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Antique Gun FAQ: 6 Common Questions For Sellers And Buyers

Monday, February 11th, 2019
antique guns Frequently Asked Questions

Having an antique gun might mean you are in possession of an expensive piece of history. Prices on antique guns have gone up over time as the supply diminishes. The price depends on which gun you own. Certain manufacturers such as Colt and Winchester Repeating Arms are often in high demand which brings their values higher at auction. More and more people are becoming interested in collecting antique guns because they are being seen as a form of tangible assets. The following are some of the most common questions new collectors and sellers have about antique guns.

What makes a gun an antique in the United States?

Any firearm with a receiver made before January 1, 1899, is legally considered antique by most state and local laws. This determination may vary from state to state. But, when the actual date for the manufacture of the frame/receiver (not the model year or patent date) is before 1899, the gun is legally labeled antique. You are not required to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) when buying or selling antique guns across state lines.

What are the benefits of investing in pre-1899 guns?

With each passing year, pre-1899 firearms become more valuable. You can already receive a considerable amount for one of these guns at auction. These items are a great long-term investment which will only go up in value. Collecting antique firearms is like preserving a piece of history, and for many, they never even consider firing the piece.

Are antique serial number range guns worth as much or more than identical guns made years later?

Production guns manufactured pre-1899 typically bring a twenty to sixty percent premium over guns in identical condition made after 1898. Judging by current market trends, it can be expected that premiums will increase in the next few years in this market. Many collectors feel that reproductions just aren’t the same as originals.

What is the prediction for prices of pre-1899 guns?

Prices of pre-1899 antique guns are expected to increase. The Brady Rules went into effect on November 30, 1998, and are now permanent rules which are under federal control. The rules require there be “national instant background checks” for the purchase of all post-1899 gun sales. This rule is effective on all sales of handguns and long guns. Pre-1899 antique guns are exempt from this federal requirement, which makes them popular.

How can I know the worth of an antique gun at auction?

There are many types of collectible guns including military, western, handguns, and black powder rifles. There are also different brands such as Winchester, Colt, Derringer, Wesson, and Browning. An excellent way to find the value of a gun is to join an antique gun club and meet other collectors.

Other methods to use for finding the value of an antique gun before you go to an auction is to check a reputable website. You can find many that have general values based on condition and auction values. Checking with your local auction house can be helpful too. Auctioneers have reliable sources for locating current market values and the experience of working sales to know market trends. You can also do the following to find the value of an antique gun.

  • Ask the manufacturer for specific information about your gun.
  • Know what you need to find the value including the model of the gun and its type, caliber, and action.
  • Understand how condition affects value. Even for the oldest guns, being in the best possible condition will increase value.

What do I do before a gun auction?

Both new and experienced gun collectors should take a few steps before attending an auction. First, conduct as much research as possible before buying or selling. Next, you should learn the rules of the auction house that is holding the auction. If possible, all guns should be tested (safely) before they are sold or bought. Finally, be prepared for bidding wars, especially if the guns being auctioned are famous or a part of history.

Antique gun auctions in Texas

To learn more about Bidding or Selling at auction, call the experts at High Plains Auctioneers today. You can reach us at (806) 244-6776 or Contact Us by email for more information. We hold many types of auctions including gun auctions, estate auctions, and used farm equipment auctions. Be sure to check out our Upcoming Auctions to see what we will have available!