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Be AWARE, be VERY cautious if looking at something from a French auction house!

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Dec 30, 2004
Reaction score
New England
Recommend you really do some soul searching and wallet assessment before buying an antique fire lock from any French auction house!

I am glad I had asked 1st, because I really wanted to bid on an 'Eprouvette', which is a black powdah tester that looks like a pistol, but has in fact a little chimney instead of a barrel. Igniting the powdah forces the chimney cap to open against a ratcheted or serrated disc, that is attached to the cap. Get it? The explosion force between 2 known powder brands could be compared. Note it is only a 'relative' strength test, but I thought it would be a WAY COOL additon to my collection of oddball BP arms.

Get this ... let's presume I won it at 350 Euro or $380 plus 20% commission, 3% CC fee and the item would total $470. Onesat, the French auction house, wants an additional 575 Euro or $634 to ship it to the US! And that's only for a cardboard box of 10"x6"x3 to 4" ... and they recommend I pay extra to have them build a wooden box - yikes!

Or as my italian friends would say ... fhugghedaboutit!


I sent a $350 selfbow to a guy in Italy, shipping was $30 at the time, he told me to list the package contents as "used sporting goods", his import duty would be about the same as shipping. He said if I listed the contents as a new bow the import duty would be $600.

The bow had rattlesnake skins on it which was strictly banned from import into Italy, I told him they would confiscate the bow if they opened the package for inspection, he was willing to take the chance.

It took 6 weeks for the unopened package to get to him but it arrived undamaged in good shape.