Gun collection values?


February 11, 2013, 06:57 AM
I just had a good friend pass from cancer. He was a gunsmith, and had a gun collection of antiques and some newer guns. His wife wants to sell them, but doesn't want a lot of personal involvement with strangers on this. Is there a way to find out possible values online, and then a way to sell them online? Like an on line gun auction?

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February 11, 2013, 07:28 AM

You can research values by going through the Blue Book of Gun Values or searching the internet for pricing OR pay to have an antique firearms appraiser set values.

There are several ways to dispose of the collection from taking it to a dealer or auction house to sell the whole collection to let them deal with breaking it up to listing individual pieces on Gunbroker, Auction Arms, GunsAmerica, etc.

The simplest thing to do is to sell the whole collection to a dealer, but she may not make the most money on each item (but there's nearly no labor or expense).

February 11, 2013, 08:10 AM
Wow, is that a loaded question or what.

Your questions would take several pages to answer more fully but, yes, one can find a relative value and sell them online as an individual.
Modern guns shipped to FFLs only of course.

Realizing anything approaching full value takes a LOT of work for the seller. This is why a local dealer's offer will seem low.

To name a few things the seller faces, proper ways for a new seller to price items so that they sell quickly, learning to precisely describe and list items to maximize exposure, learning to photograph the items so that the listing will not result in a deluge of requests for better and more precise photos, and, most importantly, building a record of positive feedback quickly.
Nothing will kill the value of a sale quicker than listing items with negative feedback for a new seller.

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I have no way of knowing the level of your friendship with the widow.

I advise that if you are to become involved in the liquidation directly, you should have her directly involved as well in all phases so that she has a complete understanding of the process. Failure to do so often leads to problems.


February 11, 2013, 09:39 AM
I would say that jt hit the nail on the head. Another factor to consider is where you are located and how many pieces there are to sell. Dealing with 10 guns is fairly trivial. Dealing with several 100 or 1000 is certainly not. One approach would be to scan through the collectIon with a Blue Book handy and cherry pick the high value pieces to sell individually, then sell the rest to a dealer. Again, the size of the collection factors in here in a big way, as does location. If the collection is in a major metro area that is generally gun friendly, then selling locally would be relatively easy, especially for popular and high value guns.

February 11, 2013, 09:57 AM
Use a newer Blue Book and the assistance to people you trust who may be more knowledgeable than you are. Also, advertising discreetly in a local ad circulars can often avoid the hassle of shipping rules. I recently helped a friend value an inherited old double he and his wife thought was probably not worth much. It is worth close to $2,000, so do your research and get the help you might need.

Russ Jackson
February 11, 2013, 10:05 AM
How many guns and what is the list? If you are talking 100 guns that's a lot different than 25. He may have some real hidden treasures that are worth some real money. Too bad he did not leave his wife a list of what the stuff is worth. His old tools and parts can be worth a lot also. Did he deal with other gunsmiths over the years that could help out? You could sell a gun that's worth $10,000 for under a grand if you do not know what you are doing. Do your homework and it will pay off and do not be in a rush.

February 11, 2013, 10:13 AM
Rock Island has auctions, they will take entire collections and sell on consignment; so will James Julia auctions

February 11, 2013, 10:14 AM
She definitely needs to take her time. Where I live there are several LGS that would probably come in and make her a decent offer for the whole collection but she will probably realize half of what she would get by selling them individually. How much hassle is it really worth would be the question for her? Modern guns in good shape should be easy to sell at an easy to determine value. Just check gun auction sites to get a relatively accurate value. Older or more valuable guns will be much more difficult to assess as will pieces and parts. I am sure there are a couple of local gunsmiths that could help her out on the pieces but, once again, they cannot pay retail dollars.

I would try to get her to offer the "quality" guns to a collector who might pay more than an LGS and take away the headaches of selling them individually.

Russ Jackson
February 11, 2013, 10:25 AM
Rock Island has auctions, they will take entire collections and sell on consignment; so will James Julia auctions

James Julia is a great place to start and they are respected.
Example: I posted a gun on this site and asked for prices. The top I was told was $1500. I took it to Cabellas and they offered me $3200 for it. This is not to say the THR quotes were not correct for what they saw. Because actual condition cannot be determined with a photo. There are so many people who specialize in specific firearms that a little leg work can pay big dividens. Use THR for guidance and be smart and get opinions. The price on an old Winchester or Colt can very greatly. What you think is just an old shooter can end up being worth more than all the others combined. Find the diamond in the ruff.

Buck Kramer
February 11, 2013, 10:45 AM
Theres a local place here that consigns estates and firearms, I'm sure you could find a local place without the hassle of gunbroker. Don't get me wrong, I love gunbroker, but if you are selling 50+ items it could end up being a pita.

Sav .250
February 11, 2013, 12:55 PM
Value is based on several factors. What kind. How old. Cal (sometime) Special features.
And last but not least .................condition! This may not be all but as you can see you need a professional who knows weapons to get a realistic value on any collection.

February 11, 2013, 01:30 PM
Several years ago i went to a local flea market early in the morning. A lady had three nice long guns on her table. A pristine Browning Sweet Sixteen was priced at $225, the very nice Ithaca pump was priced at $175. Don't remember the price on her Winchester model 43. i told her i wanted all three of her guns and paid cash.

Turns out the ladys late husband died and left her with over 40 guns. She priced her guns above what a local pawnshop owner had offered her. i called a gun appraiser on the spot. He told the lady to not sell anything until he had appraised the collection. Gave the lady her three guns back and she returned my money.

The appraiser got the lady a good price for her husbands fine gun collection.

February 11, 2013, 05:24 PM
One more word of advice, often 2 seemingly near identical antique guns will have radically different values based on details like barrel length or caliber.

February 11, 2013, 05:43 PM
Pick yourself up the new edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values by Fjestad which should be coming out in March or April. It should give you an idea of values although actual closed auctions are a better gauge on value. The Blue Book can provide a lot of useful information on rarity, but it is just a guide. It is a great place to start however.

A lot would depend on how many guns there are and what the folks who not will benefit from the sales want done. Selling one at a time is probably the best way to get the highest value for them but it takes a fairl amount of effort.

February 11, 2013, 09:46 PM
Thanks for the replies.

4v50 Gary
February 11, 2013, 09:54 PM
Regarding the guns, check out comparable prices with GunBroker. That'll give you a figure better than the BlueBook which tends to lowball the prices.

You may want to sell his tools too. That would raise more money for the wife.

February 12, 2013, 12:04 AM
such as middle of the week or on holidays. Sometimes a real gem sneaks by with a great price. That said, GB listings which run for ten days or more, usually get enough viewings on them that a bidding war will start on even a more mundane piece.

If you decide to sell onezees on GB, do not be afraid to do a Buy It Now for at least 15% higher than the highest you expect you might get.

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