Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Day At A Gun Auction or A Very Expensive Pheasant (Not Under Glass)

Spent a few hours Friday night at the Hessney auction house in Geneva, NY while looking over guns, ammo and other items they would have up for bids on Saturday. Having three pretty much unrushed hours to look things over in advance of the auction and then getting to look them over again a bit on the morning of the auction before bidding starts is much better than just looking them over hurriedly that morning. So, there I was on Friday evening strolling around at my leisure, looking at this and that, to see what I wanted to research online pricewise so I would not overly screw myself if I placed any high bids. I had already placed a few online bids, on items sight unseen, just to judge interest and was outbid on every one of them except a Beretta 950BS Jetfire pistol as new and unfired and in the box with papers. My bid on that held all the way through online bidding which closed shortly before the live auction began. Getting back to Friday evening, I also preregistered for the live bidding and they made sure to give me the same number as that for m online registration.
 
I wound up selecting several guns to bid on for Saturday after looking them over and then went back to my hotel where I checked prices online via Blue Book of Gun Values, GunBroker.com's current auctions and some other sources. After doing that for about 2 hours or so, I was fairly comfortable in the thought I would not go overboard on any firearms on which I planned to bid. I had also made up my mind not to bid on anything sight unseen or in other words on guns I had not bothered to look at during the preview but then had an impulse to bid on later.
 
Come Saturday morning, I got up later than I would have if I had not gone to the preview. I had a decent free breakfast, cooked to order, at the motel and after that I headed to the auction house. I was in no hurry both because I had already looked over those guns and ammo lots on which I planned to bid and I was already registered. I had also reserved myself a seat on Friday night, right up in the first row, just about the same exact seat I have been lucky enough to get in the past couple of auctions. With nothing to hurry me up, I took a leisurely drive there and arrived at about 815 instead of my usual 700 or 730. That was nice.
 
Once inside, I looked over the guns on which I planned to bid again. I wanted to assure no one damaged them and believe me I have seen folks drop them when looking them over. I also wanted to make sure none of the magazines disappeared. One of the rifles I saw during the preview was missing its magazine and that was not listed on the auction tag. That most likely meant that someone has swiped it because the are usually very careful to list a "no mag" on the tag if such if the case. All seemed in order and I looked around some more at the ammo and accessories they had up for bids. One thing I had not paid much attention to the night before were the lots in flat beer case like boxes. Most of those consisted on an assortment of things and one in particular caught my eye. Since they start calling or bids on accessories, archery equipment and fishing rods, reels and tackle, in a side room, before the main auction begins and then keep that bidding going once the firearms auction begins in the main hall - I hoped that they would come to one particular lot like that before they reached the first gun on which I wanted to bid (which was item 29).

Well, they went through a lot of lots fast, sold all the archery equipment, reloading equipment, and some other odds and ends and then started on the tale with the one thing in which I was interested. The thing was that by the time they got to that table, the main auction was well under way and only a few items away from number 29 - a new, unfired and in the box, Marlin 1895G Guide Gun. What they do with those miscellaneous lots and almost all the stuff on auction in that back room is to take bids on any item on a set of tables or in a certain area. In other words, you bid, and if you have the high bid, you can select whatever you want from that table or area, in addition you can select as many as you want of those lots and then pay your high bid times however many lots you want. One person beat me on the first set of bids. She is a dealer and I was shocked she did not take what I had wanted but took something of much less value and only took one lot. I am guessing she had missed what I was after.
 
The lot that caught my eye was box holding 5 B-Square scope mounts each for a different type of gun. They were all new, sealed in the plastic pack, and were not cheap. All are made of aircraft aluminum (as far as I am aware) and all come with scope rings and mounting hardware. I ran a quick Internet search for them and saw they retail for around $35 to $45 each or more for the shotgun mounts and about $25 for the Russian M44 mount. The Russian the Russian mount has been discontinued and might demand a higher price now.

