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S&W Antiques S&W Lever Action Pistols, Tip-Up Revolvers, Top-Break Revolvers, and ALL Single Shots


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Old 11-23-2012, 02:46 PM
cjwils cjwils is offline
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Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns  
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Default Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns

I want to warn you about my recent experience with Little John's Auction Service and Little John's Antique Arms, Inc, based in Orange Calif. They deal mostly with antique and curio and relic firearms, including many old Smith & Wessons. In the past, I used their internet service to bid on and win a couple of antique pistols that were accurately described and were in good condition. But I am disgusted with my experience with their most recent auction. Using the internet, I was the high bidder on these two antique pistols:

Remington Elliot 5-shot derringer: Little Johns described the action as "good." They say they use the NRA definitions of gun quality. NRA says that "good" means that the action is in good working order. This gun was delivered to me with the firing pin missing. Does that seem like a "good" action? Is a gun with a missing firing pin in good working order? Little John's photos and their complete description did not indicate in any way that the gun was missing a critical part.

Rupertus pepperbox: Little Johns described the action as "working." The rest of the description and the photos did not indicate any missing or broken parts, but the gun was delivered to me with an important part of the action broken off and lying loose in the package. I am not sure whether the broken part can be repaired, and the gun does not work correctly without it.

The package was delivered by Fedex in exceptionally good condition with no sign of any damage during shipping, so there is no way that the shipper can be blamed for broken or missing parts.

I emailed Little John's multiple times to complain and explain the problems, but they did not bother to reply. Their Terms and Conditions of Sale include a "sold as is" clause, but another part of the Terms and Conditions of Sale says that Little John's "warrants the accuracy of the catalog descriptions." It is clear to me that their descriptions were faulty and incomplete.

If you have an interest in bidding on any guns in future Little John's auctions, beware that a similar situation could happen to you.
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:17 PM
opoefc opoefc is offline
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Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns  
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cjwills, I'm sorry to hear of your experience with Little John's auction. I've known John Gangel for many years and have never heard of any failure on his part to make good on any complaint regarding his auction, when ever the situation indicated the problem was caused by his side of the deal. Did you talk directly with John? Don't rely on emails, etc to get through to him. John is very concerned about his reputation as an honest dealer. I have no doubt that he will refund your money, if you desire. John usually writes the descriptions for the guns in his auctions, and with 1,000s of guns to describe, I can understand him overlooking something like a missing firing pin in a Remington Elliot derringer with a working action. My guess on the Rupertus is that someone in the pre-auction inspection period damaged the gun, unknown to John, and the people packaging the gun for shipment to you have no way of knowing the gun's catalog description did not identify broken parts. Bottomline: Speak directly to John. He's in his office Tuesdays to Saturdays usually. His # is (714) 939-1170. Good Luck, Ed.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:17 PM
cjwils cjwils is offline
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Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns  
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After I sent 3 emails, they got back to me and promised a refund. The problem might be resolved.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:40 PM
opoefc opoefc is offline
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Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns  
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Next time don't use e-mails. Phone direct with any concerns. Businesses like John Gangle's, and other top auction houses, get 100s of emails daily and responses to them take time. Believe me, John is not out to cheat you. I'm sure all will be resolved to your satisfaction. Good Luck, Ed.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:11 PM
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Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns Beware of Little John's Auction for old guns  
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I just want to add that I have bought a few items from Little John's, two of them quite expensive (or at least quite a bit more expensive than the kinds of gun I usually buy). I have found the catalog descriptions to be fair and accurate on all but one occasion, and on that one the auction service itself realized there was a defective description that had led to an unwarranted run up in the number and size of bids for the item. The house outbid all others for the item in order to keep it in its own hands, then relisted it with a completely accurate description in the following auction.

I can see how the pre-auction inspection period could lead to damage from careless inspectors and viewers of the different lots. The display floor is not large, aisles are narrow, and display cases have many crowded shelves. Even a dozen customers in the room at one time make it feel crowded. On the good side, they have a charming black Scottie that greets everyone and only rarely lies down in a narrow aisle.

I am glad to hear that you are heading toward satisfaction on the two disappointing purchases. I was afraid of Little John's for a long time because they handled some exceedingly fine and expensive collector specimens valued in the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was afraid I was simply not in their league. But now that I have some experience with them I have no qualms about bidding in their auctions. I am sorry you had the experience you did, but I hope it won't keep you from bidding again if something shows up in his catalog that you like.
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