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"I wouldn't think an established past would add much, either"

Really - I have seen some 'beaters' sell for astonishing amounts. Example - an old beat up Remington 1858 black powder pistol - not worth shit really - rolled up handwritten note found under grip "This pistol #XXXXX never failed me" Signed by Wm. F. Cody - he carried it durring his 'Pony Express' days.

Needless to say it sold for more than usual for a pistol of this type, in this condition. 'Established past' can mean everything to an advanced 'and deep pocketed' collector.

The trouble is in 'establishing' it for sure. WM
 

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So if that GEW98 had a note from Buffalo Bill under the stock, it would be worth more? Just kidding, but it's really not the same thing. I'm sure that Remington had more provenance than a note, and unless that guy's grandpa was Black Jack Pershing, who owned it last wouldn't matter much. remember the story about Jesse James momma selling baskets of "Jesse's favorite pistol" to the tourists?
 

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I sure do remember the 'Jessie James' Pistols sold by the dozen. That's why establishing history is so important and difficult. That's why I like capture papers w/ serial number listed and a handwritten letter by the veteran if possible. Lots of mausers are passed off as Vet Bringbacks when in truth they were just imported by the zillion pre-1968. Very difficult to authenticale the Vet Capture of WW1 pieces. WM
 
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