Jan 29

Antique Firearms and Their Pricing

How many of us have gone to a gun show and seen a table full of antique Winchester Lever-Action rifles or a case full Colt revolvers and not one of them has any remaining finish. What’s more is that if you attend the same shows regularly the same guns are there show after show year after year with little change. The same can be said of the racks in gun stores but to a lesser degree.

Take the Winchester model 94 carbines in 30-30 as an example. If they were made prior to World War II most dealers think they are worth at least $800 no matter how hammered they are. What’s worse is when the rifle is not even complete or functional and it carries a price tag of $550. Winchester 1886 rifles with no finish cut down barrels with no rifling and enough rust to supply your iron intake for a lifetime carrying a price tag of $2500. The point here is that almost no one that understands rifles will spend that kind of money on these clunkers. The real problem is that pricing is based on the completeness of the firearm as well as the condition. If the rifle is not complete and it is in fair condition it is not worth fair condition price.

The second part of this is that as tastes change these older firearms become less and less desirable. Today’s younger shooters want synthetic stocked, AR type rifles and polymer semi-auto handguns not blued steel and walnut rifles from a bygone era that are in terrible condition. Note I am not talking about complete rifles in higher condition grades. There will always be a collector market for antiques in good condition but as the shooters that grew up watching the Saturday afternoon westerns grow older the market for the older lever actions shrinks.

As time goes by these older revolvers and lever-actions have actually begun to drop in price and as more time goes by you will start seeing more of lower condition grades begin to drop. If you are looking for one of these older guns always remember early serial numbers, rare models, higher condition grades and original complete specimens are and will continue to be the guns that collectors will desire.

I know a realtor in Wyoming that turned some of these older examples into door handles on his business rather than trying to resell wall hangers. He also has a group of old military rifles that he is planning on turning into a chandelier. On some of these older guns that are not safe to shoot it is better to use them for decoration than to keep trying to resell them at collector prices.

If the dealers continue to want high prices for lesser quality junk then let them keep gathering dust. Eventually they will get the idea of the guns will be sold at auction for a more realistic price.

David – Mygunvalues.com

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