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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 5:44 pm 
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crazyforbrownings wrote:
How do you find this stuff?! You always seem to acquire Brownings of rare distinction and in wonderful condition.

Some just walk into my office. My wife and I own a small-town newspaper, and folks know I'm a gun guy. So they offer me old guns. But in this case, I made the buy at an auction, not a big-time gun auction, but a small-time household auction. You know, glassware, garden tools, kitchen appliances.

There were, however, 10 guns, including one simply identified in the auction listing as a double barrel Browning. The lack of a proper name often indicates a Super since few Supers are actually marked with any proper name.

Quote:
We would love to see more pics of the distinctive engraving.

I'll get some this weekend if the weather keeps me inside.

Quote:
I can't quite tell, but it appears to not have a gold trigger?

The trigger WAS gold, but most of that coating has worn off ... which is odd because otherwise, the gun only shows a low level of use wear.

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It also appears to have longer barrels . . . 28in? 30in? In my book, anything longer than 26.5in is a plus for both shooting and resale.

28 inch, and choked very desirably as modified and improved cylinder. That's a big reason I paid as much as I did -- $1,908 including taxes and fees -- for the gun.

Quote:
As you stated, even the engraving of the Grade I guns was hand-done. So no two are exactly alike. And sometimes I wonder if on a day when work was slow, if a Funken, Vrancken, Watrin, Marechal or Magis would engrave a Grade I, and just put a little extra magic into it! And then, 60 years later, a guy like D-Buff stumbles onto it . . . like Charlie finding a "Golden Ticket" wrapped around one of Wonka's chocolate bars!!

To my uneducated eye, the engraving on this looks the slightest bit rough -- almost like the chisel was stuttering -- but oddly, it's the same degree of stuttering all over. Could it have been someone's personal style? I'll let you folks decide when I post photos.

Enjoy!
Dave



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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 12:58 pm 
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As per CFB’s request, here are some detail photos of the Grade 1 “Standard” 20 gauge Super mentioned earlier …

Image

If you look at the marked areas below, you see the areas of “stuttering” I mentioned earlier, and on closer examination, they appear intentional. To me, at least, they’re not a sign that a lesser engraver did them.

However, there are errors, as you’ll see. Perhaps they’re normal for any engraver. Perhaps not. Your thoughts?

Image
Image
Image

Enjoy!
Dave

P.S. If anyone would like to examine the full resolution images, they’re at:

http://www.buffingtonassociates.com/dav ... 70_d01.jpg

http://www.buffingtonassociates.com/dav ... 70_d02.jpg

http://www.buffingtonassociates.com/dav ... 70_d03.jpg

http://www.buffingtonassociates.com/dav ... 70_d04.jpg

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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 4:24 pm 
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dbuffington , I have a '59 28/20 sn16589 , It has the same anomalies you have pointed out. To my knowledge the grade ones ( affectionately nicknamed "Sarma" after a large "discount" style store in Belgium at the time) were engraved by students who had completed all the necessary schooling and reached a level of proficiency that allowed them to work on the firearms. I am assuming they had not yet reached the level of control with a " hammer and chisel " to smooth out the individual tap and to avoid overruns . these are evident on all my grade 1's, some to lesser degrees than others.
These "glitches" are found in my Pigeon , B1 and Fighting cocks but need a much closer inspection to detect.
What interests me the most and is a question that may never be answered , " who was the engraver " remember ..... all the "Greats" started as students !
By the way, Nice shotgun , congratulations {hs#

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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 5:17 pm 
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Dave,

Nice gun in great shape.

I don’t consider the overruns and imperfections ‘errors’. Engravers at this skill level basically turned-out 4 of these a day. In an 8-hour shift, that would be a Grade I every 2 hours.

The ‘stuttering’ are progress marks - each one represents a stroke of the hammer with the measured force needed to move the burner along the design at the right depth, distance, and cutter angles.

The reason progress marks look different than the ‘snails’ is because border treatments and other such repetitive elements were made with stamping tools and also require the correct angle and consistent stroke so they all appear the same depth.

