Antique Firearms Collecting
Firearms of today have been branded as the weapons of war. However, to own a firearm of some type, has always been and still remains popular. Firearms which were designed and manufactured before the 20th century are now considered antique.
Types of Collectors Firearms
Collectors firearms are of two types. The first is the muzzleloading. Muzzleloaders ceased to be weapons of war by the late 1800s and later became popular in battle scene reenactments or as historical or decorative display. It is a firearm in which the projectile and the gun powder are loaded from the muzzle of the gun.
The other type is the cartridge. Used in the mid to late 1800-s this was the type, associated for shooting. Improvements came a little later, 1890, with the advances of metallurgy and the use of smokeless powder.
Identifying a Genuine From a Replica
Firearms, that are considered antique by the National Fire arms Act (NFA), are those that are no longer used for loading and firing ammunition, and those that were manufactured by the 19th century. Also, antiques tend to hold their value, both historical and monetary. These are some of the the key points for a collector, as well as the rarity and gun characteristics:
- Look out for the manufacturer’s name, model number and a production year.
- Look for any papers or historical documentation, photographs etc that accompany it.
- Detecting antique reproductions can be very tricky, especially, if it’s a good reproduction and telling them apart would need experience and knowledge of such items. A good reproduction, although not worth as much as a genuine, can fetch quite a lot of money, so don’t automatically dismiss it. Much depends on your budget.
Restoring an Antique Firearm
Restoring an antique firearm may result in devaluing the gun, instead of the reverse, but there are occasions when some work is required to prevent any further deterioration. Rust, pitting, or general damage and neglect to an antique should be seen by a restoration antique expert. Collectable guns may need some basic or partial restoration from time to time without devaluing it. In fact, it could even help to appreciate in value. Just be sure to go to some reputable restorer.
Where to Find an Antique Firearm
Places to look for collectors firearms are, usually, antique shops. However, this is an establishment, created for the sole purpose of gaining profit. So, you may well pay top dollar for an item. Another is a gun auction sale, where there would be a variety of firearms to choose from. The internet is also a great source, but be aware of some of the so-called bargain sales. If it’s too good to be true…
Nevertheless, you had better be prepared to fork out a tidy sum for an antique firearm, as they can be very pricey, especially those that are in good condition. Check catalogues, magazines and auction houses. The best way is to talk to the experts at various venues, gun clubs and exhibitions etc.
Before You Buy
A good tip would be to check out local gun clubs and to look out for club meetings. Collectors would be more than happy to share or impart information, that you may require to start collecting. There are also gun shows and exhibitions of modern and antique firearms that you should also attend. Get yourself known as a wanna-be collector and talk to the owners of these exhibitions, as they would have a great wealth of information that would be invaluable.
Sign up to all the magazines and journals. You will find a bundle of firearm info in these. Arm yourself to the teeth with as much information as possible, as this will help to prevent making mistakes. As we have said before, collecting guns and other firearms can be very expensive, so try to avoid making uninformed decisions. However, mistakes will be made, it’s unavoidable, but this is a hobby you will enjoy.