Antique gun appraisal - what is your antique firearm worth? (2023)

How much is my antique gun worth?

Firearms or gun collecting is a niche in the antique collection industry that is slowly gaining its ground. There are more gun collectors out there than you think, especially when it comes to antique guns. These guns, depending on the age and condition, could be worth a significant amount of money. This is another reason why collectors seek them out. Whether you like collecting antique guns for hobby or to make money, you need to know the in’s and out’s of this business first.

Hold on to that antique gun in your possession. Take time to learn about what causes the value of antique guns to fluctuate and how you can exploit that when trying to sell your old guns.

If you want to have a gun appraisal, fill out our form and send us detailed photographs of the firearm from different angles. Make sure you don’t forget to give us information about the condition, history, and provenance.

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Types of Antique Guns Collected

When talking about antique guns, there are two categories that they typically fall under. The first one is the Muzzleloader, which is a type of firearm wherein the projectile is loaded into the muzzle. The antique collectors who buy this type of gun do so not for firing purposes. Instead, this type of gun is collected because of its historical value. They are often put on display to showcase them as part of a large collection of firearms.

The second type of antique firearm that is sought after by collectors is the cartridge-firing gun. It is also more commonly known as shell gun. It typically comes with an ammunition packaging and cased primer that is designed to fit into the firing chamber. This type of gun is collected with the intent of shooting.

In addition to these two general categories, the type of firearms that are collected by antique hobbyists can be recognized as follows: hand guns and long guns. You can distinguish the different types of guns based on the material used for making them. Most of these guns are made with aluminum, polymer, and steel.

Determining Value of Antique Guns

Whether you want to sell or collect antique firearms, you need to be ready to do some research. Not all antique guns are valuable or of a certain value. There are several factors that go into the process of assessing its value. Unless you have a trained eye or experience handling guns, you won’t be able to make that assessment yourself.

To help you out, the succeeding sections will tackle the factors that are used to determine the value of antique guns and firearms. You can get more information about each below so you can use them as guideline.

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What is the Condition?

The condition of an antique gun will be one of the biggest factors for its pricing. No matter how valuable or rare the gun is, if it is in a pretty bad state, it won’t command as high of a price than one that is in a good condition. It does not even have to be in pristine condition – it should still be functional (or have most, if not all, of its parts).

As a collector, you need to determine what condition you would settle for. Most antique collectors or gun enthusiasts would be willing to pay for a gun with some honest wear. Some would prefer having a gun that is mechanically safe and functional over a gun that comes with 100% original finish. After all, it is an antique and it is expected to look its age!

Since the gun is a type of firearm, it is highly important to check the safety features of a gun as part of its condition evaluation. It can be rough to assess when it comes to guns particularly in terms of originality. Some guns have their parts replaced over the years. This could cause the gun to lose its originality. But in terms of safety, it has definitely improved in that department. How do you then assess what’s more valuable: originality or safety? This could vary in the eyes of the collector as each buyer would have different priorities. If you are not sure what the right approach is, you need to consult an expert appraiser.

Is it a reproduction or original?

During your research, you need to check if there are any reproductions made of a specific type of gun that you own (or think about selling). Without close examination, the reproductions can look a lot like the original. But an expert eye will be able to determine the difference pretty easily. If you are not sure if yours is an original or reproduction, it is best to have it checked.

Does it have provenance?

The provenance of a gun refers to any historical association it might have concerning its previous ownership. For example, your gun might have been previously owned by a famous personality or it might have an interesting story that ties it with some of the critical moments in history. Or better yet, the gun could have been part of a royal armory in the past. You will only determine the provenance of an antique item by doing some research. When an antique item has a special interest, it will significantly increase in value.

(Video) - Online Gun Values and Firearms Pricing Guide

What is the make and model?

The make and model of an antique gun is one of the things that you need to consider when it comes to valuing the item. This is the first thing that is usually taken into consideration when assessing the value of antique firearms. In particular, collectors who buy antique guns based on specialization will look into this factor more closely.