These imperfections (most of which are undetected by the naked eye or without benefit of magnification) are what add the human element of craftsmanship in these wonderful guns.

Engravers do wonderful and amazing things with electro-Gravers but those that can render ornaments, landscapes and game scenes with hammer and burin are amazing artists in this Old World tradition and technique.

Congratulations on the new acquisition. Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 6:29 pm 
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captjsjr wrote:
To my knowledge the grade ones ( affectionately nicknamed "Sarma" after a large "discount" style store in Belgium at the time) were engraved by students who had completed all the necessary schooling and reached a level of proficiency that allowed them to work on the firearms.


So, it's kinda like calling them "WalMart" guns :wink:

captjsjr wrote:
These "glitches" are found in my Pigeon , B1 and Fighting cocks but need a much closer inspection to detect.


If anyone has the macro photography capability, I'd love to see that.

captjsjr wrote:
What interests me the most and is a question that may never be answered , " who was the engraver " remember ..... all the "Greats" started as students !
By the way, Nice shotgun , congratulations {hs#


Indeed, and many thanks! A blind squirrel does find a nut now and them :oops:

Anatidae wrote:
I don’t consider the overruns and imperfections ‘errors’. Engravers at this skill level basically turned-out 4 of these a day. In an 8-hour shift, that would be a Grade I every 2 hours.


My goodness! It's no wonder they were having labor issues by the mid 1960s.

Anatidae wrote:
The reason progress marks look different than the ‘snails’ is because border treatments and other such repetitive elements were made with stamping tools ...


Would any other elements have been stamped? Like JMBs portrait?

Anatidae wrote:
Congratulations on the new acquisition. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for all the info! I've learned a lot already.
Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 6:54 pm 
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I imagine elements like JMB’s bust and BrowninG would be lightly stamped and ‘chased’ with another tool. It’s like stepping in mud. Where your boot makes a depression but it pushes mud up around the outside rim.

Same thing with the lettering on the barrels. My understanding is, Those are made with a roll die for consistency. Maybe they are ‘chased’ as well. I don’t have those answers but I’m working on it and learning a lot, myself.

Otherwise JMB’s bust might show as much a variation with each engraver, as the many variations in the Grade III game scenes during the mid 1950’s.


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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 1:59 pm 
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Anatidae wrote:
. . . Engravers at this skill level basically turned-out 4 of these a day. In an 8-hour shift, that would be a Grade I every 2 hours. * * *


That's interesting information, Anatidae.

On page 188 of his book, Ned Schwing states that it took Louis Vrancken (who succeeded Funken as Chief Engraver, and who re-designed the Midas grade for Browning) about 60 hours to complete a Midas grade engraving. When one considers that the Grade I's engravings were being cranked-out at the rate of 4 per day by students, it helps one appreciate the huge investment of time and care that the Master Engravers would invest in an engraving for a high grade, especially the Midas grade.

Each engraving is a true work of art.

Respectfully submitted,

CFB

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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 10:02 pm 
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Schwing page 132 confirms the trademark, logo, and JMB's bust were made with a roll die. The rest was 'hand-cut'.


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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 10:24 am 
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So, let's bring this up to the present …

What is the engraving like on the new "Hand Finished in Belgium" B15 guns?

Heck, since I've been out of things for a year or so …

Has anyone actually seen one of the B15s?

Thanks!
Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 11:08 am 
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Howdy, Dave!

I haven't seen one of the new B15's yet.

But here is the link to the Browning Custom Shop in Liege http://www.browning.com/products/firearms/custom.html Be sure and watch the video!

It looks to me like Browning is making every attempt to restore old world craftsmanship and first class engraving to the Brand. And I think that is fantastic! From the pictures and the video, it looks like the engraving is all done by hand, just like the engravers of the Superposed of yester-year.

