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I'm thankful that my "must have" list of guns that I lust after (although I'm reluctant to use that word) is down to about four. And they are all rare and quite high priced. One or two others may come into my collection that don't fill one of those five holes, but they could also just as easily leave. It's allowed me to focus my funds in other, more important places.
 
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Price is relative. When I started collecting in the 90s, my salary was less than half of what I would be earning today. Ten times that from 1971, when I started. Admittedly, though, the Turkish Mauser I bought for $20, is worth more than double the money. But times change. The passing of those who drove the Western/Civil War boom also collected Model Ts and other 30s/40s cars, which now are a drug on the market. A diminishing return passed on to their descendants.

We collect what interests us, what we grow up with. Being 77 now, I grew up on westerns and WW1 vets (relatives). Later on there were WW2 vets and Combat on TV. Later generations had Nam and then Middle East vets, who used M-16s. Explains why us geezers collected WW1 and WW2 weaponry and the next generations are into black rifles. Which probably means I should sell all my wooden stocked rifles soon.
 

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Price is relative. When I started collecting in the 90s, my salary was less than half of what I would be earning today. Ten times that from 1971, when I started. Admittedly, though, the Turkish Mauser I bought for $20, is worth more than double the money. But times change. The passing of those who drove the Western/Civil War boom also collected Model Ts and other 30s/40s cars, which now are a drug on the market. A diminishing return passed on to their descendants.

We collect what interests us, what we grow up with. Being 77 now, I grew up on westerns and WW1 vets (relatives). Later on there were WW2 vets and Combat on TV. Later generations had Nam and then Middle East vets, who used M-16s. Explains why us geezers collected WW1 and WW2 weaponry and the next generations are into black rifles. Which probably means I should sell all my wooden stocked rifles soon.
Value is always part of the equation, but when you bought your collection was that the reason? I would keep your collection as long as it interests you, and your financial needs are met. I don't see prices dropping, but who really cares what the next generation will collect anyway.
 

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Its not just the milsurps its the ammo.......

I was in the game many moons ago and then exited for family and work.......

Got back in the 90's and have been busy since.....

Up until 10 or so years ago you could have bought a milsurp of some incarnation of One with a bunch of ammo for a C note and had a ton of fun.....

Mosins, Turk Mausers, and U fix Ems were around..... Try getting any milsurp let alone with ammo today for a C note!!

Most ammo is .50 cents -$1 Per Rd, that takes all the fun out......
 

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I dried up because there is very little out there to import and this has been easily going on 10 plus years. Countries became smart knowing they could charge more or get the same pricing in Europe. This importers were making money jacking up ammo pricing. Then the AR became the new Daisy BB gun for volume sales. Next, normal transit points from Europe to the USA shut down as countries align not to allow these items to ship through those countries. End result $$$$$$. Get what you desire now as it IS going away.
 

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I've noticed the more time goes on, there's less and less coming up for sale, especially quality stuff. I've been scouring listings for over 2 years now for an exceptionally nice 1925-1928 Tula ex dragoon, and while there are some that come up for sale, there's always something wrong with them. Either they'll have electro penciled or mismatched numbers, have a wartime or postwar stock, have awful flaking lacquer or be refinished/sanded, be pitted or counter bored, have a poorly struck/dull rollmark, ect. ect. I have seen quite a few Izhevsk that meet the same criteria in the last 2 years, although not many lately. Have y'all been experiencing the same with searches of items your looking for?
I've been scouring the listings for a good many years longer than you have and I've noticed the same thing. The number and quality of military collectibles seems to have nosedived in the last couple years. The prices have gone up a bit, but the big difference to me is how much harder it is to find many things. I don't know if its that people want to hang on to them at a time of high inflation or what it is, but the higher end collectibles are much fewer and further between than they were.
 

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Collectable milsurps have dried up, there is no doubt about that.
It is sad to say, the only way to get really nice additions to your collection today, is from another collection that is being sold off.
My last three purchases (over the last two years!), have been from the collections of people I know who have been selling their collections off. Sadly, that is the way it is, and will be until if and when another cash of milsurps is imported. I do not hold my breath on that happening.
Out here in the Southwest we have noticed the same at gun shows and in private collection liquidations. The one trend we note is this: classic collectibles are now monetized. We are seeing professional buyers snapping up unique collectibles at premium prices for folks who are not your run of the mill C and R collector. My group, Mohave Arms Collectors Assn pretty much covers the shows here in the Southwest. We have major collectors as members and they are reporting this trend back at our meetings. Classical firearms are now joining classic cars, art, collectibles from sports and entertainment as a place to hide 'value' as inflation eats away at your dollars. Some are beginning to think of their collections as a safer investment than their IRA/401k.
 

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You might just have to wait until some of us older collectors die off. Sad, but true. Or some us might sell off when we get too old for collecting. I sold my 82mm mortar last year because it got too heavy for me to lift even in 3 pieces. Didn't like that, but it is reality. Of course if I did start selling I would keep the rare ones till last.
 

