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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. Ephraim Kibbey

    Ephraim Kibbey Member

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    Hi ACES&8S,
    I am 70, my wife knows nothing about guns and my kids do not want them so I have been selling more than I have been buying for the last several years.
    I started with GunBroker and had much better luck than with the local gun stores.
    I sold several Lugers and P38s on GB and pretty much broke even when the best the locals could do was give me half price.
    The local gun stores have to make a profit and unless they are online, they have a very limited audience compared with GB's.
    The problem with GB is that YOU have to have time to write the auction copy, take the pictures, upload the pictures, answer the enquiries, mail the item out (or take it to an FFL holder and pay them to do it) and then deal with the deadbeats.
    I have now sold upwards of 30 guns through Cowans auction house here in Cincinnati.
    I have not made money on them but neither have I lost much either.
    While they charge me a percentage of the hammer bid, they also do all of the work listing, advertising and delivering my items and send me a nice big check.
    Their auctions are online as well as in house and they have a very good reputation.
    I know that they travel for big collections because I have taken guns in and been told that Jack Lewis and his staff are out of state evaluating a new collection.
    RIA is also very well known but I have not bought from them because they seem to eliminate the small collector by putting guns into $1000 lots.
    I can spend $250 on a new gun but not $1000 on four of them at one time when I do not want the other three.
    In my opinion this limits their audience and may cut the gun owner's dollar return.
    I would rather see my items stand or fall on their own.
    I would suggest that while you are still able that you and your wife get estimates from several reputable auction houses that reach large online audiences and chose the one you like the best.
    Include your wife in your dealing with them so that she is able to take over if you are unable to continue at some point.
    I hope your health improves and you are around for a lot longer but make sure that your wife has a plan for your collection as soon as possible.
    EK/David
     
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  2. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    Thanks for your thoughtful insight, you seem well settled with your collection, I only hope mine goes as well.
    In fact today we went to our local gun shop, and as we went in I told her to take the lead, the boys & girls there
    know us well so she got straight to business about how she could sell the collection if she had to use them to do
    it. They agreed to take 10% for all firearms either in shop or online & believe me they are an online well oiled
    machine.
    They even agreed to look into getting a table for the collection at a gun show if we wanted to let them do it that way.
    We have bought most of our firearms there plus she has her own collection, small but her own.
    It is a start anyhow.
     
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  3. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    Boy do I know about family DEALS.
    When you get a hand me down from Dad & then send it off, have it rebuilt, have the barrel back bored, have a top
    of the line choke drilled into it. You have a family treasure.
    UNTIL !
    You pass it along to someone & within 6 months you ask about it & you get that LOOK. Like I thought you would
    never ask about it... He traded it for something stupid.
    Guess how many pass me downs he is going to get !
    Disappointed doesn't quite say it.
     
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  4. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    From your post above it sounds like you have a solid plan and a good "team" to work with. :thumbup:
    I wish you well Sir.
     
    ACES&8S likes this.
  5. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    I worked at the LGS. We would get young “adults” that would bring in arm loads of grandpa’s lifetime collection. Dump them on the counter and ask “are these worth anything?”

    They’d get 30-50 cents on the dollar. Couldn’t wait to get the money for drugs, video games, etc.

    Just because they’re valuable to you doesn’t mean they’re valuable to someone else. Unless you absolutely know they’re going to a shooter that values the guns as much as you do, sell them and use the money yourself. At one time I had over 70 guns. Down to 1/10th of that now.

    Remember, we don’t truly own anything. Our time on earth allows us to use available resources. We simply rent it. Most of my guns, all my real estate, etc. have been previously owned by someone else and all will be transferred to someone else in the future
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  6. mcb66

    mcb66 Member

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    Find a good local reputable auction company to handle the estate. Negotiate your collection to a 10% sellers premium; and let them Proxibid a live auction. Hard to beat and easy.
     
    ACES&8S likes this.
  7. fpgt72

    fpgt72 member

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    With a knot on my left lung I might be in the same boat as you.....we will find out in sept......funny they say get it early and I wait for weeks.....eh screw it.

    All my stuff is in an Access database that the wife can get to....it has photos, when I bought it, who I bought it from, how much and a rough estimate of current value. Last count there are over 40 in just long guns.

    She does not want me doing anything yet.....same with the few classic cars I have left.....it might not be that bad....they could fix it....bla bla bla.

    It really depends on your wife....if she is kinda a gun person (mine is) and has an idea on what is what, and has connections at the club, that is one thing.....if not that is another.

    Several ways to go....sell the lot to someone big....I know cabelas buys lots....that is the most easy thing to do and will net you the least money.....on the other end, there is selling them yourself....takes more time but will net the most money.

    Good luck.
     
