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Old 07-15-2020, 10:43 AM
S&W59 S&W59 is offline
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I've seen a number of S&W Gen3 pistols marked with Century Arms after being reimported. I understand most of these pistols were sold to Israel during the 90's as part of their aid for defense and security. They sold them to Century after their own arms industry evolved and they now produce their own small arms. My question is, for the collector, would the Century Arms mark on the frame detract from the value, add to the value due to the gravitas of it being an Israeli police/military arm, or have no effect on the pistol's desirability or collectability?
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Old 07-15-2020, 10:57 AM
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I would think that it would detract from the collectability aspect, but not from the desirability aspect. For as 'shooters' and CCW, wouldn't matter at all. Eventually we're gonna run out of used 3rd gens to buy. And if their cheap ($) enough, good for parts guns.
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:43 AM
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Pretty much anything that isn't original to the firearm will detract from the value, even if it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever like a harmless, easily removed/replaced aftermarket addition will be used as an excuse for lowball bids on otherwise "collectible" firearms.

"Those grip screws aren't original to the firearm so it's now worth 25% less."

"Uh-oh! The original owner put red nail polish on the front sight, so now it's only worth whatever I have in my back pocket. Fortunately, you're in luck as I happen to a Quarter, a Paperclip, a Rubber Band, and a Coupon for a Free Small Milkshake at Arby's with purchase of a regular priced Roast Beef Sandwich! You're not going to get a better offer than that!"

"What?! You had it Factory Restored?! Well, I'm afraid that reduces its collector's value by 75%, so you should have left it in its original tarnished, corroded, eyesore condition, as then it would have been worth more. Nobody would have bought it anyway in such poor condition, but it would have been arbitrarily worth more in its original undesirable condition simply because it was original."

"Egad! That cleaning solution you used isn't original to the firearm! You have to lubricate them with whale oil like they did back in the day! It's completely useless now!"

Heck, I sincerely believe that if you put an original 1873 Colt Single Action Army with grips autographed by John Wayne on an auction site, you'd get at least a few messages from folks informing you that the autographed grips have effectively destroyed its collector's value and now its worth no more than a Heritage Arms Rough Rider .22.

Collectors tend to be obsessive when it comes to originality, even when it comes to otherwise unobtainable pieces like these imported Israeli S&W 3rd Gen, they'd rather go without or spend an absurd amount of money in the pursuit of an unmarked example than compromise, which often times is a poor decision as the guns they snub inevitably become sought after collectibles once the import markings become an accepted part of their history.

So put it this way, they will most likely become collectible someday, but not likely within your lifetime, so don't buy one if you want to flip it for a profit.
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Old 07-15-2020, 12:56 PM
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I think it would be neat to own a part of history, at a good price. Somehow firearms marked by certain LE agencies adds to their value. It's a strange market indeed. Thankfully I just buy them to shoot and enjoy, so I don't have to worry about it.

Anyone know which models Israel used?
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Old 07-15-2020, 01:10 PM
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My 6904 is not marked as ever having served in Israel. I does have a billboard dot matrix marking CAI and the manufacturer on the right side of the slide. It is plain ugly and the gun was only suitable for modification, which is why I bought it.
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Old 07-15-2020, 01:17 PM
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Anyone know which models Israel used?
I'll second the question, and add that I'd be interested to see any examples of these Israeli returns and where they may be available.
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Old 07-15-2020, 02:25 PM
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I'll second the question, and add that I'd be interested to see any examples of these Israeli returns and where they may be available.
From what I understand, anything and everything 9mm Parabellum and cheap. I have seen 910's, 915's, 3900-series import marked. Israel was required to spend money given to it by the State Department on weapons, but they had to be US-made. They did not arsenal mark the pistols as being IDF or the like. I know this because a small-time importer I actually corresponded with on a 915 told me he imported them from Israel and he had a huge stock of 915's and 910's at the time along with some odd-ball models I can't recall.
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Old 07-15-2020, 02:48 PM
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I bought a beater 39-2 from iammo.com a handful of years ago. They had a re-import stamp and the sale page claimed they were back from Israel, but no real proof. Functionally fine but run hard.
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Old 07-15-2020, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by S&W59 View Post
From what I understand, anything and everything 9mm Parabellum and cheap. I have seen 910's, 915's, 3900-series import marked. Israel was required to spend money given to it by the State Department on weapons, but they had to be US-made. They did not arsenal mark the pistols as being IDF or the like. I know this because a small-time importer I actually corresponded with on a 915 told me he imported them from Israel and he had a huge stock of 915's and 910's at the time along with some odd-ball models I can't recall.
Thanks for the response. Bummer about the lack of marks. I'd love to have something to complement my Israeli Mauser but genuine Uzis are a bit out of my price range...

