I've spent the last ten days watching a Mauser on Gunbroker.
It was a nice old 7mm Model 1895, the sort that would normally sell for $300-$400 in nice condition.
However this one was special. It was a Boer War Mauser, with the OVS marking for Orange Free State--my people from long ago. I've been watching and waiting for one of these for years and this is only the third one I've ever seen. The last two got away from me but I was determined to get this one. I wanted it bad enough to pay the $850 that it started out at--and that it stayed at right up until the last half hour of the auction.
It turned out that some other people wanted it too, and they wanted it badly enough to engage in a bidding war that took the rifle up to almost $1600.00. Sadly I had to drop out well before then. Much as I wanted it, I couldn't justify that kind of money for what would honestly have just been another stick of furniture in the gun room, sitting on the rack between other Mausers which all cost much, much less.
I could just see visitors saying "Gee, that $1600 Mauser looks a lot like that $125 Mauser. How do you tell them apart?" And then I would point out the little OVS stamp, pictured here:
So I've been consoling myself with beer on this night, which will be remembered for a long time as the night that another Boer Mauser got away from me.
And then it hit me, because beer gives me good ideas.
What made this Mauser 5 times more valuable than any comparable garden-variety Mausers out there? That little OVS stamp! I have a metal stamp kit somewhere. And I have lots of other nondescript guns that could magically become Boer war guns!
So watch Gunbroker next week as I release my collection of Boer War bring-backs, to include:
Orange Free State Mosin-Nagants, some of which seem to have been in Finland too!
Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek Mas-36 rifles, which the French obviously managed to sneak through the British blockades to arm the valiant Boer fighters.
Several SKS rifles bearing the markings of both the OVS and ZAR governments. SKS rifles have turned up in every other conflict...who is to say that none were used in the Boer War?
Oh, and for the truly discriminating collector, I have a Cape Government-marked Ruger Mini-14. Hold it and you can almost feel yourself taking part in the Siege of Mafeking.
But wait--I've saved the best for last...I have this Second Generation Glock 17 pistol which is not marked, but it comes with capture papers that detail how it was taken from a young British war correspondent by the name of Winston Churchill. Or maybe he shared a room with Churchill. It's so hard to read the printing on these faded old dot-matrix print documents. Heck, that should be worth some bucks just by itself, huh?
The ironic part is that most of these would fit right in with many of the other so-called "collectables" that are rampant on Gunbroker these days.