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“I have acquired a few guns over the years,” TTAG reader RB admits. “None of them are investment pieces that will show any value in my lifetime. A Smith revolver has shown to hold it’s value – which is nice. However nothing else is likely to become an heirloom (outside of just one day being old in excellent condition but very common). I’m not expecting every gun to become a collectible, but I would like one. Long story short I want a Colt SAA. Colt’s website features them, has multiple models, and even a price sheet. So where are they?” Help a guy out willya? Meanwhile, which gun(s) currently for sale do you reckon will become collectible in, say, twenty to thirty years? I’m thinking the Smith & Wesson Performance Center 460XVR. You?

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75 Responses to Question of the Day: Which Gun(s) Are Likely to Become Future Collectibles?

  1. Genuine Russian AKs, with matching Russian accessories, like PSO scopes. Look at how much a genuine Russian Dragunov costs, compared to a Romanian knock off. Unless somebody rescinds the Presidential orders banning the import of certain guns, any foreign guns are just going to get more valuable as time goes on.

    • I agree. Kinda like the true Russian SKS’s.

      I even think the Mosin Nagants of today are the $100 Norinco SKSs of the 90s. Hard to find a orginal configuration Norinco in good shap for under $300 now a days.

        • The K31, in particular, is poised for a run-up. As soon as the surplus supply dries up (and they only made a half million of them, much less than most other surplus military bolties), the values will jump. They’re such high-quality rifles, it seems inevitable.

        • Im a Swiss collector and I agree.

          Swiss rifles are the deal of the C&R world right now in my opinion. The value for the money is incredible. I don’t think they will take off huge anytime soon, but go up they will.

          As someone pointed out, you could get a K31 for 100 bucks not that long ago. Of course you could buy a Russian AK for less than that back then too.

          I don’t buy ammo for them either, I make it out of the common powders and projectiles everyone already has for .30 caliber. Its a win win win.

  2. If the Liberals continue with the steady drum beat, ALL firearms will be both collectible and illegal in the next twenty years.

    • If hater’s have their way, even ‘collectables’ will be outlawed…..haters already protest ‘antique’ gun shows….

  3. While it isn’t exactly “modern”, the M1 Garands through the CMP, which are relatively inexpensive, I’m sure will increase in value, especially as the supply dries up.

  4. I personally think the FNH SCAR 17 and 16 will be. Along with the PS-90.

    I paid $3600 for a mint HK-91 last year with both the A2 and A3 stock. Bipod also. The orginal box had the price on the UPS COD label from 1983……$482.00. That damned import ban on the 91,93, and 94 of HK has turned them into collector peices over the past decade. Not to mention allot of folks just like to collect HK guns primarly.

    I personally think that’s why the FNH SCAR family and the PS90 will be good investments. That’s why I put my money where my mouth is on a 17 and a PS90. All it takes is an import ban and a decade or so….

      • How did I forget to mention those!

        I’ve done some bidding on the orginal Belgium made ones but always get sticker shocked and get outbid by several hundred dollars.
        I need to get one beofore I’m sitting around a decade from now talking about how I could have bought one 10yrs ago for $2k less.
        Like my gun collecting mentor tells me. “You can’t pay too much, you can only buy too early.”

  5. K31’s are flying off the shelves. I honestly have no need for one or a good place to store it, but I so tempted, especially at the prices I’ve seen.

      • Buy a K31. Find a need. When you pull the trigger on it you will love it. Lol get them while they are cheap or I’ll gleefully buy the whole supply.

  6. I’d say any milsurp rifle for the most part. They may not be collectible but they all seem to appreciate in value which is nice. Milsurp also generally offers a lower entry cost as well.

    I bought my K98 about 8 years ago for $300. Now it is probably worth around $600 or more.

    And to echo what bigred2989 has said. K31s are much more popular now. When I bought my K98 I could have bought a K31 in pristine condition with a like new bore for $100 because they were unpopular and the ammo was a pain to find compared to 8mm Mauser. Now ammo seems easier to find and cheaper than it used to be and prices have doubled to quadrupled.

    • The Romanian 8mm seems to be the only surplus ammo. Corrosive too.

      Can’t beat the swiss GP11 surplus ammo. Damn if that stuff isn’t super clean and super accurate too. The way it’s packaged in 10rd sleeves is neat too.

      • Yup that seems to be what you come across these days. A few years ago I found a boat load of Turkish surplus that I bought. Unfortunately that corrosive surplus makes shooting a semi collectable gun a hassle. I don’t want to put any more corrosive ammo through mine then it already has had… I also don’t want to have to meticulously clean it after lol.

