Original condition is THE most important factor to consider when determining the value of old shotgun — especially a classic American SxS like this Parker GHE.
Guns with more original condition are worth more; guns with less are worth less — and sometimes worthless.
To complicate things, a lot of vintage guns have been redone (AKA refinished). Some have had their barrels reblued, and their actions recolored actions. Some have had their wood refinished and checkering recut. Others have had all this done to them and more.
Most refinished guns stand out like pen-raised quail. But some are trickier, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can make an expensive mistake.
So what do you think of this Parker? Original or redone? Scroll down to find out.
This Parker GHE 20g SXS is….ORIGINAL.
It was built by Remington in Ilion, New York, and it was one of the last Parker shotguns ever made.
When it comes to vintage shotguns, especially vintage American shotguns, original condition matters the most. But what does “original condition” look like, especially on a couple VH-grade Parkers that are 80+ years old.
Take a look at these two. The first is a 28g that looks like it spent most its life in the field. The second is a 12g that looks like it was locked in a gun case since new. Both look all original to me.
Parker VH 28ga 28” SxS for sale: All original gun that has never been fooled with. These are very hard to find and super rare in original condition. Bright, shiny, 28″ bores choked f/f.Serial Number: 165290, Barrel Length: 28”, Barrels: 28”, Gauge: 28ga, Stock Dimensions: 14”, Stock Comb: 1 1/2”, Stock Heel: 2 1/2″ Price:$14,500
Very near mint and all original Parker VH 12ga 28″- Reference Gun: Advanced collectors always have what they call “reference guns”. A gun that they know to be all original to compare other guns to. This particular gun, a 225k SN range VH 12ga with original 28″ Vulcan Steel barrels is absolutely a reference gun. Made with capped pistol grip, splinter forend, double triggers and extractors.
The gun remains in exceptional near mint original condition with more than 98% original barrel blue, virtually all of its bold original case color, and nearly all of its original stock finish. Here are the technical details on the gun: made on a 1-1/2 frame with drops of 1-1/2″ at comb and 2-3/4″ at heel and LOP of 14-1/2″ over the original DHBP. The gun weighs 6lbs 15oz and the barrels measure .730 (R) with .018(mod) and .732 (L) with .028 (imp. mod) and both barrels have .028MWT. This gun is guaranteed authentic and completely original in every respect and comes to me from one of the great Parker collections in the country. PGCA Letter included identifying the gun exactly as found today. It is very near mint and truly fantastic. I wish every Parker I owned was this fine and easy to describe. Simply put, no excuses on this gun. Price:$5995
From Turnbull Restorations: Metal restoration included light polishing, engraving was not re-cut (see photos); color case hardening of receiver, top lever and forend iron; charcoal bluing of trigger guard, safety, screws and pins.
Wood restoration included new buttstock from customer wood, new forend from customer wood, latch housing, ebony tip, and hand checkering per original.
So yesterday I asked everyone what they thought of this 12g Purdey SxS: Is it all original, or has it been redone. Most people thought the finish was original, and to them I say – you’re pretty much right.
This Purdey is mostly original. The color-case hardening and blueing have been there since the gun’s birth. The stock, though, has been lightly refinished — probably a long time ago. Julia’s had this shotgun in their Fall 2014 sale, and it sold for $17,250 – a very fair price. I wished I had had the $$ to buy it.
It was beautiful gun, built by many of Purdey’s most famous employees. It really hasn’t been messed with, either. Check out the minimum wall thickenss: left -.034, right -.032. That’s a lot of metal, and a clear sign that no one has been polishing out those tubes season after season (like the Brits love to do).
