Ten Rules for Collecting

These are not original, not any of them. But they are wisdom passed down from generations of collectors before us. And almost every collector has a story to go with each one. These are specifically aimed at gun collectors, but they’re general enough that they’ll work for whatever you collect, whether it’s Spiderman comics, barbed wire, or cats.

Wait, not cats.

1: Some Day Your Item Will Be Sold Again

Perhaps you will sell it to deal with a financial calamity, like your daughter being accepted to college. Or a sixteen-count Federal indictment. You never know what the future holds. Moreover, if you keep eating red meat (or anything else) and breathing oxygen, one of these days you’re going to up and die. (Sorry to break it to you). What then?

You should probably think, before you buy, about the potential circumstances in which you will sell, and plan accordingly. The default option, “Let my heirs sort it out, it won’t be my problem,” does not do those heirs any favors. Most of them will cut some deal with a dealer and your collection will be dispersed for 30¢ on the dollar, if that. Set it up so the heirs get as much of the whole dollar as possible, and they can spend it on whatever silly $#!+ they collect! Or donate it to a museum, but if you do that, you’d better know that the museum might want a piece or two but will just auction your stuff to get cash to buy whatever the curator’s priority is.

Collection entropy. It happens. You can’t prevent it.

2: Buy the Book Before You Buy the Item

This is old, old, old advice, and almost everyone has a story. “I thought this was incredibly rare, and then I got Roger Kaputnik’s book where I learned that all 600,000 produced, minus the one in the Royal Museum of Ruritania, were imported to the USA by Val Forgett in 1966. After that, I started seeing them in every shop in Podunk for half what I paid.”

That’s why gun collectors say, “Buy the book before you buy the gun.” It’s not just gun collectors. Every serious car collector looking for a Shelby Cobra has the SAAC book that documents, to the extent possible, the provenance and disposition of every chassis by CSX Number. This protects you against fakes, misrepresentations, and (most common problem) your own errors. Buy the book. It armors you with knowledge. Books aren’t perfect, but there’s stuff in that book you’ll never learn without it. Learn from the other guy’s mistakes!

3: Rarity has no Direct Effect on Price

Something could be the only one made, or the only one surviving, and yet nobody cares, or almost nobody. We watched one of the rarest and most historic rifles in existence expire, and get re-listed, for over a year on GunBroker — before we finally up and bought it. And as far as we know, nobody else was even following it. The gun was a survivor of only a few thousand made, ages and ages ago. We didn’t snap it up right away because, like the French knights’ master, we already had one. Finally we gave in to the impulse to corner the market, kind of like the Hunt Brothers but in a much smaller pond. That doesn’t mean our two ultra-rare rifles just got more valuable. It just meant we have two examples right here to write about, and whoever liquidates our collection has double the rare-Brno-rifle headaches.

Meanwhile, have you seen prices on GI 1911A1s lately, or M1 Carbines? A beater GI M1 Carbine, which was produced in a quantity of over 6 million, is worth over double the value of the above-mentioned extremely rare rifle, of which around 1000 times fewer were made, and which seems to have had a much lower survival rate than the common Carbine. And the Carbine will almost certainly appreciate (although that appreciation will have its limits).

Rarity does affect supply, but that’s only one side of the equation. The rarity of Colt Walker revolvers only adds up to headlining auction numbers because of the firearm’s historical importance and high collector demand. For all we know, Italian Rigarmi .25s may be nearly as rare as Walkers, but as a crummy, derivative gun from a forgotten company in a secondary gun-manufacturing country, they’re functionally orphans. We’ll give you a Rigarmi for a case of beer — and you can owe us the beer.

Here’s a very direct example of how rarity does not impact price. If you were to machine, yourself, a steel copy of an M1 Carbine receiver, engrave your own name and “Serial Nº 1” on it, and build it up with available parts, you would have the only one of its kind. But people want an Inland, ideally one that is documented to have hit the beach on D-Day, but remains in new condition (yes, those are contradictory objectives. That’s collectors for you). They will pay much more for the Inland than they will for your copy, even if you spent 10,000 hours making it, and even if it is machined and finished far better than anything produced during the war.

