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Sold! Gun Auctions Thrive in Difficult Economy – Page 3
Weber says Gunrunner’s challenge is getting 350 guns a month onto their auction block with accurate descriptions. “It’s tough to research some of the firearms—we are getting some of the rarest guns in the world into our auction facility— and it takes time to get the descriptions right so that we really know what we have.”
Moreover, the company needs more physical space. In fact, Gunrunner recently purchased more business space near their current location and Weber says they may need more immediately. “We will be doing two types of auctions a month. I’ve got a new crew hired and they’ll start a new 24/7 auction in June,” he says.
Kramer brings up a host of challenges he’s facing: time required to keep up with all of the state laws, managing nationwide shipments, and Internet and phone bidding. He says keeping up with technology keeps him busy and the firearms industry is expanding much faster due to the Internet and Web-savvy buyers who are always looking for a particular gun to upgrade or fill out a collection. “I am a computer-literate guy,” he says, “but we are doing a lot of things with Internet catalogs and live Internet bidding that I never thought I would be doing.”
Julia, Kramer, and Weber all share a favorable outlook for the firearms auctions business. Weber says that 2010 looks to be Gunrunner’s greatest year by far—double the business of last year. “It’s unreal!” he says. Kramer says 2010 has been very good so far: “Our March auction was our best attended sale yet and prices were very strong on all types of firearms.”
According to Julia, the auction business, while good, is not as easy as it has been in the past. The bottom line, however, is there. The industry’s advantages, he says, are the huge pool of goods which are a magnet for buyers and the tremendous pool of financial resources which allow him to spend a lot of money advertising the auctions.
“In great times you draw people in and they fight for things,” says Julia. “In bad times, you set realistic or conservative expectations (prices), and then have something people want. With a declining economy, people are preprogrammed to be more careful when buying and the auction creates the right atmosphere to take advantage of this. Get two bidders who think ‘I’m going to save some money and get what I want’ and they’ll drive the price up.” PREVIOUS PAGE
Mark Kakkuri is a freelance writer in Oxford, Mich.
This article appeared in the August 2, 2010 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
Recommended books for gun collectors:
Gun Digest 2010, 64th Edition