Shining a light on Winchester flashlights
This article let's discuss Winchester flashlights, a typical low end collectible from this company. That simply means any of us can afford to collect these. More about value later on. According to my resource for this week's information, "Standard Catalog of Winchester," their flashlights have outstanding features. Some include one-piece lens cap, coarse pitched threads on lens cap and base cap which prevented the usual stripping of threads, thus making the item easier to use. All Winchester flashlights have a patented switch. Their nickel-plated cases were made of heavy brass, which held up to hard use. Their fiber cases were constructed of genuine vulcanized fiber free seams. Lastly, all flashlights included some type of case or box and a Mazda bulb. Batteries were not included. Even back then, they were sold separately. Sound familiar?
It's important to know Winchester made a multitude of flashlights for the public's use. As with most collectibles, certain styles demand more money. Here's a listing of most of their models. Keep in mind, a written resource will be necessary to see and understand the differences of these designs. Models included, three cell searchlight with focus, (two different styles), three cell searchlight, three cell miner's, standard three cell, two cell focusing, two cell searchlight, two cell miner's and standard two cell flashlight. Getting to know these different models isn't difficult with proper references.
Let's discuss value. I quickly checked eBay under Winchester flashlights and there were less than one hundred listed. In fact, less than half were vintage with collectible value. Initially, you may think that is good news, but not really. Earlier I stated most anyone can collect Winchester flashlights, and that's true. Today's prices reflect you can purchase most of their lights for $5 to $25 each. There are exceptions. For example, find a Winchester flashlight in a metal case in super condition and the books state a value of $225. Interesting to me as I searched written values in the "Standard Catalog of Winchester" almost without exception, they were inflated when compared to actual prices being paid on eBay. Here's my point. Always be disciplined in your purchases and you will rarely over pay. Check eBay as those prices are being realized, not "pie in the sky" figures noted in some book.
In regards to eBay, I have noticed some sellers have listed ridiculously high prices. Often the very same flashlight at the very same time on eBay can be offered at two drastically different prices. Check every source you can before spending your money. If selling, do the same to insure you receive a fair price for your collectable. One other danger of bidding on eBay involves friends "bidding up" their buddies' item in an attempt to receive the highest possible price. That is illegal and eBay continues to monitor that nasty habit of some sellers. Again, your best bet against such behavior is to be an informed buyer or seller.
A quick note on our last article referencing Winchester Model 94, lever action 30-30 rifles. I received a contact from one of our readers regarding their Model 94. Remember, I stated price values in the article were for the standard model. They gave a serial number and I found it to be made in 1905. Yes, their rifle is 105 years old. It gets better. I was informed the gun had a 26" octagon barrel. The lesson here is quite basic. That Model 94 is worth much more than the value I offered because of its unique design. I share this because it clearly illustrates certain features dramatically affect value. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.