I recently acquired a 1896 US Springfield Armory 30-40 Krag rifle. It is a 35XXX sn w/ 1900 cartouche. The action is in very good shape w/ original case hardening very bright, and the blued surface of the barrel is without pits or stains. It does have some significant condition issues. Most significant is that some time in its life the stock was broken and poorly pined back. The front sight blade is missing, the bore is dark and the bottom hand guard is skinned up. Truthfully I think it has been restocked, but probably 90+ years ago. The serial number puts manufacturing date between July 1896 and June 1897.
My first problem is what is this gun worth? I've gone to several gun stores and shopped it and gotten quotes between $175 and $250. I tried to get 3bills and no one was interested. I took it to a local respected gunsmith in my area to ask about the stock and you might have thought I pulled out a Stradivarius. His advice was to leave it in the old stock, because it would harm the $1500-$2000 value of the gun. He would only suggest to clean the action up to really brighten the case hardening and clean up the trigger group and butt plate. After picking my jaw up off the floor, we talked a bit and he seemed very knowledgeable about this class/ age of guns.
Any one have any experience w/ getting a good appraisal on a firearm? Where do I go? And if it's worth $$$$ how/ where do I sell it? I'm in the St. Louis/ Rolla area so if you know someone local please pass on that information. Even if your contact is across the country I'm interested in finding more info about this gun.
I feel like a person on the Antique Roadshow, do I have a worthless family heirloom or a priceless treasure I fell into?
Thanks for all your info. More pics in 2nd post.