The quality for each maker will vary significantly; this is one thing that gun enthusiasts pay a lot of attention to. In addition, some models or makes also have historical significance. It is therefore important to research on the background of a specific gun’s make and model to have a more specific approximation of value. Some of the most notable makes and models of gun throughout history include Smith & Wesson, Winchester, Remington, Luger, Enfield, and Arisaka. The best manufacturers command premium prices as some of them are associated with higher quality guns.

How rare is it?

The rarity of the gun is also one factor affecting value. Antique collectors are more willing to pay premium prices for novel items or early models that were manufactured in small quantities. Meanwhile, if you can get hold of guns that are examples of early technical innovations, then you can also command higher prices for those. Some buyers are even willing to overlook any minor defects or condition problems for those rare items.

Consider the Artistic Appeal

The artistic appeal of an antique gun is often overlooked. However, it can have some influence on the pricing of the antique firearm. There are a few firearms that are carved with fine engravings, which add to their artistic value. This is typically manufactured from the 18th to the 19th centuries. This period was known as the “Golden Age” when it comes to firearms engraving; therefore, you can get a good price for items that originated from this era.

Preserving the Antique Guns

Antique items require tremendous amount of care. It is essential if you want to preserve its value. Here are some of the best practices to follow when preserving an antique gun or firearm:

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  • The ideal temperature for storing your old firearms is 70-degrees Fahrenheit or 21-degrees Celsius. If you store it at a higher temperature, the wood stocks on the gun might expand resulting in permanent cracks. You should also keep the humidity level at 50 percent.
  • Depending on the type of gun that you have, handling the gun with your bare hands is not recommended. The oil from your skin could result to damage on the gun’s exterior. Cotton gloves are the best types of protection for your gun when handling it with your hands.
  • Use a dry and clean cloth to dust off your gun. Avoid using any spray cleaning products.

Need to appraise your antique guns and firearms? brings experts on specific antique items so you can get accurate and honest appraisal on your valuable antiques, like guns. Before you sell your antique guns, make sure to have one of our experts have a look into it for a more accurate valuation

Would You Like to Sell Your antique gun?

Mearto offers two opportunities to sell your antique gun based on its current fair market value:

(Video) The History and Collectibility of Antique Firearms

Customers with antique gun expected to sell for $5,000 or more can take advantage of our complimentary Consignment Concierge service. We will contact leading auction houses on your behalf, collect offers and help you negotiate the terms of a consignment agreement. There is no additional fee or commission for this service.

For customers with antique gun valued between $50 and $5,000, Mearto offers an exclusive Marketplace, which is accessed by a number of art, antiques and collectibles dealers around the world. If there is interest in your item, you will be contacted directly with offers through our platform. In the event of a successful sale, Mearto takes a 7% transaction fee.

To learn more about options for selling your antique gun through Mearto, please click here.


What makes a gun a collectors item? ›

Firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, or bizarre or from the fact of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.

Is my gun an antique? ›

Under the United States Gun Control Act of 1968, any cartridge firearm made in or before 1898 ("pre-1899") is classified as an "antique", and is generally outside of Federal jurisdiction, as administered and enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE).

What is the most valuable firearm? ›

Pat Garrett's Colt revolver, used to kill Billy the Kid, sold for more than $6 million. That price snappily doubled Bonhams's high-end estimate of $3 million for the Garrett piece, and it made the vernacular, factory-made, late nineteenth-century six-shooter the most expensive firearm ever sold at auction in the world.

Do antique guns go up in value? ›

Overall, prices for antique guns have risen over time due to the lack of supply. Prices also vary depending on what is in popular demand.

Can you look up gun type by serial number? ›

Can You Look Up a Gun by Serial Number? You can look up a gun by its serial number using certain resources like the NRA website and the Blue Book of Gun Values. Additionally, many firearms manufacturer websites have databases of their guns, and you can look up the serial numbers of firearms they manufacture.

How old does a gun have to be to be considered antique? ›

If you possess or are planning to acquire a percussion cap firearm or a muzzle-loading handgun, you need to know if it was made before or after 1898 in order to know what rules apply. A firearm that discharges black powder cartridges might be considered an antique if it was made before 1898, but not necessarily.

