owend it. This guy sit in staff in Helsinki during The Continuation War and never fired the gun. It just lay in it´s holster and was occasionally cleaned. Ans even it had marks from holster.
    So what it means?

    When ever you start to collect something. Allways visit and see as many collections of your own field as possible. Talk with everyone who has better knowledge. Look - look - look - look and SEE the guns. Learn by heart what kind of signs of use this perticular gun has, the holsterwear. Learn what kind of surface it should have, what kind of it had when it left from the factory. This kind of things can be learned only by seeing guns so many as possible. And like one other collector friend of mine said - for every gun you should by a book. He has most outstanding collection of german guns - starting from 75 mm PAK 40.

    Allways, when something seems too good to be true - it is. Forgeries are nowerdays moore common than great pandas. If there are hit marks in gun and there is bluening at the bottom of theese marks - gun is reblued. This is a FACT. Stamps are piece of cake - WaA-stamps or what so ever can be made, are made and will be made. I have seen them made in Finland so why they would not make them in USA or elsewhere - every single Parabellum P-08 is priced to skyhigh-level. Well there were quite a many of them made, but for pete´s sake you were not the first one to want one, they are not collected only in Finland, USA or in your hometown - where an earth do you think all theese minty "Lugers" come from? And they have been collected for 80 years !

    This is just something to all to think of during warm summerdays.

    And by the way - anybody intrested in minty Krieghoff "Luger" with SS-stamps or one made by Vickers. I have a few of them.
    Last edited by SVaaka; 06-30-2010 at 04:22 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Some hints in collecing guns

    You give some good advice......but your delivery comes across like a lecture. Some of us here are novices and some are not.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Some hints in collecing guns

    That is true. But some times it is quite healthy to shake up the tree a bit. And when you have seen what a real artist can do with good tools, it makes just wonder few things. Wel I am sure that I am not the only one to amit that certain guns are abosolutely overpriced at the markets. They are common or moore as what ever lying next to them, but cause they have certain glamour sorrounding them they are cosidered as eight wonder of earth. Parabellum-pistols are the most best sample. There are not so many really rare models or variations of Parabellum P-08, when ever it is manufactured. But when we start to give them names, speak natzi Lugers - which by the way do not even exist - some of us get their eyes certain glims and the prices rise like hell. There are many many moore rarer guns to collect which are not yet priced so high, but are not so sexy. What comes to natzi Lugers, natzism was a party - not a common calling name to all germans or better whole germany. This is one thing that sounds bad in ears of a european even if not german. And Luger - it is not name of the gun - seek for any german manuals or german army documents - it is, has been and will be a Parabellum.
    And what comes to this "lecture" of collecting - as I said it might be painful to read, but truth is that those minty Parabellums were sold long time ago. Ofcourse every now and the some of the old collectors pass away and some just might return back to markets. But in Finland forinstance, usually the guns are sold inside the family, herited or very seldom auctioned. An other thing is where do theese minty guns come then? It is up to you to make you mind. But I can assure you, they do not come from Russia. They do not come from Finland, Sveden, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Danmark, Netherlands, Norway - this I can tell you, and as well as I know the British laws - I am pretty sure they do not come from UK either. Hard to belive that they would even come from France - cause they really have nice collections over there and good collectors. And as far as I remember these might just be the countries on which soil the most of Parabellums have existed - correct me if I am wrong.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Some hints in collecing guns

    You cover alot of ground SVaaka, but you have some valid points. Luger's have reached their tipping price point here in the states. The "Nazi" pistol of choice here for now is the P-38. Dubious examples of this pistol are being sold by the hundreds here at inflated prices. I'm sure many of these pistols received their "Nazi" markings well after 1945.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Some hints in collecing guns

    My little 40yr collection count is only a little over 200 rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, derringers and related items. At this point I have one of everyting I wanted that I can find. Everything is displayed in my gun room with tags. The reasearch I have accumulated is kept in files.
    This has been an enjoyable collection. My key is I never sell any.
    This importers is near me where i have bought quite a few guns. They specilize in Lugers.

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