Austrian Shotgun, ca. 1865
It was thrown in my jeep in about March of 1945 in Germany. We were on our way towards Berlin, uh, after the Bulge, and we were being shelled by artillery to our left, and I was a battery commander. I pulled my battery into a little farming village and we got down behind the little stone... hedge fences, and I when I came back to the jeep, this was in it inside a leather case.
Why do you think somebody threw it in the back of your jeep?
Well, by March and April the war was winding down and the word, I think, was getting ahead of us that anything of military value, you shouldn't have in your possession, and somebody came out and threw it in there. I'm assuming it's made in Germany. I have taken it to a number of shows. I can never get much information about it. Uh, one or two people will tell me that the firing pins came into being about 1875 and, uh, other than that I don't know much.
Well, the way we can tell what it is is this is the maker's signature here. It says, "Heinrich Buchol in M hlis," and M hlis is in Austria. So it's an Austrian shotgun, and it's a double-barreled, breech loading, needle-fire shotgun. These are the needle-fires here It's of exceptional quality, and here, you can see these deers inlaid in gold and all this elaborate scroll engraving. And here on the breech of the barrel you can see inlaid gold scrollwork, and you can barely see of the dirt and grime on it, but there's actually, also, silver inlay there. The needle-fire breech-loader... This is how you operate it, and opens up the barrels from the breech so that you can load the gun, and it cocks the needle so that when you pull the triggers, it'll fire. It's a very elaborate firearm for the period It's probably mid-19th century-- anywhere maybe in and around the 1860s, 1870s. Um, the needle-fire shotgun was a transitional breech-loading system, and as such, it was very elaborate and complicated and expensive. So most of the needle-fire shotguns that you do see have this very elaborate decoration because they were the highest quality sporting guns of the time. You can even also see down by your hand the elaborate carving on the stock. It was obviously made for a very wealthy man to go hunting with. Have you ever had it appraised?
No, I've never been able to find anybody that really knew much about it.
Well, I would figure at auction, this would probably fetch around $3,000 to $4,000.
And actually, if it was in a little bit better condition-- it's a little bit worn, it's seen some use-- it could have been worth as much as $8,000.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.