Calls from the Wilds
* If for any reason this letter does not display properly, you can view the newsletter on our website.
*My stalwart website guru, Virginia Carter (contact her if you need help with your website) managed to add a little icon that says New! next to each item added to the website. The tag remains in place for six months and is intended to help folks who don't visit the site too often. You can see all the new catalogs without flipping back and forth to the Recent Additions page. Hope you like it!
As I mentioned last month, I plan to ask Virginia (it's not her fault!) to raise some prices this month (in a week or two). I've resisted increases since I began in 2003 but, as you can imagine, not all suppliers have cooperated by holding their rates in check... so here it comes.
We finally finished our addition! Rob has room in the garage for his big Ford diesel tractor with the plow and PTO powered generator and his own garage door (so he doesn't have to traipse down to the barn when it snows). This means we can light up the neighborhood when the wind blows! Whoopee! We now have a dedicated Printer Room for all those HP machines and the dirty dust they kick out, not to mention the tons of supplies they gobble up. And a New Office overlooking the front lawn. I even have a nice sitting room attached to the office with a fireplace that I can see now that the boxes of gun books are relegated to the lower level (we have one of those crazy quad-level houses so popular in the 60s and 70s).
We had the exterior re-sided with extra insulation and the heating system updated. One of these days I'll have to think about proper desks. As you can see the ones I have now are actually old hollow-core doors with folding banquet table legs. Oh well, they actually work quite well. All in good time. Below you will see before and after pics as well as my new office. Whew!
If you missed a newsletter or want to look something up - click here
* And to see some really skillful flying:
* Dick Carleton sent me this link to Civil War pictures. Here is the introduction: "(We are) truly fortunate that so many of these have survived. Probably a million wet plate photos were made during the civil war on glass plate. Popular during the war, they lost their appeal afterwards and so many were sold for the glass. Many were used in green houses. Over the years the sun caused the images to disappear.
These are pretty amazing considering they were taken near 150 years ago: A compendium of photos from the Civil War era. Run the cursor over the photograph and the picture caption will pop up. Click photo to enlarge."
"Original Civil War Pictures"
Dick also sent along photos of a rifle in his collection. He said:
"This might be an interesting rifle to feature in your newsletter. It is an 1886 Winchester in a rather unusual configuration; it is an Extra-Lightweight in 45-70 caliber. The purchaser wanted a little extra firepower and special ordered a full magazine. This provided the maximum amount of rounds available and a very light weight rifle to carry. This version of the 86 has a 22" barrel in a thin profile about the same as used in the carbines. The barrel is actually smaller in diameter than the magazine tube. The butt stock is hollow up into the wrist, balancing well with the short and thin barrel. This rifle was manufactured in the latter months of 1900 and is in surprisingly nice condition."
* Readers: This is a download for a gorgeous Power Point presentation of big rocks around the world. The file is 6 mb so you should have a fast internet connection or the download will take a very looooong time. Rocks.
Train nuts will appreciate these terrific shots (this is also a 6 mb Power Point show so you need a fast connection): Trains
New Books and Special Thanks
I have to report that this month I didn't manage my usual 20-50 new catalogs. I was simply too busy moving the office and cleaning the house after all the construction. I think there was a quarter inch of dust on every level surface. But what I did manage will interest a lot of people. I managed to locate a stash of Charles Carder books and here they are. Carder was a friend and contemporary of Joe Vorisek and his publications have been often requested by customers familiar with his careful research. The HAAMS Newsletters were research Carder carried out on Hopkins & Allen that didn't fit into any of his books.
I had time for a few catalogs too:
* Download our latest flyer of old gun catalogs
This requires Adobe Reader, which is free.
