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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm starting this new thread based on the Finn M38 thread sold by Empire Arms. If you have not read through that thread, I would recommend doing so.
As buyers we purchase our firearms for the best price we can find, matched to the rarity, and quality, but it's usually related to retail. We seldom have the ability to buy collections. We still want to make financial sense in our purchases, and as we get older, at least speaking for myself, that has become even more important. When it has become time to sell our collection, many times the buyer will be a dealer like Empire Arms. Like he said in that earlier thread, he is in business to sell what he acquires. The Mosin Crate has a similar selling method where they have generated a following where their buyers trust their product, and if they don't buy instantly they will miss out. It is interesting how well that works.
Have you fellow collectors ever thought what the mark up is on the firearms they sell? The dealer needs to make a profit, and that fact must be accepted. At the same time the collection seller is going to take a discount from retail. Even an individual sale of the same firearm just bought from the dealer would be difficult to recoup, and that's not counting the shipping and transfer fees.
My local Cabelas takes 30%. The Cabelas buyer figures what the gun will sell for in their store, and offer you 30% less.
What I'm getting at in all of this is I think we should "pump the brakes", and take a look at what the actual value is in what we bought. Because the actual value to us is what we can ultimately sell it for, and not what we paid for it retail, unless we hold onto it a long time, and then inflation is likely a big factor too in any gain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The actual value for me is based on how much I enjoy the firearm not how much I can sell it for. When my time comes, who knows what the market will be at that time. The people buying at that time might not like the same type of firearms that I do right now.
You make a good point. That enjoyment factor is a big part of ownership, but as you get closer to selling your collection, the monetary value rises in importance. It is also harder to enjoy something I paid so much for. The value tends to keep it in the safe.
 

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Maybe your looking at it the wrong way? The more I pay for something, the more enjoyment I better get from it to justify the price! lol. Maybe the enjoyment for some is just taking it out of the safe to keep it oiled, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm giving away the fact that I'm not rich. A rich man can buy what he wants when he sees it. If it cost a lot he even can brag about how much he paid.
I see many times where guys wonder if they made a good deal. Why do you think that is asked so often?
We all seem to be more willing to fill a hole in our collection, and overlook price, then try to justify what we did.
One of the things, I'm getting at is the hype these dealers use. It's smart the way they work.
That Empire Arms website is something else, but more power to him. He must keep his edge.
 

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We whom collect arms do so because we can. Under that umbrella is diversity as to why we elect to become an arms enthusiast. Everyone starts out as a novice. From that point, each follows his own path and direction. Some enjoy the aspect of shooting their arms. Others may, over time, become advanced collectors and perhaps some even regarded as an expert in their field. Regardless, most envision their acquisitions as potential investments as well. The final disposition of one's collection is a very personal choice we all either make or leave for others to do so. Concerning valuation, again, many factors come into play. However in regards to inflation, etc. the link below (although dealing with the SKS 46) would be pertinent for most C & R arms:

SKS future value??

Note this post dates from 2018. What has happened to the U.S. economy and most notably the value of the U.S. Dollar, (thanks to the current administration) and where it will continue to go into the future, is anyone's guess!
 

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Don't discount the tremendous amount of time Dennis Kroh and his wife spend traveling, paying gasoline costs, buying, storing, transporting, advertising, responding IMMEDIATELY to e-mail "I'll Take It!" requests, packing and shipping all of these wonderful treasures we buy from him. That should account for at least a 30% mark-up. I hope more, for what he has found for me in the past.

I would love to come across a collection and buy it all for a 30-40% discount! (I actually have done this, on a smaller scale, a few times!)

Thanks Dennis!
 

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I just picked up a sizable Finnish military collection from someone getting out of the game. Very few firearms but lots of war time cool stuff. I think I got a screaming deal. I am a small fish in the collector world. Not much of a budget. Whats it all worth? Who knows. I have sold a few pieces. Mostly duplicates. I am 55 now. Some day I hope some young collector comes in and buys me out. He will also get a deal. After all, its only stuff.
 

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So there was a thread a couple years back talking about firearms as an investment and well.... like it or not most firearms were found to actually a pretty bad investment monetarily speaking. There were very few CnR firearms from the last 30-40 years that have actually beat out what you would get on a low risk investment for the same time frame.

Just assume they are going to at least maintain their relative value, or gain some, and you got to have fun with them in-between.

