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Collecting guns can be a worthwhile hobby. If you approach it the right way, it can also be a good investment.
It’s a different type of investment than stocks or digital currency. But with good research, you can develop a gun collection that pays off when you need to cash in.
Be careful about the type of guns you buy. You can spend a lot of money on firearms and end up with a collection that isn’t worth what you paid for it.
You don’t have to aim for the most expensive or collectible guns to build a valuable collection. Start with a basic understanding of firearm values. Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you get started.
Choose a Theme (Or Two)
You’ll find valuable guns in a variety of gun types. To get started, choose one theme and do the research.
Picking an era is a fun way to learn about historical guns from different periods. Focus the start of your collection on World War II, Colonial firearms, or Revolutionary War guns.
When you start with a single era, you’ll learn what makes certain firearms more valuable than others in that era.
Also, keep in mind that history is more valuable than modern. AKs, AR15s, and newer mass-produced guns won’t add value to your collection. They can be flashy and impressive, but they don’t hold good resale value.
Older, rarer guns in good condition should be your focus when researching valuable guns.
Some of the most valuable historical guns include:
- WWII Era Nimbus
- Colt single action army revolvers
- M-1 Paratroopers
- Sharps 1863 Carbines
- Walther P38 (a WWII trophy gun)
Begin your collection with a gun that has good value at a price you can afford.
It doesn’t hurt to collect guns from different periods. But one gun each from different periods isn’t a collection. Your entire collection will be more valuable with a variety of guns from one or two eras.
Learn About Firing Mechanisms
The way a gun fires is unique to the type of gun and it’s emergence in history.
In the 1350s, earliest guns were miniature cannons designed to fire like cannons held in your hand.
Once the usefulness of handheld firepower was evident, firearm designers looked for more reliable ways to ignite the gunpowder. Guns soon combined the three components we know and love: lock, stock, and barrel.
In the early 1400s, the matchlock gun successfully combined these three main gun components. However, it was soon clear that lighting a slow-burning match to fire a weapon wasn’t convenient or reliable.
The wheellock gun improved on the matchlock style of firearm. Gun makers discovered that sparks produced by striking flint or other substances against steel could ignite the gunpowder and fire the weapon.
Then came the flintlock gun. It revolutionized the consistency and accuracy of firearms in the early 1600s. Gunmakers added sights to flintlock guns for better aiming precision.
When beginning your firearm collection, the flintlock gun is a valuable historical piece to add. Look for flintlock for sale from reputable dealers when doing your research.
Target Different Gun Manufacturers
Most gun owners have a favorite brand of gun. But don’t stick only to your personal favorites when building your firearm collection.
Some of the most valuable guns in your collection could come from manufacturers that aren’t your personal preference for the weapons you shoot. However, because of the manufacturer and style, the guns are valuable to own.
- Parker shotguns
- S&T Daewoo
- Legacy H&K pistols
- Merwin & Hulbert revolvers
- Sig AMT (STG57)
- Enfield rifles
- Legacy Arisaka rifles
- FN FNC
- Luger pistols
- Winchester rifles
These are classic, reliable guns that show little depreciation over time. Search for the best price and condition before your purchase. When you’re ready to resell, you should make a good return on these investments.
The Rarer, The Better
A general rule of thumb when collecting guns is to search for firearms that are no longer made or imported.
Again, be careful of your purchase price. The rarest of guns will be an expensive addition to your collection.
But when you find a rare firearm and research shows it’s no longer manufactured, it’s worth considering adding it to your collection.
Be sure those old, rare firearms are in good working condition. Don’t let the excitement of a rare find pressure you into purchasing a gun that doesn’t work.
When you’re later ready to sell it, you’ll find a better price and more willing buyers if the gun works as it should.
Store Them for the Long-Term
Whether you choose a display case or a gun safe, store your guns for the long haul.
Shoving them in a box and forgetting about them in a closet won’t prolong the good condition of your firearms.
For each gun in your collection, learn about the optimal storage situation. Most gun safes or gun cases can effectively and safely store your collection.
Humidity and light can damage guns. With old or rare guns, be sure your safe or case is the right place for ideal conditions. It’s also a risk to handle your collection of firearms too frequently.
To protect yourself from an expensive loss, be sure you also buy insurance for your gun collection.
Show them off. Keep them safe. Protect your investment.
Treat your gun collection as a hobby. Enjoy the research and the hunt for the perfect next addition to your collection.
Don’t chase the money. Stock your collection with guns you enjoy. Tell their stories. Make it worth the adventure, as well as the investment.
Firearm Values Are Only the Beginning of Your Collection
When starting your collection, firearm values are only the beginning. If you aren’t also enjoying the history and stories behind each make, model, and individual weapon, you might consider another form of investment.
Collecting firearms can be an interesting hobby, but the return might not always be worth your time and initial investment. For a more traditional investment strategy, check out our article on purchasing dividend stocks.