Unfortunately, given the prices of these beautiful new guns, I can only afford to watch the video! :shock: Actually, the pricing of the various grades of B15 seems fairly reasonable. The B25 Superposed continues to be available albeit at prices that will take your breath away. That said, the prices of the engraved B15 and B25 make the engraved Superposed guns of the 50s, 60s and 70s (in their various grades and configurations) seem like real bargains! :D

Respectfully,

CFB

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Last edited by crazyforbrownings on Thu May 10, 2018 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 11:42 am 
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The mid years guns in higher grades are definitely bargains. Take advantage. My prewar Midas Trap cost me $1100 and at that price, I outbid one of my Browning collector friends at auction.


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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 1:09 pm 
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lowgun wrote:
The mid years guns in higher grades are definitely bargains. Take advantage. My prewar Midas Trap cost me $1100 and at that price, I outbid one of my Browning collector friends at auction.


What the? $1,100 for any Midas? When? 1988?

Yes, I'm insanely jealous :mrgreen:

Thanks!
Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 1:09 am 
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Being the owner of a JP Bailly engraved B125 and a ? engraved B25 B1 (the one with the Roses in the centre of a scroll surround) I am entranced by the sheer skill of these engravers. Every gun is a unique work of art. Imagine sitting in the engraving room and listening to the unending tap, tap, tap, with the occasional "Merde!!!" thrown in!

The B15 engraving I have seen is the "Green Man" style, it's very ornate.


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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 8:40 am 
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Dave, the 32" Midas Trap was a neglected orphan with a very bad three piece stock and perfect original beavertail forend, purchased at a Baltimore antique auction. The receiver was a bit pitted and some gold had escaped. Thierry Duguet in Charlottesville, VA restored and reengraved the receiver, replacing the missing gold lines. A piece of English from Pete Hiatt was used for the restock, done in a very conservative style, with a double circle original horn buttplate. Greg Wolf from Maryland did the stock and matched it perfectly with the original forend, bill about $1000. Greg's body putty model stock was so perfect, he would not return it to me or sell it to me. Pete didn't like the wonderful wood so I paid him about $125 for it at a Vegas Winter show, and still have a buttstock left from the blank. Thierry's bill was $700 and included a full metal refinish and engraving restoration. The barrels and bores did not need attention. I bought about five double circle horn buttplates before I found a perfect one 5 3/4" long. I'm probably out about ten bucks for that. The gun is 1934 documented to a New Jersey shooter, the original purchaser, and had the initials of a Maryland shooter on the top tang, whose grand nephew I shoot with in our pigeon club. It is probably the most satisfying restoration I have ever been involved with. I'm into this great gun less than $3000 if you don't count the gas used visiting the participating gunsmiths, and the Vegas trip. Pete mailed the blank to me with my address felt tipped on the wood, without a wrapper or box! Too much story here, but I hope you enjoyed it.


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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 9:22 am 
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'Lowgun', Great story! Thanks for sharing it. I am familiar with the struggles and rewards associated with some restoration projects.

The engraving on the B15 is no-doubt subject to individual taste. I do NOT care for the forearm profile and faux 3-piece! It is dreadfully unappealing a ruins the whole gun.

I know one example is signed 'M.DERWA'.

The engraver in the JMB Collection video is Gwenda Lieben.


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 Post subject: Re: Pictures-Discussion - Engraved Superposed & Other Browni
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 8:21 am 
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lowgun wrote:
It is probably the most satisfying restoration I have ever been involved with. I'm into this great gun less than $3000 if you don't count the gas used visiting the participating gunsmiths, and the Vegas trip. Pete mailed the blank to me with my address felt tipped on the wood, without a wrapper or box! Too much story here, but I hope you enjoyed it.


Heck yes, I enjoyed it very much! I love a gun with a story, which is probably I've bought so few new guns.

To follow up on that 20 gauge Super that started this conversation ... I put a box of shells through the gun at our camp this weekend, and it's simply wonderful to shoot. It's just such a joy when form and function come in the same package. Alas, it's not a joy that I'm now selling my other 20 gauge Super, but I just can't justify keeping both.

Oh, Lowgun, if you want to dump that Midas for $3,000, just let me know =)

Thanks!
Dave



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