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Firearms or gun collecting is a niche in the antique collection industry that is slowly gaining its ground. There are more gun collectors out there than you think, especially when it comes to antique guns. These guns, depending on the age and condition, could be worth a significant amount of money. This is another reason why collectors seek them out. Whether you like collecting antique guns for hobby or to make money, you need to know the in’s and out’s of this business first.

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Antique guns 26 Dec, 2020
J c dane sxs 12ga shotgun 1870's rare antique
J.C. Dane 1870's SxS 12ga - Rare Antique Description Please read the following carefully. I have provided as much verifiable information as I can about this very unique shotgun and its rather ingenious and talented manufacturer. I have a roughly 145 year old, very scarce, complete, and functional J.C. Dane SXS 12ga breechloader shotgun. The information about this 1870's SXS, and its manufacturer, is almost as scarce as the guns themselves produced by Mr. Joseph C. Dane in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Some characteristics of this shotgun:. J.C. Dane is inscribed on the left and right sideplates. Breech-Loading 12ga Damascus barrels (bores rough of course, but I've seen much worse!). They have a quite intricate Damascus pattern, but mostly hidden w/ a dark patina. Made in 1870's - two patent dates in 1874, inscribed on the top rib, referencing Patents #146658 and #150538. On top rib is the inscription: "J.C.DANE. LACROSS. WIS. LAMINATED STEEL. THIS GUN IS FREE FROM ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE. PAT. JAN. 20 & MAY 5, 1874" Exterior Rebounding hammers; The "Free from Accidental Discharge" inscription on the top rib likely refers to his improved Rebounding Hammers, for which Dane was granted Patent #124939 on March 26, 1872. The use of this invention was assigned to Charles Parker of Parker Brothers the same day it was issued. From American Society of Arms Collectors.org, "History-and-evolution-of-Parker-guns-B090_Parker.pdf": "In its 1872 catalog, Parker Brothers first offered as an option rebounding locks, meaning that the hammers rebounded and did not rest on the firing pins once the gun was fired making it safer to carry a loaded gun. The first rebounding locks Parker used were based on Joseph Stokes’ 1868 patent, which was owned by Wesson Firearms. A royalty had to be paid for each lock. Presumably, the Parkers were less than thrilled at having to do this. On March 26, 1872, a patent was issued to Joseph C. Dane for an improved rebounding lock, and the patent was assigned to Charles Parker on that same date (Figure 10).25 By 1874, the Dane rebounding lock was standard on all Parker hammer guns." A very unique Barrel Release mechanism --The typical "Top Action Break Lever" is relocated as a forward-backward thumb lever located inside the trigger guard, forward of the triggers. The Double triggers are inside a longer than normal trigger guard - elongated to accommodate the unique Action Break Lever. The Forearm release is a Key/Wedge, as on muzzle loader forearms. There is much detailed engraving over all receiver parts. There are 2 "serial" stampings found - both "100", on the action flats and on the forend metal; (a closer look at the action flat can appear to be "001" , with the 1 being mistakenly stamped upside down, followed by 00). Also, "No. 100", in script form, is inscribed on the backstrap of the trigger guard. And most interesting -- the buttstock is removeable from the pistol grip - held by one bolt, with 2 steel concave/convex disks as mating surfaces for the 2 stock pieces. The purpose of such construction appears to be a mechanism to adjust both Comb Drop and Heel Drop, by means of a vertically sliding bolt lug. Please see the pictures of this unique buttstock for its construction and adjustment range! Other References found for Joseph C. Dane: From American Gunsmiths by Frank Sellers: DANE, JOSEPH C. La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1870 – 1885. Patents #146,658 January 20, 1874, breechloading firearm, and #150,538 May 5, 1874, breechloading firearm. Breechloading shotgun, From: Cornell Publications; SHOTGUN MARKINGS: 1865 TO 1940, A LIST, Compiled by Joseph T. Vorisek CAMP & WISE Dealer located in Stoughton, WI c. 1877. Sold shotguns marked DANE DANE, J.C. Gun maker located in LaCrosse, WI 1870 to 1885. DANE J.C. Dane From "History of La Crosse County, Wisconsin", 1881, p. 748., City of La Crosse J. C. DANE, manufacturer of breech-loading fire arms, was born in Skowhegan, Me., in 1816; learned the machinists' trade in Bangor, Me., and came West in 1855. He lived at St. Anthony, Minn., till 1861, then came to La Crosse, where he has since resided. He has been engaged in his present business since 1872. He was married in Bangor, Me., in 1842, to Miss Matilda E., daughter of Lewis Hancock of that place, and has no children. Condition and Preservation of this shotgun: This antique firearm is, to my knowledge, complete and original - except for a possibly missing wedge plate insert that may have originally been in the tip of the forarm (speculation). All components are fully functional, although I would not attempt to fire live rounds due to its age. I have not disassembled the receiver, but it has been lightly sprayed internally with Ballistol to retard any further deterioration, and to lubricate the components. The exterior components have not been refinished, buffed, or sanded in any way. They have been cleaned and protected with a light rub of Renaissance Wax. In my research over time, so far I have only found 3 other complete JC Dane Shotguns: Two are in the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, in Cody Wyoming: One is in the posession of a very nice gentleman I spoke to some time ago in another western state. As none of these 3 specimens have the same break lever inside the trigger guard, but have the barrel release lever as the forward part of the trigger guard, I might speculate that the "serial" 100 may be the notation for the first complete prototype of this action design. I do not know if the other 3 have stamped serial numbers - at least one of the Cody speciments was documented as "not serial numbered". Specifications Make: J. C. Dane Model: Unspecified Chamber: 12ga, 2-1/2" Action: Double - SXS Capacity: 2 "Serial" No.: 100 Mfg. Date: - 1870's Barrels: 29" LOP: 13-3/8" and 14-3/8" Overall Length: 46" Weight: 9.0 lbs.
Estimate: $400 - $800