        GP11 sure is some sweet stuff indeed. Excellent quality by any standard, surplus or commercial.

      • I’m going to disagree on that. To be the past 4-5yrs the Arisakas Type 38s, 99s, and the 44 are starting to rise. I think because of the low price of a Second World War rifle it is a good starting point for low budget and or beginning collector of that era stuff after they got a couple of Mosins.

      • @Dyspeptic Gunsmith
        I think they will appreciate in value in the future though. I think there are a couple of reasons for this.

        As the supply of one rifle becomes more scarce and thus the rifles more expensive, people begin to look for an alternative milsurp they can buy at a lower price that still fits a genre/niche/demographic/etc.

        Eventually the same will happen to that subsitute rifle. Look at the the Mosin Nagant as an example, it is still cheap but prices have started to creep up because demand is higher now.

        Additionally some rifles will be lost to attrition (sporterizing, bubbaing, damage, age, arsenal destruction, etc) that will further drive up prices and increase scarcity.

        Import restrictions or law that inflates prices.

        Of course not all rifles will appreciate as dramatically as others. I think like with proof sets for coins, it is a solid bet that in time, a milsurp rifle will be worth more than you paid for it.

        PS my childhood home is down the street from the Parker Firearms factory.

        • When talking about appreciation in value, it is very important to distinguish between increases in retail price and increases in private seller and auction prices. Just because Mosin prices have moved up $30 at retail doesn’t mean they have increased on the secondary market. Many gun owners have very unrealistic ideas about what their firearms are worth on the open market.

        • True and 100% agreed, perhaps Mosin wasn’t the best fitting example because retail demand does not necessarily equal collector demand. Overall, I think you get the gist of what I am trying to say.

  7. A RIA 1911 in .22TCM. Neat little round but I just dont see it taking off. Same thing goes for revolvers chambered in .327mag. Both might hold on but ammo availabilty and lack of platforms will just about doom the sucess of any gun.

  8. I am glad I bought 3 M1 carbines from CMP when they had them! I’ve seen the Winchester version I own listed for triple what I paid for it already.

    • Anything that has been recalled, but is still in it’s original state, without a recall stamp. I also agree about the Black Talon ammo. I’m sitting on 25 boxes in .45 ACP! :-))

  9. Related question: Does anyone know if the plastic in polymer guns eventually become brittle and break down over may years like most plastics?

  10. This is actually a relatively simple question to answer.

    The guns that appreciate the most are the scarcest pieces; pieces that have high historical significance are usually numbered in one or a scant handful of guns and have provenance to prove that they are ‘that’ gun (eg, Goering’s Luger) will always be the most valued. The key is that the gun must have the verifiable provenance behind it, and anyone purchasing such a gun needs to check and double-check the provenance even more carefully than the gun itself in many cases.

    Next will come scarce, high-quality firearms. The Parker Invincible shotguns (all three of them), for example, are worth over a $million each, and they’re worth that because a) they were the very best examples of what was regarded in their day (and today) as the finest American-made double gun, the Parker Bros. The highest quality guns will always command a premium – always. The quality commanded a premium price when the gun was first made, and properly maintained and preserved, quality will always command a premium from discerning buyers.

    Then you start coming down in value as you start into tranches (for lack of a better word) of guns that had more examples made, eg a Parker B or D grade shotgun is going to go up in value, but it won’t go up as much as the A-grade shotguns will. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a Parker B or D-grade shotguns for collecting, especially one with ejectors.

    Then there are the guns that are collectable simply because there’s systemic demand for the name/marque and the quality that used to represent. Colt SAA’s fall into this classification, as do pre-WWII and pre-64 Winchesters. Before WWII, you could buy SAA’s for five bucks, all day, every day. When you read Elmer Keith’s writings, you can only sit there, slack-jawed, at the thousands of dollars of guns that Elmer blew up or otherwise destroyed in his experiments. I can’t hold it against him, because in his day, SAA’s were cheap, plentiful and no one batted an eye at using a bunch of them for load development guinea pigs.

    Today, however, that level of quality in fit and finish is barely available, because the modern American gun-buying public is eager to hand over their hard-earned money for cheez-whiz armaments because today’s fad is “tacti-kewl” instead of craftsmanship, and they whimper like beat puppies when presented with the price tag for actual quality. The large US small-arms makers have retreated into a highly profitable decadence of delivering crap with a tidy profit margin, and, absent valuation due to a particular owner or event attached to it, the modern guns will probably not go anywhere in price but down.

