Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hessney Gun Auction February 2017 - Part Two (of two) - Or Look What Followed Me Home

As I posted in part one, I attended the Hessney Auction Company's rod and gun auction this past Saturday, February 11, 2017. I bid on, or almost bid on, all of the following guns and even had the high bid on two of them:

Marlin 1895G Guide Gun, in 45-70 Govt., unfired in the box. I bid $475, it went for $525 (or a total of at least $621 with buyer's premium and tax). Available at my local gun store (LGS) for $648, probably less elsewhere, and not worth bidding that high for so little a savings.

Savage 12BVSS-S, in 22.250 REM, as new with hard case. I bid $200 but the high bid was $650. This one was a last minute decision on my part and I bid just to get into the bidding with no expectation of winning. Bids were going in increments of $25 so there were a lot of them for this fine rifle.

Savage Axis II XP, in 30-06 SPRG, with 3x9 scope, unfired in the box. I bid $275 and it went for the very next bid of $300

Savage Axis XP, in 223 REM with 3x9 scope, unfired in box. I bid $225 and it went for $300. Now this one I could get for $384 out the door, by way of Gallery of Guns, at my local dealer Hunter's Essentials. Had the high bidder used cash or check, he would have paid $355 and if he paid with credit card it would have been $364. For only a $30 difference, I would go through my LGS regardless of paying more there if only because I would get more in the long run in service.

Browning Citori 725 Trap, 12 Ga. O/U, UIB (unfired in box). I bid $1,650 and it went for 2K. A truly nice piece and probably worth the 2 grand bid on it but that was just too high for my bank account.

Ithaca Grade V Hammerless, 12 Ga., SXS, 30" Damascus steel barrel. I was thinking of bidding on this one and am happy I made it there for the preview to have enough time to give all my prospects a good going over. This one was okay but for a cracked forearm and it was cracked in three places. Yet, it sold for $1,450. I didn't think it worth it. Evidently I know very little to nothing! That is especially true since I had missed the fact it was a Grade V. Some of them are so rare as to preclude pricing in price guides! One of the variations of the Grade V had only 9 ever produced. Who knows, that gun may have been the best deal at the auction.

Ithaca Hammerless, 12 Ga. SXS, with 28" Damascus barrels. I had this one on my list but declined to bid after I looked through the bore and saw a barrel bulge, semi ringing the left barrel. I looked again and also felt several that 'ring'. I guess it was worth something since the high bid was $275 but I'd be damned if I was going to pay that for any gun with a bulged barrel. 

Henry Golden Boy, 22 WMR, UIB. I bid $300 and it went for $350. It would have been $535 out the door at my LGS and I am kicking myself in mine arse that I did not bid $375 which after the total would have been about $93 less than at my dealer. I wanted this one for a keeper, as a gift for my son

Henry Lever, in 22LR, 18.25" round barrel. Since I did not get the Golden Boy this one would have been a gift for Brendan had I had the high bid. I bid $225 and it went for a whopping $325.  That was ridiculous since you can get this at my LGS for $327 out the door and probably less elsewhere since my area is expensive. Remember that the $325 was the winning bid and you would have to add buyer's premium and tax to it. That would amount to $384 out the auction house door for cash or check and 3% more by credit card. There were many other guns that sold for overly high bids like this one. Some people just either have no clue or get carried away and just have to win a bid! MI guess that merely means more money for the auction house.

Remington 870 Wingmaster Magnum, 12 gauge, used but nice. I bid $200, it went for a surprising $350, way too much in my estimation.

Browning Medalist, 22LR, 6.75" barrel, with two sets of grips and all accessories. Used but in original black, red lined, case. I bid $825 but it went for $1,150 (or $1,360 total for cash or check). Nice gun but the case covering was damaged. It was probably 99% condition only due to one fine scratch in the metal; the case was in fair condition at best. Probably worth the bid to a collector but not to me.

Winchester Model 9422M, 22 WMR. I did $550, high bid was $725. Nice lever gun.

