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As we all know, auction house describers can be pretty clueless especially when it comes to engraving. In a recent Morphy auction there were two nearly identical nickel-plated and factory engraved Colt Open Top .22s. (One had pearl stocks, the other ivory--both factory). One was described as LD Nimschke engraved, the other (of lesser condition) was without attribution.

The LDN gun was in a lot by itself. The other was with another OT22 that actually was a terrific, unfired gold-plated (it checks at at least 14k), inscribed LDN. There is loss of gold on the backstrap and minor pitting on the steel parts, but most of the nitre remains. Also included was an engraved Southerner Derringer (which I had never heard of before). I bought that lot. It hammered at the same price as the misidentified LDN.

Here are the images of the true LDN and the total-factory OT22 in the same lot. I guess the point is when it comes to auctions you are mostly on your own.
 

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Probably the best deal I've ever gotten on a gun was through an online auction. A couple years ago I bought an original M1903 Springfield NRA Sporter in mint condition that lettered through the Springfield Research Service as sold by the DCM in 1927 at the JM Davis Museum surplus auction conducted by Holabird. The lot had one photo, an incorrect serial number, and was described as a "sporterized 1903 Springfield." LOL. Yeah, it was sporterized, by the Springfield Armory! With fees and shipping I paid $800 bucks for it.

 

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A few years ago, I was browsing Gunbroker and found an ad for what was identified as an 1892 Colt DA revolver. Opening bid was a penny with no reserve. The more I looked at the small pictures of the gun, the more I decided that something was wrong. I blew up the pictures and low and behold it was actually a quite nice 1889 with good finish and nice original looking grips. So, I put in a bid with a max of $100. A couple other bidders showed up but my $100 bid held up as the high bid. Turned out to be one of the middle of the pack 1889s with a serial in the 15xxx range. When it finally arrived, it was indeed all original, no mods, worked great in both DA and SA and had about 75 or 80 percent finish! I sold it a few years later for about $800 to another collector.
 

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I bought a five gun lot once, sold the sportered Czech G33/40 carbine and got my money back.

Among the four free guns was one labeled as a Chinese SKS. More accurately, it is one of the 6,000 North Vietnamese built guns.


 
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