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Edit:
Neither of these are true collector's pieces as the stocks are both replacements.

Laminate stocks have some of their own appeal-- even as replacements.

And 1955 is one of the most difficult manufacture dates to find.

However, the 1955 -- with all of stamped metal serials intact (i.e No EP serials where stamped serial should be) is the one you should keep.

In the current market you can still get a tidy sum for the 1953.
 

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This reminds me, can anyone share the scarcity list for Russian SKSs? I could have sworn there was one out there on the web, cannot find it right now googling.
Maker and year by easiest to rare, if that makes sense. Probably be a big help to those starting out, and non experts like myself. I only have one Russian, light refurb 1951 Tula. I have no clue where it falls into the collectible scale.
Not to steal from the OP, just figured I'd mention it.
 

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Yup, keep the 1955.

This reminds me, can anyone share the scarcity list for Russian SKSs?
I've never seen an SKS-45 scarcity list, but I'll take a shot at it (only including production years with complete guns that are possible to obtain in the US, not parts from trials years):
I'm certain of the top two, positions 3 and 4 are probably close to one another on the scarcity scale, similarly with 5 and 6, after that it gets a bit more uncertain.
1. 1949 Tula (very rare)
2. 1953 Izhevsk (fairly rare)
3. 1955 Tula (scarce)
4. 1954 Izhevsk (scarce)
5. 1958 Tula*
6. 1950 Tula
7. 1956 and 1957 Tulas*
8. 1952 and 1953 Tulas
9. 1951 and 1954 Tulas
 
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