Those on dial up, beware - it is a large download. (30mb)
Letters from Readers
* Dear Abby: I read with interest the article about Mausers of the Dragon in the latest issue of American Rifleman, written by Stuart Mowbray and Joe Puleo. I have a friend, Chinese American whose mother was in the Chinese Red Army Guerilla Forces. She had two weapons, a 38, which I've figured out is an Arisaka, a Japanese model. Type 38 came as a rifle with long barrel, a carbine with shorter barrel. Goes for about $500-$700, maybe a little higher. Caliber was 6.5x51mm, called 6.5 Jap. Anyway, she had a pistol too, called a Dog. Any idea what this might have been? Regards, Peter Adam ... Readers? Abby -)
* Abby, I talked to you Monday about some information about a Savage Model 24e-dl over/under shotgun/rifle. This gun has no serial #s because it's a pre-1968. I am trying to learn what the letter "e" means after the number 24. I would like to get all the manuals and catalogs pertaining to this gun. I can be reached at my email. Thanks for your help, Phillip
Rants and Raves
This month's winner is:
I am researching Stetson hats from 1910-1930. I see that you sell a lot of reproductions of catalogs - can you recommend some that have Stetson hats pics and prices from that period? Thanks. (not signed)
I am sorry, I don't have time to look through the thousands of catalogs we reprint for individual items. I suggest you contact the Danbury, CT historical society where the company was based. Abby
????? I wasn't asking you to look through every single catalog. I've seen your reprints on ebay and often thought about picking some up, but if you can't answer questions and aren't willing to take a little bit of time to make a sale, then I'll stay away, and make sure to relay your attitude on to other researchers. Scott
Scott, Thanks for the snotty reply! I get hundreds of requests for research each week. People collect everything you can think of: guns, ammunition powder horns, camping gear, knives, hatchets, books, whistles, clothing, sports gear, auto accessories, tools (including several who collect plumb bobs!) food containers, kitchen accessories, watches, glass balls.... you name it. It is quite impossible for me to take the time to satisfy each person and if I do, the end request is usually "can you just send me that page? I don't need the entire catalog and I will give you a dollar or $.50!" They are then petulant when I refuse. Actually, once I give them the name of the catalog they usually lose interest and I have wasted 15 minutes or a half hour.
Now, in your case, there are probably 150 catalogs that could have hats, most of which are not identified as being Stetson. I could spend a half hour or an hour looking at them and come up with nothing. How much are you willing to pay for my time? Abby
Thanks for being so customer-oriented. When you behave like a tyrant, you will lose your potential customers immediately. I read the word 'snotty' and stopped reading. I'm only responding to you at all because I'm bored, but thank you for encouraging me to make costing you business, a priority. I will be posting on any research forum I can find to make sure no one purchases any of your material. Scott Forest - firstname.lastname@example.org Ebay name: "runscott"
Your ill-mannered attempts to threaten and berate me have earned you a free trip to the Rants and Raves column at my website and, as a special bonus, a featured position in my newsletter that goes to over 11,000 people. Yours must be a misogynist la-la land, bored, stupid and mean is no way to grow old! Abby
To see pages of Rants and Raves, and my replies, go to: RAVES and RANTS
Annoying Customer of the month:
Notes for New Readers (useful info repeated each month)
* The purpose of this section is to repeat in every newsletter some of the things I have said in past newsletters. By naming the section "Notes for New Readers", longtime subscribers may simply skip over it and read something new to them.
* SPAM!! I get, on average, about 300 new subscribers each month. Many are folks who signed up. Others are people I automatically signed up when they bought something at an auction site or my website. Of the ones I sign up to get the newsletter normally only six or eight unsubscribe each month, usually because they have a last name the same as a catalog they bought or made the purchase for a friend or relative. I am naturally flattered that so many folks are pleased to hear from me once a month and thank you all for your indulgence.
*Spammers intercept emails using various tools and strip the emails of all the addresses. All it takes is for one addressee on your list to visit the wrong site on the internet and wham all the addresses you mailed to are on a spam list.
But there is something you can do to help fight SPAM. When you forward emails to many individuals use the BCC: space (stands for Blind Carbon Copy) instead of the To: or CC: spaces in your email forwards.
Many address books will only put selected email addresses into the TO: box so go ahead and do that. Hold down your left mouse key, select all with the addressees your cursor and release the left mouse key. Go to Edit, Cut. Then click on BCC:, click Edit and Paste. Finally, put your own email address in the TO: box and press Send. None of the other email addresses will be visible to any of the addressees and they will love you for not contributing to the spread of SPAM! Whoopee!
