Calls from the Wilds

Calls From the Wild

* If for any reason this letter does not display properly, you can view the newsletter on our website.

*As part of my continuing efforts to make this newsletter passable Virginia Carter, my website guru is making me a template for the newsletter. This is our first attempt using the template and we would appreciate any feedback you can give us.
The reason for this is that there are so many browsers and ISP interfaces out there that we cannot test them all but if yours is doing something squirrely we really want to know about it. *By the way, if you want a website put together for a great price by a really cooperative and inventive person, give Virginia a shot at Carolina Web Creations you won’t be sorry.

*The builders are beginning to work on our new home office to free me from the cramped space I share with the laundry. I rejoice in the thought that I won’t have to carry crates of paper down the stairs. Essentially the new office will be an internal 2 ½ bay garage I will convert after I’ve had a replacement built on the back of the house. They started by removing two old decks last week. I will replace them with a patio. This is what it looks like now:

Addition Image 1

*I spent a good deal of time in September rearranging listings at the website to make the year of the catalogs more apparent when looking at lists of offerings from the same company. While what I did applies to fewer than 1000 listings, they are the most accessed and should be a great help. I will have a go at the rest shortly. Any comments you have pro or con will be gratefully accepted.

If you missed a newsletter or want to look something up - click here

New Books and Special Thanks

Last month I added over 50 titles so this month there are a bit fewer. Again, quite a few come from my files of scanned catalogs, many of which were made before I started tracking the nice folks who lent them to me. My apologies if I left out your attribution.

The torrent of old catalogs from readers has slowed and I want to again ask you to please search out your archives and let me scan them before they are lost to future generations. Rest assured that when I go, this collection, one of the best in the world, will live on in the hands of responsible people. I go way out of my way to make certain I don't damage anything so your loan is safe. Mainly I am looking for pre-WWII catalogs, especially those from the 1800s but I also need to fill in holes for all years.

This month I had the privilege of processing catalogs lent by Jim Buchanan, Dick and Al Carleton, Ray Phillips, Rudi Prusok, Joel Black, Lanny Magee and William King. Thanks guys!

* 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)
Adobe Reader

Letters from Readers

To MASH and Back * Gary Burghoff wrote: Abby, I Will be introducing a very special, newly discovered Colt Single Action Army, serial number 42393, with fascinating historical provenance at the Hartford Antique Firearms Show on Oct.10th and 11th 2009. This fabulous gun was originally the side arm of one of histories most infamous War figures; RODOLFO FIERRO, Poncho Villa's Chief General in the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
Also, at the show, I will introduce one of only 6 known Colt Paterson holsters. I believe this holster (discovered in a Central Florida Flea-Market in February of 2009!) is THE OLDEST KNOWN PATERSON HOLSTER dating all the way back to THE 2ND SEMINOLE WARS OF THE LATE 1830s! Of course, I will be there in person along with my Brother David, (well known Smith and Wesson collector and authority) who has been instrumental in helping me to collect and compile the historical provenance necessary to make a presentation of this importance to the gun-collecting world. Yours, Gary
Gary also has a new book out that you can buy on Amazon called Gary Burghoff: To M*A*S*H and back. Gary sent along these photos:

Burghoff Colt Colt

If you are in the area in October, stop by the Hartford Show and tell Gary Abby sent you.

Rants and Raves

Rants and Raves image

This month's winner is: "I odored a book from you and you sent it with a catalog of other things you sell. I did not odor that catalog and you made me pay to send it so I want you to give me back all the money it costs to send it and pay for me to send you back the catalog. Philip Gagney"

Philip. In most cases it costs nothing to ship our in-house catalog along with things you order. In your case you paid $3.50 shipping and I sent your package by Priority Mail at my expense for $4.75. The way Priority Mail works is that it is a flat rate for anything you can stuff in one of the Post Office envelopes or boxes irrespective of weight. So, it cost you nothing to receive the in-house catalog and you do not have to return it. Abby :-)
Abby- I am not satisfied and you promised you guarantee satisfaction. I want to send back your catalog, I don’t want it and you have to pay for that or I am unsatisfied. Your catalog didn’t even have serial numbers for my gun and I still don’t know how much it is worth. I hope more than the $23 your catalogs says.
Philip, Throw away my catalog after you have your dog lift on it. That should give you some satisfaction. As to the rest of your note I gather you are referring to the 1931 Remington catalog you bought. You see, Philip, I reprint old gun catalogs. They were printed for the companies, in this case, Remington before the guns were made so they have no idea of serial number ranges, nor do they have a clue what a gun not yet made in 1931 will be worth in 2009 any more than you can guess what your gun will be worth in the year 2087. Understand?
Abby, I think you are crooked and donot make any sence to me.
Good Grief! Abby

To see pages of Rants and Raves, and my replies, go to: RAVES and RANTS

Notes for New Readers (and useful information for everyone)

* 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.

* 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.

* SPAM!! 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 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.

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.

copy clips image

* 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.

* 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

* 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.

Parts Suppliers

We get hundreds of calls about parts and some folks who are doing something about supplying parts...

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.
Kenn Womack

Joe Salter sells all sorts of things including butt plates, antique guns, collector ammo, air guns, holsters... well, check him out:

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

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.

Websites with Serial Numbers and Corresponding Dates:

John Spangler & Marc Wade operate! They offer pages and pages of Serial Numbers to put a year to the following weapons:

Marlin | Mauser Broomhandle (C-96) | Remington | U.S. Military
Winchester | Gun Marks | House Brands | U.S. Inspectors
WWII German Codes And Markings

also at this great website is a list of handguns and rifles with
known serial numbers that qualify as antique,

or: Antique Serial Numbers for lots of Makers
(pre 1889 scroll down the page)

or: for:

Beesley, Boss, Churchill, Dickson, A. H. Fox
Francotte, Grant, W.W. Greener, Holland & Holland
Ithaca, Lancaster, Lang, LeFever, Parker
Piotti, Purdey, Westley Richards, Rigby, Rizzini
W&C Scott, L.C. Smith, Weatern, Woodward

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: 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 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]".