I was surprised to find so many Russian hunting shotguns in the online catalogue of Holt’s Auction (silent bid). Most of them are totally unremarkable, but there were a couple of interesting pieces and also something that drew my attention. Continue reading
Behold a Baikal Izh-54, made in USSR, that in 2018 sold at the Rock Island Auction for $9,775, with the estimate of $4,000-7,000 (link). Read on to learn more not only about this particular shotgun, but also about various Izhevsk engravers, their artistic style, and a small linguistic investigation.
Two interesting TsKIB guns are featured by international auction houses this year. One is a good sample of Russia’s best gunmaking at a reasonable price. The other is a collector’s piece with a hell of provenance and a price tag to match. Some gun porn below. Continue reading
“How much does my gun cost?” is one of the most common question about Russian guns – especially MTs (a.k.a MC, a.k.a. MU, a.k.a. Vostok) by TsKIB, Tula. Usually, with high-end guns, the best hints on the gun’s price come from what the hammer falls on at gun auctions. But the produce of the “Soviet Purdey’s” seldom grace the halls of Holt’s, Julia’s, and other auction halls. However, as many as five MTs guns could be found in the catalogue of Joh. Springer’s Erben XXIII Classic Auction (Nov. 9, 2017, Vienna, Austria). Continue reading
One-two-stop, one-two-stop; as if in a Vienna waltz I go through pages of Joh. Springer’s 22nd Classic Auction catalogue, from Merkel over/unders to Art Nuveau engraving to a few British pragmatisms to possible but unlikely royal provenance, with an occasional nod to a sewing machine – click “More” and dance along! Tra-la-la-la-la!
With all due respect to the mandatory matched pairs of Purdeys, the real queens of this ball are Koersten-type over/unders. I didn’t realize – although it makes perfect sense – that many Ferlach makers built their guns on this platform.
I’ve spent a few joyful hours today admiring the catalogue of Joh. Springer’s Erben 22nd Classic Auction over a cup of coffee, and while I’m not really into handguns, this 1897 Roth-Theodorovich that graces the cover of the catalogue is definitely something else. Its ugliness is so complete that it approximates beauty. But the action is not just about ugly pistols – click on “more” to see some of the beautiful and unusual rifles and combination guns that will go under hammer on April 20.
I’d like to reiterate here that these posts are very far from the complete account of Soviet shotguns export. A full account of the issue would probably bring me a doctorate in Economics. The three posts are more like the starting point of an investigation, what I know by now.
Along the 1980s, with the combination of plummeting oil prices and the effect of economic sanctions, the Soviet economy was going from bad to worse to catastrophic. Soviet Government looked for sources of hard currency everywhere. However, there was a big problem. By 1990, as states a paper quoted by Egor Gaidar in his Collapse of an Empire (mandatory reading for everyone interested in the collapse of the USSR), only about 12% of Soviet manufactured products were competitive on the world markets (and for 47% of those overseas customers had serious quality complaints). Apparently, Soviet hunting shotguns were in the 12%, but their actual competitiveness is an open question. Continue reading