(Incidentally, this example also proves the untruth of Karl Marx’s Labor Theory of Value, the principle on which the whole monstrous lie that is Marxian economics stands).

4: Highest Price, Highest Appreciation

A rising tide lifts all boats, perhaps, but if you want to appreciate faster than average, you need pieces that are higher quality than average — which means, they are already higher priced than average.

This also means that the value of these high-flyers will take the greatest hit in a market downturn; but that’s temporary. Over time, the most in-demand pieces (Winchesters, Colts, Lugers, that original FG-42 that went for nearly $300k) will outpace the general market consistently.

5: Junk Just Becomes Old Junk

And popularity gets magnified. While some things are so rare and historic that even beater-condition examples are valuable, that’s not the house bet. If it was el cheapo crap when it was new, it may be an interesting way to have a collection of cheap crap culture of the period, but there’s just never going to be that much interest in no-name spur-hammer .22 short revolvers of the 1870s, or crummy Spanish, Italian and Belgian.25s of the 1945-68 era. You can call your junk “vintage” if it amuses you to do so, but when you go to sell it, it will bring junk prices. Unless you sell it on a street corner in the Engelwood section of Chicago, which we don’t recommend for health reasons.

6: Buy the Piece, Not the Patter

Every gun comes with a story. But absent proof of provenance, it’s just a story. Some dealers are extremely skilled at selling you the sizzle, but all that you will have when you open the package is the steak… and if you aren’t a similarly skilled purveyor of sizzle, you won’t be able to pull off the same stunt. (Even be careful of provenance documents. We’ve observed computer-faked Colt and S&W letters, and there’s some jerk out there that’s used one CMP document to “authenticate” dozens of inauthentic M1 Rifles with the help of some digital Wite-Out. See Rule #9).

7: “Instant Collectibles” — Usually Aren’t

Things that are manufactured and sold, new, in large quantities, as collectibles? Like Franklin Mint, American Historical Foundation, various gaudy el cheapo commemoratives, those kinds of collectibles? Well, they aren’t, much. There are a few exceptions in commemorative or limited-run guns by makers that make proportionately few limited-run guns. If an outfit’s business is commemorative-heavy, it’s selling sizzle and not steak.

8: Don’t Let Yourself be Rushed

There are a very few items that exist in single digits, and a very, very few deals that will never be equalled. Don’t let yourself be rushed into something prematurely. Remember that the “higher price later” will probably just reflect general inflation, and may even be short of that. It will almost certainly be short of what your money will make in an index fund in the same period. Being able and willing to walk away from a piece puts you in charge. Make Je ne regrette rien your motto, when the Deal Of The Century scoots away from you. There are other days and other deals.

9: Not Everyone is as Honest as You Are

This is a painful lesson to learn, but we’ve found that there are two reasons a piece might be misrepresented: the seller doesn’t know his representation is incorrect (a real possibility; maybe he didn’t buy the book); or, the seller does know his representation is incorrect. A seller misrepresenting one gun may be making a mistake; a seller misrepresenting many guns, whether he does so in series or in parallel, is a different thing entirely. Most sales take place on an as-is basis, and the buyer has no recourse. The seller will always deny any intent to deceive, and he may be telling the truth, or think he is. (Some of these guys are so bent, they deceive themselves). If you suspect someone is this kind of guy, look over his return policy (3 days if the firearm is unfired and unmolested, no other questions asked, buyer pays shipping back, is fairly standard; deviations from this against the seller’s interest should be a caution signal). But as a buyer, you have the right not to do business with anyone (as a seller, likewise). It’s a right well exercised.