Marlin 1936, lever action carbine, 30-30 WIN, 20" barrel. This was a nice gun especially considering it was made sometime in the years 1936 through 1947; it is the 2nd variation since it has a B prefix in the serial number. The 2nd variation was manufactured between late 1936 and 1947, the 1st variation only in earlier 1936. The amount of retained case color is astounding. I figure this one to be in at least 95% and as high as 98% finish condition, probably closer to 98%.  

The lighting for these pics was incandescent and not optimal
to show all of the case color. If I can get better shots under
natural light or with flash, I will replace these with new ones.
As per The 2014 Standard Catalog Of Firearms (SCF), it is valued between $650 and $1,000 in current condition (if I got the grading right) and that was from the edition of three years ago. I think the SCF usually is more spot on to actual values than is The Blue Book of Gun Values (BB), my opinion based on my own experience. There was a lot of confusion for me in the BB about which model this really is, either the Model 1936 or Model 36 (or both are one and the same). They call the one in question the Model 36 and state the 2nd variation has the B prefix. 

Yet they say it has "Model 1936" on the upper tang as does the one in question. They also say the Model 1936 was made only in 1936, then say the 1st variation Model 36 (marked Model 1936 and noted as "same as Model 1936..." in the BB) was made from only 1937 through 1940 and the 2nd variation Model 36 only in 1941. They value it somewhat lower than did the SCF. It is all somewhat confusing when you compare pricing info from different sources, especially when one source is already confusing on its own, you figure which one I mean. had Marlin Model 1936s listed in auctions with starting bids of as low as $499.99 and the one a that price had zero remaining case color. Others were selling likewise, one with bids and it had a very rusted receiver. Total out the door cost, yes I had the high bid, was $562. I tend to think I did okay considering the amount of case color remaining and since lots of remaining case color boosts this model’s value considerably.

Marlin Model 1895SS (model name changed to 1895 in 2001), I bid $325 and it went for $600 plus buyer's premium and tax. That was way to high to bid on a used gun the value of which at 100% is only $615 at best.

Marlin Model 336RC in 35 REM. I bid $225 and it sold for a bid of $400.

Izhmash Saiga, 7.62x39, used. It went for $525, I bid $425 considering it had a cosmetically damaged fore stock.

Izhmash Saiga, 308 WIN. I went for $875 and I bid just under half of that.

Kel-Tec Model SU-16 in 223 REM. I bid $375, the high bid was $400.

Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle, in 223 REM, with two 5 round mags. I bid $625 and stopped because the bidding was going crazy and I did not want to raise my number and wind up bidding after someone else had already gone too high, it was going that fast. It went for a high bid of $800. Once again someone paid more than this would cost, out the door of my LGS for where it goes for $921. Yet, someone paid at least $946 by cash or check or $972 by credit card for this out of the auction house door. That person probably just had to win a bid. There were many other guns that went overpriced.

Rossi Rio Grande in 30-30 WIN, UIB. I bid $250 it went for $400.

Puma Model 92, lever action, in 44 Rem Mag, 20" barrel, used. I would have bid except for the fact that the safety was loose if not outright broken. It sold for a bid of $500.

Savage Axis, 223 REM, used. I bid $175 and it went for $225.

Browning BL-22 Grade II, 22 LR, lever gun. High bid, $500, my bid $300. Nice gun.

Marlin 782, 22 WMR, 3x7 scope & sling. My bid $75, high $200.

Marlin 782, 22 WMR, rear peep sight. I bid $75, high bid $200.

Colt Police Positive, 1st issue, 32 New Police caliber. This was being sold "as new" with the original box. It was absolutely pristine from what I could tell. I got in the bidding at about $500 or so but saw immediately that this was going to go way over what I wanted to pay so I dropped out. It sold for $1,200. Truly a rare find in that condition.

Ruger Model 96, 44 REM Mag, lever gun, UIB. I was outbid by $350 with my bid of $350 when it sold for $700 or $828 out the door cash or check. That regardless of what appeared to be factory damage to the top of the receiver at the scope mount base where the rings would attach. At each such point, the top of the receiver seemed gouged or chipped. More like a tooling problem when manufactured than damage afterward. As best I could tell, this would be worth about $800, in pristine condition, which it was not due to the mentioned flaws. I would have liked to pair that with my Ruger Redhawk in 44 REM MAG but not at that price.