After checking on them, I saw on one of the many monitors showing the current firearm up for bids in the main auction room that they were on the gun two before that Marlin I wanted to bid on. Time was tight but the second round of bidding for those table lots went off and I quickly had the high bid at $50. Could it be no one else had seen those scope mounts. I selected that lot and another guy standing there, who saw what I had bid on, said no one else had probably seen it or paid attention to it and added I had gotten a steal. I was quite happy. The mounts are: one for a Remington 870 12 gauge, another for a Mossberg 500 12 gauge, another for Winchester 1200 / 1300 / 1400 /1500 12 gauge shotguns, another for Ithaca 3 & 87 12 gauge shotguns and the last one for a Chinese 53 or Russian 44 rifle. The mounts for the shotguns look like they fit over and around the receivers, the one for the rifles looks as if may fit into the slot for the rear sight (that will take some checking to be sure). As it turned out, I walked out of the room just as the firearms auction finished up on lot 28 and moved onto 29, the one on which I wanted to bid. There was no need to worry though, a reluctant bidder outbid me at the last possible second and that rifle was not meant to be mine. His high bid was $525, I stopped at $500.
 
With the 10% buyer's premium added on plus sales tax, had my $500 bid been the high ne, I would have paid $591.25 in total for it, or $100.61 less than the least expensive local dealer in my area. Not a bad deal. Oh well...there were many more bids to be made. Of course, it costs me to go to the auction but I often buy more than one gun and some other items too. The savings on that one alone would have paid my gas both ways and left me about $50 for food or to put toward a motel. Since I enjoy going to the auctions, I kind of overlook those other expenses. Anyway, at least this time around, I used hotel points for a free night and that gun would have been well worth the $500; anything more though would have put it in the loss column if that would have been the only thing for which I had the high bid. As you can figure though, if I can sell some of those B-Square scope mounts I will have more than made up for the cost of the trip.
 
Moving on, I also bid on several other guns, the ones I did not have the high bids on were: CZ Model 512, a semi-auto rifle in 22 Magnum, new in the box; two different lots of one each Henry Golden Boy, 22WMR; Henry Lever in 22LR; Browning Citori Model 725 Feather 12 gauge; Franchi Renaissance Classic 12 gauge; Smith & Wesson Model 19-4 as new in the box, this one barely had a cylinder turn mark on it. It had a  high gloss finish and was and very beautiful revolver. I bid $450 (note I was bidding up to my max bid depending on where my bid fell relative to another bidder's bid I may have bid lower by $25 on any item an I only went over my limit once during the entire auction). I wish now that I had bid one more time on this one, it would have been worth it in the long run.
 
Others on which I bid but not enough, well only enough for me, were: Ruger 10/22 50th Anniversary edition with heavy hammer forged factory target barrel and a 4x16 scope; Henry Model 39A Golden in 22LR; both a Ruger Mini-14 and a Ruger Mni-30 Stainless; Keystone Arms Davy Cricket 22LR with black synthetic stock; a used but perfect looking Remington 1911R1; H&R Topper Model 88 12 gauge shotgun; Westernfield 12 gauge single shot shotgun; Mossberg Model 44 U.S.(a) {the one missing its magazine}; H&R Model 686 Convertible revolver with 22LR and 22WMR cylinders (all new in box). I came close on several but decided not to go over my limit.

Oh yeah, there was one other I did not wind, that Beretta 950BS Jetfire pistol in 25ACP that I mentioned above, I bid $275 on it online. Yes, that was a lot considering I would have to have it shipped to my dealer and pay a transfer fee plus the premium and tax or go back and pick it up in person on another day so I could get the necessary forms from my local PD (they used to give open forms so you did not need to do anything like that but stopped that practice a year or three ago). The Jetfire was wanted for personal sentimental reasons (I have owned 4 or 5 previous ones) and wanted another to fill that niche in my psyche demanding a real featherweight caliber. I was outbid just as the auctioneer was about to close bidding for it, he had the gavel in the air and was bringing I down when a woman behind me shouted out a bid at the last moment. She bid $275 on it ands she won it. Yes, I also had set my maximum bid at $275 online but as the live versus online bidding went, my online bid kicked so it wound up my most recent bid was at $250, thus to better me, she bid $275 which was my cut off (and I could have but was unwilling to go above that at the live auction). I would have had to bid another $25 to go higher for it but that would have been way too much for it with all other fees considered. It was just about in perfect condition too and I sure wish she would have kept her mouth shut but such goes the bidding at an auction!

