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Old 06-14-2018, 12:33 AM
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Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ?  
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I think Sal had his lunch sat on in grammar school.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:25 AM
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I think Sal had his lunch sat on in grammar school.
Don ... see your private email ... Sal
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:39 AM
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Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ?  
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I'd just like to note that I've just wasted 10 minutes of my life, that I'll never get back, reading through what is the dumbest and most pointless thread I've read on this site. I'm guessing the OP's cable was out tonight so he wasn't able to do his normal arguing with the guy on the TV and had to come up with something else on short notice.
Joshua,

While there is little reason (other than curiosity) to request S&W letters on newer 629s, Performance centers and basically, not much of anything newer than 1970, one day you'll find a really sweet, older, S&W that captures your soul with a steep price tag. Perhaps then you'll consider this subject differently.

Glad you enjoyed it and actually considered the content. Sal
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:10 AM
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I didn't miss it at all. "Letter of Authenticity" is not a term of art, and people are attempting to treat it as such . . .

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Is a Letter of Authenticity is really a "Letter of Authenticity" as the title implies ?

To me, this implies the gun described in the letter has been verified as "authentic" when it has NOT been examined nor verified.
You're trying to force your definition of the phrase on everyone else, including sellers who don't know you from anything. That's why the law uses the phrase "term of art," so as to standardize these things. You know what the letter is, and if a seller advertises a Smith and Wesson letter, you know what it will and won't show. Arguing with a seller that his/her S&W letter is or isn't a "Letter of Authenticity" by your standard is akin to beating your head against the wall. Seller's gonna say it is, you're gonna say it ain't. And there's the end of it . . .


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You missed it, all together. The content of the letter is undisputed but it does not authenticate the item, just states what the old records show.

Doesn't it do something to you when someone misrepresents something for sale ? Usually, you, I and another guy won't get caught but some poor son of a sailor, will.

If you were about to plop down some serious cash for a USAF M13, based solely on (and accepting) a Letter of Authenticity to truly be what is is named, you'd think differently.

Wisdom comes from experience and education. Fear is not an option.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Thorton View Post
LOL, I hear that, chiselers everywhere you look, it's been that way since mankind crawled out of the slime.

It occurred to me thinking all about this that S&W has done this on purpose to keep the interest in S&W, create some grand illusion that everyone must own a S&W revolver and it's also cheap advertisement.

The Wall-Street hacks who own them know very well what that 'play on words' does and is.

Be careful Sal calling them out on it, you might get banned here.
I am not, in any way, calling out anyone from S&W or the Club or the Foundation. Just putting up a point of conjecture that I take very seriously.

I attest to deceptive or false advertising of selling blue skies to an unsuspecting potential buyer (and novice collector) in awe of owning a nice older S&W. These are the guys that get burnt more often and worse but even the best of us fall for a line of bull or hyper-advertising once in awhile.

The S&W Letter to verify the ship date and configuration it originally shipped is a very valuable asset to both the owner and the serious collectors. This does not mean (by virtue of the letter alone) the gun described is "the" gun shipped from the factory nor what condition it is currently in or what value it may have.

My first experience of buying a "fake" was from a local collector seller of my own club here in Florida. I was young, and had pockets full of money (that's a dangerous combination). it was for $500 for a genuine Colt manufacture 2nd series BlackPowder (late 1970s mfg) revolver that was an Italian copy.

I considered keeping it as yet, another, lesson learned but then after thinking it out, if I allowed him to get over with this, he'd think I was a complete yokel for believing what he ( a tenured Local Club member ) presented as genuine. I confronted him and he started to get defensive but then started to stutter for lack of BS. He agreed (after some banter) to take it back for a full refund.

The next was a pre-war .22 Outdoorsman presented to me as a Masterpiece from yet another tenured local club member, after showing me books and descriptions and attesting it was a Masterpiece. The box was in fact a pre-war Masterpiece box that he coupled to a pre-war Outdoorman. He also, got very defensive and evasive. Good thing I asked for a receipt with description of the S&W with serial number. He, too, refunded the complete purchase price after some hard words were exchanged. He even had other respected Club members plead with me not to expose him for the fraud that he was, as he was dying of cancer. No excuse ! I remained silent. He passed 3 months later. No loss of sentiment there.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:45 AM
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I don’t know why people are getting worked up over this. Don’t want to get a letter or think they are worthless? Then don’t. No one is saying you have to buy one. Buyer beware applies to everything whether there is a letter or not. You buy the gun not the story. Anything extra is gravy.
I just got 3 letters. They don’t say a lot. But I know where it started it’s work and that makes it ok with me. It’s because I look at it as history and part of the story. Some have a short story. Some have a novel And some never care to read the book. Life’s all about choices