Remington 870 Express, 12 Ga. with laminate stock, sold ANIB (as new in box). I bid $175 and it went for $200. I could have had my 5th or 6th 870!

Remington Model 572 Fieldmaster, 22 LR, pump action. I bid $250, it went for $37; it was in very nice condition.

Marlin Model 57M, 22WMR, lever gun. This one went for $400, my bids stopped at $350. Excellent condition and I kind of kicked myself for not going to $425 as it would have been a keeper and a very fun gun but that would have made its cost at the very high end of its value.; yet it just keeps going up in value over the years.

At this point the auction was getting into the mid-three hundreds in catalog numbers, those guns I took some extra time to look over hoping to get one at a decent price. On some of these guns the bidding went in increments of $25 on others in increments of $5 or $10 depending on bidder interest.

Stevens Model 311A, SXS, 410 Ga.. I bid $75 due to condition, not great. It sold for $475, someone sure saw something in it that I had not seen. Yes there were over 300 guns up for bids.

Savage Model 220D, 12 Ga., single barrel. I bid $75, it went for $90.

New England Firearms Pardner SB1, 20 Ga., single. I bid $75 it went for $90.

Stevens Model 94F, 20 Ga., single. It sold for $120, I bid $50.

Springfield Model 944, Series A, 12 Ga., single. I had the high bid of $85, or out the door cost of $100.51. It was in VG condition. I bid on this one in the blind, more or less, because while I had looked it over during the preview that morning, I had not checked on its value. I was about spot on as far as I can tell as it has been valued up to $150 in EXC condition. By the way, it is really a Stevens produced piece as they were using the Savage and Springfield names when they produced this.

It doesn't look as nice as this in person. Hitting the auto correct icon adjusted
the color correctly but added a bit too much contrast making the
 metal look almost pristine, which it definitely is not.
There were only 8 guns remaining after that Springfield and I did not bid on any of them. I did endure long enough to stay through the wild game and fishing themed prints, decoys, mounts if only because I was awaiting the ammo portion of the auction. Wound up picking up a couple of boxes of 44 REM MAG, a box of 30-30 WIN (bad move as half of it is corroded (probably okay to clean up and sell as a collectible it is that old), and a couple of boxes of Hornady 35 REM 200 grain. Not a bad day considering I’m quite happy with my Marlin Model 1936.

All done with the auction, I headed to the Hotel Exchange, in Geneva, for that special steak dinner I had promised myself. They advertise it as a 14 to 16 ounce NY strip steak (no bone). It came with a nice and delicious salad, a basket of bread, a vegetable (green beans) and either baked or mashed potatoes. I opted for baked but they were not ready yet since I was there a bit early – so I took the mashed. I can be pretty friggin picky about whether or not I like something and can bitch and moan with the best of them when complaining about a meal like this. That said, let me tell you this was one of the best steak dinners I have ever eaten anywhere and those places include Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Nassau County, NY and Peter Lugar’s in Brooklyn, NY.

Dinner started with a salad, well really with a cider, then the salad.

The steak was absolutely excellent and was one of the very best
that I have ever eaten at a restaurant - perfectly cooked & delicious.
The steak was cooked perfectly medium rare as I had requested. The mashed were smooth and creamy and the beans were ok. The salad was delicious as was the bread. I cleaned my plate with a slice of bread and the waitress (maybe the owner’s wife) was impressed at how clean it looked. She commented ‘it’s obvious you enjoyed it’ or something an awful lot like that. My dinner, including the meal, a bottle of Angry orchard Cider and a cup of coffee cost a total of only $14.50 (dinner itself was only $10.00). Getting back to Friday night, when I stopped there for a few drinks, I have to say the shots they give are huge and beer prices pretty good, much better than near where I live. Service both at the bar and at my table was excellent and friendly.  I highly recommend the place and am certain if I am up in Geneva again, I will be stopping there again.

