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3 Things To Know Before Selling Antique Firearms At Auction

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017
Tips to use when attending a fun auction with high plains auctioneers

From revolvers to rifles, antique firearms became collectible not long after the Second World War. Admired for their historical value, these guns are celebrated for their beauty and craftsmanship. Whether you are looking for a muzzle loader or cartridge firing weapon, there is something out there for every collector. How do you determine what qualifies as an antique firearm and know what it will be worth at an auction? Understanding what defines a gun as an antique and pricing information can help you prepare to sell your gun at auction.

What classifies a firearm as antique

The precise definition of an antique firearm can be disputed from one country to another. However, as a general rule, it is a gun that was crafted prior to the beginning of the 20th century. The cutoff point for a gun to be considered an antique is around the 1880s, when firearms moved from gunpowder to a smokeless powder.

To legally be classified as an antique in the United States, a firearm has to have been manufactured before the year 1898. The gun must also be a muzzle loading rifle, cartridge firing pistol, or shotgun which requires black powder. To be considered an antique, firearms cannot have the ability to use fixed ammunition.

The most valuable antique guns

When it comes down to price, the most expensive antique firearms are those once owned by heroes of history. Firearms that were owned by those who fought for liberty or helped to forge countries are more valuable. Several of the most expensive antique firearms have been sold at auction, all of which were previously owned by famous historical figures.

For example, George Washington’s firearms, known as the pistols of liberty, were auctioned for nearly two million dollars. One of Colonel Samuel Colt’s 22 revolvers, known for their intricate craftsmanship, sold at auction for just over one million. A pair of old guns once owned by the liberator of Latin America, Simon Bouler, was sold to a private American collector for $1,687,500.

Pricing antique firearms

There is no definitive website or book that is able to provide a precise estimate when it comes to an antique firearm’s value, especially at auction. According to the NRA, before you assess the value of your gun, you must understand what condition it is in. That means you must know the type of weapon and it’s caliber, action, measurements, and any defining markings. The Standard Catalog of Firearms is worth checking into for a general idea of what your antique firearm might be worth at auction. Ultimately, you will have to take your gun to a qualified expert to get an estimate of what it could go for at auction.

Contact local antique firearms experts

The more you know before bidding at a gun auction, the better chance you will have of success. If you would like more information about how to value, sell, or buy an antique firearm, contact the experts at High Plains Auctioneers today. You can call us at (806) 244-6776 or Contact Us by email for more information about our services. Don’t forget to check out our Upcoming Auctions to see what we have available!