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  8. sota

    sota Member

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    someone has .MIL in their background. :D

    eta: I'm also curious how the rules of the site could be interpreted or modified, to aid persons such as the OP in their quest to divest with maximum return. For example, I'm curious to know what his list is, to see if there's anything of interest there for me. Is it against the rules to post just a list of items, with minimal details, and no pricing, so as to see if there is interest here? And if interest is expressed, a proper and formal For Sale ad be posted?

    I get the feeling that a good contingent of persons here are at or approaching the OPs stage of life (yes, I just called a bunch of you OLD :D ) so it seems to me this could be a relevant time to discuss this situation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  9. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    It's been more than a few tears back but there was a member here who was selling his late father in law's collection. It was, to say the least, extensive... both long guns and pistols.
    He had a multi page printed list with description, condition and price and would send it to you. I think he asked for a stamped and addressed envelope?
    It seemed to be working pretty well as the list was updated regularly.
    I bought a rifle from him.
     
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  10. George P

    George P member

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    Sell them all before THAT time has come (with any family heirlooms excepted) and go enjoy the money
     
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  11. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    OK, then you know, like I do that everyone you talk to about selling things -just in case- says no, don't worry about it you
    are going to be here a long time. When you are the one facing facts that may or may NOT be good. So the ones you think
    about are the loved ones more than yourself & what has been a hobby of yours could be a burden to others to sort of
    clean up after we are gone & that should only be a simple thing for them to do if we have planned it out correctly.
    But imagine if we are both LUCKY & don't kick the bucket WOW,,, the gun collecting starts AGAIN! So at least let's do this.
    Keep the $s we get for the firearms & don't spend or invest a cent. Then if we get the ALL CLEAR--- buy only what we
    really can shoot & reload for, but make them the best.
    And yes my wife is a Gun Person for sure, as I mentioned before she has her own collection & knows all about what
    WE have & the value.
    hang in there & keep us posted on your condition.
     
    Shanghai McCoy likes this.
  12. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    Only allowed 10 or 12 items per year best I remember, & that doesn't leave me much room for what I have,
    besides I wouldn't know which to go with because I collected a couple different areas of firearms & I wasted
    one effort already which cut it down to less..
    I find it hard to try to sell to my friends because they may feel I need the $s & would buy them
    for pity sake & believe me I have no need for the pity or the cash, just clearing up loose ends.
    Firearms is only one thing that needs cleared up like fpgt72 said, lots of other machines here.
     
    Shanghai McCoy likes this.
  13. george29

    george29 Member

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    I certainly don't have a huge collection of anything but I have struggled with this same issue and my conclusion is to make a list of everything I paid for the item and what it is worth approximately at the time I made the list and let my heirs deal with the issue. I'm not going to be there to save their butts anyway.
     
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  14. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

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    I strongly disagree with the guys that are saying to sell them to your local gun shop. That's unless you want to get taken to the cleaners. Having worked in the industry, I've seen far too many people get taken advantage of.

    While consignment isn't always horrible, selling them to the shop almost always is. Even consignment isn't great as the fees are usually higher than selling them online and the audience is much smaller.

    I'm not sure what part of VA you're in, but here, selling them to the shop, the best case scenario is getting 50% of what the firearms are worth. It's much more common for the shop to quote you a retail price of about 75% of what the retail price would actually be and then offer you 50% of that. An example is a friend that recently went against advice of his friends and family and sold a rifle to a local shop. They gave him $350 for it. The rifle is now sitting on their shelf for $1,050. This really should only be a last case scenario for someone who needs money right away. If you want to sell them quickly and don't mind not getting full price, I can almost guarantee you that you can easily find friends or family that would love to buy them for more than the gun shops will pay, but yet still walk away feeling like they got a deal of a lifetime.

    If you don't mind putting a little more work into it there are a few options. Gunbroker would be the #1 option in my opinion. You're likely to get pretty close to full value for each thing that you sell. Even if it takes you an hour to list each gun, that's still pretty minimal considering how much extra money you're going to get for them. The fees are also relatively low and the audience you'll reach is huge. Shipping a firearm to an FFL really isn't as intimidating as it sounds.

    My second choice would be listing them on local sites. I see you're from Virginia. There is VAGunTrader.com which is a fairly large site for private sales. There are also others such as Armslist, VA Guns, etc. Then there are paper classifieds such as the Bulletin Board, Valley Trader, etc. High end stuff seems to be harder to move here than somewhere like Gunbroker as the audience is much smaller, but common or desirable firearms move pretty quickly. Anything priced reasonably also moves fairly quickly. There aren't any fees involved with most of these.

    You could also list them on national forums such as this site and some of the other big forums. You'll reach a large audience there without paying any fees.

    Option # 3 would be getting a table at a local gun show. Again the audience is much smaller than somewhere like Gunbroker, but you don't have to spend the time listing them one by one.

    My last choice would be a local auction. At almost every local firearm auction I've been to the guns have brought top dollar. Sometimes even more than they are worth. People get caught up in bidding wars, they don't do their research, etc. The downside here is that the fees are usually a lot higher than somewhere like Gunbroker and sometimes it takes a bit of time for the auction to happen. The upside is that it's pretty easy. You don't have to list each firearm, take photographs, or do anything really.

