Trying to help my brother sell or give away his collection

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Sniper66, Mar 24, 2017.

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  1. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    We'll all come to this stage of life sooner or later. My brother is 80 years old and in good health. He still shoots and hunts, but much less than 30 years ago; probably 20% of what he used to do. Seems mostly tired. He owns 40-50 guns, many thousand rounds of ammo, reloading components and equipment, dozens of taxidermied heads and tanned hides. An amazing collection. For the past year he has asked me to help him sell some of his stuff. I have a broad network of hunting and shooting friends so selling stuff has become my way of helping him. His kids and grandkids have little interest in guns and hunting so he'll not be leaving much to his kids other than money. I'm 70 years old and not that far away from these tough decisions myself. My purpose in writing this is to encourage everyone to start this process sooner rather than later. I have another friend who has 100s of guns and gun related products...rooms full. He is 82 and in poor health. He waited too long in my judgement. Now each decision is a tough one. I'm helping him too. I am hoping to start a dialogue to share stories about how one decides these things. Everyone's situation is different, but when you read enough stories, some good ideas begin to emerge. My other reason for this thread is that I had a recent health scare and these things are on my mind, so I have selfish reasons for asking for your thoughts. I know this issue has come up on this forum before, but here we are again. I'll appreciate your thoughts
     
  2. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    My thoughts are that they are just things. If you have a desire to sell them, give them away now, or will them away later do. If you don't care, do worry about it. Let your heirs divide them up or sell them off later.
     
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  3. carpboy

    carpboy Member

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    If you have to,sell them for $100 ea and donate any surplus funds to the NRA
     
  4. clank

    clank Member

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    I had a health scare two months ago. I started gifting some of mine to the younger generation who would appreciate them. Most of them are just getting started in life and could not afford the luxury of a gun collection. After all it's the younger generations that is our future
     
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  5. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    If anybody has the time, then some could be listed on Armslist if your area has many people scanning the website for east/central/west KS. Just made two deals (one gun each) in four days, both within a 30 min. drive.

    The problem can be keeping track of a few messages from a single interested buyer or seller, and remembering who is who--and this for just one gun. I've bought/sold at least ten guns using Armslist, plus cases of ammo to a couple of people.
    Can't imagine the complication of selling five at the same time, with so many messages coming in. Some of the readers seem unfamiliar with the meaning of the words "original condition" with no alterations etc.

    How about an estate sales person who isn't bothered by guns? Might be worth their commission.
     
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  6. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    I'll take the contrarian view. I think that selling off a lifelong gun collection (or any lifelong hobby, for that matter) may be a bad idea. I'm 72, and I'm still collecting. It's a focus of interest, and as we get older, it's important that we stay connected to the things that we enjoy. Selling out your lifelong hobbies means that you're psychologically "sunsetting" and shutting down on life. I, for one, intend to live as long as I can.

    One practical aspect is the capital gains tax. I'm probably typical of older collectors in that I'm sitting on a ton of unrealized capital appreciation. If I sell now, that gain will all be taxed. If I hold the collection until I die, my heirs will get a stepped up basis to the fair market value at the date of death, and can then sell with no taxable gain.

    Of course, you could fail to report your capital gains, but that would be neither legal nor smart. (Note: particularly in regard to NFA items, the government has a record of what you own and what you sell. Whether they do anything with that information is a matter of coordination between the ATF and the IRS.)
     
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  7. kozak6

    kozak6 Member

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    You could get the kids or grandkids involved in selling off the non-firearms on ebay. Offer them a commission to obtain their participation.

    For some of the more valuable firearms, a local gunshop might sell them on consignment. Or, some gunshops purchase entire gun collections. He'd probably take a massive hit on their value, but it would be easy.

    Does he enjoy the gunshow? It's too much stuff for a single table, but it's a great start. It might also be a place to find contacts who'd be interested in buying the specialty items.
     
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  8. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Have burial pre planned all financial affairs taken care of and a will that is ironclad with no room for "interpretation" and his job alive is done. Instead of selling now, I would suggest he take his kids or grandkids shooting.

    I would much rather give them to family than sell them and when he's gone they may want the gun they shot with Pop's before he passed away, "That was a fun day..." the story goes.

    Selling things he prizes while he is alive shouldn't be on his bucket list.
     
  9. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    I'm lucky, I have two sons that love hunting and shooting. Something that we have done together all their lives. It's already in my will which guns they get when I'm gone. Not only am I leaving them guns, but many years of good memories we shared using them. Guns and their dispersal is not the only plans we need to make for the end of our time. It's never too early to start.
     
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  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Amen to that, I have helped newbies with guns (Either with money, selling them one cheap, or simply giving one away.) that they could not otherwise afford. It's tough sledding for young married couples these days. (Not that it wasn't for us, but hey :))

    And, as you say, they are the future. As long as they are good people, genuinely interested in shooting, they are worth the investment.
     