Do antique firearms require a license? ›

Section 58 of the Firearms Act 1968 and the Antique Firearms Regulations 2021 set out in law which firearms can be regarded as antique, and therefore exempt from licensing. To be regarded as an antique, a firearm must: Have been manufactured before 1 September 1939, and.

What gun is not considered a firearm? ›

any replica of a firearm manufactured in or before 1898 IF such replica is not designed for using rimfire or centerfire fixed ammo. any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition.

What are antique guns worth? ›

In reality, most older, mass-manufactured guns are actually worth much less than a brand-new model. For example, if the gun you obtained is a Mossberg 500 made anytime in the 1960s to 2020, it's worth approximately $75 to $300, depending on its condition.

How much is an original Colt Walker worth? ›

As reported in America's 1st Freedom magazine in July 2018, a Model 1847 Colt Walker pistol – the only known surviving example complete with its original case – was sold by Rock Island Auction for a record price of $1.84 million. This makes this the most expensive single firearm ever sold at auction.

What is the most valuable Henry rifle? ›

Rock Island Auction Co. A historic 1886 Winchester rifle, owned by U.S. Army Captain Henry Ware Lawton, who is credited with capturing Apache leader Geronimo, just sold for $1.2 million, setting a new world record.

Are old Winchester rifles worth anything? ›

A standard Winchester carbine is valued at a few hundred dollars at most, but these unique carbines that have a much-shorter than usual 15-inch barrel are worth a couple of thousand at least. For instance, this early 20th century model 1892 trapper recently sold for $7,475 at auction.

Are collectible guns a good investment? ›

A lot of people see the constantly-increasing price of collectible firearms, and assume that guns must be a pretty good investment. Well, they really aren't. The stock market outperforms collectible firearms with ease.

Are gun prices up or down? ›

Gun Sales Are on the Decline, But Prices Remain High – Everything is costing a bit more these days. The annual inflation rate hit 8.5 percent in March, the highest since December of 1981 and up from 7.9 percent in February. Inflation has more than doubled since March 2021.

Does ATF keep records of gun purchases? ›

“ATF does not maintain a federal gun registry, therefore, records are not kept on the sales of firearms, private sales or information on individual purchasers,” an ATF spokesperson told ABC News.

Can you Google a gun serial number? ›

A gun dealer can run a serial number search, but may charge a small fee for doing so. The documentation that came with the gun will also have this information. In many cases, this will come from the owner's manual.

Can you tell the age of a gun by the serial number? ›

You can visit the U.S. Military Dates of Manufacture page on Select whether your firearm is a handgun or a long gun and choose the appropriate link to be directed to the lookup tool. Then, simply search for the date your firearm was created by typing its serial number in the box.

What is considered an antique? ›

Antiques are items which must be at least 100 years old. That means, as of the date of this posting, an antique item was made on or before April of 1918. Items over 300 years of age generally fall into one of two categories depending upon whether they are manmade creations or natural finds.

Is a black powder pistol considered a firearm? ›

Because black powder firearms are considered antique firearms, the possession of a black powder firearm by a person subject to federal firearms disabilities is not prohibited by the GCA.

How old is the oldest gun? ›

The Heilongjiang hand cannon or hand-gun is a bronze hand cannon manufactured no later than 1288 and is the world's oldest confirmed surviving firearm.

What defines an antique gun? ›

For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “Antique Firearms” means any firearm not intended or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or similar type of ignition system ...

Is a musket considered a firearm? ›

The musket was a smoothbore firearm and lacked rifling grooves that would have spun the bullet in such a way as to increase its accuracy.

What qualifies as an antique firearm in Florida? ›

In the statute, an "antique firearm" is defined as "any firearm manufactured in or before 1918 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar early type of ignition system) or replica thereof."

What does 9/19 mean on a gun? ›

It has a 9mm diameter bullet (aka projectile), held in place by a 19mm long bullet case (which holds the powder and ignites) – hence, the round was titled 9X19mm. Mostly, when someone uses the term “9mm”, they are referring to the 9X19 Parabellum cartridge. It is that popular.

