Last year, acting for a principal who was willing to go $3,000.00 US, for a shootable place holder, I won a Finn, scrap-bin Frankenstein for $2,450, delivered. It was so bad that it went back the day of delivery. Before the seller had received its return, he had it re-listed, and it sold the day after he received it, for $2,400. The second buyer wrote a gushing feedback about how much better than advertised this SVT 38 was! I should think that your friend is sitting on gold. However, if he intends to sell it on line, warn him about parts pirates.
Neither you or your "principal" really knew what you were looking at, nor where any SVT38 would have come from. Reminds me of someone else. I bought that rifle for $2250 and sold it 6 months later for $2750. Do your homework instead of straw man purchases for your "principals".
Mixed parts reworked electro pencilled SVT 40s have brought close to a grand at auctions. Matching SVT40s have brought upwards of two grand. I've seen mismatched SVT38s approaching $3k. In the K98k world, a rifle with a mismatched bolt only brings about half what a matching one would bring. I've not seen a matching, non rework, SVT.38 for sale. I've done searches and been looking. I would imagine these trade privately, under the table. I seriously doubt a nice matching SVT38 would sell for the same as a mismatched SA SVT 40.
I got lucky with mine as I was able to make a trade for it. I really love it as it might be my favorite rifle. As stated it is not common to see these for sale and prices are hard to state. Vic has made some good deals on these in the past but those that I see seem to sell for higher than he has been able to find them. One thing for sure value will only go up as more and more people are seeking these rare finds.
Yep, it's like most things. Anytime you want an example of something it will be unobtanium and/or outrageously expensive. Anyone not wanting one will find it at a pawn shop for less than the cost of an original magazine for it. That's why I diversified far beyond the K98k many years ago.......otherwise I'd be living in a world of poverty, frustration, and unfulfilled dreams.
Also, things that don't turn up are hard to price. It's market driven, literally. "Blue books" on such things are either way over, or way under, depending on what's going on in the market. Our respective opinions on the value of such things will be based upon whether we are buying or selling. At some point, for rare items, one must just pay, or not pay, based upon the individual "need", or while away our lives, and spend money in the search hoping it turns up for $500 less.