Types of Antique Guns Collected

When talking about antique guns, there are two categories that they typically fall under. The first one is the Muzzleloader, which is a type of firearm wherein the projectile is loaded into the muzzle. The antique collectors who buy this type of gun do so not for firing purposes. Instead, this type of gun is collected because of its historical value. They are often put on display to showcase them as part of a large collection of firearms.

The second type of antique firearm that is sought after by collectors is the cartridge-firing gun. It is also more commonly known as shell gun. It typically comes with an ammunition packaging and cased primer that is designed to fit into the firing chamber. This type of gun is collected with the intent of shooting.

In addition to these two general categories, the type of firearms that are collected by antique hobbyists can be recognized as follows: hand guns and long guns. You can distinguish the different types of guns based on the material used for making them. Most of these guns are made with aluminum, polymer, and steel.

Determining Value of Antique Guns

Whether you want to sell or collect antique firearms, you need to be ready to do some research. Not all antique guns are valuable or of a certain value. There are several factors that go into the process of assessing its value. Unless you have a trained eye or experience handling guns, you won’t be able to make that assessment yourself.

To help you out, the succeeding sections will tackle the factors that are used to determine the value of antique guns and firearms. You can get more information about each below so you can use them as guideline.

What is the Condition?

The condition of an antique gun will be one of the biggest factors for its pricing. No matter how valuable or rare the gun is, if it is in a pretty bad state, it won’t command as high of a price than one that is in a good condition. It does not even have to be in pristine condition – it should still be functional (or have most, if not all, of its parts).

As a collector, you need to determine what condition you would settle for. Most antique collectors or gun enthusiasts would be willing to pay for a gun with some honest wear. Some would prefer having a gun that is mechanically safe and functional over a gun that comes with 100% original finish. After all, it is an antique and it is expected to look its age!

Since the gun is a type of firearm, it is highly important to check the safety features of a gun as part of its condition evaluation. It can be rough to assess when it comes to guns particularly in terms of originality. Some guns have their parts replaced over the years. This could cause the gun to lose its originality. But in terms of safety, it has definitely improved in that department. How do you then assess what’s more valuable: originality or safety? This could vary in the eyes of the collector as each buyer would have different priorities. If you are not sure what the right approach is, you need to consult an expert appraiser.

Is it a reproduction or original?

During your research, you need to check if there are any reproductions made of a specific type of gun that you own (or think about selling). Without close examination, the reproductions can look a lot like the original. But an expert eye will be able to determine the difference pretty easily. If you are not sure if yours is an original or reproduction, it is best to have it checked.

Does it have provenance?

The provenance of a gun refers to any historical association it might have concerning its previous ownership. For example, your gun might have been previously owned by a famous personality or it might have an interesting story that ties it with some of the critical moments in history. Or better yet, the gun could have been part of a royal armory in the past. You will only determine the provenance of an antique item by doing some research. When an antique item has a special interest, it will significantly increase in value.

What is the make and model?

The make and model of an antique gun is one of the things that you need to consider when it comes to valuing the item. This is the first thing that is usually taken into consideration when assessing the value of antique firearms. In particular, collectors who buy antique guns based on specialization will look into this factor more closely.

The quality for each maker will vary significantly; this is one thing that gun enthusiasts pay a lot of attention to. In addition, some models or makes also have historical significance. It is therefore important to research on the background of a specific gun’s make and model to have a more specific approximation of value. Some of the most notable makes and models of gun throughout history include Smith & Wesson, Winchester, Remington, Luger, Enfield, and Arisaka. The best manufacturers command premium prices as some of them are associated with higher quality guns.

How rare is it?

The rarity of the gun is also one factor affecting value. Antique collectors are more willing to pay premium prices for novel items or early models that were manufactured in small quantities. Meanwhile, if you can get hold of guns that are examples of early technical innovations, then you can also command higher prices for those. Some buyers are even willing to overlook any minor defects or condition problems for those rare items.

Consider the Artistic Appeal

The artistic appeal of an antique gun is often overlooked. However, it can have some influence on the pricing of the antique firearm. There are a few firearms that are carved with fine engravings, which add to their artistic value. This is typically manufactured from the 18th to the 19th centuries. This period was known as the “Golden Age” when it comes to firearms engraving; therefore, you can get a good price for items that originated from this era.

Preserving the Antique Guns

Antique items require tremendous amount of care. It is essential if you want to preserve its value. Here are some of the best practices to follow when preserving an antique gun or firearm:

  • The ideal temperature for storing your old firearms is 70-degrees Fahrenheit or 21-degrees Celsius. If you store it at a higher temperature, the wood stocks on the gun might expand resulting in permanent cracks. You should also keep the humidity level at 50 percent.
  • Depending on the type of gun that you have, handling the gun with your bare hands is not recommended. The oil from your skin could result to damage on the gun’s exterior. Cotton gloves are the best types of protection for your gun when handling it with your hands.
  • Use a dry and clean cloth to dust off your gun. Avoid using any spray cleaning products.

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