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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors


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Old 09-01-2021, 03:43 PM
C3Ranger C3Ranger is offline
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Default "A" Box vs "THE" Box and Papers

I am relatively new to the forum and I am looking for some feedback and opinions regarding boxes and paperwork for those orphaned firearms that have been adopted without their original boxes and/or documents.

My practice for some years has been to try and obtain the matching vintage and correct model box with manuals for any that were missing those items when acquired. I am not interested in reselling them or misrepresenting any of them as "THE" original that came with the firearm when shipped. I just prefer to have a complete package that would have been available at the time of sale.

Please share your thoughts. Thank you
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Old 09-01-2021, 04:03 PM
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Welcome to the forum.

I understand your thinking. Just like guitars I always tried to find the correct style/era case for it. I also tried to find the correct case candy (hang tags, paperwork, accessories, etc) that would have come with it.

It just made me feel better and when I did sell one, the customer appreciated all the correct trimmings.
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Old 09-01-2021, 04:13 PM
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I know that I've done this for one of my Browning High Powers. I picked up a High Standard .22 box but I haven't figured which gun to match it up with yet.
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Old 09-01-2021, 04:14 PM
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Nothing wrong with what youíre doing, provided you donít alter the original label or replace it with a reproduction/counterfeit.

High condition guns in their original boxes with all the trimmings can bring much higher prices than just the gun. They sometimes sell for 2-3X the price. Check out some of the completed Gunbroker listings and youíll be amazed.

In my mind, guns with a period correct but not original box are worth the sum of their parts. Most modern boxes form the 1960ís forward are worth under $100, but some earlier boxes can easily top $1000.
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Old 09-01-2021, 04:50 PM
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I have no problem with what you're doing, for you.

I'm not a box hound. I sell boxes that are "strange" to the gun, and I won't pay a premium just because a gun has a period-correct box.

I appreciate a nice gun, no matter if it comes in its original box. I generally can't appreciate a mediocre gun even it it has the correct box.

If I catch a seller trying to pawn off the wrong box (or especially a fake label) as the "real deal," I will never do business with that seller (schyster). GB has plenty of those folks with their canned, rationalizing answers. Pshaw.
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Old 09-01-2021, 04:54 PM
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In my opinion, in the absence of the original box there is nothing wrong with "relabeling" a non-original box. My thought is that the label on the box should identify the gun in that box.

I would never pass off an unoriginal box as original, and I put a note in each non-original box I have to document that the label and the box are not original to the gun.
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:02 PM
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I love to have the original box and papers but honestly, if it isn’t the original box, I won’t spend a dime on another box. To me it would feel like a fake…even if it’s only for my own safe.
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:13 PM
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I worked the other side of the street too. I was at a gun shop over in Gettysburg and saw a bin full of branded pistol boxes. One of the staff told me that often someone buys a new handgun and tosses the factory box on the way out the door. So I made a deal for the whole bin full and took the boxes to the Ohio Gun Collectors Association Show. We already had a table to try to sell stuff from my dad's estate, so I set the factory boxes up on the table and ended up selling a bunch of them.
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:31 PM
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This is like having a classic car with the original factory window sticker and build sheets usually found in the trunk and under
the rear seats. And stickers in the engine compartment.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:56 AM
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Thanks to all for your responses. I appreciate the feedback.
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Old 09-02-2021, 11:34 AM
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We have a local gunshow crook that like to sell guns in mismatched boxes as "in the original box". Generally he peels the labels off. At the last show he has Colt Detective Special "in the box", but it wasn't the original box. He also had a S&W 66 that was still "new in box", but the box label was peeled off and the grips had been replaced. It was a nice gun, but not "new" and certainly not "new in box".

As far as just having an box to go along with the gun, I'd say whatever makes you happy. I was given an empty Glock case earlier this year. It was perfect for the used Glock I'd bought with no box. The label doesn't match the serial number or even model, but I'm not trying to fool anyone.

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Old 09-02-2021, 12:11 PM
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Default Don't need box

You don't shoot the Box or papers.

Nice to have if you are a collector and I have many but I am a shooter.
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Old 09-03-2021, 06:33 AM
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Here's a response that I posted to a similar thread a while back...

I'll weigh in on this - as I feel passionate about the topic. I'll post a few photos to illustrate my points.

I collect guns and I collect boxes. I like them both. I also collect paperwork and tools that shipped with the guns, because I like them. I collect period boxed ammo and advertisements related to the guns I collect, once again because I like that "stuff". I like the history that all of the items collectively and individually represent. Of course I have extra love for guns and boxes that appear to have been shipped together (matching numbers etc...), but I don't get too worked up if the numbers do not match. It is also impossible to prove that a specific piece of tissue paper, vapor paper, Helpful Hints pamphlet, tan caution notice, green warranty notice, SAT, swab, brush, instruction manual, etc. shipped with a specific gun and I do not try to prove it. Factory paperwork and tools were not numbered to specific guns (with the exception of Texas Ranger commemorative Knives, certain warranty cards, and registration cards that were oft times mailed back to the factory). I imagine there were bins and stacks of the goodies that some final shipping clerk inserted in a box as a gun was prepared to ship. Also, I think it is important to remember and note that unlike specific gun parts (e.g. sights, cylinders, frames, barrels, grips, yokes...) that were fit/filed/sanded/polished to a finished gun and stamped and numbered to that specific gun, boxes were NOT fitted to a specific gun, rather guns were placed into boxes they fit in and those boxes (usually designed or labeled to house a specific model) were numbered somewhere on their exterior to a specific gun so that someone down the line did not have to open the box to determine what gun was placed inside it.

