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Old 04-28-2018, 05:47 PM
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Default Dust Off Those Vintage 38 DAs . . .

. . . happy days are here again. My monthly wonder at the auctions is a 38 Double Action, 2nd Model that sold for $1500 plus $300 buyer premium. Details are it was a 5" gun with red mottled stocks. It was an antique with 10 to 20% blue left pitting on the barrel, and a plated front sight.

In the description was: This example is unusually rare for two reasons: first, it has a 5” barrel. Most of these revolvers were made to be pocket guns with short 3 Ľ” barrels the most popular and common. This unusual length puts this example more in the belt or holster category. Second, it has the very rare and desirable mottled red and black gutta percha rubber grips with the S&W monogram embossed in the top of each grip panel.

Reality is that it was one of over a hundred thousand of this model made. Supica states a 20% premium for s/n matching red stocks and a slight premium for 6" barrel length. The SCSW4 also states that an example in Very Good condition is worth $250.

I have one in better condition, so the first $2500 takes it!
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Old 04-28-2018, 07:43 PM
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WOW, I wold have quit bidding at $225, and then only because of the grips. I have one pair of red mottled grips, # matching on a blue .32 Single Action, Model 1 1/2, (CF). I'll have to locate the picture, I still don't have them all shifted to Postimage.
Found it.
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Old 04-28-2018, 08:36 PM
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Would you please name the auction house this is now charging a 20% buyers premium!!
Jim
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:10 PM
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Would you please name the auction house this is now charging a 20% buyers premium!!
Jim
I have seen up to 25% buyer's premium on some Proxbid listed auctions. I have to wonder what any auction house does that's worth over 10%.

Last edited by Tom K; 05-02-2018 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:16 PM
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Would you please name the auction house this is now charging a 20% buyers premium!!
Jim
Probably the majority of auction companies are over, at, or near 20% buyer's premium.
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Old 04-28-2018, 10:33 PM
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Wow I do love the red mottled stocks ( I don't have any yet) but that's crazy money for an otherwise common model.
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Old 04-28-2018, 10:38 PM
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Gary

While I see where you are coming from, some considerations....in no particular order...

The gun is relatively early for the model. Of course there was a 1st model, but those are super scarce. So a 2nd model is next in desirability for the overall model.

Because it is a 2nd model, the gun is an antique. This alone makes it more desirable than a non-antique of the same model. The price often goes up higher when the auctioneer / seller honors antique status.

When discussing production numbers for antiques, don't forget attrition rate. In terms of sheer 2nd model total numbers, of course, it was nothing rare at all. When you discuss the model, survivability, age, etc. specific to this example, the attrition rate IMO is rather significant.

Despite the book mentioning a premium for a 6in barrel, there is definitely a premium for a 5in barrel. A 4in usually brings more than a 3.25, etc. Once again, the book is a good guide, but it is not God's word when it comes to our hobby...

Although the condition was not great, it was a blued example. Blue is scarcer for these earlier top breaks.

Despite Supica's estimate of "20% additional" value, as a *rough* guide / starting point, the pair of mottled grips with a blue finish helps support originality. The 20% is no more than a starting point, an opinion, not a law. Personally, I don't think 20% does the rarity of those grips justice, but that's my opinion. Of course, the grips being original to the gun is significant when discussing the premium. I think 10 to 20% is fair if they are not original to the said gun, because they have value separate from the revolver. If they happen to letter to the gun, or at least numbers matching, 20% is a premium I would gladly pay.

Would I pay the hammer price? No I would not. Will that specific gun likely come up next week next month or even this year? Perhaps not, likely not. Its all in what you're after and what you are willing to pay. Saying that the sale price is way high implies it can be had for less but when the variation isn't around, that argument is basically nullified. Although I despise the simplicity of this cliche, worth what someone is willing to pay applies here.

Just my two cents....
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Old 04-28-2018, 10:46 PM
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One other point...

Quote:
It was an antique with 10 to 20% blue left pitting on the barrel, and a plated front sight.
This statement about the front sight is incorrect. The blued examples of this model nearly always had a German silver front sight, so this front sight is exactly right for the gun since the gun is blued.
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Old 04-28-2018, 11:01 PM
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Saw that one and actually bid on it but my max price was $650. Over my short collecting career of about 3 years I have started to focus on the hard to find shooter guns. I have 5 red mottled grip 38's with 4 having numbers to match the frames.