10: It’s Not an Investment

We can’t hammer this enough. While this is a great fiction to tell yourself (or your wife, or in one case we know about, husband), as an investment collector anything is speculative, risky, and almost certain to lag the stock indices.

That said, it does have a purpose for some people. Just as equity in a home is some people’s only savings — savings because it has been forced upon them — for some people, the only store of wealth they have is in their firearms. Firearms are always convertible to cash, unlike most other collectible items.

Bonus: In the End, You Do this for Entertainment

Don’t take it too seriously, don’t expect too much of it, don’t be freaked when others in your life don’t understand. You’re doing this for your own entertainment and education, and the only one you have to please, as long as you keep the obsession short of 12-step-program levels, is yourself.

You do keep the obsession short of 12-step-program levels, don’t you?

63 thoughts on “Ten Rules for Collecting

  1. TRX

    > Shelby Cobra … fakes, misrepresentations

    Yeah… kindasorta. But you have to make your own stand on what a “Shelby Cobra” is. There were AC 428s and Frua Cobras, which were made by AC Cars, who made the original rolling chassis for Shelby. There were the several “continuation” Cobras by various manufacturers. And there were some fiberglass kit cars that Shelby sold CSX VIN numbers to and asserted they were the Real Thing. And the “lost Cobras,” by golly a bunch of chassis out in a field, forgotten and rediscovered, or at least that was what Shelby claimed when the CA DOT started talking about fraud. And then there were the 289 Cobras that were updated to 428 spec by the factory, and…

    I haven’t followed Cobras in a long time, so there are probably ones I missed. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some “Ferrari Effect” Cobras out there. It’s an old exotic-car joke – you wreck a valuable-enough car badly enough, you have someone make all the new parts from scratch. And then someone will take all the bent parts, hammer them back into shape, and build the missing bits. And then you have *two* Ferraris with the same VIN number, reproduced by something like fission.

    – TRX (former Shelby aficionado)

  2. SPEMack

    Did you,just reference gas station pizza in comparison to your collection of Chezch firearms?

  3. Haxo Angmark

    collectors are fundamentally insecure people. The more of anything they collect, the more intense the root insecurities. No one needs more guns than they can fire at the same time.

    1. John M.

      Who said anything about “need”? Collecting is all about the wantz.

      -John M.

    2. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

      I’d like to see you compete in trap, skeet, rimfire bullseye, centerfire pistol, high power rifle and F-class, all with the same gun. That’d be a neat trick.

      1. redc1c4

        i could do that…

        i might not be competitive, and the various range masters, et al might have a “Crazy Kat Lady” stater kit of kittens over me doing so, but hey, i was in the CA ARNG for over 20 years: doing the impossible with the wrong equipment WAS my j*b description.

        it’s also just one of the many reasons i retired as a SP4/SPC with 19 years, 11 months TIG.

      2. Sommerbiwak

        Don’t forget the battery of rifles for hunting. That can easily be a dozen only covering the bases. If you plan on making hunting trips around the world, that number easily doubles to adjust for local conditions of laws, geography, climate and game available.

        OTOH in Europe you are mostly fine in most hunting situations with a Mauser98 in 6,5; 7 or 8 mm and a shotgun. ;-)

        But those purdy combination guns…

        1. Steve M.


          Are you referring to actual hunting?

          You see, I tend to use hunting as an excuse to acquire more rifles. I have several fantastic “deer” rifles yet they haven’t really been in the woods to hunt. Yet, at the same time I find myself still looking for another fantastic “deer” rifle.

      3. Hognose Post author

        The Army has no problem writing specifications like that. On paper, the M14 Rifle replaced the M1 Rifle, M1 Carbine, M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle, .45 M3A1 Submachine Gun, and some M1919A6 Light Machine Guns. It was a decent replacement for only one of those, the M1 Rifle, and a poor to appallingly bad replacement for the rest. (The Grease Guns survived into this century).