Boils down to buyer beware and don’t worry what other people do
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:23 AM
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You guys should be very grateful to have this type of service provided by Roy and enjoy it for what it is...
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
I gotta tell y'all, I have no idea what to do with a group of people that will complain, loudly and adamantly, about what to call a letter researched from historical production and shipping records, by a group headed by the factory historian, which details the exact configuration of the firearm you own when it was shipped, the date is was shipped from the factory, and the destination, and potentially the number of like firearms in the same shipment, along with a generalized history of that particular series of like firearms, as well as anything else interesting that the historian might come across during the research . . .

Dumbest argument I've read since magazine/clip . . .
Hey Muss, I guess we can hire someone to ship our gun to and Roy can ship the letter to and this eminently qualified person can match the two up and say yep this is the one. This shouldn't cost more than a few hundred dollars. Then they can stamp a number on the gun identifying the gun and then writing it on the Letter of Authenticity and ship it all back to us. So we pay Roy, we pay the shipper, we pay the expert, we pay the FFL both ways, problem solved.

Uh wait a minute. The identification number is already on the gun, and the letter. Problem solved. Or was there a problem at all. Lord have mercy, we are trying way too hard.
  #59  
Old 06-14-2018, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
I didn't miss it at all. "Letter of Authenticity" is not a term of art, and people are attempting to treat it as such . . .

You're trying to force your definition of the phrase on everyone else, including sellers who don't know you from anything. That's why the law uses the phrase "term of art," so as to standardize these things. You know what the letter is, and if a seller advertises a Smith and Wesson letter, you know what it will and won't show. Arguing with a seller that his/her S&W letter is or isn't a "Letter of Authenticity" by your standard is akin to beating your head against the wall. Seller's gonna say it is, you're gonna say it ain't. And there's the end of it . . .
Again, you missed it.

I'm not force feeding anyone. It is up to the reader to research and consider. It's an open forum and not everyone has to agree with anyone else as long as we continue in a civilized manner.

A letter of Authenticity is not limited to art work, proper (e.g. paintings, prints, sculptures, etc.) even though I think some of the old ones are better than artwork just for the impeccable craftsmanship, fit and function.

Although it is widely used for artwork that is not the sole purpose nor creation of such documentation.

It is not for me to argue with a seller or whomever is selling whatever it is. I'm old enough and learned enough to spot a good one and a "not so good" one.

S&W Historical letters have been the gold standard to affirm original shipping configuration, date, and who it was shipped to ... that's it !

As these progressed a short story was prefaced before the actual shipping data was revealed. Excellent ! Everyone is happy.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:34 AM
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Is the letter kind of like a build sheet or window sticker from classic cars?
Just a thought.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:07 AM
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At first I was a bit skeptical. I mean, what were the chances the dealer I was speaking to had actually acquired Baby Russian serial numbers one and two. Together with thier presentation boxes.

Fortunately he had a daegoerrotype of Messrs. Smith and Wesson presenting them to Tsarina Catherine and President Adams in the Rose Garden on Memorial Day 1839.

Quite a find.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:59 AM
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Why does The Smith & Wesson HISTORICAL Foundation issue "Letters of Authenticity"? Shouldn't they be issuing "Letters of Historical Record"? After all, they are not called "The Smith & Wesson Authenticity Foundation".
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:02 PM
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... Dumbest argument I've read since magazine/clip . . .
You're right, but don't forget grip/stock, or 45 Colt/45 Long Colt. LOL

Best regards,
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
I gotta tell y'all, I have no idea what to do with a group of people that will complain, loudly and adamantly, about what to call a letter researched from historical production and shipping records, by a group headed by the factory historian, which details the exact configuration of the firearm you own when it was shipped, the date is was shipped from the factory, and the destination, and potentially the number of like firearms in the same shipment, along with a generalized history of that particular series of like firearms, as well as anything else interesting that the historian might come across during the research . . .

Dumbest argument I've read since magazine/clip . . .
-------and your law degree is from where???
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Club Gun Fan View Post
I think Sal had his lunch sat on in grammar school.
Hey, Don.

