I recently saw this photograph of captured Mauser rifles stacked like kindling. I thought it was very interesting.
The first thing that struck me was the volume. That’s a lot of Mauser rifles! Looking at the picture, I don’t know what timeframe it was taken. But if I were to make an uneducated guess, post WWII? But frankly, I could be dead-ass wrong. If Freeze were in the office today, I’m sure he would know.
The second thing that I find interesting is what this photo means or represents in the mil-surp collecting circles. Frequently, when you look around the high-end collector circuit a reference to a small blemish or mark on an otherwise “perfect” rifle might be a, “Stacking blem” or something similar.
The logic being the owner is trying to convince himself, or a potential buyer, that the scuffs or dings are somehow “legitimate”, “correct”, or “period original” and should not detract from the rifle’s value. Having been in some very large mil-surp warehouses in the last decade, I find that thinking dubious at best. Neat. But dubious.
The third thing. Buy the rifle, not the story. There are too many rifles with fake stamps and markings and too much money to be lost unless you know exactly what you are doing. Don’t doubt me on that. We have seen some dealers in the US and overseas using fake military stamps to fluff up their products. Freeze, our resident military-surplus expert has a policy that could serve our readers well in this regard,
“I don’t care what it is, I only pay repro prices. That way I can’t get hurt”.
That comment is sure to hurt some asses, but here is the back-story. Freeze was one of this countries largest mil-surp dealers within certain, very specific, markets. About 15 years ago he looked at the business and decided to cash out. He was seeing too many fakes coming to market and predicted a crash. Even some smaller museums were starting to buy and display (unknowingly we hope) fake items.
How long would it be until markings alone weren’t enough to establish authenticity? And only items with long paperwork trails would be sellable at higher prices? It has happened before. Go out and try to buy a US Confederate sword or firearm? Most are fakes. Or Singer 1911 pistols? Most are fakes.
You don’t know the joke about Singer 1911’s? Of the hundreds made during the war, thousands have survived and are for sale at your local gun show!
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