Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

This is our lounge area. Feel free to come in and get acquainted!
User avatar
ed
Posts: 34842
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: The Hero of Sukhbataar

Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by ed » Sat May 18, 2019 3:09 pm

Got this in an email from an outfit named Amos Keag Auctions out of NH. I met/knew the owner when they were starting out a lifetime ago. OK folks, respected in the arms field. I have a coule of thoughts but I'll save them for the end.
Guns & Ammo Article – FAKE NEWS!

Recently Guns & Ammo magazine ran a letter to the editor which was very cleverly written. It is a wonderful fictional tale of a John Skibinski of Kingman, Arizona, about consigning a Mexican engraved Luger to a company who sold it for $700 and then it later turned up on Gun Broker for $7000; a shocking disparity in value to say the least! He mentions owning the gun for many years, holding it as part of his retirement, and thankfully he shows a picture of this very unique Luger pistol. Mr. Skibinski writes that he has heard of things going wrong at auctions so he decided to “test the honesty of a company near Manchester NH”. The clever part is that the letter stops short of naming the company, but mentions the “first class and beautiful catalog” and that the firm implored the writer to “trust us”. Interestingly, we advertise that our catalogs are among the finest, if not the finest, in the industry. We also advertise that we are the most trusted company in the gun auction business. Now oddly, there ARE no other gun auction houses “near Manchester, NH”, and what a coincidence that terminology used by us in our advertising was used nearly verbatim in the letter to the editor. Friends, it is all fake news.
Image
Now for the non-fiction….

Amoskeag has never taken a consignment from or ever done any business with any John Skibinski.
Amoskeag has never had the pistol in question in our inventory, have never sold the pistol or even laid eyes on it in person


How do we know for a certainty that we never sold this pistol? We did a quick Google image search for “Mexican Engraved Luger” and the very first image found is the very same gun pictured in the Guns & Ammo letter. As it turns out....the pistol did sell at auction…by a company that is nowhere near Manchester NH, but is actually “near Rock Island Illinois”. That company sold the gun on June 27, 2010 and it is serial #3850l. This is a custom engraved Luger with very distinctive grips and engraving work. It is not only the exact same gun that appeared in the other company’s catalog, we studied the lighting and shadows closely and it is the exact image that was taken in their photography studio. We subsequently ran this serial number, and several different variations of it, through our catalog database and our Federal book and guess what? It has never been here.

So, to outline the falsehoods in this letter; we, who are about as near to Manchester N.H. as you can get, never sold the gun, we have never done business with John Skibinski, he did not own the gun for many years, we never told him to “trust us” and it never appeared in one of our catalogs. Also, we cannot find any Gunbroker listing for this gun through their “advanced search of completed items” or otherwise.

So this then leaves us asking ourselves......who would benefit from having a bogus letter to the editor published that slanders our company (especially in a national publication with a circulation of 365,009)? A competitor would benefit the most. Which company, we then thought, would employ such an unethical and dirty tactic to hurt a competitor? Yes, that’s what we thought too…

Clearly Guns & Ammo magazine does no vetting of their letters to the editor and apparently anyone can write a clever piece like this, slandering a company, and they will print it. We have reached out to the editors of Guns and Ammo on three separate occasions and they have not seen fit to contact us back. With the public trust of the media at an all-time low, one would think that the editors of a national publication with a circulation reported at 365,009 would be concerned that they published a slanderous “letter to the editor” that is filled with lies from beginning to end. Apparently, they are not concerned that they published such a piece of garbage. Guns & Ammo should be more careful with what they put in front of those 365,009 readers, but their lack of response to our inquiries seems to be in keeping with their irresponsible publishing.
I question the initial letter to the editor. To begin ... if you were "testing the integrity" of an auction house it is not clear that you would sell off something for 1/10 of it's value to make your point. Secondly, it the auction value was whatever it sugests that it is the value AT THAT TIME. Folks who frequent these auctions do do their homework, there are rarely "bargins".

Whole thing sounds like BS to me. I wrote to AmosKeage for the reference to the "letter". I am waiting.
Wenn ich Kultur höre, entsichere ich meinen Browning!

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Posts: 48451
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 2:50 pm

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by Nyarlathotep » Sat May 18, 2019 4:45 pm

Having worked in the auction biz in the past, I can tell you that unless BOTH the seller and whoever was running the auction house were complete idiots and had no idea what the gun was worth, it never would have sold for 1/10 its value because, with expensive items like that, it is common practice to have a "reserve", a bottom price below which the item will not sell. So if the auction house was expecting to get $7000 for that gun, and the highest bid was $700, then the auction house (or the owner, if it was a consignment) would keep the gun.

Sometimes the reserve is open (very common on REALLY high-end items), sometimes its secret (where it's effectively sold back to the auction house, if the reserve is not met), but I can tell you there is absolutely no way the auction house I used to work for would have sold a $7000 gun for $700.

Fun fact, when I worked in the auction biz, I would be on the floor during the auctions and was allowed to bid like anyone else. More than once I found myself the "winning bidder" on an item that had a secret reserve despite the fact that I had never raised my placard or anything. It was just the auctioneer's way of maintaining the reserve without tipping anyone off to it. Of course, I didn't actually have to pay for it (usually it was things I couldn't afford anyway) nor did I even briefly take possession of the item. It was just a formality
Spoiler:
Quote Redacted by Section 31

User avatar
ed
Posts: 34842
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: The Hero of Sukhbataar

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by ed » Sat May 18, 2019 8:48 pm

Sorta what I thoguht, thanks.