    3. redc1c4

      There was a scientific, peer reviewed, study to determine exactly how many firearms any one person should own.

      after all the data was collected, all the interviews completed and all the numbers crunched, the definitive, scientifically irrefutable answer was published.

      “one more”

      you’re welcome. ;-)

      1. John D

        It’s a scientifically proven fact that “one more” can cause immediate and severe global warming from the wife unit.

        1. McThag

          But dear, we don’t have any guns…

          One is none.
          Two is one, which is none.
          Three is just one (none) plus two (which is one, which is none), thus none.
          Four is just two (none) times two (none) so again none…

          Nothing to see here.

    4. Loren

      I had an Australian cop say the same thing to me.
      Go fuck yourself didn’t seem to be the response he was looking for.
      Guns are like money. If you know how many you have, you don’t have enough.

    5. John Distai

      You found me out! I have a bunch of model train engines because I’m insecure, not because I think it would be neat and relaxing to watch (what I consider to be…) artistic pieces moving across pleasant looking landscapes.

      The Jews made me buy them!

        1. Haxo Angmark

          I believe this was my best Socratic troll ever: no less than 12 replies to an absurd remark. I myself have 3 guns, though one is broke and probably shouldn’t count.

  4. John Spears

    The only substitute for knowledge is money. If it’s too good to be true, it is. If you can’t sell it tomorrow for what you paid for it, don’t buy it. I got a hundred of them…..

  5. Matt

    A corrolary; just because people are asking a price for something, doesn’t mean it will sell to anyone for that much.

    Like our blogger’s rifle, the price is just what one person thinks it’s worth. You have to find someone else who agrees to realize that price.

    I’ve seen many Colt Commando 4 inch .38s on GB for more than 1k. Not many 2 inchers like mine, but for one that keeps relisting for a 1500 reserve. I’ve been told that’s what mine is worth, but no one seems willing to pay that, so I’ll keep holding onto it for now, even though I paid significantly less.

    Unless there’s an interested buyer here…

    1. John Distai

      My dad collected horses. Purebred Arabians. For whatever reason, he thought they were worth $30k each due to their “bloodlines”. He tried to sell some for that, and wouldn’t you know, no buyers. It was delusional.

      Thankfully, as a young adult I found “The Mike Rosen Show” (and Tom Martino) on the Denver talk stations. Mr. Rosen’s show instructed the unwashed such as myself on the principles of economics. Something only has worth when someone is willing to buy it, and there is always a market clearing price. Sometimes that’s “0”. Very thankfully, Mr. Rosen helped me see through those delusions.

      Those nags my dad burdened us with probably worth $1500 each. Maybe $2k if he groomed them and treated them decently. If he’d known some accounting, and wasn’t crazy, he’d see they were tremendous “liabilities”, and not “assets”.

      Thank goodness for my other “teachers”.

  6. Ti

    As a participant of GB and GA, I’ve been really lucky. On the good side of the bell curve with sellers.
    I’m more of a buy it now guy if I WANT THIS or come in at the very end ala ebay ‘sniper’ for everything else.


    So….are we gonna find out the identity of the two rare and historic mystery guns at some point? A post about them perhaps? Enquiring minds etc etc…

  8. 10x25mm

    Yes….. I want to know if Hognose is bidding against me on Holek sporting rifles…..

    1. Hognose Post author

      That may happen after I finish the pistols book, but right now, I’m only casually picking up rifles. If you have some good stuff I may want to photograph it then.

      ETA: lots of interesting Holek and Koucky pieces hitting the auctions over the last 2-3 years though, including rare prototypes, haven’t there been?

  9. raven

    And be wary of collecting items the state may declare contraband so as to destroy the free market value and/or ease of sale. We used to have one of the best gun shows around in WA state, the Washington Arms Collectors. Some dealers, but mostly a huge base of private club members who would trade, buy and sell pieces from their collections. The club was set up so only sales to members were allowed, actually that was much more restrictive than state law at the time. And every member went through a background check as well. So although it was freewheeling, the pool of people buying and selling were very well vetted. Then the state insisted on every person having a record of sales and collecting tax. Then the I 594 passed forcing everyone to go through the dealer paperwork. And the private owner sales sort of faded. Gun owners, for some odd reason, have become slightly paranoid after thirty or forty years of ceaseless demonization, and are somewhat reluctant to bare all to the state.

