Contrived rarity


#1

Some time back photos of a couple of case lots of the previously rare German 7.9 SMKH ammunition were posted on this site. Boxes of this ammunition have now started to be posted for sale on Gunbroker. This opens up the question of what is rare and what is contrived rarity. Some years back a “rarity scale” was developed starting with cartridges which are only known in 1 or a few specimens and ranging down to those which are known in the hundreds. This can be found in the IAA literature.

CARTRIDGES WHICH EXIST IN THE HUNDREDS ARE NOT RARE.
CARTRIDGES WHICH EXIST IN CASE LOTS ARE NOT RARE

KEEPING CARTRIDGES OFF OF THE OPEN MARKET TO SUPPORT A PRICE DOES NOT MAKE THEM RARE.

I CALL THIS “CONTRIVED RARITY” .

IT IS MARKET MANIPULATION .

THIS KIND OF BUSINESS PRACTICE UNDERMINES “COLLECTING” AND MOCKS THE CONCEPT OF RARITY.

Another variation of this I call “insitu market research” .

Some years ago I encountered a seller at the old Greenbelt show in Maryland. He had a few interesting items and a mint 7.9 German work tool priced at $15 . It had a headstamp which I did not own so I bought it. This was 1973 and $15 was a lot more for a cartridge than it is today. As I pocketed my purchase he put another one out. I asked " do you have more of these " - Answer - I have a box of them ( that is 15 rounds). I offered to take them all at that price ( little did I know at that time that the paper box was rarer than any of the individual shells).

He said that they were only for sale individually. What did that mean?

It meant this: he raised the price $5 each time he sold one of them until they stopped selling. That told him what he considered to be the top market price.
(this is not true) but it worked for him. Market prices are affected by various forces beyond what price will be paid at a show.

Bottom line - I bought 3 ; one for $15, one for $20 and one for $25. $25 was top retail in most venues at the time.

The problem with the type of sale is that a serious collector with means can and will pay far more than top “market price” for something which he needs or wants.

This fact corrupts the market in several ways. In many cases which I have known over my 50+ years of collecting. A seller has sold the first round out of a previously unknown box ( or case in some circumstance) to a top collector with means for a high price thereby establishing a base mark " market price " far higher than reasonable for the collecting community.

I have seen several sellers die with boxes and in one instance a full case of cartridges with 1 sold. That one sale corrupted the market and froze the exchange of items which would have sold readily in a normal market.

How does one PRICE rare items ? I gave up on this years ago and auction RARE items. Some items which I thought would bring high prices did not sell and some sold high and surprised me.

I use a rule of thumb to price cartridges which are not rare due to their existing in box lots or more which I buy to resell.

I price the first sale at my purchase price for the box. After a year of “no sale” I drop the price.

Contrived rarity needs to be seen for what it is.


#2

I for one dont like putting a “value” on cartridges.
I own a New Zealand CAC manufactured 577-450 Maxim cartridge with the CN FMJ projectile.
Someone asked me a while back what it was worth.
My answer was " I have no idea, it could be a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand"
Of the approx dozen known examples I cant remember when one last changed hands.
As far as I am aware one has never been auctioned off overseas so how does one arrive at a “value”?
A cartridge is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it, and that will vary from country to country,
or even city to city in the same country.
This could start off a very interesting discussion :)


#3

For me two major criterions only play about the rarity of a cartridge:

  1. The number of manufactured cartridges (or having survived after the tests if we are talking about experimental rounds)
  2. the age of these cartridges
    We can add to refine the country of delivery.

Without a good knowledge of these criterions, any estimated price is left in fact to the choice of the salesman which, by ignorance, can only refer either to a previous price in a catalog or an auction, or often to his intuition or its desire to win money.

And this is why we see so often such abberations in the prices
jp
jp


#4

“Rare” is a relative thing. If a seller corners the market on a particular item by purchasing virtually all of it, and then turns around and sells it at seemingly exorbitant prices, then they are worth only as much as people are willing to pay. At that point they are in fact still rare to the buyer who truly wants it, and who can afford it. Really wealthy individuals would have no problem with certain high prices, while modest-income individuals obviously might find the same price to be too high. We can be thankful that Bill Gates, and the rest of the Forbes 100 richest don’t collect cartridges, they might happily pay any price. If a seller can get a price it’s just business. Some collectors are in it more for the business side of things.


#5

In this case it is not a rare item.
Even if a guy buys all of the items and keep them aside to dry the market and ask high price, in the long run (20, 30 years) it will not be rare because after his death (or stopping dealing or collecting) the ctges will be on the market again.

