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.
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
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.
This nice looking little double was auctioned off in Julia’s Fall, 2013 auction. Here’s its the listing from that sale:
PARKER .410 VH BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED BY DOUG TURNBULL. SN 226161. Cal. .410. 3″ Chambers. 000 Frame. 26″ Bbls. This lovely little gun with all correct markings and specifications as outlined in PARKER GUN IDENTIFICATION & SERIALIZATION ledger, including ball grip, and Parkers dogs head buttplate, has had all of its orig finishes and engraving completely and competently restored. Gun features automatic safety and double triggers, along with splinter forend. Bore diameter at muzzles: left-.396, right -.396. Wall thickness: left -.035, right -.038. Drop at heel: 2-3/4″, drop at comb: 1-3/8″. Weight: 5 lbs. 9 oz. LOP: 14-3/8″. CONDITION: Excellent, essentially as new, as restored, with only a few subsequent light handling marks. Bores are excellent. Action is tight.
Original condition on a vintage shotguns is like good bird cover: I know it when I see it. The same is true with wood and metal finishes that have been restored. Spend enough time around old guns, and you start to develop an eye for what’s original and what isn’t.
So for everyone who thinks they’re good at spotting one or the other, here’s a test. Take a look at these pics and let me know what you think. Tell us why you think it, too. Tomorrow I’ll post the answer and who knows…maybe you’ll be right.
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.
Refinished shotguns aren’t my thing – most of the time. But this little 20 gauge Parker caught my eye, and I have to say this: For redone gun, it sure is nice looking double.
The seller says this gun was refinished by Larry DelGrego in the ’70s. The DelGregos are the first family of Parker restoration, and their work is almost as famous as the guns themselves. Larry DelGrego Sr. went into the Parker repair and restoration business in 1955, after learning 22 years of learning his craft at the Parker factory. Today, Larry DelGrego III is carries on the family tradition and turns out first quality work on America’s favorite double barrel shotgun.
Refinishing a SxS like the Parker you see here is an expensive project, and doing right will cost you $3,500+. But as you can see for yourself, when the job is done right, the results can be very nice.
Here’s more info on this shotgun from the seller:
Parker VH Grade 20 Gauge Straight Stock: Restored by Larry DelGego in the ’70s. 26″ bbls, Twin ivory beads, Modified and Full, Mirror bores, twin ivory beads, 0 frame, straight grip stock to a checkered butt, 14″ x 1 1/2″ x 2 3/8″. 5lbs, 12oz. 99% blue, 100% case colors & trigger-guard blue. Looks new. Price: $3800.00
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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.