A vastly underpriced gun

I was shocked to read this advertisement on Armslist yesterday, only minutes after it had been put up by the seller.

I have a very old colt 45 that I’d like to sale. It’s from around 1881. It’s non-working, but physically in good shape. Don’t know what it’s worth but I’m sure it could be fixed.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a Colt Frontier model of 1878.  The advertiser was asking – wait for it – just five hundred dollars for it!  I nearly freaked out on the spot.  It’s worth much more than that, even in its broken condition.

I e-mailed the seller at once, pointing out that while I wasn’t interested in buying it, his gun was potentially worth much more than his asking price.  Fortunately, I was able to do so quickly enough after his listing went up that I beat most of the sharks to the punch.  He was grateful for the information – he had no idea what he had.  I was able to point out that a much ‘younger’ Model 1878 (shown below) was currently on sale at Collectors Firearms in Texas for $3,750 . . . just a bit of an increase over his asking price!

A place like Collectors Firearms can advise him on where to get his gun repaired with original parts, so as to retain its value (it’ll probably do that on his behalf and sell it on consignment, if he’s interested).  He may not make $3,750 out of it, but I’ll be very surprised indeed if he doesn’t clear more than $2,000, even after paying their charges and commission.  Just goes to show – when you list something for sale, it really, really helps to know what it is and what its value may be.  If you don’t know, find out before you act!  In this case, the seller nearly lost out on a lot of money.

I’m also frankly disgusted at the ethics and/or morals (or lack thereof) among respondents who blithely offered him his asking price, or tried to beat him down from $500, without ever telling him what he had.  What happened to honesty and fair dealing?  Are there truly so few of us left who still value such attributes?



  1. Yes, it is exactly as you describe. My only addition would be that it has always been that way. Truly honorable men are rare and an trustworthy friend is a treasure.

    I have met men I liked until I saw how they handled their interactions with the widows of their friends, offering to "help" unload all the old junk guns that the guy had in his safe.

  2. That was very kind of you to contact the seller and let him know. I'm sure he learned a valuable lesson. And probably digging around to see what else is around, lol.

    People love a bargain, even if it is at the expense of another and I'm not surprised to find people happy to buy it for his asking price. It was after all, his price, not theirs. Asking to come down a little is ridiculous.

  3. Agree with both of the above commenters… I had the same thing happen on an appraisal situation I got brought in on. Gun store was offering $3000 for all ten guns. I valued them at ~$8000 (and that was low end). Gun store was pissed at me, but they had never even looked at the guns!

  4. Good for you. Nothing like the sleep of the just.

    A friend offered to sell me a Remington Model 1100 for 450.00. That's what he had in it. I saw it, and the serial numbers had serifs and curves in them. That's an attention getter for me. I looked up the serial number and saw it was a 1920's Model 11 (think Bonnie and Clyde)!! It was in great shape.

    I told him he needed to rethink his price! He was excited….. for about a month and sold it for 460.00…… Jeeze! Hey, I was interested before, remember????

  5. I stopped doing that, for the most part. I only bother if I think they really need money. As in desperate. The problem I kept running into is it quite often is taken as a severe criticism of them, and it really pisses people off. The embarrassment of making a mistake turns into hatred of the messenger.

    Frankly, it is a lesson unlearned, when you solve it for them.

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