JP


#6

Rarity is so hard to judge though, as to knowing whether or not you will be able to get something. For instance the new Chinese assault rifle and SMG cartridges are not rare, there are millions of them. But nobody outside of Chinese military or government has them. A 5.8x21 cartridge might sell for $100 even though they number in the millions and are in current mass-production. Hence, they are rare to those who don’t have them. And if the Chinese are for some reason extremely careful about distribution and surplussing, they might never allow much of the ammo out of country, so who knows. A funny comparison is that there were fewer than 1000 .22 Scamp cartridges produced and far fewer remain as unfired originals, but those are about equally available to collectors as the mass-produced 5.8x21, and for nearly the same price.


#7

For most of the early years of cartridge collecting the rarest of items only exchanged hands through trades. There was very little “business” involved. Phillip Medicus , Golden State Arms and a few others published catalogues but the content was usually fairly common material THEN. Today much of this is far more valuable.

In the late 70’s I decided to start disposing of my family collection as no heir had any interest. I sent out a fixed price list to 10 collectors and sold most of the items to the first 2 callers. The others were quite upset at having missed out on some of the items and so from that time on I auctioned my materials. 25 Auctions later I have given that up and list items only on Auctionarms,GunBroker,and SpecialistAuctions with some exceptions which are sold or traded by private offer to those who have expressed an interest in a particular item. I list a very few display items on eBay for obvious reasons.

How do you price a priceless item ? It takes real knowledge of the market and the buyer. Even with 50+ years of that I am often surprised at what does and does not sell.

I sell several “one of a kind” items each year to private and public museums . This is how I price such items.

First I determine what is a reasonable market value based upon interest , desireablity and buyer ability. Most working men do not have thousands of dollars to spend on a cartridge for their collection and divorce court looms if they get near that. I have been contacted by divorce lawyers demanding lists of items sold to a collector and their prices. That I do not do and they can not compell it without great expense which cools their efforts. I have never provided any such information. As a back up I do not keep sales records or price realized records for more than is required by law. I have refered lawyers to a local landfill which they do not find amusing ; too bad.

There are major buyers in EVERY COLLECTING FIELD. The girl friend of the founder of ebay collects PEZ dispensers. Find one which she doesn’t have. When your boy friend is a billionaire you can buy what you want.

Museums are usually quite short on money for our kind of items. They spend their big money on “ART”. Often the art is disgusting. Come to DC and have a look.

After I determine a price as above I double it and offer the item out to the first buyer. You can always come down on a price but it is very hard to go UP once you offer something out.

Quite often the item sells at my offering price. If it does not, I offer it out to the next possible buyer until I tire of that and reduce the price back to buyer 1. Most items sell on first offering and the remainder on the second. Of course these are items which are RARE. How do you know what is rare? That takes EXPERIENCE.

These situations also change in unexpected ways. Years back one could not buy a German 7.9 LANG for any amount of cash. Then a couple of boxes and a lot from a lake turned and and they were on the market for sale. I bought a couple of boxes and now wish that I had bought more. German grenade blanks were like hen’s teeth at one time and now they are for sale regularly. Communication has changed availability greatly for certain items. The 7.9 practice ammo with aluminum core also a rarity for years but now not. They are for sale by the box.

GOOD LUCK !


#8

Hello,
I know next cartridges are really not common, maybe it could be interesting to try to know how many are still alive today, to have an idea of their value?

8 mm mauser with Alder bullet
8 mm mauser with LE bullet
8x53R Murata
9 mm treuille de beaulieu
10,15x63R Serbian mauser
11x60R Murata
11x70R Montigny
12,7x108R Schvak
15,24x41R krnka
15,5x35R Serbian peabody
17x32R norvegian Snider
.60" Jingal
.75" Jingal
.69" nederland Snider
1" mountain gatling
1" gatling canister load


#9

[quote=“laurent”]Hello,
I know next cartridges are really not common, maybe it could be interesting to try to know how many are still alive today, to have an idea of their value?

8 mm mauser with Alder bullet
8 mm mauser with LE bullet
853R Murata
9 mm treuille de beaulieu
10,15
63R Serbian mauser
1160R Murata
11
70R Montigny
12,7108R Schvak
15,24
41R krnka
15,535R Serbian peabody
17,5
32R norvegian Snider
.60" Jingal
.75" Jingal
.69" nederland Snider
1" mountain gatling
1" gatling canister load[/quote]

ALL OF THESE ARE RARE CARTRIDGES EXCEPT POSSIBLY FOR THE (9 mm treuille de beaulieu
) . I DO NOT KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THAT TO COMMENT. THE OTHERS ARE VALUED IN THE HUNDREDS AND SOME VARIATION OF THESE IN THE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TODAY.


