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I was just reading some literature on 'watching for fakes' as it pertains to collectable firearms. The author was cautioning "novice" (or advanced, for that matter) collectors when buying rare, scarce and collectable Winchesters, Lugers, and Colts.

The thought then struck me; I wonder if anyone has ever attempted to pass a Marlin off as a fake, by altering the configuration of the firearm (I'm sure it's happened).

Obviously, I'm not talking about a shortened barrel, or changed sights, or something like that; quite minor, as we have all encountered. I myself, have had sellers swear on a stack of Bibles that "this barrel has not been cut". Factory records ultimately have proven the seller(s) wrong.

Any "war stories" ?

WB
 

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I have not seen any fake Marlins myself by the alteration method. Rumor control has it that their are some engraved specimans out there being passed off as factory engraving. Problem is these guys are getting very good and it can be quite hard for the average gun buyer to tell and I include myself. I have heard of a local gun dealer here in Southern California who upgrades Colts but mainly by percentage of finish. The guns get reblued in the original Colt bluing style and then a little wear is introduced. So an early 1911 gun in 70% condition is suddenly a 98% gun. Quite a jump in value. Parley
 

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I can tell you of a couple of fake Marlins I have seen. These were for sure fakes, or I wouldn't even mention it.
The first was a model 410 shotgun, built up from a model 36 Marlin. Very good job, right down to replicating the bulbous forearm wood, and S type buttstock. Two things gave it away. The first thing that drew my attention was the lack of a rollstamp on the tang. I thought it might have been refinished, and the rollstamp buffed off, but when I looked at the buttplate, it was a model 1893 hard rubber. If you're familiar with the model 410, the hard rubber buttplate it uses is the same as a Marlin shotgun of that era. The buttstock is much larger than a 1893, and so a 1893 buttplate would be too small. This one fit perfectly. When I opened the lever to check the serial number, it had a D prefix. I told the seller he had a fake model 410, and explained how I knew, but he wouldn't believe me.
The second fake I came across was a model 1893 takedown, with 5 barrels! What a find, if it could be documented, even if the extra barrels were ordered at a later date. The condition on the gun and all barrels was 95%+, and the seller was asking $7,000. Not at all out of line for something so rare, and with the condition it was in. I considered purchasing it, but had to feel comfortable buying such a piece, as it would have required liquidating some of my collection first. The gun was at a show, and I made arrangements to meet the seller at my home that evening. I looked it all over, and couldn't find a flaw anywhere, until I asked if I could fit the various barrels to the action. The seller was hesitant, but said if I was careful I could. Three of the five barrels did not fit properly to the receiver. The locking cams either were too tight to lock up, or too loose after locking up, leaving the barrel sloppy on the receiver. All these barrels would have required factory fitting, at the time they were purchased, so the gun would have to have been sent to the factory to accomplish this. The factory would never have left them so ill fitting. I had to pass on the set.
I've seen numerous Marlins that have been professionally refinished to such high standards that if I wasn't told, I'd have never known they weren't originals. It makes me suspect of every 95%+ gun I see. I should get past that, but I tend to shy away from Marlins with too much finish. I'd rather own a 80%- gun, that is worn enough to be sure it is legitimate. Saw two model 1936 Marlins at Reno this last trip that were both in near 100% condition, and I just kept wondering if they were refinished? They were priced at $1100, and $1200, which is probably not too high for near 100% guns, but were they originals?
This gun collecting can be pretty nerve wracking at times! I was pretty suspicious of the deluxe Winchester Low Wall Schuetzen I bought at Reno, as it was too cheap for what it was. I took a chance, and came out OK, as it lettered correctly. But believe me, I would have had a tough time selling it, if it wouldn't have lettered!
 

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fakes

In my reckless budding gun nut days, I found a very nice 1881 in 45-70 with DST and a PG stock at a gun show. And I was surprised to learn that for such a desireable rifle, it was within my means! I began to smell a rat, though, when the seller started a high-pressure line. I took my leave of the table, and a gentleman who was apparently a seasoned collector, took me aside and complimented me on spotting the 'propane torch case hardening job'.

No such thing had happened, of course, I thought it was legit. The man advised me to carefully inspect the consistency of the color splotches that had been made by applying heat from a torch just like we will occasionally heat blue a single screw. I thanked the man and breathed a heavy sigh of relief to have escaped a sucker's deal. For a brief time, I thought he was trying to discourage me so he could buy it himself, but I saw him leave the show carrying a fancy ( and obviously expensive)1895 Win.

Other than that, the only fakery I've seen was a jerk trying to pawn a Texan off as a Marauder. I told him if I saw him sell it, I'd testify for the buyer that it was an outright deception. I passed his table later, and he had put it in a soft case. SW
 

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Fakes

Sure glad to hear from seasoned colectors of these fine rifles. If you and others on this site are fooled, guess what could and probably has happened to your fellow hunter,shooter,collector friends just starting out in the last few years as collectors.This proves the old statement to SHUT your mouth and listen for awhile. Might just learn alittle something............

:idea: 8) :lol: 8) :lol: :lol: :idea:
 

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The number of Marlins I've seen that were refinished, and being peddled as "original" is growing all the time! Unfortunately I saw another just this morning when a pretty good friend showed me the model 1897 special order gun he had just traded into.
The gun is in near 100% condition, but the following items were not done correctly:
1-The checkering was only about 18 lpi, not the fine checkering Marlin used.
2-The barrel was 22", and the front sight dovetail was only 1/2" to center from the muzzle, not the usual @1" to center
3-The bluing was hot blue, not rust blue, and the receiver was blued. (Some were offered with blued receivers, but not hot blue)
4-The hard rubber buttplate was from a model 39, not a model 1897.

The worst part is my friend traded a couple guns worth about $1200 all toll! He has no way of finding the individual, unless he runs into him at another local show, so he's pretty bummed out. I wish I wasn't the one who had to tell him. I know he went from ecstatic to sick pretty fast. I'd hate to be the seller if and when he does find him!
 

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I guess I have been lucky in my gun purchases- I have yet to run into a deliberate misrepresentation when it comes to buying guns. Most of the gun people I've dealt with have been straightforward and honest.

I found a Marlin 20 pump that I wanted, and the vendor warned that it would have little collector value as it had been refinished. ( It was refinished in the Winchester-Cooey plant in the early 70's- nice barrel blue job ) These seem to be the kind of people that I do business with by and large....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 
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