Questions about selling a gun collection


January 5, 2012, 10:49 AM
Hi everyone. I'm new here and I was wondering what peoples' experiences have been in selling a gun collection. I was put in charge of selling a fairly large collection of handguns and a few long guns and I was wondering what the best way to go about it is.
I was just looking for a few opinions about what the best way to sell a gun collection.

To a gun shop?
To an online wholesaler?

Thank you for your time. I look forward to the responses. :p

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January 5, 2012, 10:54 AM
Selling them to a local shop is going to be the easiest, but will definetly net the least money in return.

Selling to an on-line retailer (unless he is local) is not likely to net any more money, while adding the drawbacks of dealing with shipping at least and possibly transfers.

Consignment will probably net a bit more money, if the gun is popular, and still avoid having to deal with shipping and transfers.

An auction has the potential for the best return (although its not guaranteed) but if its on on-line auction that leaves you to deal with transfers and shipping.

January 5, 2012, 11:03 AM
Talk to others about the value of the firearms, or you can look on the recent for sale forums or online auctions to get an idea of the value. Read up about NRA grading.

Sales to pawns or gunstores will get you about 1/2 the value of the gun. Sales to individuals will get you around 75% the value of the gun, possibly more. Accessories will likely not be of significant value, but will help the gun sell faster.

Take photos, figure out prices, and post on sites like this.

For FTF transactions, learn the law. Can generally only sell to a resident with proof of residency to someone 18 or 21 or older. Can also sell to military members stationed in the state.

When you meet someone, pick a fairly public parking lot, such as a Walgreens that has video cameras for your safety. Some people also do a bill of sale, listing the serial number, weapon, and parties and terms.

Good luck.

January 5, 2012, 11:48 AM
If you are not familiar with the price of firearms you need to pay someone to appraise the collection. Especially a large one. Whoever does the appraisal will be able to guide you as to the best way to sell them. Some could go to an auction, some might be sold to a known collector. There are a lot of variables. Find someone reputable in your area and this will be money well spent.

January 5, 2012, 12:02 PM
If the above post isn't clear...The appraiser is NOT the guy behind the counter at the local gun store who may buy the guns.

You can go to and sign up. Then you can do a search of guns that have actually sold, that would give you a pretty good idea of value.

You could post pics on here and get a pretty good idea if they are common firearms.

Selling via the online forums or gunbroker really isn't that hard. I've found that I prefer selling stuff online to selling in person. I think you probably make a little less due to shipping, but it's less hassle for me to get to a UPS than to meet someone somewhere.

January 5, 2012, 08:46 PM
In my neck of the woods, we have some web sites that will allow you to post guns for sale, like:

There may be similar sites in your area. Too bad the commies at craigslist won't allow gun postings. As stated before, you can get an idea of what guns like yours are going for at although my experience is that a lot of guns there are offered at prices far above market. If there is a local gun shop around, you could check what they are selling for new and undercut them a bit.

January 5, 2012, 08:48 PM
Depending on the quality of the guns in question, James D. Julia and Rock Island are very good auction houses here your guns are on commission basis - both excellent ways top go to maximize your money

January 5, 2012, 08:53 PM
There is also the sale area here on THR.

January 5, 2012, 09:08 PM
Most important question, what do ya got?

January 6, 2012, 01:58 AM
It truely does depend on the size and type of the collection. Auction houses are generally your best bet if you are selling vintage firearms. If they are a bunch of milsurp AKs, you might do better on gunbroker or face to face. It truely depends on what you have, pictures would help us help you.

January 6, 2012, 08:55 AM
1) Figure out what each gun is and it's condition.

2) Figure out what each gun is worth - GunBroker completed (not active) auctions where there were bids or the firearm actually sold is a great method.

3) Figure out if there are any legal hurdles you have to deal with. Are you in a state with firearm registration? Are any of the firearms covered by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (e.g. machine gun, suppressor, short-barrel rifle, short-barrel shotgun). Are there states where the firearms may not be legal to purchase (CA has some restrictions).

Then you can worry about whether you want to sell them yourself privately, if you want to sell them to a dealer, consign them, etc.

January 6, 2012, 09:28 AM
There is also the sale area here on THR.

Get them appraised, then what he said^^^^:D

January 6, 2012, 11:06 AM
Thank you so much everyone for your help. I just got to see the collection yesterday. I've posted a few pictures up here: . Those are just the tip of the iceberg, but since they were in boxes I tackled those first. Once I have a comprehensive list and pictures I can research the pricing. I might give it a go on here first and if it turns out to be a bit much I might turn to consignment or auction.