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Old 07-15-2020, 03:24 PM
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If you want Israeli marks on it, then why not have them custom engraved with the Israeli flag?

Honestly, we've already established that they most likely aren't going to be considered collectible, at least not anytime soon, and if it's just your own private piece that you bought merely for the sake of owning it, then why not customize it to your liking by having it engraved with Israeli markings of your own?
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Old 07-15-2020, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by S&W59 View Post
….. S&W Gen3 pistols …. for the collector, would the Century Arms mark on the frame detract from the value, add to the value due to the gravitas of it being an Israeli police/military arm, or have no effect on the pistol's desirability or collectability?
You're assuming that gen3 Smiths have a collector value, and I doubt they do. Unless it's new in the box like it came right from the factory, it's a shooter. Shoot and enjoy. There's always an exception, but the cookie-cutter gen3 Smiths are not high on a list of grail guns people will pay much for.

JMHO
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Old 07-15-2020, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Forte Smitten Wesson View Post
If you want Israeli marks on it, then why not have them custom engraved with the Israeli flag?

Honestly, we've already established that they most likely aren't going to be considered collectible, at least not anytime soon, and if it's just your own private piece that you bought merely for the sake of owning it, then why not customize it to your liking by having it engraved with Israeli markings of your own?
I don't collect for value, I collect what interests me. Doing my own engraving doesn't replicate the knowledge that some IDF armorer stamped it.
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:22 PM
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In the 1980s when I was shooting K-framed revolvers on a competitive basis, the idea of any Model 10 having any kind of collector's cachet was unthought of. Now people are looking at dash numbers and other esoterica to ascribe desirablity and value to what we thought of as just another Model 10!

Things are moving faster now, so mark this prediction now... by 2035, if they have not been successfully outlawed by evil politicians who will go un-named here, the now common 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation metal framed semi-autos in all of their variations will be sought after, and their histories, including foreign service, will add interest and maybe even value to them.

In the meanwhile, you can enjoy shooting what someone else on this forum referred to as one of the iconic models of S&W. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Old 07-15-2020, 09:16 PM
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You're assuming that gen3 Smiths have a collector value, and I doubt they do. Unless it's new in the box like it came right from the factory, it's a shooter. Shoot and enjoy. There's always an exception, but the cookie-cutter gen3 Smiths are not high on a list of grail guns people will pay much for.

JMHO
They most certainly do have a collector value. Tell the guy that spent 5K recently on a 10xx series its not collectable. What we are in the golden age of collecting S&W Gen1's through 3's. They are still affordable and available to the point you will see a couple or few at decent sized gunshows. Its too late to call them collectable when basic models in mediocre shape go for 700-bucks plus. At that point they're still collectable but you can't really get more than a couple and the rare ones you'll never see again.
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Old 07-15-2020, 09:17 PM
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Israeli marked guns do not command a premium over nonmarked ones. In fact they usually tend to be lesser valued due to being in rougher condition most of the time (especially Israeli Hi Powers)
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Old 07-15-2020, 10:00 PM
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Israeli marked guns do not command a premium over nonmarked ones. In fact they usually tend to be lesser valued due to being in rougher condition most of the time (especially Israeli Hi Powers)
Thanks. I'm familiar with rough condition. My Israeli Mauser was one that apparently came here via Guatemala and looks like it spent a few decades in a jungle. Then it was reparked in the States with something resembling road tar. Oh well. Means the world to me, even if most wouldn't give it a second look.
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Old 07-16-2020, 12:34 PM
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They most certainly do have a collector value. Tell the guy that spent 5K recently on a 10xx series its not collectable. What we are in the golden age of collecting S&W Gen1's through 3's. They are still affordable and available to the point you will see a couple or few at decent sized gunshows. Its too late to call them collectable when basic models in mediocre shape go for 700-bucks plus. At that point they're still collectable but you can't really get more than a couple and the rare ones you'll never see again.
Like I said, there's always an exception.

I recognize that people DO collect them, people will collect anything if they have an interest to.

My gun buying tends to be more utilitarian than collecting, so my opinion is biased. I sold my 1076 and the dozen+ mags for that reason.

