Why You Need Gun Insurance

Large Civil War-era Starr Arms Company, New York, single-action Model 1863 percussion 44-caliber revolver; an example of very earliest production with extremely low serial #15; entirely unmarked and with a distinct civilian-type blued finish (versus the less brilliant, somewhat duller, most often encountered military blued finish). Checkered one-piece ivory grips.  Cased in original factory walnut box with red velvet compartment type lining, and original accessories and literature. Note: The great bulk of production of Starr revolvers was acquired by U.S. Army for military issuance during the Civil War.

Large Civil War-era Starr Arms Company, New York, single-action Model 1863 percussion 44-caliber revolver; an example of very earliest production with extremely low serial #15; entirely unmarked and with a distinct civilian-type blued finish (versus the less brilliant, somewhat duller, most often encountered military blued finish). Checkered one-piece ivory grips. Cased in original factory walnut box with red velvet compartment type lining, and original accessories and literature. Note: The great bulk of production of Starr revolvers was acquired by U.S. Army for military issuance during the Civil War.

APPRAISALS
Professional appraisals are often important in establishing values for antique and collectors’ guns. Such evaluations are specified requirements for some insurance policies, for any estate and gift tax purposes, for tax plans of various types and damage and loss claims. They play an important role in determining originality of a collector’s item, by supplying a professional opinion in writing.

The key to acceptability of the values or opinions stated in an appraisal by the party to whom they are submitted are the credentials and background of the appraiser. It is a simple matter to find anyone with the slightest knowledge of guns and have them write an evaluation, pulling figures out of the air so to speak; all that is needed is a typewriter and paper.

However, the collector should well understand and remember that those evaluations are subject to review by quite a few official parties before acceptability and that one of the major features scrutinized is the credentials of the appraiser; his experience within the field of guns (not merely a general antiques appraiser) and his reputation are principal factors.

Major appraisers associations are able to furnish lists of recognized experts whose specialty is firearms. A number of well-known dealers in the antique arms field are quite well qualified and handle evaluations as part of their normal business routine. Appraisal fees vary considerably and are dependent upon the qualifications and credentials of the appraiser, his expertise and professional affiliations, and, of course, his location.

Fees are often based upon hourly and daily rates or on a flat rate based on quantity involved. The common practice of charging a percentage of the appraised value of the item or collection is looked upon unfavorably. It is no longer in use by most major auction houses and is actually forbidden in the bylaws of some major appraisers’ associations.

This article is an excerpt from Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms. Click here to learn more.

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