Author Topic: 1865 Spencer carbine worth $3500?  (Read 754 times)

Offline ldpfeifer

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1865 Spencer carbine worth $3500?
« on: September 13, 2019, 05:41:05 PM »
I have been looking for a Spencer carbine since passing on one a couple years back for $900.  I know, I know.......well I found one but, it is a 1865, serial number 8701.  It has the Stabler cutoff.  I looked close at the barrel to see if it might have been re-blued.  It is at least 90% or better blued and looks somewhat nicer than I think it should be.  No pitting at all external that I can see.  The wood stock does not have a mark in it.  The forward hand grip is nice, but about 8 or 10 small dents along the bottom, almost like it was set on a fence and shot from there resting on a fence rail.  Not bad but noticeable.  The receiver has some faint case color and a little start of freckling.  The bore is nice and shiny, the seller said there is a little pitting right at the start of the rifling past the breach area.  I looked and never saw it.  Action works smooth and the center fire bolt and about a dozen rounds of 56-50 is included, 5 are rim fire copper case rounds.
After all this.....$3500....Or is there more blue sky and not value here.  I looked on gun broker and prices are all over the place, NO ONE IS BUYING THEM.  $1200 to $16500.  This one is darn nice and put it in the same area as some for $2800 and up.  But again ZERO bids on any of them.  Has the antique value in some minds increased more than actual value of the guns?  Anything else I should be looking for?
Thanks for any ideas and help.

Offline El Supremo

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Re: 1865 Spencer carbine worth $3500?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2019, 07:12:34 PM »

"Value" is a personal issue related to your profile. 

It is not often that we find sleeper guns at low prices. 
More often we see mill-run ones at uninformed, hand-wringing buyer prices.   

One issue is the center-fire upper block.  While it can be a plus, there are presently four different ones from three makers out there and some DO NOT FIT particular Spencers!  The only way to know is to install it and confirm that it seems to fit, cycle and the imprint of the firing pin is centered on the primer.  I have seen one c-f block that was way off on important dimensions BECAUSE that particular Spencer was a factory oddball sold to a state militia outfit, not the Federal Gov't. It does cycle original rim-fire rounds, but the C-F block will not interchange without custom machining and welding!

My dealer friends that have been deeply active for twenty-plus years tell me the market for most CW and post CW items has been soft for a year.  They are either not buying because they cannot estimate their sales price or are buying and not posting/holding items for sale due to softness.   

I have paid premium prices to get what mattered probably only to me, knowing I would not be able to sell for what I paid.  But, in these cases, the condition was near mint. These were ones that would not reappear for 30 years.  Toys.

I recently declined to buy a couple fine condition, otherwise "one phone call" Spencers (because they were known to me and others) because the "final" asking price was "stupid" high.
The owners ended up receiving considerably less than my quite fair, semi-premium cash offers.
I have no idea why they did that! 

Most ordinary Spencers are not going to be investments unless you find superb condition or impeccably documented provenance of a historical nature. I have seen expensive "doctored" originals auctioned by a widely respected house, which makes the authenticity letters bunk. I know who did the doctoring! 

Spencer rifles bring more than carbines and 1865's less than 1860's, again, apples-to-apples.
Yes, some have been altered, repaired or enhanced and it takes a REAL PRO to tell.  I have seen some of these. 

My suggestion is to get photo's and contact David Stavlo at Lodgewood Guns in Wisconsin for his thoughts. 
He is an active and credible dealer. 

All the best,
El Supremo/Kevin Tinny

Pay attention to that soft voice in your head.

Offline DJ

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Re: 1865 Spencer carbine worth $3500?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2019, 08:01:31 PM »
I haven't seen the gun, so I could be wrong, but that seems kind of high for an 1865 carbine, even one as pretty as you suggest.  If you are still at the "really like it" stage, maybe you should continue to play the field a little longer and see if something better comes along.  At that price you probably have some time to think about it before another suitor shows up.  If you are just considering this as an investment, I would definitely do more research before plunging in, because I don't see a lot of room for upwards movement in the price.  On the other hand, if you are in love with the gun, is price really that much of a consideration? 

When I am on the fence about a gun like this I ask myself whether a year from now I am really going to regret not having bought it.  If the answer is not a convincing "yes," then I bide my time. 

Good luck!


Online mgmradio

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Re: 1865 Spencer carbine worth $3500?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2019, 09:15:06 PM »
I have recently purchased 2 1865 carbines that are very nice . 1st is a Spencer made that has 95% + blue and 85%+ case color. I payed $3100 for it as it was so nice. The second I found a week later was a Burnside manufactured one that's 90% blue turned plum and 90% case color . It is also serial # 181. Page $2100 for it. Both bores at nearly perfect.
  From the discretion of the one you are looking at I'd say hold off for a better one at a better price. You might also make an offer. Both of the sellers that sold these were asking considerably more than I payed.

Offline Two Flints

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Re: 1865 Spencer carbine worth $3500?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2019, 06:39:17 AM »
No matter the condition of the Spencer . . . it's what the buyer is willing to pay ::) 

You might want to check out Shiloh Antiques or Dave Taylor's Civil War Antiques for fair pricing ideas.  In my case, I'd look for a nice condition 1860 Spencer, just because it WAS USED in the Civil War,  and as a former US History teacher that would be most important to me, the BUYER. ;D
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Re: 1865 Spencer carbine worth $3500?
« Reply #5 on: Today at 10:23:50 PM »

Offline Snakeeater

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Re: 1865 Spencer carbine worth $3500?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2019, 09:11:14 PM »
A couple of years ago, I was attending Mike Kent's Civil War show in Dalton, Georgia (Chickamauga show), and walked passed a table with a really nice, near mint condition Burnside Contract Spencer with a serial number that was just two digits lower than mine. While it would have been great to have bought it to go with mine, the dealer wanted $5,500 for his. Another dealer in Kentucky had one with a serial number about 100 higher that sold for $9,500. But this was for a carbine in near mint condition.
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