Gun collecting is an awesome and diverse field of interest involving the acquisition, study, and preservation of firearms. From historical interest to personal enjoyment and investment, a unique gun collection can serve a variety of purposes.
A well-thought-out and executed collection of valuable guns, especially rare and/or unique firearms, will grow in value and help the owner accumulate wealth over time. As time passes and value increases, however, so does the risk of wear and tear, especially if collections are not cared for and stored properly.
Let’s take a look at how to build and store guns for both beginners interested in starting their own collection and long-time collectors looking for more effective and appealing ways to display the firearms they’ve worked so hard on.
Why Collect Firearms?
There are a lot of pros to collecting guns.
First, and most obvious, they’re fun, awesome, and enjoyable. For firearms enthusiasts, there is no downside to collecting guns. There won’t even come a time when the avid gun guy looks at his stocked gun wall and thinks “You know, I could use a lot less of these.”
But that is far from the only reason. Guns have traditionally done quite well as an investment vehicle. Genuinely collectible guns tend to appreciate well, making them a great hedge against recession.
Since collectible guns tend to be vintage, it makes perfect sense that they would continue to increase in value as time goes on. Of course, the main variable is ensuring the guns in the collection are highly sought-after items and that they will have some resale value, but preferably, that they will appreciate.
There are a lot of different strategies in the world of collecting guns, particularly for the sake of investing and eventually turning a profit. But some of the best advice for aspiring gun collectors is to keep your collection fairly generalized because it will keep you from dealing with a saturated market.
What if your specialty is of the Prussian Army of the late 19th and early 20th century? Now, if you have even just a couple of competitors, the market becomes saturated. But if your specialty is Smith & Wesson revolvers, there will always be a demand for those from a wide range of buyers.
Types of Gun Collecting
There are a few generalized types of collections that are popular among gun owners.
The type of gun collection that probably comes to mind first is collecting antiques. Whether it is a family collection passed down to you that you are growing or starting a new collection from scratch, antiques are popular guns to acquire and hold onto.
Now, again, some antique gun collections are more profitable to build on than others. If you chose to start a Mosin-Nagant collection, you might love it, but it probably won’t accrue too much value since they are so common and so widespread. There are probably still hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions packed away in crates in the corners of the world.
Historic Timeline Collections
Guns have played a crucial role in shaping world history from early matchlock muskets to modern-day rifles. Types of firearms and models associated with historical impacts are sought after because of their value and intriguing role in history.
Timeline collections are always popular. One example is the carbines and rifles of the U.S. Army, from the Revolutionary War through the Modern Era. Another might be the evolution of firing systems, from flintlock to modern cased cartridges, to future concepts.
Type, Make, & Model Focus
A type, make, and model focus yields popular results. A history of Smith & Wesson J, K, L, and N frame revolvers is specific, is not all that hard to acquire, but will absolutely appreciate over time.
Top manufacturers will occasionally produce limited edition firearms or special models that feature unique aspects such as engravings or commemorative markings. With limited production and beautiful craftsmanship, these models are highly sought after.
What Makes a Valuable Gun?
Just like many thousands of other items, guns are commodities. They are generally bought and sold as a utility, with many millions in circulation. Like cars, watches, boats, and such, some guns are more valuable than others.
A couple of factors most heavily impact what makes a gun valuable.
Even a rare and coveted firearm is next to worthless if the condition is poor. Or, it doesn’t have to be extremes, either. A minor cosmetic flaw can knock a perfect-condition gun down a rung and dramatically decrease the overall value of the gun.
Another factor that impacts a gun's value is how rare of an item it is. Generally speaking, the less common the gun, the more valuable it becomes.
The history of the firearm is extremely important in the collection process. What do we mean? Well, we’re talking about how that gun was used historically.
A balance of these factors is key. For instance, the Mosin-Nagant was used all throughout World War II, but with nearly forty million produced, they are hardly rare. As important as rarity, condition, and history are, however, a good collector gun will all depend on the unique collector, what they value, and what will make them the proudest.
The beauty of a handgun collection is how little space it takes up. You could use a small coat closet and store dozens upon dozens of handguns. Handguns are not cheap, but for more common handguns, their price points tend to be lower than rifles.
Not to whip a dead horse, but the S&W revolvers are highly popular, fairly common, and always in high demand. While they still produce new revolvers, it is a much smaller part of their product lines than their modern handguns, rifles, etc.
Collecting S&W and Colt revolvers is always a safe bet.
There are also some great opportunities out there for pistols if you know where to look.
You can still pick up World War II and post-war service pistols fairly easily. These include vintage Walther P38 pistols, M1911s, and more. These can often be bought in the hundreds, not thousands, so they are a good place to start for collectors.
Not all gun collections are made up of military firearms, but a lot are. For one thing, there are statistically more of these because they were usually mass-produced (besides the odd-ball designs that were never put into mass-production).
It is fairly easy to assemble a collection of M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, and various Mausers (manufactured in many countries). But there are loads of collectible long guns outside of military sources.
One of the things about rifles can be their elegant craftsmanship. Beautiful walnut or other hardwood stocks. Smooth, blue steel barrels and receivers. Done correctly, they are a work of art.
One possible collection would be Safari rifles of the African bush or vintage Remington 700 rifles.
Shotguns are a dichotomy. They are certainly one of the most utilitarian weapons on the planet and are found for next to nothing at most big box stores, yet tastefully crafted wing shooters will go for thousands of dollars.
Collecting vintage high-end shotguns could be lucrative if you look for the right ones.
Starting Your Collection
People get into gun collections for all kinds of reasons. Some do it because they have a collection passed down to them. Others do it because they become self-made gun enthusiasts. And many do it for the financial benefit.
Whatever the reason you want to get into it, gun collections are rewarding, interesting, and historically rich. When stored correctly they can hold their value while creating a beautiful and proud display.
Storing Valuable Guns
Now we come to the crux of the matter: what to do about storing your valuable assets?
The worst thing for your guns is a lack of attention. They need to be observed often because this is how you discover cancerous corrosion before it has time to set in. A tiny fleck of corrosion or rust is easy to deal with, but when left to set in, it can pit the finish, destroy rifling, and ruin the action. For collectibles, it is the #1 way to destroy their value.
So, you are proud of your collection and want to keep it in good shape. An open-air display does both. You can display them for aesthetics but also keep a close eye on them. Safes are secure, but they also are memory holes. Has it been three weeks or three months since you checked out your collection? Not too good if you forget and the humidity gets to your guns.
Trusted Gun Storage Solutions
Whether you are looking for personal and historical enrichment or an appreciating portfolio of assets, gun collections are a great investment. But they also require effort to maintain, and you want your storage to bring out the beauty in your collection.
As gun enthusiasts ourselves, we understand what it takes to store a variety of firearms and the benefits of safely mounting your weapons. Our gun walls are a great way to proudly display your collection, regardless of how big it is, and what it is made up of (handguns, long guns, or a mix of both), we can accommodate your entire collection. The modularity of our systems is something any gun owner will appreciate because we all know we are never done adding to our collection, and with our slatwall panels, your wall is never done growing.
Worried about security? After all, these guns are valuable. Don’t be. We’ve got that covered, too.
Give Hold Up Displays a shot; we promise you won’t return to another option.