“There is something odd about this thing.” That is something that I have said to myself many times as a collector and it is something you should pay close attention to if you ever start collecting firearms.
My wife and I had just left corporate America to become Idaho’s first dedicated firearms appraiser and high-value collectible gun brokers. We received an invite from a friend to go visit a collection that was appraised for 1.4 million dollars in 1994. That would be over 2 million dollars in today’s world. You could imagine how many guns were in this collection. It had everything you could imagine from early Colts, Smith and Wessons, machine guns, antiques, assorted military guns, you name it. The list goes on.
We got to the house and were immediately overwhelmed. This gentleman was single his entire life and worked as a merchant ship officer traveling the world. He spent every extra dollar on collectible firearms and when we entered the door, it was laying all over the place for us to view. At that moment, it seemed that every bit of knowledge I had left me. I would have needed the NRA library with me to sort this out and we only had one day. ONE DAY! I could have spent weeks working out what I wanted. Anxiety had set in. We were a single income household and at that time a loss of any kind was not an option.
After looking over many hot wallet items, I found myself curious about his c96 Broomhandle Mauser collection. I knew about them in the collector world but just enough to get myself into trouble and I did not get the opportunity to research before buying. I had to sort it out on the spot. There were 9 of them but I had already spent a majority of the budget. I had to pick one. What one to pick? There were military marked versions, commercial versions, contract versions and Chinese copies.
The pressure was on. I had to find the value somehow. I was short on resources and had to go with my gut. One of the broom handles was very crude and had Chinese markings on it. Chinese copies were always of a lesser value but this one was odd in that it was chambered in 45 ACP. I at least had the Blue Book and it offered a value of around $800.00 which I thought was expensive for a Chinese copy but it was in 45 ACP.
Needless to say, I went with my gut and cherished the oddity. It was too unique for me not to buy it. There were so many options. To my surprise, it was the best choice I could have made. This was one of the first of an estimated 8000 to be made during the Chinese Civil war between 1928 – 1931 . The Chinese Nationalists copied the original Mauser pattern however increased the size and chambered it in 45 ACP to accompany the many Thompson machine guns they had used. A good study opportunity for those that like to research.
When it was all said and done, this little piece of gun gold sold for over $4000.00 at auction and we were on our way to a life in firearms.