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In my opinion, "What's it worth" is probably the 2nd most frequently asked question on the board (1st being "What Year?").

To me this is a difficult question to answer................

I've been collecting firearms for over 50 years and at one time (during the 80's) I was a stocking gun dealer (brick & mortar store front in what was then a small Arizona town). During my lifetime, I can't begin to tell ya (nor can I even remember) how many folks have asked that question. The reason that I find it difficult to answer is because of the multiple variables to gun value........and not the least of those variables is, "Opinion".

To me, the short answer is (and I'm sure you've all heard this)......"It's worth what someone will pay for it".

For a novice or someone relatively new to the firearms world, their usual sources for value reports/research is: books (such as "The Bluebook Of Gun Values" and others), the internet (Gun Sites & forums), various paper classified ad sources, opinions/recommendations from friends, gun shops, etc.

Aside from the variables such as region/state, condition, factory options, user options, completeness (original box, paperwork, etc), additional included items (scopes, grips/stocks, holsters, ammo, etc), the biggest variable is, "asking price". It's been my long standing opinion that the "asking price" is very frequently different than the selling price (asking $10 and selling it for $5). It would seem that far too often folks accept an "asking price" as the gun value and much of the time it is not.

All the time, I see firearms for sale with a listing price that is too high for the piece.........and for someone to accept that "asking price" as the "gun value" can be a big and commonly made mistake.

BTW, I should probably mention that much of what I'm talking about pertains to used firearms, because new guns usually have an MSRP (as a reference). It's also important to note that even MSRP on new firearms can frequently be just a guideline because even new guns can sometimes be over priced and often bought at a discount price (it too can vary).

The truest opinion of current market value can be found in the "Selling Price" (what somebody actually paid for the piece) and I can't emphasize that point enough. However, that information ("selling price") isn't nearly as easy to find as "Asking Price".

Another variable lies within "The Buyer". Gun "buyers" vary as much as people do. For example, frequently a neophyte gun buyer thinks to themselves, "I need an XYZ to add to my collection".........oft times I even hear someone say that word, "need". Well obviously, that attitude of "need" sets the stage for that individuals "Buying Price". Conversely, there are prospective gun buyers who already have extensive collections and those folks will usually have the attitude of, "I'd like to have that piece".........thus, setting the stage for their "Buying Price". Those two attitudes are the extreme ends of the buyer variables and chances are your attitude falls somewhere in the middle.

Regarding private "Sellers", I have discovered many times that "Asking Price" is frequently higher than "Value Price". This can be for a plethora of reasons such as, ignorance (they just don't know), taking the wrong advice, using someone else's "Asking Price" as a guide (especially when someone else is over priced), they think they're selling a "rare/collectible" piece and they're wrong or it's collector appeal is diminished by modifications..........and too frequently just plain 'ole greed (and they are looking for a sucker).

When a seller asks too much for a firearm, most of the time the piece just sits and doesn't sell. So, if you see a gun for sale that should be a popular seller and it doesn't sell, then there is usually something wrong (either the price is too high or there's something wrong with the piece).

Another factor to consider is personal "Grail Gun" status. Of course many buyers will over pay for a firearm because of emotions such as, "I've been looking for one of those for a long time and I'll pay that price for it.............and that's a personal thing based upon the individual buyer.

There's a saying that pertains to the currently inflating gun market (today's escalating prices)............"you didn't pay too much, you just bought it too soon"..............smile

Yes, I have a hard time answering the million dollar question, "How much is it worth" because more often than not, someone else will have a different opinion..........and most importantly, the value price isn't what I WOULD PAY because I already have a lifetime collection and I don't "need" more guns (I just want em)......chuckle

So my friends, I'm just opening the tip of this iceberg subject......... I've left some important things out and there are many opinions about what I've said. What's your opinions? Please add your $.02 worth.

This could be a useful thread for some of our new forum members and/or new firearms collectors/sellers.

Best Regards My Friends,

Geezer
 

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Great opening there, Geezer!

I've been in the "need" mentality buying up guns, and am much in that "would like" mentality now. Now and again a gun comes along, price seems fair, it whispers to me, and we start talking. Most of the times I let it go by.

Selling would be a new can o'worms for me - have sold a couple of pieces at a gun show, but have not yet broached the GunBroker marketplace. Haven't needed (there's that word again) to sell, so it might be interesting to hear your views on SELLING a piece over buying one - what goes through your head regarding value, asking price, and that sort of thing? In other words, please describe the other side of the coin!

One thing not touched on is the availability of similar guns. Take for example the Ruger 1911. If I were to try to sell one, used, I would have to take into serious account what they are selling for new, as there is little in the way of rarity to affect their prices! What impact does "gently used" (call it a 98%+ gun that's had under 100 rounds through it, or is unfired altogether) have on the value of a commonly available gun?

It's a whole lot different talking about a pre-27, as M29-2, or a Victory - those just aren't made anymore so all those things you mention regarding condition, rarity and such come to play.

Also provenance - what value does the gun having belonged to so-and-so have? I guess that really does boil down to what it's worth to someone.
 

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I recently posted words to the effect, "That fair market value is what a seller and a buyer can agree on". I have lived on Gunbroker for half a dozen years, less frequently on several other sites and regularly visit several local shops. The web can not be overstated as the major game changer. Those wonderful old days of several of us putting some guns in the trunk; pooling our cash and hitting the road to drive to the regional gunshops and dicker is past. Pricing is less regional, many sellers less ignorant. On-the-other-hand I see far too many guns priced at fantasy levels. This fantasy virus has infected some of the most common handguns on earth, those made during WWII. In the past year I have seen this happening within the M&P/Model 10 revolvers, more the asking than the getting.