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE: SN 14855. (1893) Cal. 12 ga. 2-1/2″ Chambers. 30″ Chopper lump bbls are engraved “James Purdey & Sons, Audley House, South Audley Street. London.” and “Made of Sir Joseph Whitworth’s Fluid Pressed Steel” on narrow concave rib. Bbl flats are stamped with London black powder proofs. Bottoms of bbls are stamped with SNs and bottom of left bbl with initials “GA” (George Aston, head barrel maker). Tube nos. 13448 and 13449 are on loop. Beesley patent self-opening action features automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), bushed strikers, engraved arrow head tumbler end cocking indicators, and double triggers. Action is engraved in typical Purdey house style rose and scroll. Engraving is exceptionally fine and well detailed, most likely by J. Lucas, head engraver. “J. Purdey & Sons” is on each lockplate, and “Purdey’s Patent” is on bottom of action. Scroll engraved trigger guard has SN at grip. Well streaked and lightly figured European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14-7/8″ over Silver type pad. Classic drop points and point pattern checkering are at grip, and a silver oval with remnants of a monogram is on toe line. Matching splinter ejector forend with
Anson release is marked with unknown actioner’s initials “HH” on iron. Bore diameter: left-.731, right -.731. Bore restrictions: left -.010 (IC), right -.000 (cyl). Minimum wall thickness: left -.034, right -.032. Drop at heel: 2-1/4″, drop at comb: 1-5/16″. Weight: 7 lbs. 2 oz. LOP: 14-7/8″. Original makers oak and leather case with brass corners and central circular medallion, is lined in scarlet cloth. A small paper Purdey label marked “Late of 314-1/2 Oxford Street”, along with an instruction label, and the orig charge card for this gun, are in lid. Case contains 2-pc rosewood and brass cleaning rod, Purdey marked broken case extractor, and cleaning implements, as well as three case strap retainers.
CONDITION: Excellent. Bbls retain nearly all of what appears to be their orig blue, with some slight silvering and thinning from normal hand wear. Action and lockplates retain nearly all of what appears to be their vibrant orig case hardening color, silvering on beads and fences. Engraving is very sharp and clear. Top lever and trigger guard retain most of their orig bright blue, silvering at thumbpiece and grip. Stocks retain nearly all of an old oil refinish, grain open. Sharp edges are slightly rounded, checkering flattened and gummed. Pad appears to be a later replacement. There are incipient cracks behind both lockplates and top tang. Bores are excellent with a hint of frosting toward breech ends of both bbls. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are slightly out of time. Case leather is good with considerable staining and chipping. Straps are missing. Strap retainers detached (three are in case). Handle has repairs. Interior cloth is very fine with some compressions and one tear from contact with action fence. Labels are fine, slightly soiled. Some partitions are slightly loose. Cleaning rod is fine. A superb high condition antique Purdey in need of some detailing. Sold For: $17,250
Ready for another test? A couple weeks ago I posted this pair of Purdeys for everyone to assess. Now lets see what you think about this Purdey. What do you say – original or redone?
This Purdey is from 1893. The engraving on it is fantastic. It was probably cut by James Lucas. From 1855 to 1915, Lucas was Purdey’s head engraver, and he helped to develop the fine, tight scroll work that became the “rose & scroll” engraving pattern best-quality British doubles are know for.
These Purdeys came up at Julia’s a sale or two ago. Here’s the condition report on them:
CONDITION: Excellent, as completely refinished and refurbished. Bbls retain essentially all of a good London quality re-black, engraving slightly softened. Actions retain nearly all of a re-color over considerable scattered light marks and frosting, engraving somewhat washed. Buttstocks retain essentially all of a fine hand rubbed oil finish with some light marks and scratches as furnished by Master Craftsman, David Trevallion. Forend wood is original, checkering re-cut. Bores are excellent. Actions are tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are in time. Screw slots show some use. Case leather is fine with numerous marks and dents. Straps and handle are good. Renewed interior cloth is excellent, as is label. Accessories are fine.
When it comes to collecting, original condition is king. The more of it a shotgun has, the more valuable it will be.
So what do you think about this 12g sidelock by James Purdey & Sons? It’s one of a pair of Purdey made in 1912, and it may or may not be all original. Let me know what you think, and why you think it. I’ll tell you the answer tomorrow. Good luck.
