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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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? Mearto.com 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:
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.
For the majority of us, these guns will never be sold within our price limit.. A main price indicator of an antique gun is the age of the gun.. Specific brands of guns such as Colt and Winchester are heavily sought after by collectors meaning 9 times out of 10 they will be the highest priced guns at any given auction.. With only 1, 100 Walker pistols ever created, with very few remaining in working condition, it is no surprise that this particular gun sold for close to 1 million dollars in 2008.. The gun that sold at auction was in pristine condition for it’s age, and due to it’s historical value it went for just under 1 million dollars.
There are more gun collectors out there than you think, especially when it comes to antique guns.. 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.. The antique collectors who buy this type of gun do so not for firing purposes.. The second type of antique firearm that is sought after by collectors is the cartridge-firing gun.. 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.. Not all antique guns are valuable or of a certain value.. 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.. 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.. Here are some of the best practices to follow when preserving an antique gun or firearm:. Depending on the type of gun that you have, handling the gun with your bare hands is not recommended.. Need to appraise your antique guns and firearms?. Mearto.com brings experts on specific antique items so you can get accurate and honest appraisal on your valuable antiques, like guns.
Not only do you need to be honest with yourself about its condition, you need to remember that people in the market for used guns are likely shopping used because it will save them some money.. If you find it, you can see what other people are trying to sell them for.. However, if you can make it through to your value, you’ll find an accurate range of fair to good values you can use to make an educated decision on how much to accept on your trade.. Remember that if you’re trading your gun in for something new, the gun shop is going to look up the wholesale price on your gun and then offer you a certain discount on that new gun you have your eye on.. You might think you’re getting a good deal, but the reality is that the gun shop marks new guns up enough to make a profit.. It requires looking at more than one place, considering more than just a few factors like age and condition, and understanding that there’s more to be said for the convenience of a trade-in than the money you might make.. If you are thinking about trading in your used gun, make sure you take your time to figure out what it’s worth before taking it to the shop.
If I ever need to sell a gun again (and there's not a friend who wants that exact gun) I'm definitely selling it to Cash My Guns.. The service works great and is very fast with responses for their estimates and payments.. The process was quick, easy and fair.. This was my first time selling a firearm and they made the process very easy.. Very easy to use, and received a fair price, quickly.
So, you have this old gun and you’re wondering, “Is it worth anything?” Should it be refinished, restored, cleaned, or left as is?. The decision may seem daunting, but with good information you will be able to make the choice that’s right for you.. There are many reference books that rate the value of antique and modern firearms.. If the value of the gun is impacted by the condition, your next decision will be whether or not it needs improvement.. This could range from a simple cleaning to repair, refinishing, or restoration.. The results of a poor decision can be very costly.. The metal had been badly prepped and polished, the edges were rounded, screw holes dished, lettering nearly buffed off and the metal had been blued incorrectly.. I had to tell my customer that the gun’s current value was about $1250.00.. Had it been in “Very Good” condition, with 90% original finish, and had a letter of authentication from the Winchester Museum in Cody Wyoming, it would have been worth at least $14,000.00.. The stock and fore end wood would be refinished, again, using the original Winchester methods.. This is a costly process, at least $2000.00; however, it could increase the gun’s value to about $12,000.00.. After careful disassembly we found proof marks under the barrels which confirmed that these pistols were authentic!. If you take it to someone who is calling themselves a “licensed and certified gunsmith,” be wary, as once again, there is no licensing or certification requirements to be a gunsmith.
Selling antique firearms is more complicated than most other categories of antiques because you have to take federal and state laws into account both for the actual sale and for shipping considerations.. However, you may be surprised to learn that the regulations for buying and selling antique firearms online are not nearly as stringent as the regulations for buying and selling modern firearms.. In general, you do not need a federal dealer’s license or official documentation to sell an antique firearm, while you would for other firearms.. Additionally, antique firearms may be shipped from an unlicensed individual directly to the buyer, whereas modern weapons may only be shipped to a dealer in that state and then passed on to the buyer.. You also do not need a background check before buying an antique firearm, as one would for a more recently manufactured gun.. The NRA has a useful overview of federal laws surrounding firearm sales and special rules for antique gun sales.. Pricing your antique firearm. The standards range from “poor” to “factory new.” A “poor” rating describes firearms that are mechanically inoperable, badly scratched, contain replacement parts not original to the firearm, or are in need of extensive repair.. Selling your antique firearm. If you are shipping the antique firearm internationally, you do not need a permit, as you would for a more recently made gun.. US law defines an antique firearm as an ‘antique” rather than a “firearm,” so the Gun Control Act does not apply.
The best thing you can do is to learn how to assess the actual value of your gun, and anticipate a realistic offer based on that value.. The first step in determining the value of a gun is to inspect it and make note of the identifying characteristics.. NRA gun condition standards for antique guns:. Fair: Has some major replacement parts, may need additional repairs, has heavy wear and some damage, but in working order.. When you’re trying to trade these kinds of guns, don’t expect to see much return from them!. See all Firearms Experts
I will do appraisals of collections for hire and this page provides some ideas on how to identify your gun and find out what it might be worth.. Most value questions can be answered by the major price guides, which include:. A truly “as new” gun in the original box can bring more.. Many (but not all) double barrel shotguns with Damascus barrels have relatively low values.. Those double Damascus shotguns bringing more have one or more of the following factors.. Usually if it’s marked “Made in (name of country)” it’s a reproduction.. Some rare hand made reproduction Kentucky rifles by famous individual gunsmiths can bring much more, but can be slow to sell.. Again, there are numerous exceptions, but many “import marked” bolt action type non-U.S. military rifles in well-used condition (especially with “mismatched” serial numbers) retail in the $50 to $200 range.. Trade name guns have little collector interest, and are valued primarily as shooters.. Many of these were made by good manufacturers and make fine shooters – they just don’t usually have collector value.. See above for trade name single barrel & double barrel shotguns.. Most better price guides list retail values for commemoratives which were offered by the actual manufacturer (most notably, Colt & Winchester.). There are some types of guns which are worth watching for, as they nearly always have good collector value.. Colt percussion revolvers Colt Single Action Armys Pre-1964 Winchesters, Lugers and other early auto pistols in nice original condition, Large frame S&W top-breaks U.S. military arms Original percussion and flintlock rifles Fine double shotguns …etc.
Need more space…But just because you don’t use a gun doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get its full trade-in value.. There are some things you can do to get an idea of how much your gun is worth and increase your chances of getting the best price possible for your gun.. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to fairly assess the trade-in value of your gun and know what to ask when you’re ready to trade.. Scratches can mean the price of your gun goes down.You can argue all you want but that single scratch will keep you from getting the “excellent” price even if you’re selling to a private party.. Cleaning the outside of our dirty shotgun Once you’ve determined the condition of your gun, it’s time to find the average used rate for your make and model.. GunbrokerLook for ads for similar guns that actually sold.. There will be a price difference.. (If the cut in half price ends in 50, round up to the next 00.). The salesperson will hit you back with an offer a good bit lower.. At this point, you may balk at the idea of less than half of the resale value of your gun.. If you’d rather get more money for your gun and don’t mind putting in the extra effort, it’s definitely worth going the private sale route .. Another thing to remember, everything we’ve said here is about trading in your gun , not selling it to a gun shop for them to resell.. Pro Tip: If you want cash and don’t mind the work, do a private sale.. But, if you know the gun you want is at your gun shop, the trade-in might be your best bet.