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Tips For Appraising Your Firearms Before Selling Them At Auction

Friday, April 24th, 2020
Antique gun auctions in texas

Whether you are a seasoned seller or are new to selling at auctions, it is important to know the value of your firearm before the event. You could try to value the item yourself, but it is often helpful to have an appraisal done by a professional. Here are the main factors an appraiser should look at and some tips to help you appraise the value too.

Look at the make and model

This should be the first thing that an appraiser (or you) should check for. Whether it is a rifle, pistol, long gun, or something else, this will have a lot to do with its value. Some of the most popular brands that have stood the test of time include Smith & Wesson, Ruger & Co., Remington, and Sig Sauer.

The type of firearm will matter

Sometimes the type of firearm you have will affect its value. For example, an older rifle will sometimes pull more value than a newer handgun. Other factors tie into this to increase or decrease the selling value.

Research the year of the firearm

This will be important for you or the appraiser to do. One example of the year affecting the value is the Colt 1911. These pistols have been made since the start of the 1900s, but the exact year can determine whether it is of high or low value. Browning firearms were once manufactured in Belgium. In the 70s, they began making their firearms in Japan. The Belgium-made Brownings are worth more now than those made in Japan. Another example are pistols made in 1942, which are considered World War II era firearms. These hold significantly more value than other pistols.

If you aren’t sure where to start, many large companies like Colt and Browning have online databases of information that can help. Your appraiser should have access to these as well, but it never hurts to do your own research to be prepared for the auction.

Know the rarity of the firearm

This is an obvious factor, but rarity will often increase the value of a firearm at auction. If there are thousands of your type of firearm available, you can’t expect to get a high price for yours. But, if you have something that is harder to find or holds historical significance, you are likely to be able to fetch a great price at auction.

Evaluate the condition of your firearm

This is where an appraiser can really help you. Whether you are selling at an auction or a private dealer, the condition of your firearm can make or break the value. Wear and tear, firing capability, accuracy, and even the number of times the firearm has been used will all play a role in the appraisal of the condition.

Tips for appraising guns in a collection

If you are selling a collection of guns at auction, all of the above will still be important to remember. Here are some other tips to keep in mind when appraising a collection of firearms.

  1. Identify every gun in the collection separately. You can hire an appraiser by the hour or at a flat rate to do this.
  2. If you can’t have an appraisal done in-person, see if you can do it online. You can take pictures of each gun and send them to the appraiser. Just be sure to take multiple pictures of each firearm to get a strong appraisal.
  3. The appraiser (and you) should know about the type, manufacturer, caliber, condition, barrel length, serial number, and any unique markings.
  4. If you have any paperwork about a firearm’s history, include this in the appraisal.
  5. There are two main ways to categorize the value of a firearm. These are fair-market and insurance appraisal values. The fair-market value will probably be the closest to what you will look for at auction.

Are you looking to sell firearms at auction?

When you are ready to sell your collection of firearms, High Plains Auctioneers can help. We hold a variety of auctions throughout the year, including living estate and consignment auctions. You can reach us at (806) 244-6776 or Send Us an Email for more information.