By the way, back to the Marlin Model 1936, for a moment. From what I found in an Internet search today (the day after the auction), it is really a 2nd variation Marlin Model 36 although marked Marlin1936. All that confusion supposedly because Marlin called it the Model 1936 in their catalog in 1936, then started calling it the Model 36 in later catalogues – but still marked it Model 1936 for years to come (I have sent an email to marlin requesting clarification among some other info for which I asked). Go figure but as far as I am concerned, right now, it is a Model 1936 as marked on the tang and is the 2nd edition due to the B prefix in the serial number (which by the way is a pretty early number and was definitely manufactured in 1941). That is also what the SCF considers it – a Model 1936 2nd variation. According to one of the posts about the Model 1936 in Gun Values Board, the B prefix was only used in 1941 and the C prefix came into use in 1945. There were reportedly no commercial guns produced by Marlin from sometime in 1941/42 through sometime in 1945 due to their wartime production activities during WWII. God bless patriotic American manufacturers!

In closing let me just add this: The folks at the Hessney Auction Co. were professional, courteous and as darned nice as ever. It is truly a pleasure to suffer my addiction there attend their rod and gun auctions. They make even the 11 - 12 hour round trip drive worth the trip! A hat tip to them.

All the best,
Glenn B

Hessney Gun Auction February 2017 - Part One (of two)

Over the past few years, I have found it more and more difficult to get a really good deal at a firearms auction (either in person or online), and I do mean one in which I have the high bid on a firearm and that bid is a good deal less than the value of the gun. Sure, I have gotten few decent deals, even one or two good ones but it has been becoming harder and harder to get them. Some bidders have been willing to pay what amounted to prices higher than actual available retail on some guns. I always figured that was due to the strong anti-gun sentiment in Albany and in Washington, DC. Either that or that the bidders had been bitten by the auction bug - that thing that makes you keep bidding just to win a bid. I realized many auctions back that the term win a bid is pure balderdash; I am guessing that long ago, a very shrewd auctioneer thought that one up to make folks feel good about bidding too much and it stuck because it made the idiot bidders feel like winners (kind of like the everyone gets a trophy thing).

Well, now we have less to worry about in DC since Donald Trump is president (or at least I am hopeful such is the case). I have been expecting the gun buying frenzy of the past few years to ease up a bit and it seemed maybe to have ben the case very recently. Retail ammo availability has increased and retail ammo prices have fallen at least a little bit in general. Some guns I have not seen available at local mon & pop firearms stores, like Ruger Mini 14's are suddenly on the shelves again. Yet, bidders on Saturday, February 11, 2017, were bidding like crazy inside the standing room only Hessney Auction Company, LTD rod & gun auction.

On Friday evening, when I went to the auction preview, I had my first clue that the place would be packed for Saturday's auction. There had to be triple the highest amount of cars in their parking lot that I have ever seen for a preview. After the preview, I headed to my hotel and checked in. Then I went across the street to enjoy a few ales at The Hotel Exchange bar. I enjoyed a few bottles of 2XIPA, by Southern Tier brewers, a NY local ale. I also had a couple of exceptionally sized shots of vodka. Then, as opposed to the last time I was at the same bar, while up that way for an auction, I headed back to my room before getting totally snockered. At the last auction, I was pretty darned hungover and wanted to avoid that this time. I promised myself though, that after the auction this Saturday, I would stop there for their steak special dinner that I had missed the last time (which was the first or maybe second time I ever stopped in that particular place).

Come Saturday morning, I had breakfast at the hotel consisting of bacon, more bacon and some bacon atop that along with a cinnamon raisin bagel and coffee - minus a hangover and that was indeed a good thing. Then I was off to the auction house. Wow what a line was there already just before 0800. That had to have been the longest line I'd seen for one of their auctions that early; usually there may be 10 people there by then. Being that I had registered on Friday night, I just bypassed the line and walked right inside. Of course, there was some dickhead grumbling about me cutting the line even though I had explained to those at the door that I was already registered and was headed to the head.

Potential bidders lined up in the cold waiting to get into
what was a standing room only fast and furious auction.
By the way, more folks were behind them on line.

Once inside, I got another chance to look around some more, this time mostly at ammo but also at just a few more guns. It usually takes an hour to hour and a half before the bidding starts on the firearms once the doors have opened. The additional guns I looked at were mostly those that would be auctioned off near the end of the firearms offerings. Those always go quickly (because by then Joe Hessney wants to get the day over) and often do so at decent to pretty lowball prices. I was interested in only about four or five of those lower end guns, all shotguns, that would be auctioned off near the end. I am happy I gave them all a good going over, two SXS shotguns on which I wanted to bid were not in a condition acceptable to me, I am surprised that one of them received a bid of more than $75 - more on that later.

