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Many hear these words in frustration from their spouse or significant other after the purchase of “another” firearm. On the surface, it looks like another toy that only converts cash to noise. Many could argue that a gun purchase is frivolous. I am here to tell you that the purchase of a quality firearm can not only be a great pastime, it can also be a tremendous investment.

In as early as 2004, you could go to Dick’s Sporting Goods and have purchased a Marlin 1894 lever gun in 41 Magnum for right around $450.00 new in the box. Today this very same firearm is selling consistently for over $3,000.00 and as much as $5,000.00. That is a 566% increase over 14 years! Currently, the average savings account offers a .01 percent interest. Your return on the original deposit over 14 years would equal 63 cents!

This is a fairly extreme example however there are opportunities to invest in firearms each and every day. You can create your return percentage right up front by being wise to what the value of the firearm is before purchasing. Do your research; know the value and work to get it for less.  The equation has been true since the creation of currency. Buy low, sell high. One can build on their collection and consistently increase their investment by taking a moment to do some simple research.

You often hear about someone who bought something and then turns around and sells it for twice what they paid for it. That is precisely the key goal in this endeavor. This can be done with cash however oftentimes you make a much greater return in trading your item for another item of much greater value.  Take this fun process and repeat it as many times as you can. In the not so far future, you will notice that your safe becomes filled with not only great investments; you will also have great guns to enjoy for as long as you can keep them.

Here are some key tips in building your reserves collecting firearms:

  1. We encourage you to stick to “collectible” firearms. Collectible most often refers to older firearms. My personal collection interests are focused on pre-1980 factory original American firearms. Many of the key American brands like Smith and Wesson, Ruger, Colt, and Winchester are collected and it is easier to find a buyer.
  2. Focus on factory original, unaltered firearms. The moment a firearm is altered, it has lost most of its collectability unless it is rare of the rare. Being drilled and tapped, having a recoil pad added or having any portion of the firearm embellished regardless of how well the embellishment is done is a value killer! Know how the gun was equipped right out of the factory before you go and look at the firearm.
  3. Inspect everything. Sellers will often fail to mention an issue because they need the money. You need to inspect the bore and make sure it is shiny and clean. Look down the outside of the bore to see if it has bulged.  Always remove the grips and look for any kind of damage. Cycle the action and make your best evaluation of functionality. Look closely for cracks in the stocks. Look to see if the screw heads are hour-glassed which shows it may have received work or received poor care. Look closely to see if it has been re-blued. If it looks too good to be true, it likely is. It is worth doing some research on techniques to inspect for re-blu. Search youtube.
  4. Know the value before you go. In the world of information today, you can get a good idea of value before wasting your time. stores completed sale data for 90 days which shows recent confirmed sales. stores sale data since 1999. Another key is to purchase the Blue Book of Gun Values and Flaydermans’ Guide to antique firearms.  These two books are a great general reference to gun values and can also help identify rare versions. Most all American firearms are reviewed in depth. WARNING: These books are a guide, they can be off plus or minus allot in certain firearms.
  5. Ask a mentor collector. As you become more involved in collecting, you will naturally become friends with someone that has forgotten more than you will ever know about certain firearms. Take great care of these relationships and work to earn the opportunity to call on them and questions when you need it. My dad has been there for me on so many occasions, I feel like I need to cut him a check at the end of the year.

If you follow these basic steps, you will be amazed at what you find out there. You will also join millions of Americans who are helping preserve our 2nd amendment rights while preserving one of the most important factors of our American Heritage.

Good luck out there and have fun. If you ever come across an interesting firearm and would like a little help, consider Old Arms of Idaho, LLC a mentor/collector friend. Give me call. 208-602-6027


Dylan Stocker
Partner/ Owner of Old Arms of Idaho, LLC.

Photo Courtesy of Jasmine Berier
Partner/Owner of Old Arms of Idaho, LLC.

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