  11. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

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    I'll tell you. I see a need here but I can't tell you the right way to fill it. But...if I knew what your brother was selling (had a way to see a catalog) and knew where to go to look at them, I would be willing to travel a bit to see, and have the opportunity to buy, nice old guns. Rather in the way of estate sales. Of course there are legalities involved and security concerns. When my mother was in the retirement home, it was a big home full of apartments. I always imagined some of the older gentleman (and for that matter widows of same) having all sort of neat old firearms from their youth, military service trophies, etc "that're gathering dust and taking up space in my tiny apartment". I never got close enough to any of those folks to do find that out.

    Anyway, letting your network of friends and trusted co-workers and such might be a great way to deal with some of this.
     
  12. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Amen to that. There is nothing worse than a bunch of vultures swarming around before a man is already dead.
     
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  13. TRX

    TRX Member

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    I made a will a few years ago. I split the guns up among several friend according to their interests, with a separate codicil for the NFA items, explaining the laws and liabilities at that time, where to look for current information, and general advice they might need to decide whether they wanted to keep it or sell it.
     
  14. Glock Doctor

    Glock Doctor Member

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    Well, I'm now at THAT age too. (If you keep on breathing and, somehow, manage to survive all the crap they throw at you then, yes indeed, it can happen!) :D

    Seven years ago and after I had a heart attack, (A totally unexpected event!) I decided to get out of handloading; (my real hobby!) and I began to sell off many of my guns. So, because I started to sell almost immediately after coming home from a prolonged and brutal stay at the hospital, I made an initial mistake and sold off 4 or 5 thousand dollars worth of reloading equipment (custom-made bench and all) to the first guy that came along; and, quite frankly, in order to save my wife from having to deal with a room full of equipment, I let it all go way too cheap!

    (Live and learn, I know.) ;)

    But the guns have been a different story. I was feeling considerably better when I began to sell them about a year later; and, know what! I've made out way better selling off my meticulously cared for prized firearms than I came anywhere near doing with our bank savings and IRA's. Maybe I made 10 or 15 percent on the investments overall; but, at the same time, I made 3 or 4 times the original purchase prices on the guns; and, on certain pieces, I've made 5 or 6 times what I originally paid for them, say, back in the 1970's. (I took good care of everything!)

    Not too shabby a deal, either! All these years I've also got to use and enjoy them, too. Right now I'm down to the very core of my once upon a time large collection. I've, also, shown my wife the in's and out's of selling guns on: the internet, in certain publications, and face-to-face. She's even gone with me to places like UPS and to FFL's in order to see how these sales and shipments have to be handled.

    So, ....... when the big day finally arrives and it's time for me to leave, my wife will know what to do with those guns I just couldn't bring myself to part with. (She doesn't mind because I've never been willing to part with her, either!)

    As far as I'm concerned there are some things in life that a man just can't live without. For me these things include: A good wife, (beautiful too!) a number of outstanding cats and dogs, a choice of fine wines, at least one nice car, a collection of old Randall-Made knives, and an abiding selection of primo firearms. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
  15. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    I am of the firm opinion that all you need do is find an HONEST auction,and then turn it all over to them.

    There are many who have scruples and they will do an honest sale by auction of ALL your "stuff".

    Remember that there might be knives,guns,holsters,ammunition,reloading gear.

    Many will come and PICK IT UP, and that would be a great load off your mind if your thinking about trying to move it yourself.

    ESPECIALLY with age and all being a factor.
     
  16. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    You guys have already given me some good ideas. Brother lives 600 miles away, so it's not an easy drive to visit. That said, I think I will suggest to him that he buy me dinner and I'll make the trip to help him sort out some ideas. He has one very smart level-headed daughter who can also help. As indicated before, his kids (2) and grandkids (4) have minimal interest in guns in spite of his efforts to teach them. One suggestion was that he not sell it at all, enjoy it while he can, and simply leave it to the heirs to sort out. That actually may be the best idea, at least for him. You see, he is having a very tough time thinking about this. No one is pushing him. It's a self-imposed dilemma. I'm thinking I like the idea of going for a visit, having a couple of sit-downs with him and the smart daughter, and perhaps start some planning. It risks getting very emotional when family starts talking about such future events. I'll tread lightly and I appreciate your thoughts very much.
     
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  17. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    Aging for me has allowed me to buy firearms I always wanted. I buy more guns than ever. My will can gift many fine arms to my son and the NRA.
     
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  18. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    I like the idea mentioned in a post above, start giving "lessons" to the daughter with the inclination to help about how online sales and transfers work, how to ship (will save FFL fees in some instances), what is what, if any loads should only be used in certain guns, and a general primer on how to figure the value of things. Its not necessarily a plan to dispose of them right away, but educating her on what stuff is worth, or how to determine what its worth, how to dispose of them and realize decent value and such. That should help reduce any anxiety of worrying about what happens when hes gone, and if he doesn't need the money, he can just enjoy his stuff while hes alive to. He could also start writing (in legible writing, preferably typed/computer written) a list with descriptions, and values, and any important information about them, either safety wise, collectability, date of manufacture if known, or family or personal history with the gun. Those factors may have some bearing on what any family members may wish to have when hes gone.