What does 🔫 mean in texting? ›

What does 🔫 Pistol emoji mean? This is a loaded emoji. The pistol emoji on most platforms now depicts a toy or water gun, though for a while at least half of the designs depicted a more realistic-looking weapon.

What does S and F mean on a gun? ›

Some shotguns and rifles have slide safeties that let users know whether the safeties are on or off in a different way. With this type of safety, you might see an “F” as an indication the gun can be fired or an “S” to show the safety is engaged. There are also some guns that use green to indicate a safety is engaged.

Are guns considered collectibles? ›

To the ATF this gun is a Curio & Relic (they have their own language). To the IRS it's just an asset or inventory item, but it is specifically not a collectible by their definition.

What is a gun collector? ›

It is granted to an individual who devotes time and attention to acquiring certain types of regulated firearms for the enhancement of the collector's personal collection, or possesses a Federal Firearms License (Collector of Curio and Relics). A Designated Collector is not authorized to act as a firearms dealer.

What is the most iconic revolver? ›

Smith & Wesson Model 29 Revolvers

The best-known revolver from any film in history has to be Dirty Harry's Smith and Wesson Model 29 . 44 magnum. Nowadays, Clint Eastwood probably would've been carrying a Smith and Wesson Model 500 but the . 44 Mag Model 29 was the most domineering revolver in the world at the time.

Is a derringer a pistol? ›

The Philadelphia Deringer was a small percussion handgun designed by Henry Deringer (1786–1868) and produced from 1852 through 1868. A popular concealed carry handgun of the era, this pocket pistol design was widely copied by competitors, sometimes down to the markings.

How many guns should a normal person have? ›

This answer depends on the size of your household and your budget. At a minimum, every household should have at least two firearms. One handgun and one rifle.

How many guns is considered an arsenal? ›

According to the dictionary, “arsenal” describes a facility for the storage of military weapons, which implies hundreds, or maybe thousands. Five guns is not even a decent collection, much less an arsenal.

Do you pay tax on antiques? ›

Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the profit made when selling or 'disposing of' an asset that has increased in value. For example, you purchase an antique. You then subsequently sell the antique and pay Capital Gains Tax on the increase in value alone, not the original purchase cost.

What is a gun lover called? ›

admirer, aficionado, buff (informal) devotee, fan, fanatic, fiend (informal) follower, freak (informal) lover, supporter, zealot.

How many guns does the average American gun owner have? ›

The average gun owning American has 5 firearms, while nearly 22% of gun owners only have a single firearm.

What is considered a super gun owner? ›

About 55 million Americans own guns, with most owning an average of three each and nearly half owning just one or two, the survey found. Among this group, an estimated 7.7 million Americans make up the country's “gun super-owners,” who own between eight and 140 guns.

What is the best revolver caliber? ›

357 Magnum – In a revolver, this is a top pick. The . 357 delivers a lot of energy for the size of the bullet, and, in the proper revolver, the felt recoil and muzzle flip are manageable.

What is the most well known handgun? ›

Glock 19. This is by far one of the most popular pistols in America. Glock has what is arguably the most reliable, durable, and most widely used 9mm firearm on the market.

What caliber were most cowboy pistols? ›

44-40 WCF caliber were one of the most common combinations seen in "the Old West". For example, the two mounted "Cowboys" at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral were armed with this rifle and pistol combination. . 38-40 and . 32-20 (.

How much is a Dillinger gun worth? ›

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A small pistol belonging to 1930s gangster John Dillinger has been sold at auction to a private collector for $95,600 -- more than double the pre-sale estimate, the auction house said on Sunday. The Remington .

How much does a 4 shot derringer cost? ›

4 Shot Derringer Best Price: $1399.99 - Price Trends for October, 2022.

What are tiny guns called? ›

In American English, a pocket pistol is any small, pocket-sized semi-automatic pistol (or less commonly referencing either derringers, or small revolvers), and is suitable for concealed carry in either a coat, jacket, or trouser pocket.


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