Firearm Make, Model, Rarity, Condition, History and Art Part 2
Conclusion to the Finer Points of Gun Collecting
If interest in the make, model, and conditions of a firearm are taking a back seat there seem to be a renewed interest in artistic value as well as the rarity and history of guns for sale.
When talking about rare guns, it is important to bear in mind the maxim “just because a gun is rare doesn’t make it valuable, but only if there is significant interest. There may only be about 5 examples of a particular gun left, but the market is not yet saturated unless at least three people want these guns.
Nevertheless, there has been considerable interest in cornering specific variations of pieces within a certain collecting field. There has been a sudden revival of the philosophy of collecting a set of pieces of a specific model each with a different set of variations. As you can imagine the rarer the variation the more impressive the collection. In some of the new collecting fields, when a research is published about a rare variation a sudden interest in these variations often ensues.
Then those guns that have a special history as in the application of the piece in a historical event or the ownership of the same make and model by a famous historical character. This interest is equal to historians as well as the general public. One important side effect is the greater interest and understanding of the importance of proper documentation needed to accompany such a gun. Without this, any historically attributed item may not actually justify the considerable price or the attention to details in preserving such fine specimens.
Then there are those guns that feature a fine and even elaborate engraving, etching and craftsmanship for aesthetic reasons. These are obviously valued for their artistic value. This market is best served by the impressive artist of the 18th to 20th centuries. The interest in adding individual engravings has all but died out. And none too soon as many attractive firearms of yore were horribly besmirched by an industrious though inexperienced hand.
Remember that mass-produced or factory-engraved commemorative, which can be found in great abundance is not the same as factory-custom made engravings. Some of the major manufacturers worked this model class to death and the market was filled with commemoratives that never increased in value.
Some of these were produced on a limited scale, with numbers as low as a dozen or the low hundreds. This means that some collectors who have used a specific model as their platform to feature these commemorative editions will pay a premium price for the specific variation.
The lowest prices are typically found by those non-factory commemoratives that you often see depicted in a one-page magazine ad. While these special variations and commemorative probably have a high sentimental value with certain people, they typically remain in a secondary market and are sold at a reduced price from original value.
While on the topic of engraving, the market on custom firearms is worth a small mention. As a rule of thumb, the customized and modified guns for sale you see do not have values increased by these details, actually, the resale value may be lessened due to these alterations. There are some very specific niche fields of interest in the works of acclaimed gunsmiths such as Neidner & Pope from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Furthermore, special competition fields may also have better values for certain modifications, especially when sold among fellow competitors. Other than this, it is important to understand that amendments like this will enhance a personal love and use of a gun not necessarily improve the value of the piece as a collector’s item.