These readers’ vintage firearms have some surprising history—and appraisals


Investigating and appraising a Portuguese Mauser 98K, a J. Stevens A&T .22, vintage ammo and a Colt 1911-A1 used by a Canadian commando in WWII

Whether you have a question about antique guns, modern firearms, ammunition or reloading, expert Dave Anderson is here with the answer. Please send your detailed questions and applicable, high-resolution photos to

For recommended auction houses, go to


I recently acquired this Mauser rifle (above). All the serial numbers match, which I’m told is very important when it comes to value. I bought a new sling for it and a bayonet (not a reproduction). Overall, the rifle seems to be in fairly good shape, and it works well. I am hoping you can give me a little more info about it, including the approximate value. Thanks for your help.




Yes, matching serial numbers add to collector interest and value. Your rifle appears to be a Mauser 98K, made in 1941; the crest on the receiver ring indicates it was made as part of a contract for Portugal. Many of those contract rifles were never actually delivered, however, because they were instead commandeered by the German Wehrmacht. I can’t tell if your rifle was delivered to Portugal or used by the German military.

In the 1950s and into the ’60s, thousands of Mauser military rifles were exported to the U.S. and Canada. Many were used as the basis for custom hunting rifles, with the custom work varying from simply drilling and tapping for scope bases, to creating elaborate stocks, replacing barrels, reworking actions and polishing and bluing. As a result, unaltered originals are now in demand by military collectors.

Judging by the photos you provided, your Mauser appears to be in quite good condition; there’s some blue wear, but no signs of rust or pitting. Its value would be higher in the U.S., where there are many more military collectors. I can’t say with much confidence what it would bring at a Canadian firearms auction, but I expect you’d get at least $500 and possibly $800, especially if some U.S. dealers or collectors are among the bidders. Your original bayonet adds to collector interest.