Most people recognize a vintage sports car, but vintage guns can slide right under the radar. My grandfather brought back a Walther .32 from Germany. I only saw it once and a cousin inherited it. I really like my cousin so I hate plotting how to steal it from him, but we all have our burdens to bear. The next time you are rummaging through Grandma’s things, keep an eye for some of these rare guns.
The LeMat was clandestine cool before anyone knew what clandestine was. It looked like your run of the mill mid-1800’s six shooter, but it actually was an 8 or 9 shot revolver. Plus, it had a secret 20 gauge shotgun built right into the middle of it. Find one of these and you could be looking at $20,000.
Any Colt Revolver Named after a Snake
The Cobra, King Cobra, Python, Diamondback, Anaconda and everything else from a Garter Snake to a Blue Racer are in high demand. If it has a Rampant Horse on the grips and is named after a reptile with no legs, you should start the bidding at about $5K. Mileage on garter and blue snake models may vary.
The Walker Colt was a massive beast that weighed nearly as much as my prom date. The cylinder held so much powder that people tended to overload it and blow the darn thing up. But they are still magnificently awesome if for no other reason than Josey Wales made me want to carry them and spit tobacco juice on a dead, bald man’s forehead. Find one of these behemoths in Grandpa’s underwear drawer and you are well into six figures.
The Luger looks, well, odd. Until you shoot one. And then suddenly you will understand. As any of the Jewish girls I have dated can tell you, I am not a fan of the Nazi’s, but they made some fine firearms. The Luger is the gun that started the 9mm cartridge we know and love/hate today. Swiss and German versions abound and there are far too many variations to list. But if you find an old one that isn’t marked “Ruger .22,” you probably have something to write home to mom about.
Winchester Model 73
What, you haven’t seen the Jimmy Stewart love story to a firearm titled Winchester 73? There isn’t a lot of plot getting in the way of the story, but it will make you understand why Winchester lever gun collectors won’t bat an eye at $50K for a good model. You can ask over a million bucks if somebody cool like Geronimo carried it.
The Rock-Ola M1 Carbine
World Wars make strange bedfellows. We needed lots of arms and we needed them quickly. So, the Department of War bid out contracts to make pre-designed firearms. Some unusual companies won the bids and made some pretty rare guns. It would be like Apple Computers made a bunch of bayonets today.
In WWII, you could be a super cool cat that coined “Rock and Roll” with its jukeboxes for the hip crowd, and make M1 .30 carbines for the officers of WWII who couldn’t hit anything with their pistols. Yeah, there were lots of other companies who made the M1 like IBM and the Underwood Typewriter Company, but the Rock-Ola is supposedly the rarest. You will get $3,000 to $4,000.
Yes, that Singer. The same one that made the sewing machine your granny used to patch the seat of your pants after Jenny plowed through your ass at second base playing soccer baseball on the tennis courts. Singer only made 500 pistols and they made them before Pearl Harbor. If you find one, you could be looking at $250K. P.S. – Jenny called and she says you are still her bitch.
Remington Rand 1911A1
The Remington Rand Typewriter company is no more related to Remington Arms than the “Francis Macomber Wish I Wasn’t Nobody” company. But they bought the tooling for the 1911A from that small sewing machine company Singer. Remington Rand eventually turned out nearly 900,000 high quality 1911 pistols, more than any other manufacturer, by the end of WWII. However, the variations of their production are enormous. Most will go for $1K and up.
Union Switch & Signal 1911
I learned from my brothers-in-law a few years ago that train people are insane. I mean that in a “not going to kill my sister in the middle of the night with a rusty spike” kind of way of course. But they are really bonkers. So, when a railroad signaling company decided to knock out about 50,000 pistols for WWII, you should sit up and take notice. This company made the second lowest number of 1911s for the war effort. Value: $5K to $20K depending.
This is the WWII gun that made The Greatest Generation. While reading this you should be humming the Star Spangled Banner. Winchester and the U.S. Army’s Springfield Armory made them at the beginning of WWII. But these guns were put in and out of service, had parts interchanged, and did more travelling than a used Bible salesman. About a half dozen manufacturers churned them out until over 5 million had been produced. So, they aren’t rare. But if you can find one that is all original, no mix and match parts, Tapco stock or Cerakoted barrel, and you may a little cash cow on your hands.
Now it is time to hit the pawn shops, the gun shows, and your local VFW looking for rare guns. If you find a real prize, let me know about it. Don’t leave out the part about how you took your new-found wealth and spent it on strippers and blow.