The bidding started in the side room, as usual, on reloading equipment, accessories, archery gear, and other assorted things. Then it moved onto two snowmobiles outside the front door. Once they had been dispensed with, the gun auction commenced while the side room auction still was ongoing. I stepped into the side room in time to bid on items on table 3, that were being bid on as so many dollars apiece for as many items on that table that you wanted to take if you had the high bid. I was outbid but probably should have placed one more bid to make mine $20. I wanted to grab two jars of Pyrodex RS but the guy who outbid me because I hesitated to bid $20 apiece selected those two items from the table. (I know that is about the going price for it but if I order online the dealers charge shipping plus about a $30 additional fee for hazardous material shipping.) That was it for me back there, nothing else was of much interest to me and I did not want to miss my chance to bid on some guns in the concurrently running firearms auction in the main room, so back there I went.

Luckily, I had gotten what seems to be my reserved seat in the front row. Four out of five of the last times that I attended the preview the night before the auction, the only seat remaining in the first row was the same I got this time. I was right up front and thus got one last chance to see the offerings, fairly close-up, as they were being auctioned off. Since all items are sold "as is" sitting up front is a good thing because you may well be able to see any damage caused by a slippery fingered bidder who may have dropped something during the preview the night before or the morning of the auction. Besides being up front, seating was at a premium and every seat was filled and the room's sides and back lined with standing bidders as well. Once I got seated, I still had about another 10 to 15 minute wait; that was longer than usual or so it seemed to me. It also seemed that way to the lady sitting next to me who asked me if they would be starting soon.

There were still folks coming in from outside to register when I took this photo
during the preview on Saturday morning. When bidding began, every seat was
taken and it was standing room only along the sides and back.

The bidding finally commenced. In the beginning it may have seemed fast to someone unaccustomed to a live auction but it was nothing compared to what it would be near the end when Joe wants to get it over for the day. The better long arms are auctioned at first to about midway through all the gun listings. Pistols are intermixed in groups, as it goes along. Then the lower end stuff followed by art work, mounts, decoys and ammo. Ammo is always last. I was ready to bid fairly high on some guns, all long arms except for two truly excellent collectible pistols (since it is a true pain in the butt for me to get the pistol permit paperwork) a Browning Medalist and a Colt Police Positive (1st version). Both were in their original boxes. They went for way more than I was willing to bid though. I am getting ahead of myself though, since as I said, it was long guns first.

I bid on several of the long arms but once again, even though my high bids came close to the high bids on a few, I was nowhere near the high bid on many of them but yes I did have a couple high bids on guns. Now mind you, I research the guns on which I intend to bid well before the auction. A partial catalogue is available around a week or so beforehand and keeps growing until about two or three days prior to the auction when it is complete. I go through the list, pick out what I have an interest in and then run the make & model names or numbers through The Blue Book of Gun Values. That gives me a good idea, in most cases, of what something is worth but that is not good enough for me. On both new and used guns, I also check them through to see what they have been selling for, or at least for the asking prices. I may also check through my 2014 Standard catalog of Firearms and although somewhat outdated it still holds valuable detailed info about many, many firearms. That all gives me a better and more real time idea of their value. On new guns, I also run tem through to see what they retail for at my local gun store (LGS) - they give a total out the door price. Then I consider what I would bid and include in my calculations the 10% bidders premium (for cash or check) and/or the 13% bidder's premium (for credit card payments and too often I have paid that way) and the sales 7.5% tax rate for that area. If you don't calculate that into you bid beforehand - you can bid while thinking you are getting a good deal only to find, once those are added on, that you have screwed yourself in your eagerness to win a bid. I try to keep the total of my bid, the premium and the tax to what I consider a good overall or out the door price for any particular gun and I bid accordingly.

Being that the list and my commentary of some of the guns on which I bid is pretty long, I’ll do a part two for this post and list the guns there.
All the best,
Glenn B