Gun Values, It’s All About Condition

The better condition a gun is in, the heftier its price tag.

The better condition a gun is in, the heftier its price tag. (Photo curiosity Wikimedia Commons).

Don EllisonAmoskeag Auction Company, Manchester, N.H.

For selling collectible firearms, gun values are not simply determined by a firearm’s rarity, Amoskeag Auction Company firearms specialist Don Ellison said. The piece must be in top condition to get top prices. As Ellison pointed out, “Gray metal’s not moving!”

Case in point, at a recent auction, a very rare Springfield 1903 rifle with little bluing left and some pitting did not even sell. Meanwhile, a Colt Model 1877 Rainmaker revolver, 99-percent bright nickel plated, chambered in .32-20, was estimated to bring $10,000. It went for $25,000 at Amoskeag in March 2013.

Even nonantique handguns are demanding high prices. Colt Cobras regularly sell for $800 to $900 at Amoskeag.

“Five year ago, $400 was too much to pay for that handgun,” Ellison said.

Editors note, this article appeared in the Oct. 21, 2013 edition of Gun Digest the Magazine.


Recommended Collecting Resources

Classic Combat Handguns

Gun Digest Book of Classic Combat Handguns

2014 Standard Catalog of Firearms

Browse More Gun Collecting Books

One thought on “Gun Values, It’s All About Condition

  1. bhp0

    One other point to mention is that the majority of idiots that I have run into immediately throw away the box the gun originally came in. This not only includes new guns that may become potential collectors items of tomorrow but I have even seen Mr. Bubba trash old boxes that came with old collectable guns. Unbelievable but ignorance has no limit when it comes to Mr. Bubba who takes a fiendish delight in annihilating everything he gets his hands on. The reason he does this is that when his possession is thoroughly ad totally trashed it gives him the excuse to go out and buy something else and of course start the process of mass destruction all over again. Its no wonder there are such few mint collector guns out there anymore.

    The use of corrosive ammo, the lack of maintenance such as storing the guns in a humid free place and greasing the metal is totally unknown to Mr. Bubba. He is too cheap to buy any oil or grease and when he rarely does he buys oil or grease that was not formulated by the gun industry but Mr. Bubba buys the cheap off brand oil or grease that usually does not lubricate or protect his guns at all. To his way of thinking he saved money by buying trash oil or grease in the short run and he annihilated his valuable guns in the long run.

    The other mistake is altering or customizing anything Mr. Bubba gets his hands on. He calls this his project guns. What is the ‘cats meow to him” is horrifying to the average gun buyer and it devalues his gun usually by at least half with no future rise in any collector value because the gun has now been altered (trashed). The latest Mr.Bubba trend is to take valuable and rare military collectable rifles and alter them into fake sniper rifles. This devalues his investment to virtually nothing as far a future collectable and it destroys a historical firearm. Its no different than the mass destruction that went on in the 1950′s called sportsitization. He also will never recoup all the money he threw down the drain in buying the after market parts to alter his weapon so he loses not once but twice. Once in the altering of the gun which destroys its value and also in regards to the money wasted on the after market parts.

COMMENT