Taking Stock: Gun Collecting for Fun and Profit

Many people who like or love guns own dozens of guns but would never consider firing any of them. These individuals are collectors, and they put their guns on display in gun cases in the home or show them off at gun-related events. Just like collectors of baseball cards and Beanie Babies, gun collectors enjoy the process of seeking out and finding that ideal firearm. Some collectors limit their pursuits to a certain type of gun while others are interested in antiques. Still others are generalists, and collect a variety of firearms.

Consider why you are collecting guns. You may be interested in the investment value of the guns in your collection, or you may simply like the looks of certain models or types of guns. Your preferences, along with the condition and prices of the guns you collect will have a significant influence on the shape and extent of your gun collection. There are both advantages and disadvantages to collecting firearms, whether as a hobby or for potential profit. Developing an awareness of these advantages and disadvantages can increase the pleasure and benefit that you derive from your gun collection.

Advantages of Collecting Firearms

If you collect firearms as an investment, you will discover a multitude of ready buyers, many of whom are wealthy individuals who are especially interested in obtaining expensive high-end firearms. If you can prove that your firearm was previously owned by a celebrity or a notorious criminal, its investment value increases significantly. Likewise, firearms produced by certain well-regarded manufacturers also make good monetary investments.

A definite advantage to collecting guns is that you can safely use the guns that you accumulate without risking a reduction in their value. Of course, there is always the risk of inflicting damage, especially with fragile or antique guns. However, it is unlikely that you would use such weapons in any case.

Disadvantages of Collecting Firearms

Although gun collecting can be extremely lucrative, there is no guarantee that the guns in your collection will increase in value. Just like the stock market, steep increases in gun prices may be temporary at best. For instance, in early 2013, sales of assault weapons spiked along with their value when it appeared that Congress would renew the ban that had been in place between 1994 and 2004. However, when the movement to implement gun control laws lost momentum, the price of assault weapons dropped dramatically.

Another significant disadvantage is the lack of income tax incentives associated with collecting guns. Unlike a 401k or other retirement account, you cannot receive a tax break on your gun collection, even if your collection stocked with antiques. Still another disadvantage relates to the steep demands associated with safely securing your guns.

Dos and Don’ts of Gun Collecting

If you intend to collect guns as an investment incident, take the time and effort to gain expertise about firearms in general as well as the particular types of firearms that you intend to collect. Put your money in established names such as the Model 21 Winchester. Be prepared to wait years, if not decades for your investment to pay off. In the meantime, purchase guns that you will enjoy owning.


Albert Stayton has studied guns for decades. He writes for gun and collector blogs to share his research with others.

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