I believe you (Geezer) have fairly well defined the circumstances. The most useful technique I know of is to look at the ninety day sales history on GB. Not only the completed sales but just as importantly the high bids that failed to meet undisclosed reserves. That tells you what folks are willing to pay.


Some of my best purchases have been when a seller misidentified a gun. In my best case it was a Heavy Duty sold as Victory. In the reverse I once saw a USNCPC marked M&P, not so advertised, bring its likely astonished seller $1,100. Some years back I was given a gun found in barn. I cleaned up on a wire wheel, oiled the stock and put in in a corner. Last year during a sell-off I posted it on GB. That "free" piece of junk was a WWI Belgian Mauser made by Hopkins & Allen, it brought $550. I can not stress knowing your subject matter.


Along the way I have paid a bit of tuition in the University. Experience is a harsh teacher, it gives the examination and then the lesson.
 

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Hey Guys,

Well said.

Some items are more "valuable" to "some" people.

The "sold" column on GunBroker is a good barometer, as to what a certain "piece" will bring.

Have hit the "Buy Now" button, when the "Buy Now" price seemed to be "reasonable".........for a "desired" shooter.

Have posted "bids" on Gun Broker, that I thought were "all" that I was willing to pay. Most of those, I lost (of course). LOL Those pieces wound up selling for what I thought to be "extremely" high dollar.

Think a couple of items will greatly influence pricing. Condition, location, "completeness", history.......

Think that Gun Broker is a great help, for folk "settling up" an estate. The widow will get the "maximum" for the deceased's pieces. Even subtracting the "per centage" a LGS would charge for handling the transactions.

Say a revolver will only fetch $300-$400 locally. Yet they are selling for $600-$700 on line.

Rather than having a revolver(s) setting on the LGS's shelf on "consignment" for endless months, have the LGS put it up on Gun Broker, and get rid of it in a week or two.

Just my two cents.

Later, Mark
 

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Geezer, In reality, any gun is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. If you want something bad enough.....you will pay more for it, if you have to. I tend to play it cool, and want a low price, before I will buy anything. I'm willing to 'wheel and deal'. Just ask my wife. I can even get a decent deal when buying a new car!!!! THAT ain't easy. :rolleyes:

But, I don't particularly get 'attached to' a certain gun before I buy it. At least....I don't show it. You've got to 'hem and haw', look around at cheaper stuff, before you start dealin' for serious. Every price can be lowered....if the dealer wants to sell me a gun. ;) He's got overhead........well, so do I!!!!!!! :D Bob
 

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Area makes a big difference, what would a guy in AZ do w/ a shotgun made for deer slugs or 1 for duck hunting? Or a guy in the north woods do w/ a 600 yard antelope rifle? I remember a guy @ a AZ gun show w/ a "$3,000 woodcock .410 shotgun" he expected people to fight over but was stunned when he couldn't get any @ interest all. Values change a lot according to common use in the area. Another issue is condition. New In Box (NIB) should mean exactly that, untouched. As New In Box (ANIB) would indicate the same condition but made years ago, (98% should be very gently used w/ all the toys, etc.. However, an awful lot of people totally disagree on condition after a gun has been handled, action cycled, fired a few times, etc.. I've seen a lot of guns w/ a few dings, blueing worn off the muzzle, w/ none of the original box, tools or paperwork that the seller proclaimed to be 98%+ (I'd have called it 80% or less). Some people also seem to think condition should be more relaxed w/ age since "it's old". IMHO one of the best uses for the 'Blue Book' is the condition ratings in the front, suggested prices, not so much.
 

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Could not agree more. Interesting thread. We enjoy antique tractors and attend auctions. Often there are sellers who expect big bucks but it doesn't happen. As it seems tractors as well as guns are worth whatever the buyer deems their worth. And as mentioned frequently on our forum region and availability mean so much, probably more in firearms these days and as the older S&w revolvers and others become less frequently offered for sale.
 

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Well stated geez. Prices are best gauged in the gunbroker completed listings.
need: v require (something) because it is essential or very important. n circumstances in which something is necessary, or that require some course of action; necessity.
want: v have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for. n a desire for something.
Only gun I ever really needed was a rifle or shotgun for hunting. Ever other gun I bought was a want.
Will I "over pay" for a gun I want or need? Hmmmmm ;)
 

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Hey Y'all! What is a Ruger MK II, 22LR, blue, 50th Anniv pistol w/ box and papers worth? Only 2 mags (20 rnds) fired. 2 mags.
Thanks guy's!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Probably worth more than it would sell for around here where collector status means very little. However I saw one sell @ a recent gun show for $350.
 

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Let's not forget the ever present and vastly over used term, RARE.
In itself not justification for a high price . Often it means they were simply impossible to sell when new or they broke frequently and none are left. Neither is a great selling point.
 

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Often I think a seller will base the price on what they paid for it new. As most of you know, when a new model is introduced it will often sell at or above MSRP if it's a good design. An example would be the Shield. It was very popular right off the bat. Many paid near $500. I got one about 7 months after it was introduced for $429.99 (MSRP was $449 I believe). A year later $399 was common and recently you could get one for around $330 and then get a $75 rebate. If you don't really follow gun prices, a guy could think the Shield he paid $425 for HAS to be worth $350 without realizing that $350 is what most places want for a new one these days
 

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I just did my first home blueing project it is a 1933ish Savage M3B, it was my Grandpas gun, I used it when I was a kid. came out eh pretty good 100% better than the rust covered mess it was.
Sentimental value - Priceless real world I'm betting a couple hundred at the most.
 

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...To me, the short answer is (and I'm sure you've all heard this)......"It's worth what someone will pay for it".
Geezer,
You made a great call five + (soon) six years ago. You never mentioned the current climate when gun prices may fire-up in price. ;)
 
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