Yeah, We Won a Few Lots at the Auction

So, about that strategy of bidding seriously on a couple of gotta-have-it items, and lowballing a bunch of others? The strategy that had us put in a record, for us, 12 bids?

We won five of them, most of them just barely, showing we weren’t too far off in our estimates. The five lots include 14 pistols, of which we want to keep 6 or 7. That means we’ll be disposing 7 or 8 firearms, including some rarities and some pretty common dogs, in the days ahead.

The One that Got Away

In one very embarrassing case, we were sure we’d bid on a lot (2575: “Two Czechoslovakian Semi-Automatic Pistols -A) CZ Model 1924 Pistol with Military Markings B) Praga Zbrovka Model 1921 Folding Trigger Pistol”) and even entered the lot and our bid in our auction tracker spreadsheet. But we never entered the bid. We really wanted the Praga and we’ll be bummed if it was under our planned-but-never-executed $1300 bid. Here’s what those guns looked like:

Cz 22 and Praga 2 Cz 22 and Praga

 

 

 

 

 

 

The larger pistol is an early vz. 24, the Czechoslovak military’s first domestic standard service pistol. The oddball Praga is one of only two designs produced by the short-lived Zbrojovka Praha; it has a notch in the top of the slide to allow index-finger cocking, and when cocked, the trigger (visible in the photos) drops down.

In three cases, our winning bid (not including buyers’ premium) was under the low and high estimates. That’s good pickin’; in our opinion, all the auction houses set their estimates at the low end of a reasonable range. We presume they do this to encourage bidding, because many lots then get plenty of bidding action “down low,” and that may incite other buyers to join in.

In another case, our winning bid was right within the predicted range — higher than the predicted minimum, lower than the predicted max — and in the last one, we paid $400 more than the predicted minimum, and $100 more than the predicted max.

One lot where we’re keeping both guns for sure is #4257, “Two Cezska Zbrojovka Semi-Automatic Pistols with Holsters.” The two pistols are a rare Vz 22, that was only made for a very short period and is transitional between the Mauser Pistole N prototypes and the mass-produced Vz 24, and a rarer Cz 36 made in 1939, supposedly both with holsters although only one holster shows in the photos:

CZ 22 and CZ 36 L CZ 22 and CZ 36 R

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pistole N was an evolution of the Mauser 1910/14 with a locked breech (most of the Mauser prototypes are in 9 x 19 mm) and a hammer instead of the 1910/14’s striker. The unusual safety design of the pistol came directly from earlier Mauser designs, and it’s unclear whether it was Josef Nickl’s, or the creation of one of the Feederle brothers. There are two safety controls on the Vz 22 (the upper pistol in those pictures). The upper of the two safety controls visible on the left side, behind the trigger, applies the safety when it’s flicked downward; the push-button that looks like it might be a magazine release is actually a safety release. It’s easy to use and easy to adapt to, actually, although nobody will carry one of these relics as a practical firearm ever again.

This particular Vz 22 (not VZ1922, which is a different gun entirely; that’s a rare error in Rock Island’s labeling) bears unit marks identifying it as property of the Desatý Dělostrelecký Pluk — 10th Artillery Regiment — gun number 178.

The CZ 36 is also interesting. The gun was produced in four major variations over its history; this is the first one. It’s a very early DAO pistol, and this example, like most CZ 36s, has a safety. (The safety was dispensed with on the next version, the CZ 45). There was also an American clone; some parts interchange among all variants. Perhaps some time we’ll do a story on these little CZs.

 

 

15 thoughts on “Yeah, We Won a Few Lots at the Auction

  1. Jim

    Next week’s headline in Boston: “Former Special Operator and Rightwing Extemist, alias ‘Hognose,’ is being questioned in the acquistion of a massive arsenal of deadly assault handguns. His motives are unclear, but this may be related to domestic terrorism.”

    Congrats on the wins. Good luck getting rid of the extras. Last time that happend here, it took 8 months to get them all sold.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Yeah, that deadly hi-cap Astra, 12 rounds of terrifying .32 ACP, circa 1928. I wonder if it is banned in NYNJCA etc.

  2. S

    Is that Praha the same one that Ian at forgottenweapons.com so ably gefingerpoked just the other day? That man has talent, his blog is a close second to WM for multiple daily greedy clicks.

    Don’t discount folks willing to carry oddball old guns; hereabouts, anything is better than nothing, and if some folks are willing to drill out potmetal gas & blank guns to shoot maximum one mag of warshots, imagine what they think of “real” guns. Don’t forget, the opposition has mosques, asylum centres and veggie shop freezers packed with AK’s and whatnot, no parallel construction to fear, and an easy pass on what they already do. Einzelfälle, alles nur einzelfälle.

  3. Keith Z.

    Someday you should explain how you came to have this intrest in Czechoslovakian firearms.

    1. mitch

      Well you see it all started tomorrow, June 28 1914.
      A Czech aristocrat named Sophie Ferdinand was shot dead in Bosnia by an assassin using a Browning FN 1910.
      This shooting lead to the deaths of how many people?
      Which lead to an interest in Czech pistols……..
      Or not.

      1. Y.

        IIRC, once upon a time Hognose was a green beret who was trained for operations against Czechoslovakia, therefore, he had to know Czech.

        Also, it’s an easy place to like. Czechs are fond of pork, beer, pretty women(of which there is plenty due to all the past ethnic mixing) and making weapons (top world arms exporter of 1938)…

        The downside is that Czechs are very prone to whining and bitching about stuff, instead of doing and are pessimistic.

  4. archy

    Hope your forthcoming tome will include some info on the Czech export office OMNIPOL as well, They were a major factor in the small arms [and other goodies] trade during the Soviet Bloc era, and a few footnotes for history’s sake would be most appreciated.

  5. Keith

    Congrates. If you got the Beretta 1915 that Ian talked about I’d be interested in that one if I have the funds.

  6. Y.

    Are these Praga pistols especially rare sort?

    I see similar guns gathering dust under glass countertops in gunshops, with pricetags like 3.5k crowns or so..

  7. Tam

    There was also an American clone; some parts interchange among all variants.

    I have a saved PM from Larry Seecamp back in ’00 or so at TFL telling me about the influence of the CZ36 on the design of the LWS32. I should see if I can find that…

    1. Hognose Post author

      I’d like to see that, because the LWS was not the gun I meant. It was the Intratec Protec-25 (or maybe it’s -45, I forget, but whatever the model name is, it’s a cheaply diecast CZ 45 clone. A CZ 45 is (mostly) a CZ 36 without the manual safety.

      1. Tam

        His PM was triggered by me mentioning the ProTec 25 in a post. I did not know about the existence of the CZ at the time; I learned about it from him. :)

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