I did bid a little bit above my preselected limit on one gun and wound up taking only that one rifle home with me  



My new toy is a Savage Model 93 (actually a Savage Model 93BVXP) in 22WMR with 3x12 illuminated reticle Harrier scope (a cheap scope but what the heck). It was auctioned in "as new" condition but without box or papers. It truly is pristine and apparently never fired other than maybe a test shot at the factory but if they did that then they cleaned it well. It has Savage's AccuTrigger, which on this model can b adjusted from 2.5 pounds to 4.5 pounds (if I remember right). The scope on it is also pristine. Today, I sent Savage a request for a hardcopy of the manual as opposed to just downloading a PDF file of it and as I understand they do honor such requests. I also ordered the AccuTrigger tension adjustment tool from then for $2.00 plus shipping. I was just thinking about it, this one will make ours a two Savage rifle household along with the Savage AXIS XP I got at a previous Hessney Auction. All in all, by my calculations, I spent about $100 to $120 less than I would have had I bought this model new at retail with that scope. Not a bad deal on a pristine rifle that's just missing the tension tool, box and papers. I should note, some firearms I buy with the idea of shooting them a bit then selling them for a small profit to help feed my addiction hobby. This one was not one of them, I bought this one with the idea of me and Brendan having a lot of shooty goodness fun with it and maybe using it for hunting. Time and a few range trips will tell.

I also picked up some other things including those B-Square mounts already mentioned, a new in plastic pack Remington Model 870 Express 20" slug barrel with rifle sights and 3" chamber, Remington Premiere Copper Sabot Slugs (8 boxes), a Kevin Johnson - DNZ Trading Company, C Series (tracker knives), 11" Damascus Steel tracker knife with 6" blade and 5" Pakka Wood (a composite) multicolored handle and it came with a nice with leather sheath. While the blade and sheath are marked DNZ, I see nothing to indicate that either was crafted by Kevin Johnson who is out of Idaho while DNZ is in California but I don't care either way. I got the knife probably as a gift for someone dear to me; early Christmas shopping.

I also had the high bid on a pheasant mount. I figured it would either look good in my son's room or in my brother-in-law Hans' new house (but I am not too sure how he feels about dead animals adorning his walls). Did I mention I had the high bid on it, apparently so high in fact that with the money I supposedly bid on it, you could fly first class to France, rent a limo and driver, go to a posh 5 star restaurant and have them wine and dine you with a main course of pheasant under glass and maybe still have a few bucks left over. I thought I had bid $22.50 on it and about a total of $750 on everything (including the buyer's premiums and tax on each item) but when I went o square my account, the lady at the counter told me I owed tem $3000 and change. No hesitation held back my tongue and I immediately told he there was no way my bill was for $3,000 and they must have added other bidder's charges to my account. She took it in stride, coolly looked at the computer screen studying y bill and then without missing a beat said to me "I bet you didn't bid $2,250.00 on a pheasant mount, did you"! No ma'am was about all I could say other than my bid had been $22.50. Someone forgot to put in the decimal point was all it was but it was enough to raise my blood pressure by several points or so I am guessing. The best thing about the pheasant though was right after I got it out of my car this afternoon, I brought it inside and told my wife "Here's your gift". She said "you're kidding" and I said "nope" and for a second or two I had her.

Now, I need to put some of those B-Square scope mounts up for sale on GunBroker to pay for the pheasant.

All the best,
Glenn B

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