January 17, 2024
For years I’ve acquired rifles and handguns that caught my eye. Now that I’ve retired, sold my practice and my ranch and moved to TN, I’ve decided to get more focused on collecting Winchester rifles. I have the option to buy a few higher priced rifles or a lot of less expensive ones. I am looking for rifles that have stories to tell and that I can load for and shoot occasionally. I thoroughly enjoy shooting and working with my rifles and want to do so with my collectables. However…the pragmatist in me realizes my heirs may not have the passion I do and for that reason I want to buy rifles that are likely to appreciate in value over the next 15-20 years. So, my question to all of you is: Do all prices ranges of collectable rifles appreciate at the same percentage rate (not dollar amount), or do either low, middle or high-cost rifles appreciate at different PERCENTAGE rates? I realize no one can predict which rifle if any will appreciate or at what rate, but if you can give me some generalities, I’d appreciate it.
September 19, 2014
Barton, There are those who resell with a certain frequency and they will likely have a more detailed response. I will say, from what I see, the differing classes and categories definitely appreciate AND depreciate at varying rates. Keep in mind the potential for some models and some levels of condition to fall out of favor and actually lose in cash value at a given time. Some spot values can see quite significant increases, too. I collect what I like, and the value I place on something is somewhat variable from true retail or wholesale values. Tim
May 2, 2009
Buying one high condition gun for say $14,000 that is right will appreciate fast than seven $2000 guns. That is what you see in auctions is the top end guns keep going up. I started out buying the entry level low end guns and soon learned they didn’t go up so I upgraded my collection. I still buy well used guns if they have interesting history or rare features or I just like the gun.
WACA Life Member--- NRA Life Member---- Cody Firearms member since 1991 Researching the Winchester 1873's
Email: [email protected]
November 19, 2006
Overall, my suggestion is to buy what you like and enjoy. As long as you have knowledgeable people to draw upon to confirm that what you are purchasing is what you think it is, you should be fine. Note that some very prestigious collections of high dollar guns have contained fakes. For me, the higher condition the gun, the less I’m going to, “enjoy” it as far as shooting it, carrying it in the field, etc. If you’re purchasing decent, original clean Winchesters, you should be fine. Again, my suggestion is buy them for yourself. Your heirs will still come out ok.
March 14, 2022
For me, the higher condition the gun, the less I’m going to, “enjoy” it as far as shooting it, carrying it in the field, etc. If you’re purchasing decent, original clean Winchesters, you should be fine.
tim tomlinson said
Some spot values can see quite significant increases, too. I collect what I like, and the value I place on something is somewhat variable from true retail or wholesale values. Tim
Buying one high condition gun for say $14,000 that is right, will appreciate fast than seven $2000 guns. That is what you see in auctions is the top end guns keep going up. I started out buying the entry level low end guns and soon learned they didn’t go up so I upgraded my collection. I still buy well used guns if they have interesting history or rare features or I just like the gun.
I’m in agreement with all. I would be more inclined to buy a high condition gun as Bob said for appreciation rises but, as Steve said the risk level for fakes rises also as others have learned the hard way. As Tim says, buy what you like.
September 22, 2011
BUY THE VERY BEST YOU CAN AFFORD, or even a bit more than you can afford comfortably. That’s where the appreciation is. Midrange stuff, not so much. Low end stuff has realized a recent upsurge. There’s a market for someone yearning for a gun and shirt on funds, as it turns out.
One caveat. The high end stuff usually looks very new, but don’t get fooled by a refinished firearm being sold as original by a deceptive individual.
June 4, 2017
Antique guns, those made before January 1, 1899 are easier to buy, sell, and transport. Current Federal law considers them exempt from the FFL transfer. State Laws can include antique guns and laws can change. In the past antique had advantages, this can change.
You mentioned, “rifles that have stories to tell”. History, as to a previous owner or usage makes that Winchester a double collectable. When you go antique and history they appreciate. Something to be proud of and pass it on.
You need help to know what your buying and what it’s worth. With that help this can be a lot of fun. T/R
November 7, 2015
Welcome to the affliction! All the above are correct and good advice. High condition guns have the most potential for appreciation these days and that will likely always be the case. That section of the market seems to be red-hot right now but may be slowing down a bit. The problem is that these high prices for high condition guns attract dishonest folks so this segment of the market also carries an enhanced risk. I don’t play in this ballpark much, just an interested observer.
I prefer the more moderately priced specimens but I try to hold out for as much condition as I can afford. A high condition standard rifle will cost much less than a much fancier version of the same model and it has the same potential of appreciation and an easy sale down the road. If it’s in my safe it has a very good chance of going to the range so I don’t have much use for a safe queen other than to turn a profit. I enjoy shooting my old Winchesters and most shoot very well. I have several that have more “character” than some discerning collectors appreciate but I like them.
I buy what I like and encourage new collectors to do likewise. That’s easier for me than some because I have no heirs that show any interest in old guns other than cash value. I’ll have to do my best to wear them out before I go.
August 27, 2014