We often hear old firearms referred to as ‘antique’ or ‘collectible,’ and these words are generally used to describe a firearm, including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system, manufactured in or before 1898. Such pieces are highly sought by collectors and shooters, and we come across some very interesting antique firearms at Metro Pawn & Gun.
Collecting grades differ between modern firearms and antiques due to their age. A well-built and well taken care of gun that is passed on from generation to generation can tell us volumes about the history and technology of the time in which it was built. Some collectible firearms are owned for the expressed purpose of display without the intent to shoot them, while others may be safely fired after thorough inspection. Many variables go into ascertaining the ‘value’ or ‘condition’ of a firearm. For example, a modern firearm retaining 90% of its finish may be deemed in "Very Good" condition, yet an antique firearm can be classified as the same with having only 80% of its finish. In general, an antique firearm will be considered most valuable in its original condition. Refinishing, restoring or modifying it can often destroy the very essence of what makes it an antique. So if you find that tarnished old revolver from grandpa's estate, leave it just like it is!
Scarcity is also a determining factor in the value of old firearms, whether or not they are actually classified as ‘antique’ by definition. An 85-year-old pre-WWII rifle may seem unique and uncommon, but may have been produced in the millions with many surviving examples still in circulation, and thus not be worth very much. On the other hand, a rare Smith & Wesson revolver from the late 60s that was produced in very small quantities may be worth much more than the pre-WWII rifle.
Depending on their scarcity, the prices of antique firearms have been steadily on the rise in recent years. At Metro Pawn & Gun, we have many resources at our disposal for determining prices - gun shows, auctions, websites such as www.gunbroker.com, or references such as "The Blue Book of Used Gun Values." Having provenance (a record of ownership used as a guide to validate authenticity) can greatly improve prices as well. This makes rarity, condition, and provenance the three primary things we look at when evaluating old firearms.
If you have an old, possibly collectible firearm we would be happy to look at it and make a fair offer, or perhaps you may be looking for a unique piece to add to your collection. Either way, Metro Pawn & Gun is the place to visit if you are looking to buy, sell or pawn any firearms!
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