I know a lot of people consider the 20-30% most places take to be a lot, but what percentage is it going to cost your to sell it your self? There are the miscellaneous cost like a table at the gun show, or packing material to ship stuff but it really comes down to how much you value your time. I know old guys that were selling off their collections and spent one weekend a month at a gun show some times for 1-2 year just to sell off 3/4 of their collection. That could be considered thousands of dollars in labor. Compare that to someone that just dumped it at an auction company and were done in one weekend, sure the company takes a bigger cut, but you have relatively no time investment.
 

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Realistically a buyer is buying for retail. If he then sells it, he hopes to get current retail if he sells to a fellow enthusiast/collector. If he sells to a dealer it’s a lot easier when trying to move multiple firearms but it needs to be reiterated that a dealer needs to make a profit so offers will have to reflect that. He’s doing the work so we don’t have to.

I buy a gun because I like it. There are a lot of guns I would like but won’t buy, or haven’t bought yet, just because I can’t find or haven’t yet found one that meets my price criteria. If they go up in price that’s great but I can’t afford to buy them as a speculative investment. Historically, most guns more or less keep pace with inflation but don’t shoot up dramatically in value long-term. There are exceptions however.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I started this because I think the actual monetary values that are placed in firearms are mis-leading. I wanted fellow collectors to think about the values of their collections, now and future. The dealer must make a profit after expenses, or he will be out of business. I was using Empire as an example because the sale he just had is current. I saw a Finn 28-30 sell immediately for $1500. When we see something like this we tend to look at what we have and possibly over estimate. I'm not really telling the buyer to "pump the brakes"so much, but more telling the collector who already has a 28-30 not to figure he can get $1500 at the drop of a hat for his, when he wants to sell.
These dealers have benefited from a market that has introduced competition into the sales platform. There are minutes or even seconds that if you hesitate, or a bad lag time on your computer, you don't get it, but I don't look at that as a win/loss scenario. If the buyer wanted to turn around, and re-sell... good luck getting all your money back. The dealer didn't build his clientele to sell like that over night. Not all collectors are going to take the 1st offer on their collection either, but I've seen the widow go into Cabelas and take whatever is offered... they only want to get rid of it.
 

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I was at a arms collector show this last weekend. You see a wide range of folks who must have money and others who are doing 'fine" (like most folks). Something I have noticed is that some folks with deep pockets are subject matter experts, but I'd say many folks with money have the means to buy something, but not the knowledge and I think not always willing to learn. I saw a guy buy a fairly expensive box of ammo, but did not know if it was 'period correct' (it was) and another guy that had an expensive carbine in a case and had almost never taken it out.
I decided a long time ago that I'll buy something because I like it. And that after a few months or years that money is long gone and any I recoup is new money. I know thats not quite true, but its easier that way. I also am less inclined in buying a huge purchase unless I really like it, and also know what it is. I'm of the mind that a collector should know what they are buying, at least as well as they can. My Experience has been that a lot of buyers are not collectors, but after a profit, or an item they have always wanted. A luger is a good example, that they will buy a beater and pay $1500 for it, or more, just because they are 'rare'. And they are not rare, its just that you don't see them at the average gun shop very often or never. But there are thousands and thousands of them around.
 

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Yes there are many who don’t necessarily know the details and will grossly overpay. It’s a lot harder for them to get their money back at the end of the day. Example: you spend $10,000 on guns in the 80s-2000s. You decide to sell and figure they’re worth $20,000 at today’s prices. The dealer (we’ll assume he’s honest as the day is long and also knowledgeable) gives you your $10,000 back. He figures they’re worth $14,000.

If you’d been accurate with your values and hadn’t gotten skunked you would have doubled your money, or at least made something. But probably in reality just broken even or made a small profit once inflation is factored in. As it is, you didn’t really break even, due to inflation. You lost money. But even so, it’s a lot less of a loss than many other hobbies where that 10k would simply be gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I was at a arms collector show this last weekend. You see a wide range of folks who must have money and others who are doing 'fine" (like most folks). Something I have noticed is that some folks with deep pockets are subject matter experts, but I'd say many folks with money have the means to buy something, but not the knowledge and I think not always willing to learn. I saw a guy buy a fairly expensive box of ammo, but did not know if it was 'period correct' (it was) and another guy that had an expensive carbine in a case and had almost never taken it out.
I decided a long time ago that I'll buy something because I like it. And that after a few months or years that money is long gone and any I recoup is new money. I know thats not quite true, but its easier that way. I also am less inclined in buying a huge purchase unless I really like it, and also know what it is. I'm of the mind that a collector should know what they are buying, at least as well as they can. My Experience has been that a lot of buyers are not collectors, but after a profit, or an item they have always wanted. A luger is a good example, that they will buy a beater and pay $1500 for it, or more, just because they are 'rare'. And they are not rare, its just that you don't see them at the average gun shop very often or never. But there are thousands and thousands of them around.
I'm guilty of buying something before I know much about it. I'd buy it if I liked it, and the price was reasonable. I bought an American Eagle Luger many years ago with some guys name engraved on it. Same reasons. Nowadays I rely on my son to tell me what's good more than I should. Selling on the other hand I have even thought less about until the last couple of years. I have the feeling that the middle man is making the money, and we aren't realizing or adjusting to that.
 