I left a message on your phone this morning. Still waiting for your return phone call.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:38 PM
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I think they're a waste of money.
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Old 06-15-2018, 09:30 AM
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Who gets the non "authenticated" award attached hereto?
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:04 PM
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-------and your law degree is from where???
File a claim, and you'll find out in the interrogatories . . .
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:39 AM
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Just a note on factory letters and to somewhat support Sal's position. I recently saw a letter for a Reg Magnum which was correct in everyway for the serial number requested. However, the gun itself was a 1917 frame with a Reg mag bbl in the Reg mag serial number range, checkered top strap, correct front sight. The hammer and probably trigger were from a Reg magnum. The cylinder, I don't know. But the owner had requested the letter based on the serial number stamped in the bbl extractor rod channel. Any prospective buyer needs to be aware that a factory letter does not necessarily make it so. Buyer beware.

Charlie

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Old 06-16-2018, 11:23 PM
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I found an article at the NRA website by Jim Supica, titled : FAKE

It is very interesting reading.

See here: NRA Museums:

Hey guys, I'm not trying to set the world of collecting on fire, just trying to suggest a few thoughts that you already know.

When each of us look into it objectively, it will affirm what you already knew as forthright and what is not.
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Old 06-17-2018, 09:55 PM
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Let me admit right up front I have not read all that precedes this, so arguing I'm not---simply presenting an opinion----and a few facts to support the opinion.

Opinion: A "factory letter", by whatever name one might choose to call it recites the content of the factory's records on any given item (beyond the boilerplate preceding the recitation). I'm quite certain I cannot be the only one to discover (by way of a letter) that the factory records are not always correct---nor are they always complete. A few cases in point: My .32 caliber, 8" 1st Model Single Shot pistol letters as a 10" .22. The barrel length of my 6" 2nd Model Single Shot is unknown. The caliber of my NM #3 Target (those chambered only in 32-44 S&W and 38-44 S&W---according to every book I have---which is pretty much all of them) chambered in "38 WINCHESTER CTG" is unknown.

So---a letter of "authenticity" it ain't---unless it's deemed to be authenticating the records instead of the gun. And given my experiences noted above, that's exactly what the letter is doing-----reciting the records----and I'm told that's the only game in town.

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:35 AM
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Question IMPOSSIBLE---SURE ENOUGH

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Originally Posted by Club Gun Fan View Post
Doc
It's impossible to tell the date of manufacture. A frame doesn't get a serial number until it's nearly completed. It would be different if it was given a number as soon as it came out of the forge. I'd like to hear about your Smith that shipped 30 years after it was manufactured and tell me how you know when it was manufactured.
That's been my understanding for a loooooooooong time------"It's impossible to tell the date of manufacture." Well, maybe---or maybe it depends on what sort of letter you're talking about. This is from a letter responding to an inquiry about a couple of 3rd Model Single Shots----#'s4807 and 4826, The inquiry supposed these two pistols might very well have been made on the same day---or thereabouts. It also supposed 4807 had been in a factory collection/display (as claimed by the auction house) for 4 1/2 years or so---which would account for the gap in ship dates (4826 shipped June 24, 1911---and 4807 left on November 11, 1915). Now neither of these questions were of the burning variety until 4826 came to live here---about 20 years after 4807 arrived. I'd never had such close kin before, and it started me wondering about when they were made---and the auction house hype---and that seems to be what it was. This letter says "There is no indication that this handgun was ever part of the Smith & Wesson office display." I have no idea what sort of indication there might be if it was part of the display.

Well, anyhow---this was supposed to be about knowing when stuff was made. Guess what?!!! I know when these guns were made---at least when they finished making them. I also know when they were "entered into the shipping vault". I know these things because the letter told me. #4807 was "---part of the production run of 31 units completed on May 9, 1911 and entered into the shipping vault on that date." #4826 "-------was in the production run of this model completed on June 21, 1911 and entered into the S&W shipping vault on that same day." The letter goes on to say "This certainly establishes that they were not in the same production lot of Perfected Single Shot Pistols."

That it does---that it does. It also certainly establishes someone can find out when some of the stuff was made---on fairly short notice as it happens. This letter's from March 21, 2018. The inquiry was mailed on February 28, 2018.

