Guns have always fascinated the American society and it’s no wonder this is one of the most debated public issues today. While most people want to protect themselves, there’s also a growing number of people buying antique firearms as an investment.
According to the National Firearms Act, the term “Antique Firearms” refers to a gun manufactured before 1898 and not intended for use or redesign. These highly valuable guns are collectibles not meant for use and they have spawned a unique investment option.
Many people now buy older guns made before the 20th century as an investment and the market for these antiques keeps growing. For instance, a confederate revolver in good condition can get you from $20,000 to $30,000 at an auction. Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions have witnessed increased sales in antiques ranging from antique pistols to rifles owned by historic figures to long forgotten gun designs.
Whatever your view on guns, it’s advisable to consider antique guns as an investment. Many people have turned their love for guns into a money making venture. If you have been looking for a unique investment options, this guide explores some antique firearms and their viability as an investment.
Brief Overview of Antique Guns
The history of guns as collectibles goes way back but in the early days, there was no regulation of the industry. High value antiques were in the wrong hands and there was no regulated market for these guns.
Since you will be investing good money on the antique, keeping it clean also becomes mandatory. Take a look what Camperarena says about cleaning guns.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) made things easier for gun enthusiasts by defining antique firearms and giving examples. The Arms Export Control Act also helps with defining these guns making things easier for anyone interested in buying and selling these collectibles legally. In brief, GCA defines an antique firearm as:
- Any firearm manufactured in or before 1898 with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system. Why 1898? Red Jackson a renowned Dallas, TX gun dealer gave the year to the house committee working on the legislation based on the legendary success of the Mauser’s M98 bolt action rifle.
- A replica of an antique firearm as described in (i) above if this gun doesn’t use rim fire or conventional center fire fixed ammunition. A replica also qualifies as an antique if it uses rim fire or conventional center fire fixed ammunition no longer manufactured or readily available in the United States.
If you’re lucky enough to come across a gun manufactured before 1898 and which features a primitive ignition system, you’re in the antique firearms business. To appreciate the value of these antiques, consider some of the most expensive guns ever sold:
- George Washington’s pistols of liberty: Lafayette-Washington Steel-Mounted Saddle Pistols at $1,986,000. Ownership started with George Washington, going to Andrew Jackson the 7th President and back into the hands of the Lafayette family.
- Simon Bolivar’s Flintlock Pistols at $1,687,500: These pistols belonged to Simon Bouler, liberator of Latin America.
- Gold-Inlaid Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver at $1,142,500: It’s one of 22 revolvers made by Colonel Samuel Colt.
The prices of these high value collectible guns gives a hint of the kind of money you can make. By learning everything about these guns and finding out the most valuable items, you can start creating a collection.
No Strict Antique Firearms Laws
The best thing about antique firearms is that you can buy an item and walk away with it without the need for rigorous background checks. You don’t need ATF paperwork and in some states such as Illinois, you don’t even need a FOID card to make a purchase. Once you make a purchase at an auction, you can walk away with the gun the same day.
Are Antique Firearms A Good Investment?
Gun collectors say this is the best time to invest in antique guns or the following reasons:
- High demand: More people now look beyond stocks, jewelry and other traditional investment options and antiques including guns are in high demand.
- Increasing value: Antique firearms unlike stocks or gold don’t lose value. In fact, with age, they become more valuable.
- Global market: Global demand for antiques keeps growing and you can now sell antiques firearms online.
- Demand is high on anniversaries: During the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, there was a spike in demand for antiques related to the event. This will continue and you can make good money selling at this time.
Like with any other investment options, you need to do your research on antique firearms and this information is a good starting point.