How does one sell their gun collection when the time has come?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by ACES&8S, Aug 16, 2019.

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  1. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

    Oct 21, 2017
    Hard to consider this as an option just weeks ago but health reasons force me to realize that
    [ you can't take it with you ], is a reality we all face & our rifles made in 1918 have outlived more
    that just us or me.
    I have a large collection I have jokingly told my wife for years that she could sell for a good size
    amount after I am gone.
    I have tested the water a tiny bit & found that my wife would not have an easy time moving them
    by herself so maybe I need to get it started or get her some -reliable- connections.
    Probably blown any chance of trying to sell them here just by mentioning this so if anyone
    has any experience with this or ideas please pass them along.
    From past experience I don't think I can tell what type I have collected or stuff like that because
    it would be considered getting advertisement for an upcoming -for sell item.
  2. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

    Jan 4, 2012
    Loveland, Colorado
    I plan on parceling them out to my heirs before I get too far gone. If you need the funds, then you probably should approach a shop about taking them on consignment (which is how I acquired a lot of my pre-1940 collection) or selling them outright to a shop or pawn broker.
    JTHunter and ACES&8S like this.
  3. edwardware

    edwardware Member

    Feb 23, 2010
    I'm just this week starting until helping a newly widowed church member move a sizable collection. . . her husband bought guns as a hobby.

    First, don't leave it for her to sell; that's really inconsiderate and a tremendous burden. She knows you cared about them, but she also knows that she doesn't enough about them. You do it.

    Really it isn't that hard, if you can accept that they're worth what someone will pay. Armslist is populated with fools who remember paying $650 for that Glock and don't want to admit it's worth $375 today.
  4. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

    Jun 6, 2016
    SE Idaho
    I’m sorry to hear about your health issues ACES&8S.

    You don’t happen to have a good friend who runs a local gun store, do you? How about a friend that could introduce you to the operator and/or owner of a local gun store?

    He’s retired now, but we had a real good friend that owned and operated a LGS when my dad passed. Dad’s gun collection wasn’t huge, but it was substantial – a little better than $3000. I just turned the whole collection (except for a couple of Colt Frontier Sixes my nephew, Dad’s grandson, wanted) over to our friend, the LGS owner/operator. He paid me outright for a few of the guns, and sold the rest on consignment.

    When the smoke cleared, I turned the $3000+ over to Mom. I think she used it to have her house re-roofed.:)
    shoobe01, JTHunter, ACES&8S and 3 others like this.
  5. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

    Jun 5, 2013
    I’m not affiliated with her, but Kasey McKay in Remlap, Alabama uses the user name Locust Fork on Gunbroker. Kasey sells for people all the time, and is about as legit an internet seller as I’ve ever found. If I was facing what you are she’s the first person I would call.

    If you’re on gunbroker you can reach out to her and see what she can do for you.

    Good luck!
    ACES&8S and Jeb Stuart like this.
  6. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Birmingham, Alabama
    How many guns and what is your timeline? Depending on the person, a large collection could be anywhere from 10 to 100+ guns. And the shorter your timeline, the less you will likely get for the guns.

    I would start by making a list of all of your guns. It sounds dumb, but if you have a sizeable collection it will help you, and definitely help your family, make sense of everything.

    Once you have the list, note anything that is special that you may want to hand down, and then for everything else put down two prices. One that is a reasonable/average sales price in today's market, and one that is a "fire sale" price that will be a good enough deal to move the gun quickly but still get you/your wife a decent amount of money. Do some real research on the prices - don't just make something up or say "well this is what I paid for it, so I should get that". It may undervalue some guns and be drastically overpriced for other guns. Do this first. That way if something happens to you, your wife still has something to go off of.

    Once you have the list and prices, you'll have a good idea of the actual value of your collection and will be in a better position if you want to use a consignment seller.

    I would also recommend you reconsider selling the guns on THR. I think most people would be willing to give you a fair price even with you mentioning health issues, and if you get an offer you don't like, just tell them no.

