Here’s a late alert for something that great to have if you’re a serious Purdey collector: It’s a genuine James Purdey & Sons Ltd. Catalog, probably from the ’60s. It’s on Ebay.com now, and the auction ends today @ 12:12PM EST.
Old catalogs like this are great reference tools. I like them because they give you the chance to see just how the maker promoted and sold his guns – which features they called to mind, the terms used to describe certain models, etc. These old catalogs also let step into the mind of a buyer from 50-60 years ago to see the options they were presented with.
Value is something I always think about when I’m looking at old guns. Is this Purdey a good value? What about this Parker? Which ones will people want 20 years from now? Which will fall out of favor? To understand stuff like this, I collect old gun catalogs – especially ones with price lists in them.
The catalog you see was an especially nice find for me. It’s a Holland & Holland New & Used Gun Catalog from the Spring of 1965. It’s full of ton of useful info: prices, lots of different guns from different makers, etc. More importantly, because this catalog was shipped to customers in the UK and the US there’s a key paragraph inside which unlocks the British £ to US $ conversion mystery:
“As an indication of your approximate total delivered costs including duty you may multiply the price of the weapon in £’s in London by 3.5. For example, a gun offered at £100 will cost you about $350, all charges and duties paid”
So what did a brand new, 12 gauge sidelock Holland & Holland Royal cost in 1965? £650 pounds, or $2,275 (that’s without a case or accessories). A 12 gauge H&H Northwoods boxlock was £200 or $700. New H&H Rifles were more expensive. A .470 Royal cost £985 ($3,447.50) with case and tools. It punished you with more than just recoil.
As for used guns, decent 12 gauge Royals were £375 – £425. A 12 gauge Purdey with new barrels by the maker was £500. The most expensive used guns are both O/Us: an early and super rare 12g H&H (#36000) and a 12g Woodward. Both are £950.
As for bargains, I spotted two. One was a cased Edwinson Green 12g Best-quality sidelock for £285. I’ve seen a few of these and they are fabulous – equal to a London Best. Then there’s a 16g Szulovsky sidelock for just £130. I’ve never seen or heard of a Szulovsky, but I bet it was a very fine gun.
To make sense of the prices, here’s are some figures from 1965: a basic Rolex Submariner was around $230, a Corvette Fastback Coupe was $3947 from the factory , the typical American home sold for $19,900, and the median American family income was $6,900. A new Rolls Royce Silver Shadow was £6,557.
Parker shotguns are the most famous side-by-sides ever made in America. Parker Bros got into the shotgun game in 1866, and from their factory in Meriden, CT. The company’s gun business prospered into the twentieth century.
But then Great Depression hit and sales plummeted. In 1934, Remington stepped in and bought all of the Parker gun business and published the catalog you see here to announce their acquisition. It’s on Ebay now, and the auction ends tomorrow, 2/15 @ 04:35:22 PST. BTW: the pages shown here are just a few of the ones that make up the entire catalog.
For the really obsessed shotgun collector, vintage catalogs are a must have. If you’re really into A.H. Foxes, the catalog you see here is a real score. It’s a Campfire-series, and one of the toughest A.H. Fox catalogs to find.
The Campfire Series catalogs were the second series of catalogs A.H. Fox used, and the company they sent them out from 1907 to 1912. The catalog you see here is from 1908 , making it the fourth the company produced.
It appears to be in great condition overall, and the seller has put up a lot of photos in the listing. Check it out now to learn more about this catalog and to place a bid.
Hardcore Parker collectors love to own more than just Parker shotguns. They also look for catalogs and postcards from the gunmaker, as well as other items manufactured by the Parker Bros. company. Below are a handful of these items on Ebay now.
The James D. Julia auction company puts on the finest firearms auctions in the US. The sales catalogs are part of what makes these auctions so successful. With full color pictures and lengthy descriptions, these catalogs do a great job of showing, and selling, every lot in the auction.
These catalog usually cost $40 a piece. From now until February 28, 2013, you can pick up one of the catalogs for Julia’s upcoming firearms auction by just paying the $6 for shipping ($12 for both). Just go here to get your almost free copy.
UPDATE: According to the terms & conditions offer available to new email registrants only.
Julia’s sales are run in two sessions. The second session usually has all the sporting rifles and double barrel shotguns in it. But I would get both of them.
These catalogs are more than just promotional pieces: They’re also valuable reference tools and fantastic way to learn about some of the world’s finest firearms. If you love collectible guns of all types, they’re definitely must haves.
Old gun catalogs from the original makers are one of the best places to learn about vintage shotguns. This Parker shotgun catalog on Ebay now is one of the nicest the company every produced. It’s also one of the most detailed and informative. If you’re really into Parker shotguns, it’s a must have.
This catalog is from 1937 – so well into Parker’s Remington period. I think it’s the final retail catalog Parker/Remington ever produced. With nice pictures, long descriptions and big pages (the catalog measures 11″ x 8 1/2″), it’s also one of the best. Ever single Parker shotgun available at the time is featured – from the A1 Special to single barrel Parker Trap guns. There are also accessories like butt pads and detailed instructions for ordering a new Parker side by side.
On the collector’s market, a catalog like this is a $400-$475 item, so if you can get this one for any less than that you’re going well. The auctions end on Feb 07, 2013 @ 17:30:18 PST, so get on it now.
Here’s part of the description of it from the seller’s listing:
“This is a all original Parker Gun Catalogue from when Remington took over production. The catalogue is in excellent condition with minimal wear , one small tear on one page…The catalog has all of the information when one was going to order one of these fine shotguns. It includes all of the grades from A1 Special to Trojan. It describes each grade in detail…”
Old gun catalogs are THE resource to own if you really want to research vintage double barrel shotguns. These two A.H. Fox catalogs are essential if you’re serious about collecting these side-by-side shotguns.
1931-1934 A.H. Fox Double Barrel Shotgun Catalog – With a Lynn Bogue Hunt cover, this is one of my favorite American shotgun catalogs. From the Savage era, it’s one of the best looking of Foxes covers. Right now, this model catalog goes for $125 – $300 depending on condition. You can read more the guns featured in this catalog here.
Here are a couple nice gunmaker catalogs on Ebay right now. The Boss & Co. one is from around 1930 (not 1920 as the seller thinks) and it’s the style Boss catalog you usually see on the market. The H&H catalog is new to me. I’ve never seen another one like. If it’s legit, it looks nice something nice to have.
I wanted this 20 page Boss O/U catalog. It’s the only one like it that I’ve ever seen and it was on Ebay. I really wanted it, but in the end I didn’t want it enough. It’s closing price was $422. That’s over $20 a page!