* Paypal - I don't like Paypal and I don't think they make much of an effort to be less arrogant that they have been in the past, but, I use Paypal to process credit cards because they are cheaper by far than a bank for a small online business, They are reliable and they are secure. No, I don't like many of their policies but they are the least expensive I can find so we have to live with it. I do accept checks if you prefer and I don't wait for them to clear. If you stiff me with a check you go directly to the Rants and Raves column with your full name and address displayed for the world to see. By the way, Paypal has softened (somewhat) its previously hard line with respect to firearms and is now more reasonable. I wrote about it in my July 2007 Newsletter.
* Ebay - The wizards at Ebay decided (just after they laid off a whole bunch of employees and their business is down) that they will no longer allow sellers to advertise that they will accept money orders or checks in payment for purchases made on Ebay. Customers may still pay that way but we cannot advertise the fact. I think the idea is to force people to use Paypal, which is owned by Ebay. Now, to be perfectly honest, I would be much happier if you bought things from my website Cornellpubs.com because that saves me sales commissions to Ebay!
* Hint- If you are using the browser Firefox and have trouble seeing any images on this website, try hitting the refresh button. Meanwhile I will continue trying to figure out how to make my website more compatible with the many different browsers out there.
* INDEXES for Every Catalog I reprint... Every catalog I offer has an index at the right of the page. Listings on Ebay, Gunbroker and Auction Arms also have indexes.
* More on Indexes: Not all my indexes are alphabetized and can be difficult to search. Until I find time to alphabetize all of them, hit the Control key (on the lower left) and the letter "F" on your keyboard. this will give you a little search box on the bottom of the screen. Start to type in the name of what you want to find on that page and it should be highlighted on the screen (this works with most browsers and on any web page). :-) Abby
At my website, you will find many gunmaker "master pages" listing all the catalog reprints of one brand. To the right of each "master page" are names of catalogs by merchants who carried that brand of firearms. For example, I reprint over 60 Remington factory gun catalogs but I also reprint over 160 gun catalogs from merchants that sold Remington firearms such as Sears or Abercrombie & Fitch or Spalding. Those are the listings on the right of the page.
Using the merchant links, you can identify a catalog from just about any year that displays the Remington line and by looking at the individual page indexes you can figure out what models were made in what year without spending a dime. Of course I would be happy to sell you those catalogs too! Most major gunmakers have a "master page" and I am adding more all the time. Just start with any category link: All Catalogs, 1835-1899, Ammunition or any other and you will find that the capitalized links indicate "master pages". When you select one you will see on the right, the links to the other merchants who sold that brand.
* I have some nifty tricks for you! If you have trouble reading small type on my website or any other, you can increase the size of the text on the screen by holding down the Control key (that's the one in the lower left of the keyboard with Ctrl on it) and scrolling the wheel on top of your mouse back and forth.
* Whenever I scan a delicate old catalog with its covers hanging by a thread (and not wishing to be the one who detaches someone else's covers), I line up a bunch of paper clamps along the hinge of the book to hold the covers in place and then scan each page. This simple technique works wonders and saves old paper from harm. It also gives you handles to pick up the book!
The picture shows my book scanner. When I use the book scanner, the catalog hangs over the side of the scanner and only needs to be opened 90 degrees. This allows much less stress to be placed on the spine.
So there you have it, a tip that I hope will result in a torrent of eager collectors now willing and eager to let me scan their old gun catalogs... but, please call or write first, don't just send them because I may already have scans of that particular item. I still have hundreds of old catalogs on file that I haven't got to yet.
* Gun Value & Parts - I get scores of phone calls that start out "I inherited this gun from my grandfather and I just want to know how much it is...", I do not do appraisals, nor do I sell parts. See here for parts suppliers.
* I often use the The Greenhill Dictionary of Guns and Gunmakers by John Walter, Greenhill/Stackpole Books 2001 - ISBN 1-85367-392-7 to answer many of the questions I get each week about the origins of gunmakers. Like many all-encompassing works, some of the information may be inaccurate but over-all it contains a wealth of facts, dates and important history of great old companies. Each year you can buy the Standard Catalog of Firearms which lists most guns and their value used at Borders or Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon.
