This report covers:
- John Beresford Tipton
- Not done
- A slight departure
- WW II Army watch
- Should I?
- The deal
- So what?
Today is a discussion of how our hobby is changing, and has changed in the past few years. My objective today it to knock your sox off, so double knot your laces, if your shoes even have them, and keep the coffeepot full.
On March 2 I shared with you an eBay advertisement for a Sheridan Supergrade multi-pump rifle that sold for $5,000.
In that same report, titled Getting into airguns, I shared another eBay ad for a Supergrade that I told you would never sell. It was a case of the seller not understanding what he had to offer and the market he was offering it to.
I even conversed with reader Cloud9 about the first ad. I said that at last year’s Texas Airgun Show I had my Supergrade for sale at $2,300. I figured if anyone was willing to pay that kind of money I would surely part with it. But $5,000? That’s a price I had never heard of.
I thought those two ads represented the high-water mark of ridiculousity (ask professor Michael — he’s the English guy). But noooo! It appears there ain’t (I know, Michael — “ain’t not” would be better) no limit to how far things will go. Just look at this ad that is currently on eBay.
John Beresford Tipton
I still own a Supergrade. It holds air, shoots and, because of the automatic transmission stop leak fluid I oiled it with a couple years ago, it’s one of the most powerful Supergrades in the world. I won’t tell anybody how to do that, by the way (oil the rifle with ATF sealant), because I don’t want others to know my “secret” and to possibly make their Supergrades as fast as mine. Fortunately I think my secret is safe with you guys. Chortle!
Here’s my plan. At the rate Supergrades are appreciating, mine will be worth over a million dollars by the end of this year. And, if I hold out for five more years, I will become as rich as the “fabulously wealthy and fascinating” John Beresford Tipton, who gave away a million dollars every week through his executive secretary, Michael Anthony (CBS, 1955-1960). Only I won’t give any of my money away. I will save it until I can afford to buy — insert the name of the vintage airgun of your choice.
It doesn’t end there, either! Just yesterday morning I received a notice of a new/old Webley Senior pistol on eBay. It’s not listed for thousands of dollars, either. This one is a bargain at just under five hundred dollars!
Now, I also have a Webley Senior pistol that you have read about. I paid $125 for mine (yes, it was also a Buy it Now) a little over six months ago, but I had to pay $20 shipping. This Webley ships for free! And so do two of the three Supergrades shown above. If I buy enough of these wonderful deals I’ll actually be saving a lot of money because, at the rate they are appreciating, I can’t deposit money in my bank account any faster. It’s like owning a piggy bank that pours money out instead of you putting it in.
A slight departure
Now I’m going to get off the subject for a moment, but I promise to return. I recently came out of the closet as a wristwatch nerd (see the report, It’s always something). In doing so, I kicked over the anthill of blog readers, uncovering many who are just as watch-nerdy as me!
WW II Army watch
In World War II countries everywhere made wristwatches for their military forces. In the U.S. there was a watch specification called the A-11, which was a wristwatch with a hack function that allowed the synchronization of multiple watches. The now-defunct watchmaker, Elgin, made a great many A-11s for the services. Today a nice one sells for around $500. I recently bought a beater (non-running, but having all the parts) for $174 delivered. I can get it serviced (cleaned and lubricated to run again) for about $150. So, for $324 I can have a $500 wristwatch that’s in high demand. OR…
My Elgin A-11 that was made in 1943 is a great investment. It’s all original, including the leather strap.
Or, I can strip it down to its parts and sell it for closer to $750, because the demand for A-11 watch parts is extremely high. The dial alone (and mine, that hides behind a cracked and scratched crystal, is very nice) would go for $150. Since I have the tools and skills to take it apart myself it wouldn’t even cost the $150 I mentioned to have it repaired. Should I do that?
Some would say I should. Others would scratch their SSN on the back of the watch case to prove it was theirs — like the Springfield 03-A3 rifle I recently showed you. Others, like me, would preserve the thing for posterity. Several years ago I either sold or traded an FWB 124 action in the stock for about $200. That was at a time when complete 124 rifles were selling for $375 to $450. All that was needed to make that rifle complete was the barrel, plus the hardware to attach it to the action. I may have even sold or traded it to one of you readers, and if I did would you please verify my story or correct me if I’m wrong?
Here is the deal. Want to see a genuine Roman Gladius sword? Want to own one? Better stock up on Sheridan Supergrades and prepare to wait for them to appreciate before selling them. Genuine Roman Gladius swords are very scarce and extremely costly. But at one time they were quite common. What happened? Time happened.
Time is the great winnower and leveler. Right now you will pay $500 and up for a nice FWB 124 air rifle. Ten years from now, who knows, except it will probably be more. Those Beeman R1s out there — not the HW 80s — the real Beeman R1s, are quietly appreciating every year as the supply grows smaller and smaller. They are appreciating all the time, but not every minute!
The used airgun marketplace that we see on eBay in the four airgun ads above is an artificial one. People who don’t understand the market, selling to buyers with money to burn are skewing the numbers in a dangerous way. I tell you this to caution you to not waste money thinking that the market has suddenly accelerated and will leave you behind if you don’t act fast. Fast acting is the thing you don’t want to do.
If your goal is to buy a classic airgun, prepare to be patient and resourceful. I’ve heard that the purchase of a lifetime comes along about every 18 months or so. I know for a fact that it comes more often when you look.
What about a great new airgun? I would say watch and listen. There are sources you can trust and there are people who will steer you right. There are even salespeople who can be trusted.
When it comes to buying airguns take the advice of Caesar Augustus who once said, “Make haste slowly.”