    1. James F.

      The collection below was seized by Kamala Harris’s men under California’s creepy mental health laws, whereby if you can be shown to have sought help from a shrink, or if your disability pension mentions “stress”.

      The good news is the family’s lawyers got them back. Link to stoyin nick.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Further good news: a very small cultural win. The reporter itemized the guns seized… including the “standard capacity” magazines.

    2. John Distai

      Crap like this is yet another reason why I don’t collect the items subject to this blog.

  10. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

    Some rules I’ve learned in collecting casually:

    1. Quality arms hold their value better than most scarcely produced guns. Counterfeiting a rare gun is often easier than counterfeiting a high-quality gun. eg, you can counterfeit a scarcely-produced Luger more easily than you’re going to counterfeit a Parker Grade 8. To counterfeit a Grade 8 Parker, you’re going to have to put in some real work, and display a mastery of skills that could make you real money in the legit custom gun market.

    2. Quality guns, cared for well, hold their value better than most lower-quality examples of the same gun in pristine condition. Look through the Blue Book to see the evidence of this.

    3. Quality guns aren’t as much an investment as they are a store of value – much like precious coins, stones, etc. They’re portable, have an intrinsic value of their own (as well as a utility should the crap hit the fan) . The problem in collecting high-value guns is that, like certain pieces of real estate, collectable farm equipment, specialized machinery, rare coins, arts, etc – you have to wait for the right buyer to come along. Heirs and people handling your estate should be educated as such, and be directed towards putting quality guns up for auction with the types of auctioneers who handle quality guns. The local auctioneers around this neck of the woods don’t know anything more about guns (and often know much less) than what they read in the Blue Book. I’m sure it is the same for most estate auctioneers around the country – they’re just salesmen who talk real fast – they really don’t know jack about what they’re selling.

    In one recent estate auction, I had to use the restroom an an inconvenient time, and a Winchester Model 70 in .220 Swift went up on the block. It sold for $1600 – a pre-war, Model 70, with the wedding ring, in probably 95% condition. The kid who bought it had no idea of the actual value – he just thought he was buying a prairie dog rifle. I caught him in the parking lot about an hour later, and offered to buy it from him right there for $2K, but someone else had gotten to him first and explained that he basically won a lottery ticket and to not turn loose of it for less than $3K. I could of hand a screaming deal on a rare-ish rifle right there – if not for the exigency of relieving myself. Still, I was furious with the auctioneer for costing the deceased man’s wife some real cash in his lowballing of this rifle, and I mentioned this to him later that day. He just offered some lame excuse – “the market is the market,” and I told him he was screwing his client(s) with that attitude.

    Don’t let your heirs sell your collection by using lazy, low-IQ auctioneers. Just don’t. Let the local auctioneers sell the kerosene lamps, horseshoe bric-a-brac and rocking chairs. Get a pro to sell your high-value guns.

    1. Sommerbiwak

      Not only firearms. Same goes for cars, artwork, stamp collection, porcelain…

      And really in the age of web auctions, wouldn’t it be better to hand off these valuables to specialized auction houses that attract the right kind of buyers in the first place?

  11. Alan Ward

    A Guy de Lombaird reference…..how scintillating.
    Your mother was a hamster…

    At its root collecting anything is really about an innate human desire for things that fit in each of our comfort zones.