Graded, smallbore Foxes are special shotguns. While A.H. Fox did make a lot of doubles, the vast majority most were 12 gauges. When it comes to 16 gauges and 20 gauges, “The Most Perfectly Proportioned Small-Gauge Gun Ever Built,” the vast majority were Sterlingworths, the company’s entry level, field-grade model.
The first smallbore Fox shotgun – a 20 gauge CE #200,011 – left the factory on September 17, 1912. Fox’s graded guns ran As, Bs, Cs, Xs, Ds & Fs., and according to a Fox catalog from 1925 the C was “In every respect…a high grade. It’s beauty in looks and finish. No gun will stand up better to hard work. Its every detail is perfect. And at the price it is in a class absolutely by itself.” Fox made just 413 C-grades in 20 gauge, and the one you see here left the factory in 1926. While there’s no question that it’s a rare gun, what do you think about the finish on the barrels, action, and wood? Original, or refinished? Take a close look and let me know what you think. I’ll let you know the answer in the next couple days.
There aren’t a few rules to gun collecting. “Cash rules” is one of them. So is “Oral agreements are worth the paper they’re written on.”
Another rule is “Original condition is king”. The more of it a double has, the more it costs (and “restored” never compares to original). The side-by-sides below are perfect examples of the high prices that shotguns in original condition can command. Check them out to see what original finishes really look like, and how much they’ll cost you.
LEFEVER “H” GRADE 16 GAUGE SHOTGUN: 16 gauge, 28″ damascus steel barrels, double triggers, extractors, and top lever opening. Checkered forend and pistol grip buttstock measuring 14″ to a factory buttplate. Comb: 1 3/4″ Heel: 3″ Weight: 6lbs 11oz. Retaining 99% original barrel brown, 99% plus vivid casehardened finish. Beautiful wood and checkering. Appears unused. Mint bores. Chokes: mod & full. Price: $6750.00
A H Fox A Grade 20 Gauge Automatic Ejectors Philadelphia: A H FOX, PHIL., A GRADE 20 GAUGE, 26″ BARRELS. EXCELLENT BLUE, MIRROR BORES, IC & MODIFIED (RIGHT BARREL .007, LEFT .017), CLEARLY MARKED NUMBER FOUR BARREL WEIGHT. AUTOMATIC EJECTORS, ATTRACTIVE DEEP CUT ENGRAVING, LIGHT CASE COLOR, TOP LEVER TO THE FAR RIGHT, VERY STRONG EJECTORS. MOST OF THE BLUE ON THE TRIGGER GUARD. ROUND KNOB PISTOL GRIP STOCK, SPLINTER FOREARM, EXCELLENT WOOD, PERFECT CHECKERING. ORIGINAL BUTTPLATE, 1 1/2 X 2 5/8″ X 14 1/8″, 5 POUNDS 8 OUNCES. MADE IN 1926. ALL ORIGINAL FINISH. NICE LITTLE FOX.Price: $5,000.00
Refinishing shotguns is like golf: Lots of people do it, few do it well.
The 12 gauge VH-grade Parker shotgun you see here is up for auction now (ending March 17, 2013 17:15:00 PT). This double was made in 1902 and refinished by Parker in 1950 (owned by Remington and located in Ilion, NY, by then).
It’s a great looking gun, and it’s interesting to see what the factory did and how well they did it.
The first thing that JUMPS out are the screaming case colors. Those are cyanide colors. Originally this Parker came with bone-charcoal case colors, and when it was new they looked more like this. By the 1930s, Parker was using cyanide colors on all their shotguns. Take a closer look at the pics to see just how nice these colors looks.
Overall, I have to say that the refinish on this VH-grade Parker was done well — and right. If you would like to add a Remington-refinished Parker to your collection, this is the one to get.
This gun threw me when I first saw it. It was completed in 1912, so it’s almost 100 years old and it looks like it was made yesterday. Just look at all that color – 100% – and hardly any fading at all. And then there’s the amazing condition of the wood/checkering and the uniformity of the blueing on the barrels. There’ s almost no wear – anywhere. This old side-by-side has barely been used.