If you would like to get the list directly once I have it and get first crack because you all were so helpful, PM me and I'll get it to you.

Thank you so much!

January 6, 2012, 11:20 AM
Research is your most important asset, use it. Use GunBroker "completed auctions" to see what your particular search SOLD for. Ignore the relists, Ignore the asking prices. Only notate the weapons that had bids and sold. THAT is what the weapon is worth to somebody. Don't mass consign or auction unless it's through someone like RIA as they do tend to get the best prices even though you will have "fees" associated with them doing the work. Stay away from LGS and Pawn Shops as they will lowball you. Try listing a few online on this forum, or any of the "specialty forums" like Colt, S&W, Ruger, etc. Best of luck in your endeavor. I actually envy you for having this opportunity :)


January 6, 2012, 12:24 PM
You definitely have your work cut out for you. There are some amazing weapons in that collection! I look forward to seeing them for sale!

The Lone Haranguer
January 6, 2012, 12:54 PM
Become a member at GunBroker. GB is also useful for getting a rough idea of what the guns are worth, by looking at completed auctions for similar items. Or, if legal in your state, just place an ad in the paper. For safety and security, make your "meet" and transaction somewhere other than your home.

January 6, 2012, 02:15 PM
Those are just the tip of the iceberg, but since they were in boxes I tackled those first.

What you have shown is some very desirable firearms in great condition with box and papers. If they are "just the tip of the iceberg", I suggest you find an auctioneer with experience in selling firearms, as these types of firearms will bring top dollar if presented in the correct way. Yes they will take a commission, but if they know what they are doing, they will get you top dollar, plus get you all your money at one time instead of piecemeal. Your collection is also extensive enough to bring in a fair amount of buyers if the auction is properly advertised. Again, make sure they are experienced in firearms and reputable especially if you yourself have no idea of what their worth is in the market in your area.

January 6, 2012, 02:30 PM
There are some very nice things you have there.

I would say the biggest question is how much time do you have? I assume this is from an estate....sometimes you have time...sometimes you don't.

If you have the time....TAKE IT.....research each item one at a time put a fair price on it and if it does not sell go to the next one. Going over gun broker is going to be a bit of work with ffl transfers and all, but likely you can find a dealer that will do the paperwork on all your transactions for perhaps a trade....know what you are trading for and the value, document everything, if dealing with an estate get paperwork all done with the lawyers blessing.....again if it is part of an estate and you have to liquidate quickly a dealer may be your best option. (I have just been through the estate deal I can offer some of what I had to deal with if it is what you are dealing with)

All that said I wish I lived close to you.

January 6, 2012, 02:38 PM
How would I go about finding an auctioneer? Sorry for all the questions, but I'm definitely a noob and want to make sure I can get all the money I can for my boss (especially because I get 10% of the net proceeds).

January 6, 2012, 02:40 PM
No, this is not an estate. My boss just switches hobbies from time to time. I sold most of his spyderco collection last year (although I still have a lot left) and it's handguns this time. He said I'll get to take a crack at the long guns the next time he heads home to Texas and can bring them back.

January 6, 2012, 05:29 PM
I'm not sure where you're at, but if you do decide to take some of this to auction, I would take a serious look at Rock Island Auction Company ( There are some very desireable firearms that you've shown already, and they would be able to get top dollar for them.

January 23, 2012, 11:08 AM
Hi All. I finally got an inventory up and running for the revolvers with pricing (semi-autos and rifles will come later). The pictures/price list is up here: . I will be posting these under the for sale tab in two weeks for open sale, but since you all were so helpful I wanted to give you a head start.
Thank you so much for your help.


January 24, 2012, 01:04 AM
I'm not seeing prices. ?

January 24, 2012, 06:25 AM
The last image is a spreadsheet including prices.

January 24, 2012, 06:33 AM
Ah thanks, I shouldn't look when tired I guess.

January 24, 2012, 10:38 AM
No, this is not an estate. My boss just switches hobbies from time to time. I sold most of his spyderco collection last year (although I still have a lot left) and it's handguns this time. He said I'll get to take a crack at the long guns the next time he heads home to Texas and can bring them back.
I would strongly suggest before going any further you read the ATF "Tip of the Month" from June 2011, and take any appropriate actions so you stay out of trouble.

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