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Thread: Import Stamped Firearms

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    mesquite/tx/usa
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    10

    Smile Import Stamped Firearms

    Greetings. I have been curious for years about the stigma that is attached to firearms that have been brought to our shores via the surplus import market. These pieces all bear the "mark of the beast". Well that may be a bit too harsh so I'll stick with the term "import stamped". As a former dealer for 15+ years I have had the opportunity to purchase from several import dealers here in America. Sarco and S O G were my most common go to guys for Mauser, Nagant, Enfield, Garands and other military surplus rifles as well as military surplus hand guns from countries around the world. I would order select grade weapons when available and usually three of them. I would order three so that I could keep the best example for myself and place the other two up for sale. Some times it was necessary to search long and hard for the import stamp but it would always be there if I searched long enough. Some stampings are placed in out of the way areas of a firearm and are almost obscure while most were placed on the bottom side of the barrel. I have found them neatly tucked away under a grip panel or done in micro print so small that a jewelers loupe was needed to decipher. I had great luck with buying and selling the Argentine "Sistema 27" pistols. They were identical to our Colt Govt 1911's and were produced on original Colt armorers machinery sold to the Argentine government by the USA because Colt was having a difficult time keeping up with the demands for great numbers of these contract 45 acp pistols. These were not to be confused with the Ballester Molina pistols which did bear some resemblance to the Colt pistols. These 27's could be ordered from several condition grades and if you liked there were reconditioned pistols as well as original condition examples. I only ordered all matching numbered pistols in "Select" grade and I recieved some of the nicest pistols I had ever seen on the surplus market. After several months the supply dried up. The Argentine govt next contracted with importers to sell off all it's surplus High Power pistols delivered on contract from Fabrique Nationale in Belgium. I had great luck with those as well and they all came with 2 mags numbered to the pistol in it's original cardboard FN box. Most were etched with "Department De Interior Argentino" on one side. As nice as these pistols were they each bore that darned import stamp. Collectors tended to stay away from anything that bore the import stamp and were always looking for the G I bring back guns. I brought in Luger and P-38 police surplus pieces and finally the post war P-1's. Non collectors would buy the all matching guns and didn't seem to care about the import markings as long as the guns were original and clean. I kept my fair share of these firearms and still have many. I realize that these pieces wont bring the full market value that an identical non import marked example would. I would like to hear the views of fellow members about the market value of bring back guns versus imported guns and why the import stamp is "Taboo" for most collectors. I have my own ideas about the reasoning behind this but would like to hear how others feel. I only buy non import guns as of late because I know they will retain their value. Besides I really like the early Lugers. What say you???? Jerry
    Last edited by jhw1st; 09-06-2009 at 03:37 AM. Reason: Spelling Check

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Dixie
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    Hello fellow insomniac. I will throw out my opinion. I mostly now accumulate a few shooters. They cost less than a fine collectible and I don't worry about lowering the value or breaking something by taking them to the range. I like to handle the pieces as I study their histories. The import marks are not a big problem for this purpose. "I always wanted a....." or "I always wanted to shoot a........." type guns. The importer marked specimens keep someone like me from taking a $10K 1937 Krieghoff to the range and then sticking it under the seat of my truck for a truck gun. A mismatched, pitted, refinished, Russian capture or VOPO labeled with "Imported by Guns R Us" will do just fine for this.


    When I collected 1911A1s, I wanted the gun just like it left Colt, Remington Rand, etc...., just like the GI took it into the field back in '42. Original. I did not want one that had "Sam's Pawn Shop" etched on the slide from back in '68.

    So, as I ramble, I guess the import stamped guns serve the shooter and curiosity example market while the bring backs are best left to the serious collectors. Of course, there may be some of the import stamped pieces that could fill a "collector's slot" in some rare cases.

    JMHO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    MA
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    1,609

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    I also buy a few importer stamped guns, especially guns from former Soviet systems. Guns like Mosin-Nagant 1891, Nagant 1895, PM, CZ-52, Yugo M59/66, etc, etc are very interesting guns.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Colorado
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    Why must they be 'import stamped'? That's like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa before letting it in?

    FN

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hudson, Mass
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    well i think its a law the feds came up with in the mid 60s.Or some where around that time frame.I know i have a svt 40 imported in the mid to late 50s with no import mark.At first the marks were very small and less noticed.Now some of them are large.The feds must keep changing the rules as they go.I think the idea is to keep track of were guns are coming from.And who knows what else (tax)?

  6. #6
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    Mar 2004
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    , Oregon
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    My reply to a similar question on the Luger forum.

    It depends on the perspective of the buyer and the rarity of the piece.

    Some consider an import marked gun as a shooter, and not collectable. I know of two or three high end collectors who ignore discrete import marks and focus on the condition and rarity of the gun. For example, if you're collecting RC's or VOPO's, a discrete import mark is a given.

    Some of the recent Century Arms imports have a "bill board" mark on the side panel. These examples are beyond redemption and are most always considered shooters.

    Personally, I think that any piece with a discrete import mark should be priced accordingly based on the condition. In other words, the price should be adjusted based on the rarity, condition, and with the size and location of the import mark in mind.

    Ron
    __________________
    Last edited by Ron Smith; 09-06-2009 at 12:01 PM.

  7. #7
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    Ron's first and last sentences, hit the nail squarly on the head!! My feeling are exactly the same.
    Joe
    JOSEPH MAY

  8. #8
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    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hudson, Mass
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    Well written Ron and i agree.I notice some import marks are at the bases of mag wells.You do not even see them with mags in the gun.I have 1 K98 that the import mark is on the receiver its very small and only seen with the bolt open.The bill board marks of late are crazy. Myself i wont even buy one marked like that to use as a shooter.The Feds must be makeing Importers mark them like that?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    , NJ, USA.
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    I am one of people who would never buy a gun with import stamp. I am even avoiding the guns marked "Germany". There are several reasons for that. First, the gun with an import stamp lacks an aura of a "bring-back" gun most of which (at least for German guns) were brought directly from the battlefields or at least private possessions immediately after the war. Secondly, most of the later imported guns are of inferior condition because they were stored badly, abused, mismatched, reworked, etc postwar by many indifferent people. Thirdly, the import markings are not different from the graffiti saying "I was here". Would you like such graffiti on your house or car? Do you like tattooed women? (at least they are not tattooed with the same stamp!) The larger stamps are outright ugly, the smaller ones conceal the message that they were bought cheaply and sold with pretense.... etc, etc
    As the perspective and perception are concerned - one just needs to look around for how many people like these guns (or tattooed women) - they are cheap for a good reason....
    Regards
    Boris
    Last edited by boris; 09-06-2009 at 11:20 AM.
    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that people are not after you...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    near Philly Penn, USA
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    Well, shows difference of opinion. I like tattooed women and look at things differently than my NJ neighbor. However, I prefer non-import marked guns; I would not rule one out if rare; i.e. I know of two 1925 Simson lugers brought in with the RC / east german guns; I would trade almost anything for them (or from Bill ).

    A "germany" marked staping I look at differently as they were required from the US and put on by the germans; but then you could say the same for import markings. Interesting...


    Ed
    Edward Tinker
    ************
    Veteran Bring Backs Vol III 2012
    Co-Author of Police Lugers 2012
    Author of Veteran Bring Backs Vol I & Vet Bring Backs Vol II, a collection of stories on guns & equipment brought back by GI's.
    Co-Author of the book Simson Lugers
    Have all books available for purchase

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