  12. redc1c4

    we “collect”, for various values of that term, interesting or different firearms, often by accident, at least at the start.

    they may not be “valuable” in $$ terms, but we are, as best we can, preserving history, by purchasing “bring back” trophies, which will, as time permits, be forwarded to a museum that wants them for the firearm itself, and it’s history, as it relates to the museum.

    i have a fair number of Mauser variants that are rack grade, but that’s just because i think they’re “kewl” and they are affordable and fun to shoot.
    as functional weapons, they will be useful long after i’m gone.

    another subset is “SoCal” firearms, relating to precursors and predecessors to Federal Ordnance & Briklee Trading Company of the 80’s & 90s… not because they are valuable intrinsically, although the AR Sales M1A might be, but because, as SoCal natives ourselves, it’s nice to preserve the history of when #Failifornia was not a fascist “gun free zone”…

    see link in my nick

    1. Hognose Post author

      I’m old enough to remember when California music meant sunshine from the beach, not nihilism from Compton, and when California industry produced jets and Apollo capsules, not crony-capitalist green energy rackets and Orwellian data collectors.

  13. LSWCHP

    I have a dozen guns, which is a pretty substantial collection in Australian terms, but I see myself as a shooter, not a collector. I have seven long guns, all but one of which have taken game in the last year or so.

    I just checked my reloading and shooting logs, and I directed a little over 5500 rounds at paper targets and game last year, mostly .38 Special and 9mm on paper. I guess I’d have more guns if I could (a FAL would be nice, and an AR and an M-14), but our laws really don’t allow it.

    1. TRX

      I seem to acquire guns, but they’re all shooters, not collectibles.

      Despite my packrat tendencies I seem to have missed the collector gene. I love 1911s, but having someone go on and on about the different rollmarks of their collection makes my eyes cross. The information that one is an incredibly rare variant with the serial number 1/16″ forward of normal and Ed’s inspector stamp instead of Bob’s just doesn’t thrill me a bit…

  14. Aesop

    1) It’s not a collection, it’s an armory.
    I buy to shoot, or need/want to shoot, not fondle and polish and wax.
    If I wanted something that needed endless attention with minimal payout and a high probability of someone else taking it over, I’d just get married again.

    2) Five seconds after I’m room temperature, it’s someone else’s problem.
    No, really.
    If you’re worried about that for more than two seconds, put it in the will.

    3) Auctioneers are about as bright as Uber drivers, on average.
    You want the best, go with the best. Pay Bozo commissions, get clown shoes on auction day.
    Oh, and gravity works too.

    4) A good neighborhood brick-and-mortar gun store is more a lending library than a commercial establishment, as anyone in the business will tell you. Classic example was a really nice Parker/Hale boltie in .30-06, that started with a company 1st’s personal arms rack in Mainz, came home with SP4 Baby Brother, then has rotated through, at last count, three or four local hunters, in their turn, and garnered a number of deer to each of them, in various seasons. It’ll be back on the rack again for the next trip through the own-to-rent cycle, any day now.
    There’s no need to collect, when it’s more a pile of matchsticks or pennies at the neighborhood poker game, which just get traded, never counted and cashed in.

    1. Steve M.


      It is true. The local dealer has buyers and renters. The renters create the best deals when they buy a new rifle and sell it two months later with a scope, mounts, extra mag etc.

      If you watch the guns, some are in an almost continuous cycle of being bought and sold at the same dealer. That is until they find their “forever” home.

      1. John Distai

        This is interesting. Are you referring to the guys who say… “oh, I had a .270…I wanted to hunt elk though, and that just wouldn’t do it. I traded it for a 7mm mag. That 7 mag is a flat shooter, and drops those elk DRT!”

        Is this what you’re referring to?

        1. Steve M.

          No, I am talking about a certain group of guys that buy guns for no other reason than they wanted it at the time. Then, after owning it for a while, they sell it back to the same dealer because something else caught their eye. Usually, the guns are unfired or lightly used. My LGS has several fellows who do that. One guy, who has since died, would buy new guns, toss them in the trunk of his car for a couple of weeks and sell them back to the dealer unfired. He was older and retired. I guess it was his “thing”.

