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The gun collector's handbook of values: 14th ed.

How many times have you found yourself in a situation like this: Someone asks you about (or shows you) an old gun wanting to know its value for a possible sale. You've seen that type of gun before, but the make, model and year of manufacture escape you. You have been contacted by the gun owner because your friends have all bragged about how much you know about old guns ... but you don't know this one! Don't feel bad; it happens to everyone. Nobody can remember everything all of the time--especially in the world of firearms, because it is just too big.

It's times like this that The Gun Collector's Handbook of Values proves its worth. Now in its 14th edition, this book contains 503 pages of antique gun descriptions and values. Although the volume is primarily devoted to American firearms, about 32 pages are devoted to vintage British and French handguns. The book also covers Kentucky flint pistols, U.S. Martial flint, percussion and early cartridge handguns, Colt arms, Winchester, Sharps, Smith & Wesson, Confederate firearms, early American automatic pistols, some cased sets, freaks, oddities in firearms, information on cartridge collecting and much more. This book has been a standard reference work for many years, and this latest edition should prove to be as valuable to collectors, writers and firearms students as have previous issues. Originally compiled and written by Charles Edward Chapel, the current edition has been revised by Joanne Chapel, with the assistance of several noted arms collectors around the country.

Briefly, the book is a handy identification tool, and each arm included is described fully and succinctly; not only the physical characteristics, but production years and numbers, approximate value and other pertinent information are covered as well. In glancing through this current volume, I found the prices to be somewhat more realistic than in the past works. In fairness, this is a difficult area to cover since prices vary from gun to gun and certain arms are more desirable in some parts of the country than in others. However, this edition appears to give a fair and true value for the generic types of arms covered.

Unfortunately, this publication suffers from the same problem as The Gun Collector's Handbook of Values in the past--there are not enough photographs. While a great variety of arms is included, there are too many guns (variations of models, arms of lesser popularity and so on) that are not pictured; and because the book is a compact 5-1/2x8-1/2 inches in softcover (handy for carrying to gun shows, etc.), those arms that are shown are sometimes too small to reveal much detail. In spite of this drawback, however, the work represents a monumental task of classification and identification, and as such is certainly worth the $11.95 price tag. I've relied on previous editions on several occasions, for both casual identification of firearms and for serious research projects. Copies can be obtained from the publishers, The Putnam Publishing Group, Dept. GA, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016. If you collect or enjoy reading about antique firearms, this book will provide you with a reliable quick-reference source and a well-rounded overview of American antique guns. It should be in every arms student's library.
COPYRIGHT 1985 InterMedia Outdoors, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Spangenberger, Phil
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1985
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