    Also don't forget accessories like mags, scopes, etc. while they're not big ticket items, they do add up.
  7. DoubleMag

    DoubleMag Member

    Sep 4, 2011
    This^^ is the correct answer IMHO

    why not use one of the top three websites for firearms?
    qwert65, Bfh_auto, JTHunter and 4 others like this.

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

    Mar 17, 2015
    Nostramo (in absentia), Segmentum Ultima
    Yep, the Gestalt brain here is pretty trustworthy. I would definitely consider posting your stuff on THR if you have time.

    Personally, I have a pawnbroker buddy I trust. I told the wife to take it all to him and let him handle it, except for a few items clearly marked which I want her to pass on to my progeny.
    ACES&8S and .308 Norma like this.
  9. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

    Jan 13, 2014
    ACES&8S, in the spring of 2013, I was diagnosed with “double-hit lymphoma” and given a year or less - fast forward to August of 2019, I am still typing. Some of my first thoughts were to liquidate my collection and I am glad that I didn’t - moral of the story, never give up - never, never give up.
    With that said, consignment as a collection to a trustworthy soul is the easiest, offering to this forum may be the most fun and fulfilling.
    Again, do not quit. Good luck to you.
  10. larryh1108

    larryh1108 Member

    Aug 29, 2008
    Aces, I wrote an Excel program that you use to list your firearms and ammo and accessories. You enter each item with their serial number. You put in the retail value of today's prices. The program totals it all up and also gives an approximate wholesale value. Depending on the size of your collection and if you have the serial numbers handy, you can get a printable summary in a few hours, which can be used for insurance purposes, retail and wholesale values, an estate value, a divorce summary, etc. If you are interested in this program, send me a PM and I will email it to you, no charge. I will also send this to any THR member, free of charge, as well. It is in the Beta stage so feedback to tweak it would help me. I can email a sample of snapshots of the various lists to anyone interested. This was written by me and I have all the rights to it to do as I please.

    Here is a picture of a sample summary page:


    A sample handgun inventory page:

    jdc1244, Zacf16, ACES&8S and 2 others like this.
  11. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Sep 30, 2005
    Why have you blown any chance selling them here? This is the high road after all.

    If the correct sub forum it’s no problem to ask “what it’s worth”.

    Some of the auction places might be a good idea, not knowing what kind of volume we are talking about.
    ACES&8S likes this.
  12. huntsman

    huntsman Member

    Apr 11, 2003
    ohio's northcoast
    I’ve decided in today’s environment that any firearm I sell will be through auction, I may not “get” best price but that’s a trade off for making a clean break.

    This is contrary to what I’ve done in the past but I feel it’s the best for me now and going forward.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
    ACES&8S and boom boom like this.
  13. IJ1981

    IJ1981 Member

    Aug 5, 2019
    Coral Terrace, Florida
    I have a close friend/ FFL, who is also the Sheriff of my county. I have made a arrangement with him/ or heirs, to pass on my I have inscribed.

    Hopefully, that all works out.
    Armored farmer and ACES&8S like this.
  14. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

    Jan 30, 2008
    N. GA
    Depending on the size and collectability you might contact Rock Island Auctions. While it might not be the best price, it might be a one-stop way to move them.
    ACES&8S likes this.
  15. Coyote3855
    • Contributing Member

    Coyote3855 Contributing Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    At 75, I'm facing the same situation. I have transferred some firearms to my Son. Donated some I inherited from my Dad to the Museum where he lived. I have gifted firearms to friends. Given several to auctions for charitable causes. What's left, my local FFL has sold guns for me in the past and has experience with estates. All firearms are tagged with estimated value and details such as date of manufacture or other information that buyers might want.
    Riomouse911, ACES&8S and boom boom like this.
  16. JERRY

    JERRY Member

    Jun 5, 2003
    unless you need the money I'd gift them to family members or dear friends.
    Riomouse911 and ACES&8S like this.
  17. George P

    George P member

    Jan 10, 2018
    Separate out the ones you intend to leave to anyone and then sell the rest and do something nice for you and your wife. List them here and on TFL and similar sites where there is no listing fees. Local gun clubs in your area, even gun shows where you buy a table can work. There is also using a gun shop or pawn shop and sell them on consignment
  18. SamT1