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Discussion Starter · #91 ·
A Tula Dragoon from that date range and with your requirements was going to be a hard find anyway-even years ago.
I still find deals but my collecting style is more, “I know a bunch about milsurps, let’s see if something got overlooked at this pawn shop…” In other words, I’m not picky in the least. Last thing I bought at a store was a Turk Mauser (former Gew. 98, rebarrel and refurbed after WWII) because it was $250.
I've been looking for one actually since 2009-2010 or so, back then, I remember seeing some WOW examples of '25-'28 Tulas. I was in high school at the time though, and back then they were going for about $250-300 or so, a regular 91/30 was $100-150. All I could scrape together at the time I used to get a 1935 Tula in a laminate stock (keep in mind the recession was particularly bad here). I hadn't started looking for one again until the spring of 2019 off and on, but since early 2020, I've been looking about 3-5 times a week. I missed the boat when a large batch of early Tulas came in late 2016, and now it's like they never even existed, except for the lesser examples. I actually had a 1926 Tula from when I bought a guys collection in August of 2020, but I sold it because the bluing wasn't great, nasty import mark, and rough looking wartime stock. Nowadays the problem isn't that I can't afford one, it's you can't even find 'em.
 

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The boomers have the most money of any generation currently, and consequently they also own the most toys. They have the most buying power of any group, and if they're not interested in selling a finite resource then your odds have become quite a bit worse. It will take a lot of them shuffling off the coil to release what is in private hands. The youngest of that generation is 58, so my guess is in the next 10 years or so a lot of milsurps will find their way back into the market when wives and kids don't want to fool with dad's collection.
 

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The boomers have the most money of any generation currently, and consequently they also own the most toys. They have the most buying power of any group, and if they're not interested in selling a finite resource then your odds have become quite a bit worse. It will take a lot of them shuffling off the coil to release what is in private hands. The youngest of that generation is 58, so my guess is in the next 10 years or so a lot of milsurps will find their way back into the market when wives and kids don't want to fool with dad's collection.
What you say is happening today, I don't see it changing. The wives and kids aren't usually selling the guns themselves, they take them to the local gun stores. The stores have waiting lists, or they can go on GB. If the collection is particularly large it gets auctioned. There are some that go to relatives, and those can end up at shows or pawn shops. Some guys want to sell them now so the wife doesn't dump them, and get pennies on the dollar. It's just that the market is growing. The people that are buying as an investment, are the examples that surface most often because they are collectors for a different reason than most us here.
 

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maybe many rifles in good shape taken off the market cause people want to pay 1982 prices. guys get disgusted end the ad and put them away rather then deal with the shysters and lowballers. nobody wants to pay a fair price even. they act like the women on Bridezilla. they want total perfection for junk prices. I will be putting up some rifles to see how long I can take it lol
 

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maybe many rifles in good shape taken off the market cause people want to pay 1982 prices. guys get disgusted end the ad and put them away rather then deal with the shysters and lowballers. nobody wants to pay a fair price even. they act like the women on Bridezilla. they want total perfection for junk prices. I will be putting up some rifles to see how long I can take it lol
Those same cheapos who bring up prices from 5+ years ago as the reason "ur overpriced" wouldn't dare sell you any of their stuff for 5 years ago pricing.. Bottom line is they want/expect a deal and like a spoiled child that didn't get the toy they wanted, they'll throw a hissy and think by making passive aggressive comments will get the seller to say "you know what.. you seem super upset, tell you what, let me sell you this at 2015 pricing because you're so special."



@ Nothing good coming up.
That's because with prices skyrocketing.. nobody wants to sell their good stuff. For a couple reasons
1. Why sell it now if it'll potentially be worth a lot more tomorrow.
2. If you sell it now.. What will you have to pay tomorrow to get it back?

Can't blame anyone for holding onto the good stuff. As for the "oldies dying off and the surplus floodgates opening." The problem with that morbid thought is that those collections won't just happen onto the market overnight.. People die or decide to sell their collections at different times and whatever does show up will be piecemeal and gobbled up by the demand that far outpaces the supply.
 

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I think quite simply. It's not a surplus anymore so the surplus pricing is "no longer valid". That golden era is long gone and all you can do now is either pay to play or get whatever is still warm before it becomes cold. So unless you want a very specific firearm, I'd say look into the Carcano Cavalry Carbines if you want a piece of military history in your hands for relatively cheap and in good condition.

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I've always been a milsurp type accumulator of stuff. But the kind of prices being asked in today's milsurp market place has left me in the dust. I've bought some well made repro holsters to keep some of my shooter Lugers, P.38's, Mauser, Walther, Colts etc. pistols in to keep them from being scratched or marred. I was ridiculed for buying anything repro. but I sure didn't want to take an original WWI or WWII holster out to a range where it could get scratched or even stolen if I weren't very careful. So go right ahead guys / gals keep picking up those $500 holsters and $2000 pistols. You'll just keep the value of my original stuff going up that I picked up many years ago for a pittance compared with prices today.
 
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