    All of these options would net you significantly more money than selling them to a gun shop. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and I'll be glad to try to answer them for you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
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  15. George P

    George P member

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    Cleaning up and out after a family member has passed can be a REAL PITA - I am going through that now with my mom's recent passing. Adding in the fact that she was 8 hours away from any family made it even more of a PITA.

    IF you find yourself in a similar situation, make it as simple as possible. If you do not want to get rid of them, at least leave them copious notes as to what everything is, where it is, what it's worth, etc.

    Not just guns, but investments or any other assets. That is the one thing I'll give my mom, she left us with a LOT of notes, data and instructions.
     
    huntsman likes this.
  16. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    I've used Kull Auction in Topeka (Armsbid) to sell a number of guns at what I thought were fair prices. There's also a local Kansas guy who specializes in collection appraisals and connects you with an auction setup when the time comes. I can't remember his name but he shows up at most of the large gun shows and I've got his card stored with my trust and instructions to my heirs to use him.
     
  17. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    Isn't that the truth, yes it is.
    I am the only one in the whole family that takes care of all financial problems everyone gets into.
    The other side of this is my Wife is the one that has supported me & backed me in all the things that
    made us successful as we are without saying we are rich because compared to others we are not.
    But love has beat the wolf away from the door for us these many years so she deserves some help & not
    from those we have had to HELP all these years with their own self interest at heart because if they got
    the firearms they would be sold or traded before the sun goes down.
    Don't get me wrong I have several good kids & friends, then there are the others.
    May be medication talking.
     
  18. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    It's not me (in the coffin) who would need the money; it's my wife. Plus, I don't have that many family members or dear friends who care about guns. :(
     
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  19. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    find a trusted ffl dealer that you've used before.... explain your wishes and start moving the guns now so you can see that they are being properly dealt with...
     
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  20. Armorer 101

    Armorer 101 Member

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    It really depends on the collection, by class and make. Some collections are very restricted, like NFA guns, just as an example.

    What I did when I decided to return my OM SA Rugers (100+) to other collectors as a group was to make a list of all the guns and associated items. Condition of each item, price of each item and the discount for multiple purchase. You do not need to take out an ad, word within the society will get around. If you want to use shows, large shows are best, Houston, Tulsa, etc. Oh, reduce your estimated condition by a couple points, it makes folks happy to get better than what they expected.

    In the immediate future, you might make a list on your computer by make, type, serial number, stocks, sights, $ paid, $ value and print it for your wife. I have such a list and it is password protected.

    To get Current value: register on gunbroker.com, open the first page, on the upper right is a drop down menu, click advanced search, then right below the main heading are three sub menus, go to completed auctions menu and fill in the info, go to bottom and click on search. This will give you only “as sold prices” for your items. Old saying, it is only worth what someone is willing to pay.

    Good luck with your health issues.
     
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  21. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    ^^^
    Good advice. :thumbup:
     
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  22. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    That is how the Gunshop friends have always done business for me when finding true & present value of firearms, in fact one of them
    is one of my best friends who has helped me find local & distant firearms of the collecting type. I have confidence in them & with all
    the give & take thru them over 30 years now I am sure it is the best way to go. But if they should go thru Gunbroker, there are
    added costs now added to the 10% but we won't expect to have to go that way. Perhaps a table at a gun show, according
    on the added cost of that, believe me ,the Wife, doesn't like the idea of that yet.
    They have contacts for the type rifles & revolvers that I have which aren't surefire per contact but they will spread the word for
    the high dollar items which shouldn't take forever like it would if the wife had to do it.
    The cost of selling them thru the Gunshop is 10% per firearm which is fine with me considering most of the ones I bought have
    gone thru their shop & will go thru LEGAL channels & with better chances of going to real collectors.
    Fortunately I got into collecting several of these items before they gained in popularity & of course I missed out on some
    that were not as obvious to me, now to sell them SHE won't be loosing money in most any one of them even if they were to sell below
    the going price but to deal with me is one thing, dealing with her is night & day. She takes BUNDLING at a lower price is a crooked
    person's scam job & looses the deal right then which I agree with but not to the extent of character judgement like she does.
    I see it like some people do this for a living & I have said before, it is a common practice just to see if you are hard set or a pushover.
     
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  23. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    The condition I have has to be attended to tomorrow with some serious decisions to make about it, plus some treatment or
    RX may affect my focus so I will have to AVOID answering anything due to the reactions but send your comments & ideas
    which I will try to read every day unless hospitalized.
    Wanted to do some trigger time today but couldn't, launch a few in celebration of our freedom tomorrow, not for me, just
    so one day when you can't you can say you tried to overdo the shooting thing, but DOING GOOD ANT GOT NO END !
     
  24. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    All the best to you Sir.
     
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