Here are some pre-war K-22s on boxes, some of which number to the period correct boxes, others do not.



I very much appreciate "complete" or mostly complete packages (gun, box, tools, other goodies) whether they were assembled as they left the factory, or by some thoughtful collector at a later date. I try to keep them together so that when my kids sell or distribute my collection someone else can enjoy them (hopefully as much as I have). I collect S&Ws because I love them.

This early K-22 Outdoorsman box and frame numbers match.



This RM box and gun do not have matching numbers. (But seriously - just how many small pre-war magnum boxes have you seen? - me... less than a handful)







There are unscrupulous people over the years who have faked labels, written different numbers on the bottoms of boxes in grease pencil, or replaced a little white piece of tape on the bottom of a pre-war "picture box" to inflate the value of their "package". That is wrong and detestable. On the other side, there are also boxes where the adhesive on the labels failed, grease pencil that wore off, pencil that faded, and white tape that became so worn that the numbers are no longer legible, so I have no clue as to whether those boxes currently house the exact gun that was placed there at the factory and I do not represent that it does. So even on the packages that I have that include all components that have matching numbers, I cannot guarantee that they shipped together when they left the factory.

I also love custom cases and I have several of those. They are pricey, but they really make me smile.

Custom Huey Case with matching engraved pre-27s.



Custom Glenn Dean Case with matching engraved SAAs.







If a collector only collects guns that have boxes clearly numbered to the guns, I would expect that he/she will most likely end up with a pretty small, but nice collection, as those "complete packages" (particularly for older guns) are rare, usually do not trade hands very often, and are generally very pricey when they do trade hands.

I love the guns that are Safe Queens and I love the ones that have a bunch of history on them. I generally do not get too worked up about provenance of a specific gun and in general will not pay extra for it. I shoot the ones that have history on them and find them as interesting (but far less pricey) than the safe queens. I also collect ones that have been tastefully modified by previous owners - and taste is subjective and subject to change... I have even had some "modified"/engraved myself and I love them.

Modified/Engraved K-22 Outdoorsman in non matching, period correct box.





I am also glad that we all do not think alike on this topic and I enjoy and value the perspective of the members of this forum, even when those perspectives differ from mine.

My $0.02,
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Old 09-03-2021, 09:09 AM
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I agree with Richard 100% and have been doing the exact same thing for the 40 years that I have been collecting S&Ws. I will be at the Tulsa symposium trying to sell most of my collection but will never try to represent any of them as "100%" factory original. Interested collectors will use their own judgement on what they see with their own eyes. Some of the most highly regarded S&W experts will be there to help them.
That is my 2 cents worth;
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Old 09-03-2021, 10:46 AM
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Wow. I am not even close to being in the same level of collecting as many of you. I always considered myself more of an accumulator who lucked into some decent finds. Regardless of the differences of opinion on original versus replacement boxes, it’s great to see so many share interest in the topic.
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Old 09-03-2021, 11:08 AM
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I buy the revolver, not the box.
If it comes with the original box thatís fine. But I am more interested in the gun. My meager collection has about 50% original boxes. I would not buy a non-original box just to have a box.
Since I keep my guns in a gunsafe the boxes reside somewhere else. I sometimes take pictures with the boxes but otherwise seldom pay much attention to them.
I will admit that in the 60ís and 70ís I just threw them away. 😳
The collectors on the forum will probably ride me out of town on a rail. In my defense I have seen the error in my ways. 😎
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Old 09-03-2021, 11:47 AM
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Iíve always been impressed with cased firearms. And the gun doesnít have to be over the top engraved or anything. The talent of the cabinet maker compliments the skill of the stocker, grip maker and firearm manufacturer. Iíd prefer something like this over a shipping box any day. [not my cased Webley but I do have nice uncased W-G, W-Wís and a W-F]. Need to start building cases. Another hobby.
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Old 09-12-2021, 05:12 PM
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I have this little pre-war Terrier (a fairly uncommon gun). After I purchased the gun I came across this box (even less common than the gun). It turns out that the pencil number on the box is only one number different than the gun. The gun is 53558 and the box is 53548. I still think it makes a nice package and I was happy to connect them with each other.





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Old 09-12-2021, 05:21 PM
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I can absolutely understand why someone would want to have the original box and accoutrements for a vintage gun, and I can understand why someone would pay a premium for the same.

Nevertheless, I am not that guy. As I’ve said many times, I can afford to buy guns; I can’t afford to buy boxes.

There is absolutely no judgment intended or implied in the above. I’m very glad we have people who expend the time, effort, and money to keep these packages together; they provide a valuable resource for the rest of us.
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