Guns & Money


They Aren’t Exactly The Same.

Recently, I received a long, rather incoherent letter from a reader. Finally, in his last sentence he got to the point, which was that my friend and I “were out of our minds” because I wrote we actually fired his father’s general officer’s Colt 1903 .32 Auto pistol. His father retired from the US Air Force as a 4-star general.

The reader felt shooting it degraded the value of that little pistol. Let’s see: the article included a photo of the general carrying the Colt during the Korean War and it had been fired previously by the general and his son. It was not a 100-percent pristine, unfired handgun.

So this is my answer to the reader: Shooting it a couple dozen more rounds took not one cent off its value!

Some people get confused about guns and money. They think just because a gun has been unfired, it’s automatically worth a bundle. Here’s an example. A good friend told me about going to a party in his town. When the host found out he was a “gun-guy” he brought out two handguns still new in the box. One was a Colt Python .357 Magnum and the other was a S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum. The fellow proudly said both “had never been fired and never would be fired.”

Huh? What’s the point? Neither of those handguns is especially rare so neither will ever be (at least in his lifetime) especially valuable. Why not shoot them and enjoy them? After all that’s what they were built for.

Most certainly it is possible to make some money on guns. How else would dealers specializing in used guns stay in business? But, what I’m talking about are us ordinary Joes who buy ordinary guns to shoot, compete with, or hunt with. If you have visions of getting rich off of common, mass-produced, still in production or recently in production firearms you’re going to be disappointed. With very astute buying and then wise selling someone might make a couple hundred bucks but definitely not a couple thousand on such a gun.

For a gun to be especially valuable it has to have one or more of the following points. It must have been made long ago, not made in large numbers, belonged to someone famous and have documentation thereof, or been featured in a popular movie or movies. If a firearm possesses some of these attributes and then is still unfired, new in the box that might add a little more to its value. I have a 3rd Generation Colt SAA .45 with my name engraved on the backstrap. Its factory letter says it was ordered with my name on it by Hank Williams Jr. Someday after I’m gone perhaps that letter with the .45 will bring Yvonne a few more bucks.

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