    When my dad passed, hed been telling me "When I'm gone, you need to do X, Y and Z with such and such" for years. When the day came, I had a good idea what was next. In that case it wasn't a question of guns, just dealing with the affairs of his life and business. When I'm gone, there needs to be someone that's capable of understanding whats what, and nobody in my family has inclination or knowledge to deal with most of it. I need to leave concise information about the guns and what handloads are appropriate for them, and potentially not appropriate for any other gun so chambered (such as bear loads in 45 Colt and mountain class loads in 44 spl). If they do as most inheriting families do, my stuff will be scattered to the 4 winds for a fraction of their value. Id at least prefer friends get some things theyd appreciate, and the family can decide if they want anything. I plan to approach them soon on that subject, and give them basic instruction on how to shoot and safe handling. I expect with 3 small children, they will not be very interested in having guns around for the foreseeable future.

    As a starting point on understanding current market on a particular gun, creating an account on gunbroker, then looking for similar guns, saving them to your list, then watching to see if they have any bids, and/or what they are actually selling for. Many guns are rpiced way too high and never get bids, and just keep getting relisted in the hope they will sell, so knowing actual bids and selling prices is more useful than just what they are listed at with starting prices or buy now prices. It takes a little time, but gives a fair idea of the value and things to look for in condition, (though many gunbroker ads give little useful info on condition, just say "the pictures tell the story on condition!"
     
  19. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    I think that it's always a good idea to pre-plan and with guns I believe it's almost required.
     
  20. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    I'm getting into my mid 60's and don't have a son so it's been on my mind what to do with my collection/accumulation myself lately. I have not been doing any adding to it as of late.
    My teenage daughter could care less but at least my wife knows the worth of things and will be able to sell them. I hope...
     
  21. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    Don't run up the White Flag yet. My Son in Law and Grandson are both avid guns guys. It could happen to you as well.
     
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  22. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    Depending on how old the grandchildren are, there's still hope for them yet! When my grandfather passed away I was 16 and had very little experience with guns, and little interest at the time. I wasn't until I was 18 or 19 when a buddy was given a .22 that I started to get interested myself in firearms. It was a slow trek to my current level of obsession!

    Anyway, Grandma gave all of Grandpa's guns to my dad and uncle. My dad, not being interested, and my uncle, only having daughters that had no interest, both ended up giving Grandpa's guns to myself and my brother once they realized we would continue to enjoy them as Grandpa did. It was 8 years after my grandpa passed that they ended up making their way into mine and my brother's hands, and they're some of our most prized possessions!

    On the flip side I also had a great uncle that passed away when I was 20. He had no children of his own and wanted his entire estate to go to auction, with the money earned to be split up between his brothers and sisters. He had around 20 firearms, and while I was lucky enough that he realized my budding enthusiasm for firearms and did write in his will that I could pick out a single firearm of my choice, it was a shame to see the rest sold to strangers and my poor 19-year old self only able to buy one more out of his collection.

    So I wouldn't push to get rid of them any time soon, but might help find an auction house that would take care of things down the road.
     
  23. Ghost In The Fog

    Ghost In The Fog Member

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    I have been thinking about your reply all morning. It has brought up some of the very best memories of my life, My Grandfather.
    After a long and drawn out delay, I have his old S&W 45 revolver. It probably isn't worth anything monetarily but the value is that it is mine and the memories I have of my grandfather every time I touch it can never be replaced.

    @buck460XVR I hope your sons will appreciate you and those memories like I do of my grandfather.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  24. Middletown

    Middletown Member

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    Hopefully I have a few years before I am actually in a similar position for my probably smaller collection but as fast as time in flying by it may not actually be that long.

    Thankfully my oldest Son is very responsible and into guns and reloading. He will for sure get the reloading stuff as my younger Son isn't really into guns and not into reloading at all. He is also very good at getting good value for whatever he is buying or selling. I will probably also will my guns to him and let my younger son have my pickup or something else of value.

    One idea I have kicked around has been to let them divide them among themselves. My oldest has only spoken for one firearm, let him have it and then the younger choose the next one and so on until they are all spoken for. Like I said probably not do this but I have kicked the idea around in my head.

    Hope you find a solution that you are happy with. If yours is like most families you are not going to make everyone happy especially after the fact. End of life decisions are some of the toughest we will have to deal with.
     
  25. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    If you go with the "divide it among themselves" idea make sure the choices are agreed upon,documented, signed and witnessed.
    It sounds harsh but, speaking from experience, it is a better way to do it.
     
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