Ralph Tremaine

Oh, and speaking about knowing when stuff was made: I was in a dither about what was reputed to be an honest to God .44 HE 3rd Target about 20 years ago. I knew there were some out there that wouldn't letter as such, but I didn't know how to tell which was which without a letter---and I had no time to get a letter. So I called some folks--Ed Cornett---who seemed to know pretty much everything about everything, Larry Gaertner---who I figured would know about these guns in particular, and Roy Jinks-----who's Roy Jinks!! I got educated pretty damn quick, and Roy told me the serial number "looked good"---and also told me the gun had been made in 1938. (??!!) The end of the story is I turned loose of a big wad of money, got the gun, and then sweated out the letter. It was like the man said---it "looked good".

Last edited by rct269; 06-18-2018 at 02:36 AM.
  #73  
Old 06-18-2018, 01:16 PM
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Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ?  
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Well Bob, I take a different approach. I have a letter (sometimes more than one) on every gun in my collection. I think of them as frosting on cake.

As to their monetary value, that varies----from the cost of the letter down to wishing you never saw it. Then there's the big surprise. I have only one of those, but it's more than enough. The last line of that letter says "This is a very important revolver.". It remains to be seen what that's worth in dollars and cents, but it figures to be bigger than a breadbox.

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:48 AM
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Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ?  
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From the COLT web site.

"ORDER YOUR AUTHENTIC COLT ARCHIVE LETTER USING OUR SECURE FORM."

Quote:
The word Authenticity gives sellers carte blanche to lie through their teeth. And no this not merely semantics, it's misleading and unfair business practice.
However none should be supersized by all of this with S&W track record.
Bob Thorton, apparently you have a hair somewhere for the S&W corporation. Unfortunately, you do not seem to have a handle on where S&W History letters come from or the purpose of said letters.

So let me explain it to you as I understand it.

Originally, Roy Jinks was an employee of the S&W Company and also did the History letters as part of his duties. He also attended store events, Shot Shows, NRA conventions etc. representing S&W. At some point, the S&W company decided that they no longer wanted to be involved with the history letters or have a S&W historian and severed their relationship with Mr. Jinks. The history letter function was moved to the S&WHF with Roy continuing to do the letters and subsequently adding Don Mundell to assist. Many of the shipping ledgers that are used to verify the information that ends up in the letters are owned by Roy Jinks personally and were purchased by him from the Wesson family when they no longer wanted to pay the storage fees at the facility where the records were being stored.

The letter only goes into these ledgers and "authenticates" that a gun with serial number "123456" was shipped on this date, to this destination, and left the factory with an X inch barrel, certain finish, and certain stocks/grips. In addition, there is added information about the given model, possibly how many the company produced in total and other interesting facts that may be of interest to the inquirer.

No where does the letter guarantee that the gun being inquired about is guaranteed to be that gun but only that a gun with that serial number did in fact ship from the factory and in what configuration.

This only helps the customer to determine if the gun in hand could actually be real based on factory records. It is not an appraisal of the value nor a guarantee that the gun in question is real and not a fake. Only that a gun like that was shipped from the factory.

I don't think that anyone in their right mind could assume that for $75 one could get any more than this.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:14 AM
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Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ?  
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Can you even begin to imagine how much business would be gained if they had the guts to move like Beretta did. But that's another subject.
Not really sure what Baretta moving from Maryland to Tennessee has to do with the discussion but Saf T Hammer purchased S&W for 45 million in cash and debt assumption and since then in 2014 purchased Battenfeld Technologies $130.5 million, in 2016 bought Crimson Trace for $95 million, Taylor Brands for $85 million and UST Brands for $32.3 million. It would seem to me that they are doing just fine.

As far as the OP's original point, it revolves around the use of the word AUTHENTICITY. It is no different than someone presenting a birth certificate. It states that a given named individual was born with this name on this date. There is no guarantee that if you show me that certificate that you are that person. The main difference with a firearm is that at least the letter and the firearm have a matching serial number so the probabilities are better.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:10 PM
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Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ? Is a "Letter of Authenticity" really a Letter of Authenticity ?  
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Originally Posted by Bob Thorton View Post
Other than that anyone can produce a document saying it once belong to so and so.
The real collectible with guns in my opinion is really who once own it.

The one of kind are few and far between and if in decent shape way out of most leagues on this board anyway.

That really hurts.


Some of us have been saving up for a long time to buy a clean old 5 screw gun.


///////////////////////////


It might be a good idea for the SWHF to drop the "Authenticity" word in favor of "Historical Letter" or "Records Letter".


If I see the horse twitch, I'll open this back up. Keep your sticks handy.
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