“How much is my gun worth?” A great question that often leads to big disappointment. Our shop does written appraisals for insurance purposes, and from time to time we also have customers that want to trade a gun. What happens more often than not is that people are disappointed. Many people mistakingly believe that because a gun is old it must be valuable when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. I worked in a shop in a very rural area one time where many hunters had single shot shotguns they had inherited from their families. You could not believe how disappointed they were to discover that their gun was worth less than $100. The same thing happens with people and their collection of Glocks.

What most people discover about collecting guns is that you end up with a lot of not much. What makes a gun valuable is its worth to the gun community. Just because the “blue book” list it high still won’t get it sold. I recently had a conversation with a sports memorabilia distributor who echoed the same sentiments about all of those baseball cards you bought in the 80’s. Beckett may say your card is worth $40, but you would be happy if someone would just pay $5.

To truly know if you have something of value, you need to know the market value. That’s why Gunbroker and Guns America are the best places to see what something is worth. Even then, they are not always the true measure of a gun’s value. Sometimes the local market inflates or depreciates the value of a gun like the 4 S&W engraved revolvers I bought a few years ago in a local market.

The market had been flooded with these in the 80’s and 90’s. I saw them in a local shop, put them on Gunbroker and made about $300 per gun. They were undervalued locally, and worth a little more in an area that hadn’t seen any.

Most collections are simply an accumulation of stuff, and stuff isn’t worth that much. if you are going to collect you need to extremely wise and knowledgeable about the shooting sports. If that isn’t you, admit it and just enjoy shooting. A true collection contains rare and unique pieces. That distinguishes the true collector from the accumulator. So honestly, which are you?