The Value of a Number

Discussion in 'General Sako Discussions' started by icebear, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    This is not about Sako, but I think it's relevant to collecting in general and will be of interest to some of the group.

    This past weekend CDNN auctioned off a Steyr SSG PII sniper rifle with serial number 1 on Gunbroker. This model was originally designed for the Austrian army and has been discontinued for several years. CDNN bought up the closeout stock and has been selling the rifles for a few years with a base price of $1399. It is available in several variations: Black or green stock; 26" military or 20" police/urban barrel; conventional trigger or double set ($100 extra). The rifle at auction had a black stock, 26" barrel, and single trigger. It is otherwise completely ordinary except for the serial number. (The ad lists a 24" barrel, but the box says the length is 650mm, which equates to 26",)

    Auction price for serial number 1 was $3125. That means the premium for the serial number was quite a bit more than the value of the gun itself. Just an interesting sidebar in competitive collecting. Here's the link.
    https://www.gunbroker.com/item/877732162

    And here's a link to the page for the regular SSG PII. Looks like they've run out of all the options except 26" black with single trigger.
    https://www.cdnnsports.com/steyr-ssg-69-pii-308-26-1-trigger-o-r-1-5rd.html?___SID=U#.X1_l6i2ZNBw

    The SSG PII is an absolutely superb sniper/target rifle. I got one from CDNN a few years ago, a 26-incher, in army green rather than black and mounted with a 2.5-10X Steiner. It will shoot consistently under 1/3 MOA with good ammo. It is, of course, big and heavy, but it is about as accurate as my custom L46 heavy barrel in .222, maybe a bit better. It has a smooth-running multi-lug bolt with a 60 degree life. It's basically the same gun as the earlier PI version, but with a Picatinny rail replacing the earlier proprietary Steyr scope mount. It's easily worth the $1399 tab - but I had no interest in paying the extra $1726 for S/N 0001. I hope the buyer is happy with his purchase.

     

  2. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Chasing serial numbers has been part of the gun "collector" world since I can remember. Kind of a silly thing to chase after, IMHO. A serial number alone is no guarantee of extra "value". Even if it does add "value" later on, does it make up for the extra you pay for it now??? Kinda like going to Vegas on whether it will "pay off". More of an ego thing. "Look what I have everybody". Then somebody with a bigger ego & more money comes along & buys it & the initial buyer makes a few bucks. Ho Hum, I've seen this a thousand times, so it's just hard to get excited. It's what makes Sako different, as the serial number is meaningless.
     
  3. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    That's what we economists call the "greater fool" theory. Even if some fool pays too much for something, there will be a greater fool who will pay more, and the first fool will make a profit.

    Thinking back, I did once pay a premium for a serial number on a Sako. I bought a Sako-built m/39 military rifle (S/N 250000) from a friend for $50-100 more than they were going for at the time. The rifle was and is in beautiful condition, and it's worth at least two or three times what I paid for it, so I came out OK on that one.
    sn 250000-1.JPG
     
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  4. 16b410

    16b410 Well-Known Member

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    I would never pay more for a rifle with a low or otherwise desirable serial number. But wood, well, that is where I will throw in a few more dollars every time. :D
     
  5. FLT

    FLT Well-Known Member

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    While I’m aware that none of the hard core sako collectors on this forum would ever pay more for a low or unique serial number , I don’t think the general public shares those feelings. I’ve seen guns bring a premium many times because of a low or unique serial number. But as I said the folks that bought them were not as astute as most of the members here.
     
  6. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Icebear, I'm curious about that rifle (same as yours). Is it like the earlier Steyr-Mannlicher hunting rifles in having a rear-locking bolt (the bolt-sleeve profile looks the same)? If so, it will present a few problems for handloaders in getting more than 2 or 3 reloads from the brass. Of course, if you cut back on your powder charges, the brass may last a little longer. I dealt with this issue for many years handloading for my rear-locking Schultz & Larsen rifles. The rear-locking feature does make for very smooth bolt operation, however, and the 60° bolt lift helps in that regard too.
     
  7. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    The SSG does, indeed, have a rear-locking bolt. Below is a pic I found online. Note that the locking lugs and the bolt handle are a separate piece. I'm really not worried about the alleged negative characteristics of the rear-locking bolt. The theory is that a rear-locking action can momentarily stretch during firing, thereby creating excessive headspace, and possibly stretch permanently over an extended period. There may have been minor issues with the old M-S sporting rifles, but the action on the SSG is massive. It's built like the Rock of Ages. I also once owned a Schultz & Larsen and the S&L action, while an excellent design and very accurate, was nowhere near as overbuilt as the SSG. As a military sniper rifle, the SSG wasn't designed with reloading fired cases in mind, but it was designed to fire several times more rounds in its lifetime than a typical civilian hunting rifle (i.e. thousands vs. hundreds). I haven't reloaded any of the fired cases from my SSG, although I have saved them since I shoot mostly match grade ammo in it. Frankly, if one is spending that kind of money for a rifle, I don't see the difference between getting three firings out of a case vs. five as significant anyway.

    The one generally acknowledged weakness of the SSG is the stock. The original SSG was the first military sniper rifle with a molded ABS stock, and it isn't quite as rugged as it might be for the bashing a military weapon can get. The plastic 5-shot rotary mag also feels kind of flimsy but as far as I know has been fine in service.

    I wouldn't mind having a Steyr full-stock carbine, built on basically the same action. I've looked at a few, but they tend to be very expensive and have blah wood for the price, plus most have skip-line checkering, which I dislike. One of these days...
    603px-Steyr_ssg_69_verschluss.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  8. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    As a footnote, CDNN auctioned SSG s/n 0002 this weekend. Closing price was $1600, compared to $3125 for s/n 0001. Some folks are willing to pay for number one. I will confess to having once paid 2 grand for a Marlin with s/n 0000, but it was a special edition in a rare caliber with spectacular wood and special high-polish metal finish, so there was intrinsic value beyond the number zero.
     
  9. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

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    I’d be happy with any number on a Bee.
     
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  10. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    A particular serial number is probably something that is worth more to the individual than to the market. I own three Sakos with the same serial number, a Finnbear, an L46, and a P72 (well, the last four digits of the P72 match since it has a 70 prefix). I would pay a significant premium for the L57 and VL63 which bear that number if ever I might find them.

    Obviously, Sakos with this serial number have no added value to anyone but me.

    By the way, the club once received a somewhat frantic request from a guy in Australia who owned a Sako with the serial number ABCD in caliber XXX. The police had contacted him in regard to a Sako with serial number ABCD being used in a crime, however the caliber of the crime gun was YYY. He needed to convince the police that Sakos of different models and calibers can share the same serial number, a fact which the factory records verify. Not only that, but Sakos of the same model and even caliber can share the same serial number since Sako sometimes inexplicably used the same numbers twice, but several years apart.
     
  11. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Another update: CDNN came up with an otherwise identical Steyr SSG with s/n 3. Closing price was $1580, almost the same as s/n 2 and a couple of hundred above the going rate for the same gun with a random serial number.
     

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