Affordable SxSs were a thing of the past by the time I got out of college in the 90’s, found a job, and had money to spend on a gun.
SKB stopped making their side-by-sides in 1980. Stevens ended their low priced 311s and Fox Model Bs in 1989. AYAs and Arrietas were building SxS in the ’90s, but their lowest-grade guns cost more than my F150 was worth.
If I wanted a new double at a reasonable price, an OU was the only way to go: Berettas 686s, Browning Citoris, Ruger Red Labels.
But according to this new article in Outdoor life by A.J. DeRosa, that’s not the case anymore.
The dampness of the cellar mixed with the smell of gun oil hit my nose. My eyes caught the fluorescent lights reflecting off blued metal. Well-kept barrels of various brands and models of vintage shotguns stood out in contrast against a worn table. My bank account was about to be sucked dry; I tried not to think about the overdraft fees. The affordable gun I had originally came for fell by the wayside as I shouldered an Italian-built shotgun with a slender English grip. Welcome to the world of side-by-side shotguns….
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.
That’s the question I hear all the time. When people ask me, I usually give them a range. That’s the best I can do. It’s also why auctions are so nice. When the hammer falls, you know what that item is worth (at least at that moment, with those buyers present).
Here’s a chance to see what a real nice 16 gauge Ithaca Flues is worth. Reliable and rugged, the Flues-model side-by-side was Ithaca’s most popular double. From 1908-1926 they made 200,000+ of them, making the Flues one these most popular side-by-side shotguns ever made in America.
“What’s it worth?” That’s the question I get all the time. It’s also the question I’m always asking myself. To come up with an answer, I pull together an estimate based on historical prices and what I’m seeing in the market. But this is just a guess.
If you really want to know what your shotgun is worth, put it up for auction. When the hammer falls, you’ll know exactly how much someone is willing to pay for it. When I saw this W.W. Greener, I asked myself “What’s it worth?” I’m guessing $2000-$2,500. The auction ends soon, so check back tomorrow to see if I was right.
From the info provided and the pics, this is what I can tell about it:
It’s a lower-grade model with ejectors, nice 30″ damascus bbls, and very clean looking wood. The outside of the barrels has a bit of corrosion, but nothing bad. The insides look good. Judging by the proofmarks and serial number, I would say it was made around around 1900. From what I can see, I would say that it’s all original (except for the pad, of course). Pachmyr’s While Line Recoil Pad came out around 1950 and the butt stock may have been lightly refinished at that time. The checkering looks original.