    SamT1 Member

    Dec 24, 2016
    Id have an auction. Any auctioneer can do it with no paperwork as long as only one person owns all the guns. I used to hit them all the time when I lived in Kansas and was a mega collector. As long as you have 25 or more guns and a variety of stuff the turn out is usually good.
    I’ve attended lots of auctions for guns and never been able to buy anything there since I’m not going to pay over book value and many times want to pay 75%. finances caused me to liquidate my collection over the past 5 years it’s been nice having money trickle in as I really needed it, but I regret not just having an auction. I could have done better and had all the money at once.
    ACES&8S likes this.
  19. lionking

    lionking Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    God bless you I hope all gets better.
    ACES&8S and IJ1981 like this.
  20. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Northern KY
    Sorry for your troubles, hope they are temporary.

    I plan to give away a few in my will, and I told my wife to hire an auctioneer to get rid of my guns, reloading, hunting and fishing stuff. We attended a small estate auction a couple of years ago and I was amazed at the prices even the most pedestrian guns brought.
    ACES&8S likes this.
  21. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

    Jul 3, 2018
    Not DFW
    I've been helping a fellow Veteran's wife go through this same thing. There was a bunch of reloading stuff and ammo, most of which is still stacked on tables in my shop.

    We have yet to get to the firearms. I'm guessing there are around 70-80 firearms that need to be sold. I've put some feelers out to our gun club and I've got some interest there. The rest, most likely, will go on Texas Gun Trader.

    Just going through the reloading and ammo was hard on her. It was like losing him again. The firearms will be no easier in that respect.
    I6turbo, ACES&8S and IJ1981 like this.
  22. drk1

    drk1 Member

    Jun 19, 2013
    Saddened to learn of your situation, but I understand. I've worked in gun shops, small and large, for 40+ years and have experienced similar challenges many times. When I was young, it was common to take a collection to a gun show in order to dispose of it. Your fellow collectors, having learned of your situation, would line up to buy your items, often paying more than the asking price and almost always paying the cost of your tables. Fast forward to the present and "friends" line up to take advantage of people in your situation, paying pennies on he dollar and then bragging about it! About a dozen years ago, I too decided that I needed to sell everything. I called Rock Island Auctions, set up a date for an appointment, rented a van, loaded it up (300+ items), and drove for about 10 hours to get there. I didn't even have a list of what I had. I trusted them and that trust was validated. They unloaded the van, I spent the night in a B&B, came back the next morning and they gave me a complete list. Overall, I had no complaints and was very satisfied (can't say happy because I really hated selling these items). However,.... there are some important considerations. First, I would not use Rock Island today, simply because of where they are located. I refuse to do business with anyone a state they have allowed to become controlled by left wing lunatics. Second, most auction companies, will not take everything. Second, selling through an auction company will take time, in some cases up to a year. Third, the fees for auction companies vary greatly from 0% to 20% to the seller. Fourth, some auction companies now will not accept anything for which the seller cannot prove ownership. Fifth, some auction companies report all sales to the IRS and give you one of those little forms on which you may have to pay taxes. In short, selling your collection through an auction company will be 1) the easiest of all options short of doing nothing, but 2) it still will require some work and due diligence on your part. Best of luck and let us know what happens, if possible.
    I6turbo and ACES&8S like this.
  23. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

    Mar 10, 2004
    The,sort of, Free state
    I'm in the process of "thinning the herd" and have sold some to individuals, one here on THR and another 2 locally.
    It helps that I know they will be appreciated. It's not, for me right now, just about the money...
    I'll probably make some changes to the will in the future and designate a buddy of mine as "agent" for any left overs.

    I also have a bunch of traditional archery stuff that I need to thin out as well. o_O
    ACES&8S likes this.
  24. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    I would get things set up at a gun store that you trust. When the time comes, she can dump them all there on consignment.
    Buzznrose, George Dickel and ACES&8S like this.
  25. Master of Disaster

    Master of Disaster Distributor of Pain

    Aug 2, 2019
    South Tulsa Oklahoma
    Bottom Gun and ACES&8S like this.
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