Guns are a common inheritance when an estate changes hands. Maybe you are comfortable with guns, or maybe you aren’t. What are your options for gun collection appraisals?

Here, you learn everything you need to know about gun collection appraisals and options for liquidating an estate with firearms. Find out how to get the most money for a collection, and how a gun’s value is determined by the appraiser. 

Estate Gun Collection Appraisals: Everything You Need to Know

When someone receives a large gun collection as part of an estate inheritance it can be overwhelming – especially if you are not a collector. Gun collections are seldom weaned by the collector, as, disposing of firearms is fairly uncommon. You may find yourself looking at a gun collection that has been passed down and expanded upon for generations. 

Selling a gun collection is a fine plan, as long as you are aware of the laws regarding gun sales in your state. Also, it is worth thinking about how much money would make the sale worthwhile. 

If you are resolved to liquidate the collection, it all starts with figuring out what you are selling. 

Identify Each Gun in the Collection

Formal Gun Collection Appraisals are billed by the hour and we offer a full-service gun appraisal and gun identification services. Informal gun collection appraisals are usually set at a flat price per project and can be very useful for probate and estate disbursement. 

To save time and money on your appraisal costs, consider identifying and listing the guns in your collection prior to sale at auction. An appraiser will need to see the collection in person to make any firm statements of value in writing. 

The most common and affordable way to have your gun collection appraised is by sharing pictures and documentation on each piece with the appraiser – digitally or through the mail.

Appraisers need specific information in order to accurately assess how much each firearm is worth. For each gun, identify the type, manufacturer, barrel length, caliber, condition, Serial Number, and any markings. Most appraisals can be done quickly with 

What type of gun is it? Handguns are either a revolver or a pistol. Long guns are, either a shotgun or a rifle.   Caliber expresses the ammunition size that the gun is designed to fire. It is often marked on the gun, or else, made a measurement of the diameter of the bore. Also, measure the length of the barrel. 

Every marking on the gun is important to identification in appraisals. Most guns are marked with the make and model name, as well as a serial number. Document and photograph every marking that you can find in the gun.

What is the Condition of the Guns?

Once you know what each gun is, finding the value range for each piece is as easy as consulting the Blue Book of Gun Values or Standard Catalogue of Guns. But, the value can widely vary, depending on the condition. The value of a collectible gun is based, in large part, on its condition.

The guns condition is, ultimately, what separates pieces worth tens of thousands, from those that are worth hundreds. Furthermore, the technical evaluation of the condition of a gun varies depending on if it is an antique or contemporary firearm.

Just like a collectible Star Wars toy – any alteration or degradation to the original manufacturer state lowers the value of the gun. Collectors want pieces that are as close to new as possible. Modifications, refinishing, alterations, and repairs lower the condition and value of a gun. 

As you catalog and document the condition, make a note of damaged grips, dented barrels -– etc. At all costs – do not clean any antique guns before having the gun appraised. It takes off the original finish and decreases the value of an antique. 

Fair Market vs Insurance Appraisal

Gun collection appraisals come in two categories: Fair-market, and insurance appraisals. A fair market appraisal estimates the value of a collection to sell on the open market. This is a good way to find out how much your gun collection is worth at an upcoming firearms auction.

Insurance appraisals assess the replacement value of a collection. This is a good idea for anyone looking to insure and hold their collection, instead of liquidating.    

Final Thoughts

Gun collection appraisals are necessary, whether you want to insure your new inheritance or liquidate the collection at auction. If you are looking to liquidate an estate firearm collection, get a fair market appraisal. The more high-quality photographs, provenance documentation, and identification information you give an appraiser the less time and expense it will take. 

If you enjoyed reading this article on estate gun collection appraisals, share it with your social community. And check out the blog for more guides on antique gun appraisals. Thanks for reading!