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I have been a lifelong accumulator. I bought what I liked when opportunity arose.
I do have a bunch of Lugers and Japanese stuff, but lots of others.
At age 75, I am in the process of selling off stuff. Some I have had a very long time.
I never totally overpaid for something, but have given good money for something I wanted and could afford.
Some of my stuff has increased in value. Some significantly. Never an issue for me.
I remember when Mosins were 10 bucks and considered the bottom of the barrel.
People practically paid you to haul away their Japanese junk....
Lots of local souvenir pieces were around when I was in my teens.
I was gifted some, bought some and worked for some. Profit and investment never factored into my activity.
Just what I could afford at a time.
I enjoyed that and enjoyed shooting and fooling with things I accumulated.
I have pieces I never personally found a need to fire.
All personal choice. Business never considered.
 

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Hello all,

Been a while since i posted but this thread is dear to my chest. I have bought a couple collections in my short time collecting as well as numerous single MilSurp purchases. I have to agree with some that there is a price for travel, research, listing, meeting buyers (some who do not show up) and the shelf life of some things that just hang around (some bc of price and some bc you have not put it in front of the right person).

For collections, my go to is doing my research on what is in the collection and coming to a fair price. I then make a reasonable offer, more than an auction house and definitely more than a pawn shop for the whole lot (could be guns, ammo, safe and accessories).

Believe me...for all collectors, please leave someone a list of what you have and what you paid for it (or what you think it is worth). Have run across a at least one widow who knew nothing of their better half's collection and decide to go with an auction house who took 25% from her and then a 15% buyers premium...she got a good bit less in the long run than I offered her because of the limited advertisement of the sale and small audience picked by the auction house of people in the room...

I have a paper list (which my son is able to get) of all of what I have, as well as what I paid and what I think it is worth. I have dwindled down my collection over the years but always looking to buy someones collection when they are ready (if you are ready you can pm me)...

This forum has been a great resource for my research as well as what I have collected over the years.I am not yet ready to get rid of my collection but when I do it will go here first.
 

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I'm guilty of buying something before I know much about it. I'd buy it if I liked it, and the price was reasonable. I bought an American Eagle Luger many years ago with some guys name engraved on it. Same reasons. Nowadays I rely on my son to tell me what's good more than I should. Selling on the other hand I have even thought less about until the last couple of years. I have the feeling that the middle man is making the money, and we aren't realizing or adjusting to that.
So, you are in it for the money as well now. I get it, but you should have understood that from the beginning. Supply and demand. Basic econ. You never thought that you could buy something at an inexpensive price to you, only to turn it around for profit later? Or realized that what you thought was a great buy, only to give it away later?

My point is everybody has a point to their purchase, no matter what it is. If it happens to "appreciate" more power to them. It's like me wanting my dads slide rules that he used to calculate stuff that enabled him and his team to design and build the first cyclotron that fit in a room. Slide rules aren't made anymore. There is value to them to me, even if I give them to the Smithsonian. (his sincrotron has been on display there. His daughter sent his notebooks to them after offering them to go along with their display)

Denny knows his stuff. You should hang around with him sometime. Would give you much better advice.
 

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Thanks Guys, I was never in this hobby "for the money". For me the thrill is being there for families in need and giving them FAIR (and immediate) compensation for the value of their items, and then (and MOST importantly, to me anyway) making available items for collectors at a reasonable retail price something they have been wanting for their own collections. I actually LIVE to ensure that the items someone has cherished goes to someone else who will appreciated it just as much!

You can call that attitude silly if you like, but I truly believe that we are doing a service for collectors, and we have on MANY occasions declined to sell items after finding they wished to alter them from their original configuration in any way.

We are only conservators of these items while we are here, and we should be respectful of future generations of collectors who will likely (even if they do not know it) thank us for PRESERVING HISTORY.
 
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