  15. robroysimmons

    Simpson Ltd. is now a 20% consignment deal, and if your descendants have to move some milsurp they might be the best choice for those of you in their area.

    Anyone needing a early 90s Chinese SKS in excellent shape head over there, they might have overpriced that one but it seems at the time of the great Hillary scare it was priced right.

  16. John D

    11. Shoot it.

    Maybe not much, but always shoot your guns.

    Bought 2 new SAA Colts in the mid seventies, thanks to the tip of the manager of a store going out of business:

    A New Frontier in .45 LC, and a standard round top in .357 for $225 each. I bought into the hype that even one shot would destroy any collector value, so they were never even cocked. Eventually sold them both at a very nice profit, but now these many years later, I could have used them as intended and still have gotten a great return.

    And don’t Elmer Keith’s old guns look fine with the patina of honest, cared for use?

  17. Klaus

    Great list Mr.Hognose. It’s unfortunate that#9 even needs to be on it but the fact remains that what ever you collect,be it firearms,bladed weapons,vintage European dirt bikes or what ever,there will always be someone lurking out there trying to rip you off. Sad but true.

    1. H

      It was the musician Ray Wylie Hubbard who wrote that there are two kinds of people in this world, the day people and the night people, and it was the night people’s job to get the day people’s money. I have found no fault in Hubbard’s assessment.

  18. Nynemillameetuh

    Re: the labor theory of value

    Wouldn’t the poor sap’s labor in Normandy imbue the firearm with value? He clearly put even more labor into keeping that M1 Carbine NIB than in dodging 7.92mm bullets.

  19. Ti

    Near my house here in CO, is apparently the finest Ferrari repair shop near or far. Can you imagine the “repairs” they’ve seen?

    Clones, beaters, run-outs, somebody else’s collection, and parts guns are for shootin’. Rembrandt doesn’t need to be tacked to a wall on the street with a box of crayons near by.

    1. Aesop

      But if a rifle or pistol was meant to be hung on the wall, I suspect the manufacturer would have put a picture hook on the side, and left out the working parts under the hood.

      If I inherit an oil-rich sheikdom, I’ll try it the other way.

      If I simply hit the powerball, I’d move residency to AZ &c., by all the Class IIIs items I could acquire, and spend the bulk of the funds on ammunition for daily fun. Artillery and crew-served weaponry lends class and elegance to what would otherwise by an undignified and boring range session.

  20. Looserounds.com

    I appreciate a good collection and collectors and the work they put into saving and cataloging historic guns or what have you.
    I am not or have I ever been a collector of guns in the traditional meaning. I accumulate guns.

    I have a shit ton, but they are all for shooting. If anything I guess I am a colt firearms accumulator., I do not have the time or money to be a collector of vintage and military M1911s even though I would if I could. I make do with the dozens of M1911s made by colt over the last 30 years. None of them rare.

    I buy what I like and mostly what has value in its ability and function as a weapon with some examples bought because I have a thing for them, like thew Type 99, or vintage Winchester target rifles.

    I don’t get the comments about the guns being some one else’s problem after death, Im taking mine with me!

    Seriously though, I have left instructions to be buried with several of my dearest ones. Not even joking

  21. JW

    Concerning #9
    A couple years ago I bought out a family friend’s estate after he passed away. So as to keep this story short, for various reasons we decided to have our own auction to rid ourselves of all the extra “stuff”. Among this “stuff” were two surplus rifles, a modified 1917 and a Franken Enfield MK4. A gentleman bought both rifles cheap with no idea as to what the history of these rifles were. I happen to run into him at a gun show a couple months down the road. Both rifles were laid out at his booth for quadruple the price he paid and actual value of the rifles. He had cleaned them up significantly though. He didn’t recognize me so I asked why these rifles were priced so high. He proceeded to tell me that these were his grandfathers rifles from WW2. The 1917 he carried and killed several Nazis with and the enfield was a souviner. To ice the cake, he then presented “documents” that proved his story. Documents were horribly fake but I guess could fool a newbie to the collector world. I told him who I was and continued to politely tell him how high on the scrotul totem pole he was. He pulled the rifles down but a friend said he had them back up next day for same price. Buyer beware!

