Published January 09, 2013, 12:22 AM

WILTZ: Other than the enjoyment derived, have your guns been a good investment?

My sister-in-law, Joyce, gave me a Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas.

By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic

My sister-in-law, Joyce, gave me a Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas. With it I purchased the latest edition of Fjerstad’s Blue Book of Gun Values. I already had the Year 2,000 edition, so today I thought I’d compare some gun values from then and now.

I feel the Blue Book is the best book of its kind on the market. Go to a gun shop with a possible trade-in, and the sales person will check the Blue Book. However, prices vary regionally, and as good as this book is, I’m certain that you will have to pay more than Blue Book’s retail price for some guns. I’ll give you some examples.

Blue Book lists a Winchester Model 12 12-gauge shotgun with 80 percent original finish at $325. In a South Dakota gun shop you will have to pay $375 or more for this gun. A pre-1964 Model 70 Winchester with 90 percent original finish currently lists at $750 in the book. Look to pay at least $1,000 in a South Dakota gun shop. These guns are good property, and the Blue Book is having a hard time keeping up.

On the following chart, I’ll compare the Year 2000 prices to current prices. Some of these are guns I own, while some are guns we are both likely to own.

Gun 2000 / Current

Colt 1911 Gov. Mk IV Series 80 (95 percent finish) $380/$750

Colt Model 1851Navy pistol (40% finish) $1,750/$1,600

Ruger Blackhawk .357 magnum single-action (MSR new price) $399/$575

Colt 1873 Single Action Army 1st Generation (40% finish) $3,200/$4,000

Winchester Model 94 lever-action (Pre 1964) (90% finish) $325/$500

Winchester Model 92 lever-action (40% finish) $675/$1,225

Winchester Model 1895 Saddle Ring Carbine (80% finish) $1,500/$3,650

Winchester Model 1873 3rd Model (60% finish) $1,425/$3,750

Winchester Model 61 .22 pump, grooved receiver (95% finish) $650/$1,200

Remington Model 81 semi-automatic rifle (90% finish) $250/$700

Remington Model 12A .22 pump-action (90% finish) $250/$680

While I’d like to tell you that all guns are going up in value, and all of my personal guns have been great investments, it isn’t true. I have, more than once, allowed personal emotions to get in the way of common sense when it comes to gun purchases. Here are some examples.

The very first shotgun I ever carried on a hunt was a borrowed Winchester Model 37 single-shot 16 gauge. A few years ago I just had to have this nostalgic gun. The Blue Book lists it today at $125. I paid $260 for one at an auction. When I was in high school, I paid $35 for a brand new Mossberg Model 146B bolt-action .22 rifle. At a Sioux Falls gun show a few years ago, I finally found a Model 146B. I paid $250 for it. The Blue Book says it is worth $125. Perhaps I’m just rationalizing or licking my wounds, but I don’t believe either gun can be had today for $125.

In general, antique Colt pistols have either lost ground or moved ahead slowly while Winchester lever-action rifles have sky-rocketed. As you can see, Model 1911 Colt pistols are hot, as well as some older model Remington rifles.

Some years ago, I suggested to readers that the early Remington semiautomatic high power rifles, the Model 8s or 81s with the ugly jackets around the barrels, were way underpriced. Today, I wish I had bought more than one of those. This is the rifle that took down Bonnie & Clyde.

I purchased my Model 1851 Colt Navy at the Blue-Gray skirmish in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley a few years ago. I paid $1,800 for it, and I see that the value has fallen. However, I may be a bit conservative on its condition. If it has 50 percent of the original finish instead of my 40 percent estimate, it is worth $2,000 rather than $1,600. I really don’t care. This Civil War piece represents the Industrial Revolution, interchangeable parts, and Samuel Colt’s genius. Just holding it gives me a high.

If you want to know what your gun is worth Blue Book wise, send me an email description and I’ll get back to you.

* * * * * * * * * *

Over the December 29-30 weekend, we went to the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Ill., to watch Wagner’s Robert Kokesh wrestle for the Cornhuskers in the Ken Kraft Midlands wrestling tournament. Robert not only won the 174 pound division, he won the outstanding individual award for scoring the most team points.

In 1965, when I learned that I would begin a wrestling program at Willow Lake High School, I went to a wrestling clinic at South Dakota State University. Ken Kraft, the Northwestern wrestling coach, was the clinician. That day, Coach Kraft gave me the best advice I’ve ever received as an educator. I never forgot. I was out on the mat with notebook and pencil trying to roll around, draw picture, and take notes all at the same time. In short, I was overwhelmed.

While we were working on a move, he stopped and told us not to get frustrated. He said that if we left his clinic with just one good idea, the effort would be worth it. In my 40 years as an educator, I applied his sage advice to every clinic and workshop I attended. On Sunday, I sought out Coach Kraft and thanked him for touching my life. He was deeply moved. Is there a teacher or coach you could thank?

*See you next week.

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