I had a perfect set of original S&W medallion mother-of-pearl handles for a .32 Safety Hammerless. Not a chip in them. I looked for two years until I found a mechanically perfect 1st Model made in 1883. The finish was very worn. I got the revolver for nothing. It wasn't very valuable due to its very rough finish with flaking nickel. I sent it to Michael Gouse ( www.mtart.com
) after speaking with him over the phone. He stripped the little bit of nickel remaining and then hand cut 75% coverage American Scroll. I asked him to blue the gun in an old world style blue and to fire blue the screws. He charged $350 for all of this work.
Here is the finished S&W:
I was so happy with Gouse's engraving that I sent him my S&W Model 624. I already had my dad do an action job on the .44 Special and I had Bear Hug Grips make a set of birdseye maple stocks in the Skeeter Skelton style for me 20+ years ago. I asked Gouse to make my 624 into a Skeeter Tribute gun and include his cattle brand on the backstrap along with the 75% coverage American Scroll. This one cost $500.
I sent my stainless Walther PPK and my Colt 1902 Pocket Hammerless to Gouse at the same time a few years later. He engraved both with my favorite style, 75% coverage American Scroll. They were $300 each. The Walther had been carried for 20 years. I still carry it occasionally. The Colt was in horrible condition when I got it (again a free gun) with no finish. I had it re-blued locally many years ago. I figured it would look great engraved by Gouse. I think they both turned out fantastically.
I even had a Camillus Robo Heat knife engraved by Gouse to match the PPK.
The Colt .32 when I got it:
The Colt after I had it re-blued:
Then after Gouse engraved it:
My latest Gouse engraved firearm is my Marlin 1894 .44 lever action. The barrel has been shortened by my dad to 16" and he added a saddle ring for me. My best friend made a John Wayne style large loop lever by blueprinting his dad's Winchester John Wayne commemorative's loop and then creating a Marlin version. I refinished the stock and forearm to a satin oil finish and removed the white spacer in the buttplate. Gouse engraved the gun for $600, which included some scroll on the barrel band, forearm cap, and about 2" forward on the top of the barrel from the receiver.
If you already have a gun that you'd like to have engraved, do what many here have suggested and browse the web for engraving sites and photos. Do a google image search on "engraved gun, firearm, pistol, revolver, rifle, etc." See what you like. I liked Gouse's various styles. He does anything. I am partial to American Scroll. I considered German Acorns and Oak Leaves for my Walther, but then I figured it was an American Made stainless gun anyway so I went with the American Scroll. I have found Gouse's prices to be very reasonable.
I had my guns engraved for me. I shoot them all. I don't care about value, although I doubt I caused any of them to lose value. The breaktop S&W and the Colt automatic had very little value to start with. I customize my guns for me, not for what value they will bring in the future. If anyone is concerned about buying a safe queen they never shoot and only fondle with white gloves and they only want it as an investment, they a factory engraved gun is the way to go. But if you want your own shooter, just do it.