    1. Aesop

      Only if Norma or somesuch makes brass for reloading it.

      But I would assume from the outset that the only place to keep it would be in the front yard, pointed to repel boarders, chained to buried concrete anchors, and with a painted metal sign hung across the muzzle that said “Get Off My Lawn!”

  22. redc1c4

    one last thought on what is likely a dead thread:

    certain collectables, while still functional, might be better off unfired in your possession.

    a case in point is our G-43, which actually appears, by serial number, in the book HItler’s Garands* (link in nick)

    a quick look at the bolt face and bore show that this weapon was, at best, lightly used. there’s no primer ring on the bolt face and the bore is very clean.

    yes, we have ammo for it, and sure, we could install a replacement parts kit, prior to use, to avoid damaging any of the original parts, but would that be wise?

    we’re not so much worried about “value” as we are destroying or damaging a historical artifact.

    PS: any suggestions as to a museum that might actually want this piece, and thus cherish it, as opposed to using it as a trading card, would be gratefully appreciated.

  23. James In Australia

    I personally think that if your main concern with any collection is its market value it is an investment rather than a hobby. I have a relative with a high six figure horological collection (a shared interest) , every time I see him recently he is complaining about the drop in market value of his collection, rather than telling me about a new purchase like he used to. His collection is now causing him concern rather than diversion.

    Today I purchased a rifle from a deceased estate, I paid the asking price without any quibbling (and think I got it cheap) the seller got their asking price without any hassle and my modest collection grew slightly. If I loose a portion or all of the value of that rifle when I sell it or pass away I’m not concerned in the least . The heirlooms I have I’d prefer to stay in the family when the time comes, but I dont loose sleep over it.

  24. Pingback: Tab Clearing… | Gunpon

  25. JTC

    There is some blurring of lines, but essentially collectors are consumers and investors are providers.

    As to value, my fave commentary is from an old Johnny Hart BC comic: Caveman customer asks caveman pawnbroker “what makes things valuable”? Caveman pawnbroker says “rarity”. Customer says “I’ll bet gold is number one on the list!”. Pawnbroker responds “no, kept campaign promises are number one”.

  26. Jeffersonian

    Back to item# 1. A brother of mine once asked the rest of us, that when he was gone, to not let his wife sell his collection of firearms for what he told her he paid for them. Heh.

    1. Jeffersonian

      An addition. A few years ago I bought a S&W Model 58, marked SAPD, from my brothers sporting goods store. Much later I traded it at a gun show (after offering my brother to sell it to him for what I paid) straight up for a Glock G20 with several spare mags. The buyer balked at my offer until I asked him which might increase in value after the deal.

  27. Corey

    I work part time at a Cabela’s gun library. These rules should be posted on the wall in there. Rules 2 and 5 are a daily issue with customers. Rule 10 goes something like this, customer: “Which guns are affordable now but will definitely go up in value?” Me: “If I knew the answer to that question I wouldn’t be working here.”

    Rules 2 and 9 really go together. I had a nice couple come in with a Luger they wanted appraised. The had bought it a year before from a dealer in another state who specialized in Luger’s and advised them it was a “good investment”. I had the unpleasant job of informing them that not only was the gun not even close to what the dealer had purported it to be, but even if it was exactly what he said it was they still would have overpaid by a couple thousand dollars. The took the news rather well and began asking me the questions they should have been asking before the purchase. While I couldn’t make up for what had already happened, I did my best to make sure it wouldn’t happen to them again.

    Also, many auctioneers have no business trying to deal in guns, all the other used gun dealers out there a scam artists, and the other Cabela’s stores way overpay for used guns ; ) (that last one is true BTW)

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