* Why Buy Old Catalogs- originals or reprints? If you want to learn about a gun or gunmaker I applaud you, and am so happy you found my website. History is what I am working so hard to preserve by making old gun catalogs available to collectors and historians. Buy a catalog from a gunmaker of the appropriate year and you will learn a mountain of true facts about your gun- right from the maker's month, so to speak. Never again will you have to rely on hearsay or bluster.
*Research- To help you learn more about the history of gunmakers I have a page of what I call Reference Books on my website. They cover a wide range of information by authors and the page deserves a look. One of the most prolific authors of gun history was the late Joe Vorisek. I am fortunate to be the authorized only source of his gun histories. Joe even has his own webpage of all his histories.
* Browser Usage - Sometimes people mention they cannot follow the links I put in my newsletters, or that the pictures don't show up. Well, sometimes browsers are set to only receive messages in plain text. This is usually because their internet connection is slow and pictures make it even slower. There are settings to allow or disallow HTML language (pictures and links).
Your browser (the program you use to view emails and internet sites) can be set to allow you to click on links to other web pages. The link can either open a new window with the original window disappearing to a small block near the top of the screen or it replaces the current window with the new selection. In the former case to return to the prior window, click the box near the top of the screen. In the latter example click the "back arrow" also at the top of the page (different browsers such as Firefox, Netscape or Internet Explorer use different symbols for the back arrow). For the most part, I use links that replace the newsletter page with the new link. So, to return to the newsletter, you will have to use the back arrow to return to the newsletter.
* Must Read: If you haven't yet done so, please read the About Us link on the website. It explains a lot of things such as why graphics vary in books, why I do this in the first place, errors and mistakes, guarantees, loans and more. Also, if you see something in the Coming Soon page you want, let me know and I'll move it up the list for you.
* If you collect Military Arms please check out the link page I have to Government and Military Publications as well as 75 Manuals of the World's Military Weapons (1945) in A Basic Manual of Military Arms - 1945 as well as the link to Machine Guns.
* YOUR ADDRESS- Yes, I am shouting! Each month I get angry phone calls, emails or letters from folks who "ordered the book xxx days ago and STILL DON'T HAVE IT! Usually they don't have it because the registered address at the website where they ordered the book is false (to "protect" their identity) or long outdated. When I point that out, they usually say that I should have double-checked or that their correct address was on their check or some other excuse. Sorry, I print address labels from the website as you typed it in. If your address is wrong the book goes to the wrong address. Please check your address at the website whenever you order something online. Thank you.
* How to pay for things on the internet while using your credit card with some safety... There are two areas of concern when you make the decision to pay online with your credit card. First, you have to make certain the site accepting your credit card is secure. There are two clues to security. One is in the URL or site address found at the top of the browser. Normally the URL begins with http://www etc. but a secure site has a different beginning. It starts with https://www. etc. The "S" means the site is using encryption software and it is pretty safe to send your card information to the company. By the way, do not send your credit card information in an email. Emails are NOT secure!
Of course, the second consideration has to do with what the company does with the information, the company integrity. If the company is located in Nigeria and you are sending money to "the government" to pay taxes on the $2,000,000 you won in their very generous random lottery, well, go ahead, you are a lost cause and I cannot help you. The point is to be careful about companies you never heard of before, don't know where they are located and the website has no telephone number. Caveat emptor, buyer beware. That is one of the reasons I like to pay with Paypal. When you do that you are giving only an email address to the company, not your credit card number.
Many folks call me to give me an order over the telephone because they "don't like to use their credit cards on the internet". So, a little more about credit cards and the internet. Every time you use your credit card at banks, gas stations, restaurants, stores and while browsing, the transaction is recorded on the internet! Small shops like ours carefully enter the information at a website belonging to a financial clearing house. Others, like Costco and Walmart are connected directly but they all go on the net.
What can you do to help make your credit cards safe? Know with whom you are dealing and what is happening when you hand over your card. Does a nervous and suspicious looking waiter disappear into the back room with your card? Hmmm. Does the gambling website where you are about to enter your card have no address, country or telephone number? Hmmm.
