Matebas are not typically guns you'll run into at your local gun shop every day. I visit several in town frequently, and have never come across one. I've put together some tips for finding one of these collectible and fascinating guns.
The most common Mateba you'll find is the 6 Unica Autorevolver. I've heard that 1600 were imported during their 7-year production span, although that number seems low to me. In any event, you are most likely to encounter a blue Mateba 6 Unica in .357 magnum with the 6" barrel, I've observed, from watching the market.
The rarest Unica variations seem to be the nickel plated ones of any caliber. The rarest caliber is .454 Casull. Also rare are the carbine versions, known as Grifones.
Click the image to see today's Google search results!
Your best bet for finding a 6 Unica is probably the gun auction site Gunbroker. Fortunately, the name Mateba is unique in its own right, so searching for them is easy. Just remind yourself to search once a day, and you will probably come across one within a couple months. You can also take advantage of Google's powerful search capabilities. Search "wts mateba" or "fs mateba" (standing for "want to sell" and "for sale," respectively) and select to search Discussions, and "From the last week." This will give you newer postings to classifieds sections on gun forums across the internet.
Another helpful search tool is Elite Deal Seeker, which lets you search multiple gun forums simultaneously.
Other Mateba branded guns are almost impossible to find. There were only 10 MTR-8s, 10 MT1s, and 0 (yes, zero) 2006Ms imported to the United States. As such, it is quite difficult to establish a value for the guns.
• An MTR-8 carbine located in Switzerland, without the stock, sold in March 2012 on Gunbroker for over $5000, including import fees.
• Another MTR-8 carbine located in Switzerland, without the stock, sold in May 2012 on Gunbroker for over $3000, including import fees.
• An MTR-8 handgun sold on Gunbroker in late March for $4000. Another listed was sold within an hour for the Buy It Now price of $4000.
I believe the MTR-8 should go for north of $4000 and the MT1 for between $1500 and $2000. In Europe, 2006Ms sell for the low $1000s.
Fortunately, Ghisoni's last design was picked up by the Chiappa family in Italy. The Chiappa Rhino is currently in production. While still somewhat scarce, the gun auction site Gunbroker typically has several for sale at once. To make sure you don't overpay, I advise looking at completed auctions and then sorting the results by bids. That way, you can see what people are actually paying for the guns.
Recently, they have been around $700 for the Rhino 200DS and $800+ for the longer barreled versions.
I would like to establish an owner's club and possibly a discussion forum on this site that might help others get in touch with collectors willing to part with theirs.
If you currently own any Mateba model, please email me with your city of residence (even in another country), type of Mateba, and as much of the serial number as you're willing to provide. If it's a 6 Unica, I'd like to know the caliber and barrel length(s) you have.
Be sure to check out the Owners' Club page to see who's already submitted their info!