You're not wrong though.
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:37 PM
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That reminds me, I never did find that Israeli Mauser in good shape. I did find some driftwood that may once have been a Mauser being sold as Israeli Mausers. Shame, I would like a Model 915 with IDF markings.
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Old 07-16-2020, 11:04 PM
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Here's one.

No one can provide any info on it.

Marked C. A. I. on the slide

I bought it because it is the only 5946TSW in Melonite I have ever seen.
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Old 07-16-2020, 11:52 PM
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Oh, dear, how sad you make me. I had an Israeli Mauser upon which they had obliterated all of the original markings (think Germany here) so that all that was left was a serial number and on the wood stock there was an IDF star and believe me you had to look for it. The rifle was re-barreled to .308 Winchester and shot GREAT! In my 2018 fire it was in the worst possible place in the house and was totally consumed. They now sell for 5 times what I paid for it.

I have a couple of re-imports and I kind of like the fact that they have CAI on there or PW in Virginia. I like the cachet - they've been there and done that.

On another note, I also have an Israeli Kareen, their replica of the Browning HP. I think it's a doggone cool weapon; not as cool as my BHP but, still.....

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Old 07-17-2020, 07:55 AM
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Oh, dear, how sad you make me. I had an Israeli Mauser upon which they had obliterated all of the original markings (think Germany here) so that all that was left was a serial number and on the wood stock there was an IDF star and believe me you had to look for it. The rifle was re-barreled to .308 Winchester and shot GREAT!
It was 30 years ago, but I picked up a Mauser K98 at a Richmond, VA gun show. It was an import, the stock was military, but lacked markings except for a faint burn marking that might have been a Star of David. The receiver had already been drilled and tapped, a scope mount and cheap, 4x scope installed and the action had been epoxy bedded. It was sold to me as being chambered in 308 Winchester. The price was right, I think it was around $150, and it came home with me and became something of a project.

I cut down the military stock and put on a rubber butt pad, refinished it, and put on a better scope. It is an accurate rifle, but it leaves a little dimple on case shoulders. I inspected the chamber and found that it had been sleeved. I suspect the barrel was actually a 30-06 barrel. When and where it was sleeved is a mystery, but whoever did it did not do it in a perfect manner.

I shot it enough that there is now a small crack in the stock at the back edge of the receiver. I have considered rebarreling it and putting it into either another wooden stock or a synthetic stock, but that sort of work gets expensive.
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Old 07-17-2020, 11:44 AM
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I was once invited to a birthday party where all guests were asked to prepare a 3-minute TED Talk-style presentation. Sounds weird, but it was a lot of fun and learned some cool stuff. I chose to present on the history of my Israeli Mauser.

Here's some photos I used. You'll see I wasn't kidding about the condition - S/243 Israeli Mauser - Album on Imgur
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Old 07-17-2020, 08:31 PM
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I have a 5903 in VERY good condition that has a Century Arms stamp. I E-Mailed Century arms and gave them the serial # asking if they knew the history of it, they responded and said it came back into the states from Israel.
From the condition it appears this was never carried or fired much, I have the original (recalled) grips that are in great condition.

I think it's cool I have a pistol that has traveled the world and ended up back here in the states, in great condition, in my safe. It will live on and be enjoyed by me and the next owners.
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Old 07-18-2020, 12:11 AM
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To me it's not like these guns will be thousands of dollars, at least in our lifetime so I don't consider them "Collectible" I consider them shooters. If you have a premo unfired 3rd Gen, you can't take it to the grave with you. Someone will buy it at your estate sale really cheap ( Like I have done in the past) and shoot the hell out of your unfired gun.
Just because a gun has import marks or forced serial #'s shouldn't distract you from buying it and shooting it.
Don't be that guy that just lets a shiny and clean 3rd gen sit in your safe till you die.
Also, no one is going to walk up to you at the range and be like " Oh thats a cool 59 series you have but, oooohhh!!!! It has import marks!!!!!
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:10 AM
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I have a 5903 in VERY good condition that has a Century Arms stamp. I E-Mailed Century arms and gave them the serial # asking if they knew the history of it, they responded and said it came back into the states from Israel.
From the condition it appears this was never carried or fired much, I have the original (recalled) grips that are in great condition.

I think it's cool I have a pistol that has traveled the world and ended up back here in the states, in great condition, in my safe. It will live on and be enjoyed by me and the next owners.
Some re-imported firearms come back in excellent condition, some were ridden very hard and put away wet. Luck of the draw.