I think the book is way low on the mottled grip prices. Every one I've bought has been way over the 20% or 50% premium above the pricing listed for non mottled grips. Never approached the $1500 price tag though.

The last one I purchased came in a 3 group with a nickel baby russian, a nickel second model single action, and the blued second model single action with red mottled grips. I paid $1600 for the 3 plus the auction premium. Would have gone a little higher because I have another blued 38 single action with mottled grips that has a serial number 13 less than the auction gun. Waiting for a display case to be made to display both. Can't wait until the display case arrives.

Mark
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Old 04-29-2018, 07:23 AM
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Guys I am no expert and evidently the buyer was neither but that is what happens when you get a couple or three deep pocket fellows into that " I am going to win" auction excited state . I've seen it a thousand times at auto auctions two guys generaly with their girl friend or trophy wife at their side just get to it .Its their way of dukeing it out without all that blue collar violence lol. My brother and myself use to make it a point to try and get a couple of guys like that interested in one of our cars at auction . I sold a 1500 dollar Mazda RX 7 for 8 grand and the guy that won it was grinning buying beer for the house and even gave the guy that drove the car thru th auction a hundred dollar tip. Auctions are great fun .Thanks Gary for coming up with this stuff i look for your " finds " always they bring back some good memories for me .
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Old 04-29-2018, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom K View Post
I have seen up to 25% buyer's premium on some Proxbid listed auctions. I have to wonder what any auction house does that's worth over 10%.
I believe Proxibid charges a 3% premium over the auction house, so to be at 25%, the auction house is charging a 22% buyer's premium. I believe that Sotheby's and Christie's charges a buyer's premium in the 20 to 25% range. I was at a major auction house near to Philadelphia yesterday and their buyer's premium is 22%. They are by no means Sotheby's and Christie's, but I did see a blanket chest bring $230,000--and that was before the 22% buyer's premium and 6% sales tax.

The trick is to figure out what you wish to pay for something and subtract out the premiums and sales tax, and only bid that high. The trouble is, your fellow bidders are often not so prudent and care not a whit as to what the buyer's premium is.

I have been to many auctions over the years and have noted no discernible difference as to what particular objects fetch, be it a 0% premium, 22%, or anything in between. In fact, it almost seems that auction houses charging in the 20% plus range are higher end, or try to be so, and this brings out the deep(er) pockets.
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Old 04-29-2018, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Göring's S&W View Post
. . . While I see where you are coming from, some considerations . . . Although the condition was not great, it was a blued example. Blue is scarcer for these earlier top breaks . . . Would I pay the hammer price? No I would not . . . Saying that the sale price is way high implies it can be had for less but when the variation isn't around, that argument is basically nullified . . . Just my two cents....
I love the discussion, since I am well aware that there are lots of people out there with different interpretations of the item sold, but if that particular revolver is worth anywhere near that money, all the others I have seen have sold way too cheap. Let's give it a break and say that the 5" barrel is worth 50% premium and the stocks will double that value, where are we? All that gives one a $750 hammer price, besides the description does not state the stocks are numbered to the gun, so a "shot in the dark" so to speak.

I watch antique S&Ws closely and see 2nd Models out there, with 100,000 made, the key to me is that few are high condition and most are in worn condition. I will agree that very few will be found in any grade better than Very Good, by SCSW4 standards, but the lesser grades do show up and have not sold for big money - besides I think a Very Good rating is being kind to that old 38 DA. Sure, Jim & Neal's book is a guide, but what better source is there to ballpark valuation? I will also say that auction prices are usually in line with what is stated in that guide. I collect for the enjoyment of the chase and the ability to hold pieces of history, and filling holes, but refuse to pay any price way beyond standard valuations, since other opportunities will come along. Maybe that's just me, but bottom line is that my guns will be sold someday and I am just not be around long enough to get my money out of that 38 DA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Göring's S&W View Post
One other point...The blued examples of this model nearly always had a German silver front sight, so this front sight is exactly right for the gun since the gun is blued.
Correct me if I am mistaken which is often, but German silver does not show red-oxide and if you take a close look, the blade sure looks to have rust on the blade with small pits??? I do not think copper, zinc, and nickel would produce that type of rough red color?
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Last edited by glowe; 04-29-2018 at 09:30 AM.
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