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Gun Of The Week by S.P. Fjestad

Gun of the Week image   The Gun of the Week is an exclusive editorial article that highlights a different gun each week. The guns featured represent some of the finest and most desirable collectible firearms available in today’s marketplace as well as many common guns that are encountered on a regular basis by many shooters and collectors. Carefully written captions provide interesting and comprehensive information, and up-to-date values are included for an in-depth article you won’t find anywhere else! Check back each Monday for a new Gun of the Week.
New! When a Pair Beats a Royal Flush   
How To Lose $150,000 On One Gun In 2 1/2 Years!   
Auction Purchased Winchester Model 1866 Rifle   
How To Walk Away From A Gun Deal by Kurt House and S.P. & Z.R. Fjestad   
Colt SAA Rusty Dug-Up   

How To Walk Away From A Gun Deal by Kurt House and S.P. & Z.R. Fjestad


Kurt’s Suburban was just like this one, complete with a 454 big block motor. While he really liked it, partly because it was a chick magnet at the time, they had to part ways in order for Kurt to monetize a local gun deal!

It looks like an easy choice now, but back in 1989 it was more difficult and not exactly a no-brainer. When the cowboy/ex bronco rider from Dallas brought out this original nickel-plated and factory “A” engraved Colt SAA with perfect untouched pearl medallion grips shipped in 1923, Kurt had a melt-down, and stammered out a trade offer!

Most of us still remember what it was like to scrape together enough money to buy the gun of our dreams back when we first started out in our noble pursuit of gun collecting. The late Osborne (Ozzie) Klavestad, the colorful and cantankerous owner of the famous Stagecoach Museum previously located in Shakopee, MN, once pawned his wife’s mink coat in November to scrounge up enough down payment money to buy another 3rd Model Colt Dragoon. As the cold winter set in, Marie Klavestad desperately looked for her favorite fur coat. Finally, Ozzie got it back out of pawn in late January, and after sneaking it back inside the house, he quickly became a hero when the coat was mysteriously “found” buried under some other items in a spare bedroom closet.

Early in Kurt House’s collecting career, he was confronted with a creative no-cash financing opportunity after he heard about a top condition, factory engraved 1st Generation nickel-plated Colt SAA in his hometown of Dallas, TX. Driving over to the owner’s house during late 1989 in his 1978 Chevrolet Suburban with a 454 under the hood, he parked in the driveway, proceeded to knock on the door, and after identifying himself, they proceeded inside. Kurt picks up the dusty trail from here….

Now the way I remember it, Steve, this old guy walks out and he is all of 4 feet, eleven inches tall, and full of bad language, and from his appearance, full of what tobacco juice did not dribble out the corners of his wrinkled mouth, because he lost that much, anyway. He was a true cowboy, dressed in a snap-button plaid shirt and old worn-out, faded Levis soaked with black grease from the tractor he had been working on. As he appeared, so did his menagerie. He was accompanied by about four to five long-tailed hounds that looked like they wanted some of my bones to chew on. During our conversation, I learned that he had been a bronco rider, often hired by local men of means to break their horses as well as ride them later because he only weighed about 90 lbs. soaking wet. Did I mention his name was “PeeWee?” Up from south Texas, staying with relatives, his new job was working on “Cats”; he was what is referred to in south Texas as a “catskinner”. Not what you are thinking, he was a Caterpillar mechanic, I think because he could crawl into tight spaces. He looked like a dwarf straight out of Harry Potter, only this was real, Harry Potter was nonexistent in 1989, and I had a gun deal to make. Besides, the dogs were making me nervous, so I had to get this done as soon as possible. Due to remains of past meals of the dogs in the yard, the smell wasn’t good either. There was a tire swing hung on a huge chain in the yard for the kids that if it had fallen would have killed the swingee.

Actually, the negotiations did not take long. I have engaged in many a gun deal since 1989, with professional dealers and just normal folks with family heirlooms, some requiring a long time to make, but this one went quickly, and it was one of the best I ever made. We tried to agree on an amount of cash, but it soon became apparent that machinery was what he appreciated; vehicles were his currency and I could see him eyeing my big-engined Suburban.

“Well, whatchoo take for that &^%$#@ Suburban?” he finally asked. He caught me completely off guard, so I stammered a little, “Well that’s the only vehicle I got.”

It didn’t hurt that Colt’s factory letter mentioned the gun had been shipped to a south Texas sheriff by the name of A.J. Knaggs. Having the owner’s original badge didn’t exactly hurt the value either.

“Well, I reckon I might trade the Sheriff’s gun for that 454 Suburban.”
He had me and he probably knew it, but it took me longer to realize it. Contemplating how I was to get home if I made the trade quickly took a back seat to obtaining the gun. By this time, he has brought it out and it was just as I had remembered it from seeing it two years previously. It is an almost mint, factory “A” engraved Colt Single Action with gorgeous untouched pearl medallion grips, which I later learned was shipped in 1923 to a south Texas Sheriff.
Transportation home was a problem, but I knew I could figure it out, and I realized how many times does such an opportunity present itself. I had to have the Sheriff’s gun, so I finally managed to stammer, “Well, OK, I guess so, do you mean even trade?”
“Yes,” he said, as he kicked the dirt.
“Awrright, well, I guess we have a deal,” I answered and simply walked away about a mile to my apartment, which I had at the time while I was in graduate school.

Author’s Note: Some names and slight circumstances have been changed to protect the innocent, a state of which no gun dealer could be accused.

So what would have happened if Kurt had decided to keep his Suburban and drive home without the engraved SAA as opposed to walking home with one of Colt’s finest? The following chart tells the story better than words, and the conclusion is obvious. By now, Kurt’s old gas guzzling Suburban would probably be pretty worn out and hard to sell while his engraved Colt SAA has never been more desirable – or expensive. So what’s the moral to this story? Kurt’s been trying to walk home from gun deals ever since!

Chart shows investment performances beginning in 1978 of a Suburban, a 1923 factory engraved Colt SAA, and one troy ounce of gold. Note the percentage increase of the SAA and an ounce of gold are almost the same. Maybe the best part is that while gold has fluctuated up and down since 1978 (mostly up), the value of a Colt SAA like this has never gone down - read that no downside risk! Who says guns aren’t as good an investment as gold? Plus you can enjoy shooting them, as well as protecting yourself – the best of all worlds!

Credits: Colt SAA and Sheriff's badge images: © Paul Goodwin.


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