Guide to Antique Gun Auctions in New England

Antique Guns

Antique guns are highly-sought collectibles. As classic firearms grow older, the value rises at auction. In New England, antique gun auctions…

Antique guns are highly-sought collectibles. As classic firearms grow older, the value rises at auction. In New England, antique gun auctions are the best place to buy and sell rare or valuable classic firearms.

Collectors buy antique guns for the same reason others collect works of art. Classic firearms make beautiful wall displays and evoke the stories of history. Antique gun auctions are instrumental in keeping the history of classic firearms alive.

The rich history of New England lives in the collections of gun owners around the world. There is no better time to join the growing numbers of classic gun collectors. And, no better place to begin your collection than at auction.

In this article, learn what you need to know before going to your first antique firearm auction in New England. Learn about the types of antique guns and what collectors are looking for at auction. And, find out how to avoid the biggest mistakes gun owners make before the auction.

Antique Gun Auctions:
What to Know Before You Go

When an estate owner dies, leaving behind a large gun collection, it often goes to auction.

All antique guns are not created equal. Old guns are like cars, in that they only gain value if they are well-maintained, well-built, and scarce. A highly-produced, low-quality car from the 1960s is still a low-quality car, even though it is an antique. A high-quality, limited edition classic car is still a high-quality car, even with lots of rust.

The same logic applies to classic firearms. Furthermore, think of antique guns like collectible guitars. For example, if you repaint Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, or change the pickups, it loses all its value.

Antique gun auctions are keenly aware of any detail that affects the value of classic firearms. There are two types of antique guns you come across at auction:

Types of Antique Guns:
Muzzleloaders vs Cartridge-firing

Muzzleloaders and cartridge-firing guns are the two basic types of antique firearms. Muzzleloaders were the first incarnation of the firearm. Most antique muzzleloaders are non-functional and are often put on display.

Muzzleloaders work by loading a projectile and charge into the muzzle of the gun. Cartridge-firing guns take the place of muzzleloaders near the end of the 18th century and remain standard.

Cartridge-firing guns are designed to hold ammunition casings in a firing chamber, otherwise known as the breach. Collectors are interested in cartridge-firing guns with the intent to shoot them for sport as well as display.

How to Find the Value of Your Antique Gun

The value of an antique firearm is based on the make, model, and overall condition of the gun. Mint condition firearms sell for the highest price at antique gun auctions. And, like any collectible, alterations decrease the value of the item, exponentially.

The best quality antique guns are made by prominent manufacturers and retain all of the original finish. Brands, like Winchester, Smith and Wesson, Colt, and Marlin are prized by collectors for their historical significance.

Cleaning Your Antique Gun:
Less is More!

A gun with a new finish has a lower value at antique gun auctions than the same model with the original finish. Collectors value the originality of antique weapons. Most gun auctions use a percentage rating system to assess the guns original finish.

Antique guns with greater than 90% original finish sell for the highest price at auction. The condition of the wood and steel are important but secondary to originality. An old gun with bluing wear has more value than an old gun with a brand new bluing. 

To that end, overcleaning your antique gun can do more harm than good to its value at auction. Keep in mind, that cleaning products, like rust remover and even common polishing products, could take off the original finish.

Final Thoughts

As cultural trends change, so do that of gun collectors. Collectors tastes are highly influenced by media, culture, and society. Whenever a new WWII movie comes out, the value of antique WWII firearms increases.

When considering antique gun auctions near you, look for similar list items. Get your items listed in auctions that specifically deal in antique firearms. And, if you need more information on a firearm in your collection, look into getting an antique gun appraisal.

If you find this article on antique gun auctions helpful, share it with others on social media. And check out the blog for more information on classic firearms. Thanks for reading!


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