Pneumatic Pnews

Monday, May 22, 2006

Collectible airgun condition - don't get swindled!

by Tex Force

This is based on a true story that was reported on one of the forums.

Airgun condition: Is it in the mind of the beholder?
A well-known airgunner recently sold a valuable gun. Naturally, he said the condition was excellent. Isn't it always? The seller packed the valuable gun poorly, and it arrived at the buyer's house in sad shape. However, after closer inspection the buyer decided most of the "damage" was on the gun before it was shipped! This so-called excellent gun was in about good condition at best. Who's right in a case like this? Isn't gun condition too subjective to really determine?

Wake up and smell the coffee, Virginia!
Guns are no more subjective than houses or used cars. There are always ways to determine what shape the item is in. There are also many ways to disguise faults in used guns, and you'd better learn them first. The biggest scam is the refinished gun.

No collector value
A refinished gun may look good, but a legitimate collector wants nothing to do with one. There are exceptions, however, and because there are, the scammers contend that refinishing is a personal choice. For collectors, it's not. Just try to sell a refinished Crosman 600 or Daisy Red Ryder, and you'll quickly learn that no real collector will touch them. What you will attract are unknowing newcomers who haven't learned the ropes.


The Plymouth Iron Windmill gun was Daisy's first-ever BB gun. A complete one in fair condition is worth about $10,000. Even a junk parts gun has value if it's this rare and desirable. Refinishing does not increase the value.


The real exceptions
A Plymouth Iron Windmill gun (the first model Daisy ever made), however, is extremely rare. Fewer than 30 are known to exist. A refinished Iron Windmill gun has about the same value as before the refinish job. Because a nice unrefinished one brings well over $10,000, a refinished one might be worth as much as $5,000. While veteran collectors won't touch most refinished guns, a buyer for a gun this rare can be found for an example in almost any condition. There are collectors who absolutely HAVE TO fill that hole in their collections.

Beware of the sharpies!
There are a few sellers of rare airguns who have earned themselves reputations as swindlers. They sell on the auction sites using out-of-focus pictures and lying descriptions. They count on buyers rolling over when they take delivery. Others are fly-by-nights who sell and then are suddenly gone. I got taken on gunbroker.com by one of them. He described a gun as excellent when it was actually highly modified by a home gunsmith with a file! The pictures didn't show the "work," and the seller was no longer there when I complained. Complaining to the auction site is useless, unless you want sympathy.

Use the Blue Book!
When you buy used airguns, MAKE the seller describe its condition by the Blue Book of Airguns, Fifth Edition (third book down) grading criteria. If he can't, because he "doesn't have a Blue Book," don't do business with him. The Blue Book is inexpensive and is widely used by legitimate dealers. Anyone who doesn't have one isn't in business for real.

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