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I'm being offered an authentic conehammer C96 with matching wooden stock. The finish on the pistol would rate about 80% with wear on both sides of the barrel, and wear and pitting on the front grip strap. The pistol does have a wood shoulder stock/holster. The pistol's serial number full serial number is stamped into the metal on the stock. The asking price is $3200. Is this a reasonable price?
 

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If the stock and stock metal are authentic matching and pistol has all matching numbers inside and outside and grips are in VG condition, it is a good price, at least to me. just my 0.02
 

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Sounds like a good price...but check the bolt stop area and make sure it is not deformed or cracked. A slight dimple or tap in this area is ok, but I've seen some that are accidents waiting to happen. If you get it, make sure you replace the springs with a Wolff set.
 

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While $3200 is good for an all matching conehammer and extraordinary for one with a matching stock, I'd stiil have it checked by a C96 expert, even if it meant a couple hundred bucks extra....matching stocks are EXTREMELY rare, usually numbered on the wood and done in a known style/font. There is also something like 14 parts with the serial number stamped on them and to check this you need to totally field strip the piece. Armorer replaced parts were often hand fitted and were generally stamped with the serial number or portion of it and some parts in an all correct/original pistol, depending on the model and year of production, will always have a stamp.

Because the chicoms are in the game, many replacement parts came from them and may or may not be up to specs. For instance, pistols that saw much use often have had the floorplate replaced. Floorplates are almost always stamped with the serial number on the inside. Swaps from unserviceable parts guns were common and if the swap was official, i.e., done by an armorer, the old number would be struck and replaced by the receiving pistol's serial number, often just the last 3 numbers, in a smaller point size. Field swaps would just leave the unmatching number intact. Totally un-numbered floorplates are suspect if just from a strict originality point of view. Fudged floorplates will have the correct serial number, so it becomes the expert's ball game to determine the correctness of the floorplate itself. Counterfeiters have been known to fill an incorrect serial number, restamp the correct number and refinish the floorplate which will destroy the original milling marks.

A conehammer as you described may have at some time gone through an appraisal.

There's not many firearms that have suffered the fudging that Broomhandles have endured which is a tribute to their consistent collectible value and incomplete production records. Plus, its popularity today is greater then during its actual production. It truly is an example of a firearm made before its time and with a quality level only really appreciated today.

I personally learned some very hard (financial) lessons building a modest collection. I won't go so far as to say I was ripped off, but I did make purchase decisions based on information supplied by VERY uninformed sellers who acted otherwise. It's one thing to buy an obvious rebuilt pistol for $500 or so and quite another to to spend $3000+ for a rare specimen.

As always, caveat emptor.
 
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