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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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Old 03-25-2020, 10:08 PM
Elroy Elroy is offline
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Default Army purchase may bring double ?

In the 2006, 3rd edition of The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson there is a foot note on page 144 in the article on the K38 Target Masterpiece. We understand the correct nomenclature is K38 Masterpiece. Regardless,there is a foot note which states "Army purchase may bring double standard value"

Question concerns recent K38 purchase which included the original bill of sale with matching serial number dated 1953 which states;
Ship to: Marine Barracks Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

Would this be considered an "Army Purchase" ?

I tend to disagree as this appears to be a "Private Purchase" made through Frank T. Budge Company, Miami. Research indicates Budge was a hardware / sporting goods company. Revolver is in near mint condition with the original matching grease pencil serial numbered gold box and "tools". Missing only the swab and brush.

Paid a fair price to the Grandson of the original owner. So does this "shipment" meet the double value foot note ??

Comments please

Last edited by Elroy; 03-25-2020 at 10:19 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:51 PM
merl67 merl67 is online now
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My uneducated guess would be no. I would think the Smith would have had to been ordered, and shipped straight from S&W to the Marines to qualify.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:44 PM
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During my service days (1955- 1963) we had Colt Woodsman Target .22 Pistols, S&W K38 Masterpieces .38 Revolvers, and Colt NM M1911 .45 Pistols for matches. IIRC (?) these weapons were not purchased by individual bases but were received from main HDQS
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:12 AM
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I own a U.S. marked M-14(k 38), M-15 (combat Masterpiece) and M-38 (lightweight Chiefs Special). Picked them up years ago before collecting military firearm became fashionable.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:45 AM
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In any case that provenance would add some value, to the right collector. I was negotiating for a gun, and had a firm price. I went 10% above because of a great tidbit that I learned. I know that they say, "Buy the gun, not the story" but when you buy a historic gun you are certainly also buying the story, real or imagined. You have documentation of one piece of the story. Probably doesn't double the value but I think it is worth ten or twenty percent to the "right" person. My gun story? It was a Smith 32 Hand Ejector, beautiful condition, but there are so many out there and I had a couple. Price was below $300. I had a goal. Price stopped about ten percent above my goal. We kept talking. Seller was 81 years old. He was entering a nursing home. When he said, "It was my mother's kitchen gun" I mentally said, "Stop arguing and buy it!" So I paid a bit above my goal.

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Old 03-26-2020, 09:56 AM
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As noted above, a gun such as this one with an authentic U.S. military property stamp, or a letter of authenticity documenting a military contract purchase would increase the value significantly. However, to me a gun shipped to a military destination (like a PX, NEX, or MCX) would also increase its value, just not as much.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:43 AM
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A US K-38 Masterpiece shipped to the Raritan Arsenal:


Army purchase may bring double ?-img_us-1-jpg


Army purchase may bring double ?-img_us-3-jpg
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:45 AM
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I forgot to say that the US marked guns bring significantly more than "double".
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post
I forgot to say that the US marked guns bring significantly more than "double".
I think this is the key. A gun like the one Lee showed has provenance as a gun purchased by and for the Army and will be valued as such.

The document you describe appears to show a gun purchased commercially and just shipped to a military residence in an interesting place, with no provenance regarding the buyer and circumstances. So any added value would depend on a buyer agreeing that the destination justifies it.

We discussed a similar case some time ago on another forum. Someone had a surplus Walther pistol with some base registration papers from Guantanamo and thought he had something special. But the general collector reaction was “Meh, so a soldier bought the gun while stationed in Germany and then was reassigned to Cuba. If that floats your boat ... “
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:59 AM
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"Question concerns recent K38 purchase which included the original bill of sale with matching serial number dated 1953 which states;
Ship to: Marine Barracks Guantanamo Bay Cuba."

If you could prove a link to say, a Marine Corps pistol team, yes, that would increase the value to most collectors. Or if it had been shipped to a Marine stationed there, as a private purchase, who later earned the MOH or became a general, that would add value as well.
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pondoro View Post

"Buy the gun, not the story"
What does one do when the "story" is a hard copy in Blue and Yellow ?

Notice the reference to " Heavy Masterpiece "

Elroy is pleased................Hope you enjoy as well
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:38 PM
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Elroy understands fully this is NOT a military sale but he still considers the documentation as a positive addition to the value
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:49 PM
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Cool gun and invoice. In 1953 the standard contour barrel K-38 Masterpiece was still available so you could have still requested one.
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elroy View Post
Elroy understands fully this is NOT a military sale but he still considers the documentation as a positive addition to the value
Well, all Elroy needs now is a prospective buyer who agrees with him-----and he's good to go.

I just love stories with happy endings----even when it isn't an ending.

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 03-27-2020, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elroy View Post
In the 2006, 3rd edition of The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson there is a foot note.....

.... So does this "shipment" meet the double value foot note ??

Comments please
To amplify Ralph's observation, a final comment about something that may not have been clear to Elroy based on the wording of his OP:

The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson is the "bible" for us in many ways, but it doesn't set prices or even value. In fact, the suggested values are the weakest part mostly because they are just a snapshot in time, and any discussions affecting value are based on quite possibly not representative observations.

So treating a footnote as a box that can be checked and doubles the value (or not) is a futile exercise.

No collector will disagree that an uncommon destination and a document make a gun more interesting, but you won't find out how much it adds in monetary value until you try to sell the gun.
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:45 PM
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Is the gun marked "U S", or "USMC" ? If not, then as has been said, an interesting footnote on the gun's history.

Daniel
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:28 PM
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Whatever the history that is one clean K-38 thanks for showing us.
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:27 AM
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The weapon was sold to the Marine Corps Exchange which would indicate it would be sold to Marines assigned to that base. Very interesting weapon with USMC association but not purchased by the Corps.
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:56 AM
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Default Marlin 39A

I have a Marlin 39A with a receipt that it also came from the Guantanamo Bay PX in 1956. I bought it from the original owner who bought it there for about $56.00 when he was in the service. I would assume that was the case with Elroy's revolver. He said you could buy about anything you wanted there.
I'm with Elroy, the receipt adds an interesting note to know the exact day it was sold and where.
Beautiful gun! I'd be proud to own it!

Irv
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:18 AM
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How many times have we thought to ourselves, or heard in conversation, "If that gun could only talk....."? Well here we have one that can fill in some information about its origin and first journey.
I am in the camp that the paper adds something to the value. How much? The key there is mating it with someone that places a value on that specific information. Personally, I'd add maybe 10% to what I was thinking my upper limit was if I was buying it..... just to have the original receipt. Someone else may add more if it fit into their collecting corridor. And others may add nothing.
It is a real niche piece. There are many more of us that would pay a premium for a piece documented as sold to the military, and a group that would pay a premium for one documented to a law enforcement organization or prison. I am thankful that we all do not covet the exact same things, as that allows me to have a few.
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Old 03-29-2020, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post
I forgot to say that the US marked guns bring significantly more than "double".
does this count ?

All joking aside................I didn't make this purchase, being under any impression it was some kind of extra special Marine Corp. item. I acquired this weapon based upon its condition and price combined with the fact it included the original box with the vapor paper and the tools. Truth be told, this piece came to me. I didn't go looking for it. I authored this post simply to present some interesting S&W history. We appreciate all the comments

SO........The question becomes: what's an early model K38 "Heavy Masterpiece" in excellent condition worth? I think Elroy made an excellent long term $700 investment.
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