Here are the latest items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of JWR. (SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor.) Today’s focus is on investing in High Standard pistols. (See the Tangibles Investing section, near the end of this column.)
Last Friday’s 572-point sell-off in the Dow made headlines. With higher interest rates ahead, this is probably not anywhere near the bottom.
Economy & Finance:
Reading a headline like this is troubling: Subprime Mortgages Among Fastest Growing Investments for US Banks
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The Irish Times reports: China pledges to fight ‘unilateral’ US trade tariffs ‘at any cost’. Of course what is not mentioned is that the tariffs didn’t come without provocation. Trump Administration officials have alleged that Chinese trade practices and policies have forced U.S. companies to transfer technology in order to to compete in the mainland China market. They have also pointed out that American intellectual property and patent rights have been repeatedly trampled.
By the way, I have personally been the victim of this:: There have now been more fake Chinese copies of the Rawles XL Voyager knife sold in the U.S. than there have genuine ones produced by Cold Steel. What Cold Steel produced was a genuine Limited Production knife. But what the Chinese are producing is an unlimited glut of cheap shanzai copies, with my signature on them! The Chinese government has done almost nothing to stop the flood of fake merchandise pouring out of their factories. The rapidity with which these counterfeits are produced is amazing.
Tangibles Investing (High Standard Pistols):
I’ll start this out with a little family history: The first firearm that I ever shot was a High Standard pistol, when I was eight years old. (My dad used that pistol as an ersatz trainer for the Rawles Kids, sitting between his knees. He did so because at the time he didn’t own a .22 rimfire rifle. By his own admission, that wasn’t very safe.) This pistol was a High Standard H-D Military semi-auto .22 with a 6-inch barrel. Despite the uncounted tens of thousands of rounds that had gone down the bore, it was still accurate enough for me shoot competitively when I was in college. My father had bought that gun new, with no paperwork, in 1946 at a hardware store in his home town of Oakdale, California. He was then 16 years old. That was Free California, back in The Good Old Days. Needless to say, I still have a fondness for High Standards.
The High Standard Manufacturing Company company (also known as Hi-Standard) was formed in 1932, when Carl Gustav “Gus” Swebilius bought out the Hartford Arms and Equipment Company. Swebelius was born in Västra Vingåker, Sweden, in 1879. The company is best known for their .22 autopistols, but they also made a popular .22 derringer, 9-round .22 revolvers, and some shotguns. The latter included the truly innovative High Standard 10B bullpup riotgun. In later years the company acquired AMT, and produced the much-coveted AutoMag big bore pistols.
During World War II, High Standard made more than 10,000 M2 .50 BMG machineguns under U.S. Army contract, and sold some of their .22 pistols for pistol training to several branches of the armed forces. They also developed a quite efficient suppressed variant of the HD-Military .22 LR that was used by OSS clandestine agents. (The OSS was the predecessor of the US CIA.) High Standard’s M42 UD submachinegun design (actually produced by Marlin) was also fielded by the OSS and supplied to partisans, but some of them ended up as guard guns for defense plants. Any High Standard .22 pistol that is roll-marked “U.S. Property” now commands a very high price.
After the war, High Standard continued to be a very successful maker of a wide variety of .22 LR pistols. They were best known for their target models. Most of the High Standard guns are sought-after by collectors. It is only their .22 revolvers and some of their shotguns that seem to be overlooked.
In 1993, the company’s trademark and tooling was sold to investors in Texas. Although their quality didn’t drop after acquisition, it is the pre-1993 (“Pre-Texas”) High Standard pistols that are considered the most collectible. And those that are minty examples still in their original cardboard boxes often sell for quite high prices. I believe that some of their revolvers–particularly the Sentinel models with color-anodized alloy frames–will eventually become quite collectible. For now, they are affordably priced. Take advantage of that.
One great Internet resource on these guns is John Stimson’s High Standard Data web page.
Some other good web references:
- High Standard Guns of WWII
- NRA Museum: High Standard Trophy Semi Automatic Pistol
- The History of High Standard
- Classic Guns: High Standard .22 Pistols
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