My Antique Finds – Victrola XVII and Civil War Colt

Photo provided by the author

You know that euphoric feeling you get when you land such a phenomenal deal that you almost feel guilty?

It’s a tough search and requires the patience of a Kindergarten teacher, but the results can be completely worth it.

Part One: The Victrola XVII
To be level, I probably spend a bit too much time pursuing garage sales, especially since I’ve taken an interest in antique remodeling. I’m the type of person that makes reckless last-minute turns or backtracks to check out a mysterious hand-written ‘garage sale’ sign.

At a neighborhood garage sale about six months ago, I stumbled upon a Victrola XVII. I’d seen a few Victrola phonographs on Antique Roadshow and a couple of them seemed to pay off. It appeared to be in decent condition, save for a layer of dust so, of course, I had to have it.

I paid $50 for it and found a local antique appraisal shop online.

photo provided by the author

The next day, the appraiser told me that it was a 1918 model Victrola XVII with all the original features: a bowed-out frame, hand-carved trim, gold-plated hardware, and a four-spring power motor. It had a few nicks and dings and was quite dirty, but had no serious or compromising issues below the surface level.

But, what really made this one special was that it was a walnut finish instead of the standard mahogany.

I put about $30 into cleaning it and treating it with products recommended to me by the appraiser. He gave me tips on how to find a buyer and mentioned a customer that frequented the store and might be interested in my find. Once the phonograph was all cleaned up and ready to go, he helped me get it sold for $950.

What. A. Steal.

Part Two: The Handgun

photo provided by the author

About a year ago, while helping my dad clean out a friend’s barn after he passed away, we stumbled across an old, rusty handgun. I know hardly anything about handguns and my dad’s no weapons buff either, but I thought it might be worth checking out. I checked around online until I found an antique gun collector in the Dallas Fort Worth area who either fixes them up and sells them online, or adds them to his personal collection.

My dad and I (I did not go see the gun collector all alone) went out a few days later and the appraiser told us that though it wasn’t in great condition, it was an 1851 model Civil War Colt Navy handgun. Apparently, guns of this model in mint condition can go for well over $1,500. Since ours needed some work, we managed to get $450 for it. Not a bad deal, considering we paid nothing for it.

So, my antique remodeling hunt so far has yielded two really profitable finds, along with a couple others that don’t make quite as much cash, but still spark that same feeling of euphoria!

To this day I sometimes think of that old Civil War handgun. I kind of wish I didn’t sell it, after all, I probably could have had someone fix it up for me for cheap, making me the proud owner of a functional Civil War handgun. Oh well…I try not to dwell too much on it.

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