Rare & Collectable Bren Ten For Sale?
Earlier this summer (2005) a debate began on the BREN-TEN.com Forum concerning the sale of a collection of Bren Ten pistols
which were being listed on a number of internet auction/sale sites. One of the guns was a Jeff Cooper Initial Issue Commemorative
(JCC). Apparently an individual interested in the gun contacted the seller and it was realized that the serial number on this
gun matched the gun presented to Col. Jeff Cooper by Dornaus & Dixon. Immediately the listings for this particular Bren changed
stating that this was in fact Col. Cooper’s own personal JCC and the price was raised to a staggering $20,000 (which
has since been dropped a number of times and was last listed with an opening bid of $6,400 I believe). In the ensuing forum
discussion a number of individuals (myself included) closely examined the pictures and other information listed by the seller
and came to the conclusion that this was not Col. Cooper's personal JCC.
I do not personally know the seller of this gun and have no financial interest in the sale one way or the other. I do, however,
feel compelled to share details of the above mentioned discussion. The primary reason for this is that the listings for this
gun uses the BREN-TEN.com website as verification for the seller's claim that this gun was Col. Cooper's own JCC. I
wish to be very clear in that BREN-TEN.com is not in any way a party to the sale of this firearm!
Below you will find pictures and details that have convinced me that this gun is not authentic. Please read the information
and view the pictures carefully and then make your own conclusion.
The Real Deal Or A Clever Copy?
The pictures posted by the seller shows what appears to be a very attractive Bren Ten Jeff Cooper Initial Issue Commemorative
(JCC). The serial number is clearly visible in one of the pictures and is listed as "83JC00060." As many Bren collectors know,
JCC #83JC00060 was the gun presented to Col. This would seem to indicate that the seller has come into possession of Col.
Cooper's personal JCC, but there are a number of important facts to consider first.
To begin with, the seller states in his own listing that he's had this gun, along with the other Brens in his collection,
for 15 years. We have, however, pictures of Col. Cooper's personal JCC (serial number 83JC00060) when it was at Gunsite for
maintenance/repairs just a couple years ago. Also, it has been brought to my attention that there was a televised interview
with Col. Cooper just last year (2004) that clearly showed his JCC sitting on his mantlepiece. I don't see how the seller
could have owned Col. Cooper's personal JCC for the past 15 years when it was in Col. Coopers possession at least until last
Below are a number of photographic comparisons of both guns. The left picture in each comparison is of Col. Cooper's personal
JCC, taken when the gun was at Gunsite. The pictures on the right are the images the seller has posted in his Gunbroker.com
listing. Please examing the pictures carefully.
In Picture One I have tried to get a decent shot of the actual serial number. Both pictures are far from perfect, but I think
it can be safely said that both guns wear the same 83JC00060 serial number. This would lead the casual observer to believe
that they are in fact the same gun. Further examination reveals some very interesting differences however.
Picture Two shows a closeup of the frame and slide controls. In the Gunsite picture on the left you will note that the slide
release and thumb safety are hard chromed, and the crossbolt safety is blued. In the seller's picture on the right all three
of these controls are gold plated. Of course it would have been easy to have these controls gold plated at a later date, but
if you look at the next two pictures there are somethings that just can't be changed.
This is where things get very interesting. Look closely at the size and spacing of the gold inlay on the right side of the
1) Examine the size of the scrollwork under the ejection port and how far it extends in front of the ejection port. Note that
in the Gunsite picture the scrollwork is larger and extends quite a ways forward of the ejection port while in the seller's
picture it stops almost even with the forward edge of the ejection port.
2) Compare the size of the "BREN TEN" inlay at the front of the slide. In the Gunsite picture the words "BREN TEN" are visibly
larger and extend all the way back to where it is almost even with the forward edge of the dust cover. On the seller's gun
the "BREN TEN" doesn't take up nearly as much space.
3) Look at the "Cal. 10mm Auto" that lays between the scrollwork and the "BREN TEN." In the Gunsite picture it is much larger
and almost completely fills the space between the scrollwork and the "BREN TEN." On the seller's gun the text is much smaller
and again leaves much, much more space between the other gold inlays.
These are not just subtle differences. On the contrary they are quite obvious. Additionally, it is impossible to change the
size and spacing of the gold inlays. Even if it was possible, why would you do it?
In this final picture is another example of the differences in the gold inlay work on the slide. The quality of the pictures
is a bit lacking since I had to enlarge both pictures to focus on the point in question, but I think you'll agree that the
differences are quite obvious. In the Gunsite picture on the left the end of the word "Commemorative" ends just
shy of the back edge of the slide release leaving a good size space of blank slide before the serrations. In the seller's
picture the end of the word "Commemorative" ends farther back, almost even with the forward edge of the thumb safety
and consequently leaving a much smaller space before the serrations. Again, this is something that simply cannot be altered.
Considering the claims of the date of ownership and the photographic evidence I can only conclude that the JCC 83JC00060 currently
listed for sale IS NOT Col. Cooper's personal JCC.
Personally, I do not believe that the seller of this gun was intentionally trying to mislead anyone when information concerning
the serial number first came to light. I have, however, emailed the seller and notified him of both the facts and my conclusions
and he has neither contacted me or altered his claims. This, in conjunction with the fact that the seller is using this website
as a means to back up his claim, has prompted me to publish the above information.
So Where Did It Come From?
Obviously two guns, apparently the same model made by the same manufacturer, cannot have the same serial number. The question
then becomes, "So where did the second gun come from?"
Those who are knowledgable about the Bren Ten story are familiar with the term "back door guns." These are Bren Tens that
have been assembled from parts that were either stolen from the Dornaus & Dixon plant, or purchased at the bankruptcy sale
following the company's closing. A number of these guns have apparently been assembled and subsequently sold, but due to D&D's
policy on the use of serial numbers and the lack of records identifying which serial numbers were used, it has been difficult
to prove which guns are legitimate and which are "back door guns." This is more than just an annoyance to the collector because
most of the parts used to assemble these "back door guns" were originally rejected at the factory due to safety concerns.
In other words, the unsuspecting owner of one of these guns may end up with a gun that is potentially dangerous if he decides
to fire it.
So How Do You Know The Real Thing?
Confirming the authenticity of collectable guns is not always an easy thing to accomplish. If it were then there would be
no such thing as a counterfeit! In the case of this particular gun there is one way to ultimately determine whether or not
it's the "real deal." This is obtain confirmation from Col. Cooper himself and see if he has in fact sold the gun. If he has
then subsequent owners should not be difficult to document.
In fact, anyone purchasing any collectable such as this should require documentation proving beyond all doubt that any claims
made are accurate and up to date. It is the seller's responsibility to provide such proof, but it is also the potential buyer's
responsibility to demand it.
Below are the full-size pictures that I took the close ups from. The first two are the pictures of the real Cooper JCC when
it was at Gunsite. The rest of the pictures are from the seller's Gunbroker.com auction.