Your best bet is to confirm that the website address where you enter information begins with https:// rather than just http://. The 's' stands for secure, meaning encrypted. Also, be confident that the website itself is trustworthy, has 'contact us' information including a name, address and telephone number. Beware of offshore websites. Even with all these protections, some cards are stolen. We had a card stolen by thieves in Azerbaijan. How they got my card I have no idea but I check the charges on my card regularly (daily, in fact) and picked up the scam quickly and cancelled the card.
We get hundreds of calls about parts.
Some folks are doing something about supplying parts...
Spare parts, accessories and original bayonets as well as complete original examples for all models of Ross Rifles- Barry DeLong email@example.com or 423-472-1972.
Hello Abby, I am responding to your request for parts source information for Remington Rolling Block Parts. We are attempting to supply reproduction parts needed to restore or rebuild the majority of models of rolling blocks made from 1867 onward. While this is a work in progress, I believe we are the largest supplier of these obsolete parts in existence.
Trapdoors Galore Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 3240 W. Arby Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89118. Phone No. 702-361-5322 Everything For The Trapdoors + Free Research On S/N's For The Trapdoor & Krag's
Joe Salter sells all sorts of things including butt plates, antique guns, collector ammo, air guns, holsters... well, check him out: http://www.joesalter.com
Phil Stewart sells parts, stocks and grips. He can be found at (740) 398-1941 in Mt. Vernon, OH.
The big parts houses for older guns are:
Jack First in Rapid City South Dakota their catalog (three volumes and over 2700 pages of invaluable information including parts diagrams) is available at (605) 343-9544 for $39.95
Gun Parts Corporation (Numrich) Kingston, New York (845) 679-2417. Well established with a good website.
Sarco Inc. Stirling, NJ (908) 647-3800 email email@example.com
Dixie Gun Works, Union City, TN (800) 238-6785
Provenance for Your Gun
Ever wonder who first purchased your gun or rifle or wished you had a certificate of origin? It could increase the value of your gun!
Sammy Baugh, or Eddie Dew or some other celebrity may have been the original buyer. Perhaps the provenance would increase the value of your favorite fowling piece or rifle. Well, now you have a chance to find out for free if the gun was sold by Von Lengerke & Detmold or Abercrombie & Fitch, two of the largest and most prestigious gun houses of the 20th century.
If you own a gun by one of dozens of manufacturers write down the serial number and compare it to the serial numbers at the G&H website:
Robert C. Beach, Records Research
Griffin & Howe, Inc.
33 Claremont Road
Bernardsville, NJ 07924
Website: www.griffinhowe.com (scroll down to see all the makes when you get there)
Serial Numbers and Corresponding Dates:
Gun sellers often give themselves a lot of latitude when claiming the provenance of weapons they sell. Age or factory modifications to the base model can add considerably to the value of any gun. The question repeatedly is- The Truth! Having a Serial Number from the gun in question can often lead you to the year it was manufactured and then to a catalog we reprint. This can be useful in determining how the factory intended to make guns... models, styles, calibers, engraving, checkering and options available.
To help you on your search I have put together a page on the website with links to websites that offer serial numbers and years of manufacture:
Original Gun Catalogs and Books for Sale
Here is the link to Box 4. All other boxes can be accessed from that page. If you would like prior notice of the sales, please sign up for the announcement newsletter. The hundred and fifty or so people who already signed up knew about this sale last week and some of the bargains are already gone. To register for the special newsletter, send an email to the following address and put the word REGISTER in the subject line: firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks to all of you who signed up! IF YOU HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED THERE IS NO NEED TO DO SO AGAIN.
Old Newsletters are Available Online
If you missed a newsletter or want to look up an old one, please go to my website www.cornellpubs.com and look on the top of the first page for a link to old newsletters. You may view them online and in color with pictures. Also, on the subject of newsletters, I send out the newsletter in both HTML and plain text format. This means that if your browser is not set up to view pictures and colors, you automatically get the plain text version. I hope this explains why some of you don't see the pictures referred to in the letters - I know it has caused some confusion. Also, you should upgrade to the latest version of your browser for best results. To learn which version of you have, click the help button on the top line of this page and then look for the link that says "About [browser]".