Eric Poole, who is the editor of IMO’s special interest publications like Book of the AR-15 is a well-known packrat who combs eBay and other websites for old gun-related printed matter. His collection is, especially for a young guy, quite impressive.
Both were from 1994, which at my age doesn’t seem so long ago. Paging through them, I was amazed at the prices being asked for some popular surplus arms in Century’s dealer catalog.
Unissued Chinese SKS carbines were $99.87, and you could get a sporterized version minus the bayonet and with an injection-molded stock for just $109.87. This was the brief time when Russian SKSs were being imported, and they could be had for as little as $124.87.
Century had at that point taken in a whole lot of police revolvers from a South American country, and you could get an S&W Model 10 heavy barrel for $89.95 in fair condition.
The rare Egyptian Rashid carbine could be had for $174.87, while the larger Hakim rifle was available at $69.87, missing minor parts and with a cracked stock. When you compare historical prices, it’s good to do it in constant dollars. $69.95 in 1994 bucks is $108.27 today.
Sadly, the surplus market is pretty tapped out these days, except for Russian arms like Nagant revolvers and M1944 carbines. The United Nations has made import and export of firearms very difficult, and full-auto arms like AKs are unlikely ever to be importable. In a lot of cases, the only way to get a foreign military gun will be to make one yourself, using a parts kit, which is why we run Steven Matthews’ stories on that subject in SGN.
The big prize out there is the hundreds of thousands of M1 rifles and M1 Carbines in Korea and Vietnam. Bringing them in would greatly revitalize the surplus market, but I suspect that day will have to wait for a new administration.