#10

The scarcest one is the Treuille de Beaulieu.
It was used many years before all the other listed.

the ctge was adopted in 1854 for the guns of the “100 gardes” (meaning the 100 men devoted to the protection of the emperor Napoleon the third)

jp


#11

I question whether the two Gatling cartridges should be on the list with the others, as I believe they are not too uncommon.


#12

Hello Guy,
I made this list basing on the cartridges It’s uncommon to see here in europe. For gatling’s round, I had never sawn the mountain’s one and I bought the canister’s load many years ago now and never saw it again in a cartridge show!
Maybe this liste is false because I realize that nice cartridges or rare cartridges change of hands before the show start, so new or modest collectors just have piece of breads, what a pitty!


#13

The one inch “mountain” Gatling is most commonly seen with a repro bullet . These show for $100 now and again. An original one will bring a couple of hundred + in good unsnapped condition. The majority of originals known are snapped.

The one inch cannister is worth hundreds of dollars in good complete condition.

If they are not “uncommon” in your area please give me the directions as I am a buyer for a case lot.

I will be listing many of the items noted for sale on Auctionarms over the next months if you want to check prices.


#14

OK, thank you, I will check the prices, badly it’s so difficult to sent straight here in europe cartridges. On the other hand, I’m still looking for most common cartridges than these one!


#15

CSAEOD,
I think you missed my point, which was that I don’t think the 1 inch Gatlings should be included on the list with some of the other cartridges there. I tend to believe that if I have a cartridge in my collection, then there are probably quite a few around. Of course, I wasn’t taking into account the availability of specific cartridges in other countries, but given the effect of the internet on all things collectible, that should not be so much a factor today as it was in the past. And yet, those pesky 5.8x21 Chinese that were mentioned earlier just don’t seem to be making it to this part of the world.

Incidently, I’m sitting on that case of 1" Gatling cannister, trying to figure out how to sell them without killing the market ;-)


#16

[quote=“GuyHildebrand”]CSAEOD,
I think you missed my point, which was that I don’t think the 1 inch Gatlings should be included on the list with some of the other cartridges there. I tend to believe that if I have a cartridge in my collection, then there are probably quite a few around. Of course, I wasn’t taking into account the availability of specific cartridges in other countries, but given the effect of the internet on all things collectible, that should not be so much a factor today as it was in the past. And yet, those pesky 5.8x21 Chinese that were mentioned earlier just don’t seem to be making it to this part of the world.

Incidently, I’m sitting on that case of 1" Gatling cannister, trying to figure out how to sell them without killing the market ;-)[/quote]

GOOD LUCK ! YOU MAY NEED TO TURN THEM OVER TO THE GOVT. BEFORE LONG.


#17

I no longer ship any ammo to Europe or anyplace off the US mainland. A couple of dealers do and I ship to them where the items are inerted and sent on EVEN TO RUSSIA.

WOW ! I CAN REMEMBER WHEN EVEN THE CRIMINALS IN RUSSIA WERE AFRAID TO HAVE AMMO.


#18

[quote=“jeanpierre”]The scarcest one is the Treuille de Beaulieu.
It was used many years before all the other listed.

the ctge was adopted in 1854 for the guns of the “100 gardes” (meaning the 100 men devoted to the protection of the emperor Napoleon the third)

jp[/quote]

How about some details and photos of that ?


#19

Hi
the concept of rarity is really complex and unfortunately is the “request” of market that the does the price
they exist extremely rare cartridges that, only because they are not known or don’t be known the data of their production that don’t reach elevated quotations, as some Italian or of smaller States, while others as some Germans have reached absurd prices thanks only of the "legends"
No she must be forgotten as already mentioned by JP that cartridges “rare” in some zones they can be “common” in others
Internet should facilitate the evaluation thanks to the speed with which she succeeds in propagating the "news"
The problem is the “jealousy” of many collectors in to divulge what they know…
excuse me for my bad english
Giovanni


#20

GOOD ENOUGH and true. RARITY , PRICE and DEMAND are not directly related. I call some items " SO WHAT" rarities as they are rare but nobody cares. Not many years ago a US 20mm Hispano one piece dummy was discovered which was filled with WHEAT for weight ( the head unscrews). That is correct; DRY WHEAT . Woodin Lab wanted one and said that they were very rare and official manufacture but hardly anyone else cared. Out of a belt of 10 the fellow sold 2 in 20 years; both to me. As far as I know he still has the rest. Rare but “SO WHAT”. Many Italian shells would have far more value if they were German even though they are rarer than similar German shells.