I have bought some stuff at auction, not a lot. I always figgur that every one is conspiring. Also, if I win, I always wonder "what is wrong with it?"
Wenn ich Kultur höre, entsichere ich meinen Browning!

User avatar
Pyrrho
Posts: 27549
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2004 2:17 am
Title: Man in Black
Location: Division 6

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by Pyrrho » Sat May 18, 2019 10:50 pm

The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

User avatar
shemp
Posts: 5616
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2004 12:16 pm
Title: stooge

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by shemp » Sat May 18, 2019 11:27 pm

The plot thickens... :Popcorn:
Last edited by shemp on Sat May 18, 2019 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"It is not I who is mad! It is I who is crazy!" -- Ren Hoek

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Posts: 48451
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 2:50 pm

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by Nyarlathotep » Sat May 18, 2019 11:27 pm

ed wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 8:48 pm
Sorta what I thoguht, thanks.

I have bought some stuff at auction, not a lot. I always figgur that every one is conspiring. Also, if I win, I always wonder "what is wrong with it?"
Stuff we sold was perfectly fine. A lot of stuff we sold was rich people de-cluttering their houses, people who died either without heirs or whose heirs just wanted it gone and foreclosed storage units. Though it WAS all sold “as is, where is and with no guarantees”. But we never misrepresented anything or sold anything faulty.

As for conspiring, the biggest thing was the trick I just told you about, “bids” from an employee to secretly meet the reserve
Spoiler:
Quote Redacted by Section 31

User avatar
Pyrrho
Posts: 27549
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2004 2:17 am
Title: Man in Black
Location: Division 6

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by Pyrrho » Sat May 18, 2019 11:35 pm

"John Skibinski" is also the name of a retired NFL player.
The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

User avatar
ed
Posts: 34842
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: The Hero of Sukhbataar

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by ed » Sun May 19, 2019 12:37 am

I have a few collecting rules.
1- Never buy "rare" lugers
2 Never buy engraved lugers
3 Never buy lugers with aftermarket crap grips
Wenn ich Kultur höre, entsichere ich meinen Browning!

User avatar
ed
Posts: 34842
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: The Hero of Sukhbataar

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by ed » Sun May 19, 2019 12:50 am

I don't believe the story even a little bit. I wouldn't buy that luger myself (well, for $700 I would) but having it sold for 700 at auction in 2010? I call BS. A dealer pal told me a while back "buy any luger you see that is decent and under $1000". That one should have sold for more even if the engraving was done yesterday.
Wenn ich Kultur höre, entsichere ich meinen Browning!

User avatar
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 74992
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Chicago

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Sun May 19, 2019 1:18 am

ed wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:37 am
I have a few collecting rules.
1- Never buy "rare" lugers
2 Never buy engraved lugers
3 Never buy lugers with aftermarket crap grips
How about "just plain" Lugers? Or is that even a meaningful question?

At any rate, please amplify.
Last edited by Abdul Alhazred on Sun May 19, 2019 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image "If I turn in a sicko, will I get a reward?"

"Yes! A BIG REWARD!" ====> Click here to turn in a sicko
Any man writes a mission statement spends a night in the box.
-- our mission statement plappendale

User avatar
Witness
Posts: 20289
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:50 pm

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by Witness » Sun May 19, 2019 1:34 am

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 1:18 am
"just pain"
You naughty boy, you. :wink:

User avatar
ed
Posts: 34842
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: The Hero of Sukhbataar

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by ed » Sun May 19, 2019 1:41 am

All of mine are plain. Lugers are a very very complicated collecting area and decent examples, even of common ones, are getting close to 2k.

I have a military series over 1909 to 1918 and some commercial ones. I sorta get how to evaluate them. Example .. in the picture see the angled piece of metal then a gap to its left then a piece with a matching angle?
That is called a "relieved sear" and let's you clear the chamber of the safety is on. Prior to 1916(? Gotta check) that gap does not exist. If it does then a part is wrong.
Wenn ich Kultur höre, entsichere ich meinen Browning!

User avatar
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 74992
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Chicago

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Sun May 19, 2019 1:42 am

Fat fingeers. ;)
Image "If I turn in a sicko, will I get a reward?"

"Yes! A BIG REWARD!" ====> Click here to turn in a sicko
Any man writes a mission statement spends a night in the box.
-- our mission statement plappendale

User avatar
ed
Posts: 34842
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: The Hero of Sukhbataar

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by ed » Sun May 19, 2019 1:47 am

That is a very meaningful question btw.
I have seen many monkeyed with lugers but never a mauser, lignose, Franz stock etc. I bought a "matching" American import that did not have the right serial on the firing pin. Back it went.
Lugers are valuable and there is a cottage industry for faking them. Look up luger stamps on evay. You can get faking tools right there.
Wenn ich Kultur höre, entsichere ich meinen Browning!

User avatar
ed
Posts: 34842
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: The Hero of Sukhbataar

Re: Fake news in the swirling world of gun collecting

Post by ed » Sun May 19, 2019 1:48 am

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 1:42 am
Fat fingeers. ;)
Yes. Phone. I'll expound tomorrow
Wenn ich Kultur höre, entsichere ich meinen Browning!