Since yours is in excellent condition, but does have an import stamp, it has no collector value, so there is no harm in using it. I would not abuse it, but I would not hesitate to use it.
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:18 AM
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I never understood why original US manufactured and serialized firearms have to be import stamped. I did buy three Smith revolvers from CAI that were not import stamped. They had Spanish writing on tags attached to them. A member here said the might be from Puerto Rico.
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:51 AM
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I never understood why original US manufactured and serialized firearms have to be import stamped. I did buy three Smith revolvers from CAI that were not import stamped. They had Spanish writing on tags attached to them. A member here said the might be from Puerto Rico.
BATFE regulations, that's why. They want to know which firearms left this country and which firearms have reentered. The stamp also indicates the firearm met all the current BATFE requirements regarding imported firearms, that is, not fully automatic or select fire and having a barrel that meets length requirements.
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Old 07-18-2020, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by stansdds View Post
Some re-imported firearms come back in excellent condition, some were ridden very hard and put away wet. Luck of the draw.

Since yours is in excellent condition, but does have an import stamp, it has no collector value, so there is no harm in using it. I would not abuse it, but I would not hesitate to use it.
Don't worry, I enjoy shooting it!
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  #29  
Old 07-19-2020, 10:06 AM
S&W59 S&W59 is offline
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Originally Posted by toddstang View Post
To me it's not like these guns will be thousands of dollars, at least in our lifetime so I don't consider them "Collectible" I consider them shooters. If you have a premo unfired 3rd Gen, you can't take it to the grave with you. Someone will buy it at your estate sale really cheap ( Like I have done in the past) and shoot the hell out of your unfired gun.
Just because a gun has import marks or forced serial #'s shouldn't distract you from buying it and shooting it.
Don't be that guy that just lets a shiny and clean 3rd gen sit in your safe till you die.
Also, no one is going to walk up to you at the range and be like " Oh thats a cool 59 series you have but, oooohhh!!!! It has import marks!!!!!
To that I can only reflect on 1948 through about 1955 when German P08, P38, and C96 pistols came into the country from Germany. They were sold locally in a barber shop, out of a barrel in the corner, for $5.00 a piece. Flash forward 60 years and theyre going for thousands. Aside from SigSauer and the 1911's I don't know many gun-makers still making all metal guns. Even beater' and 'shooter' grade vintage S&Ws are going for 400 bucks or more today. Frankly, I still have a number of holes in my collection, so the fewer people collecting Gen1-3 Smiths makes the selection and price better for me better. I'm sure there were people in the 1960's scoffing at people buying Lugers to collect them. Because most S&Ws don't have the historical gravitas of the P08 and P38, they won't achieve that price range but they're already increasing in price from what they were some years ago.
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Old 07-19-2020, 02:23 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Originally Posted by S&W59 View Post
To that I can only reflect on 1948 through about 1955 when German P08, P38, and C96 pistols came into the country from Germany. They were sold locally in a barber shop, out of a barrel in the corner, for $5.00 a piece. Flash forward 60 years and theyre going for thousands. Aside from SigSauer and the 1911's I don't know many gun-makers still making all metal guns. Even beater' and 'shooter' grade vintage S&Ws are going for 400 bucks or more today. Frankly, I still have a number of holes in my collection, so the fewer people collecting Gen1-3 Smiths makes the selection and price better for me better. I'm sure there were people in the 1960's scoffing at people buying Lugers to collect them. Because most S&Ws don't have the historical gravitas of the P08 and P38, they won't achieve that price range but they're already increasing in price from what they were some years ago.
This is what I was getting at in my previous post on this thread. I just didn't say it as well. Us older guys are starting to experience a lot of sticker shock. I'm already looking at those Brazilian 1937s that ought to be $199 for special selection, Model 28s that should be available for building special projects for $225 NIB, etc, etc, and wondering what happened. I remember laughing at a crazy guy at a gun show 25 years ago asking $350 for a nickel Model 10. Never say never when it comes to rising gun values.

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Old 07-22-2020, 10:08 PM
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I still cannot believe that I helped the guy next to me at an auction buy an Israeli Mauser that also had a Czech lion on the receiver. I'd already spent a bunch of money that day, so I gave advice freely rather than buying even more stuff. I also let a nickeled Molested Ballerina go to another guy in the room. I was the one who explained to him that 11.35mm was 45 ACP.
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Old 07-31-2020, 03:05 AM
jemsj4 jemsj4 is offline
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I have purchased a few guns that were traded in by Israel. All functioned fine. I got a 59, 6906, 6904 & a few CZ 83. One CZ mag had Israeli markings. The 6906 & 6904 were in very good shape. The 59 & CZ 83's were in good shape.
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