    Reproduction guns (real reproductions – ie, attempts to duplicate the quality of the bygone era) often cost a fair penny when new, but don’t command the price of the real McCoy. An example would be a Winchester replication of the Parker shotguns; you’d be better off putting your money into a real Parker or (if you want a Winchester) go buy a Model 21.

    There’s lots of demand for Colts, Winchesters, early Rugers, early Savage rifles and such, older Brownings (eg, a Superposed or rare A-5), nice S&W’s. Get a Blue Book and just start reading it. Lugers have lots of collectible value, but a collector needs to really learn that market because there’s more than a few cobbled-together “forgeries” of really rare Luger configurations. American classic military arms are seeing a surge in valuations; if you told me 20 years ago that a Garand (nothing special, but a all-correct Winchester-made Garand) would be fetching $2500… I’d have laughed. But again, compared to what you can buy today, a Garand was (and is) a quality firearm. Quality appreciates. Dreck… does not.

    There’s a reason why Deusenbergs are worth a lot more in the collector’s market than a Ford Pinto. What is true in cars is true in guns: Scarcity + quality = collectable value. In today’s guns, I’d be looking at Freedom Arms, some of the rarer Ruger productions, custom rifles and revolvers, customed 1911’s.

    Even small-run guns appreciate, but they often have a very limited market depth – ie, you might spend a lot of time finding the right buyer.

    An example: There was a custom riflemaker out of the Colorado Springs area who was actually a farmer and the head of his irrigation district in the 1930’s. He built perhaps 35+ custom rifles in his spare time (over winters and so on) and sold them to farmers and ranchers in the area of central CO. He marked almost none of these rifles; in order to be able to ID one of his rifles as being made by him, you have to a) know a fair bit about gun making yourself, b) know the provenance of the rifle (ie, you’re seeing it for sale now, who owned it before you, and before that? If the line traces back to a farmer in the ‘Springs area, chances are you might be on to something), and c) know something about the man who made the rifles and what he liked in terms of actions and wood choice.

    I’ll let that TTAG AI come up with their ideas on who this gentleman was (I know, but I’m not going to just give this away – people who want to collect need to learn how to do their homework). I’ll give a hint: His name is 100% German.

    What are his rifles worth? Well, the old saw about “willing buyer and willing seller” comes into play in these cases. I saw one of his rifles change hands for $8K recently.

    • EXCELLENT analysis. I am an S&W top-break collector and general “accumulator” of other top-breaks and a few other rarities, and I would suggest any recently-discontinued high-quality standard gun made by a “name” maker (Colt, Ruger, S&W, etc), especially if they didn’t sell many and the model was dropped due to lack of general sales. Kept NIB for 20-30 years, these should appreciate. Look at the Ruger Hawkeye .256 single shot pistol, and others of that kind. The 3rd generation Colt SAAs were scorned by collectors, but they are now appreciating. Right now, you might consider a NIB Ruger or S&W .327 magnum, since that caliber seems to be fading. (NIB = New In Box with papers)

  11. Original issue M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, and M14s are increasing in value rapidly over the past 10 years.

    60s era M16 type rifles with original furniture. 60s and 70s era accessories for these firearms.

    Pre 1990s steel frame S&W revolvers.

    Maybe gen 1 and 2 glocks.

    pre-2000s Marlin lever actions.

  12. only gun i ever sold was a davis. i lost 35 samolians on that deal and was glad to be rid.
    buy the best you can afford. hand ’em down to the deserving.
    let the two deep pockets arguing over the last one stress.
    i have nothing that isn’t worth more than i paid. not sellin’.
    you’ll be dead soon. enjoy.

  13. Most surplus guns spike in price when the “Ready Supply” dries up.

    SVT40: Wholesaled $229, as soon as SOG was out of them, $1000

    AG42 Ljungman, same deal.

    russian/chinese SKS, under $100 but went overnight to $300+

    I’m predicting Garands to double when the CMP to run out.

    Those swiss rifles, those will probably have a 150%-200% uptick when those dry up.

  14. That’s easy.
    Nothing I own short of my saiga AK :/ even that is mostly wishful thinking.

    That said, I’m not expecting my guns to really take off in value during my lifetime. I’m passing my AK and others on to the next generation. They might go up in the NEXT lifetime lol.

      • I have TTAG allowed in adblock. I don’t mind them earning money.

        But I would prefer the ads were a bit more minimal, and somewhat on topic. If I wanted to see these “trending” clickbait ads, I’d get my gun news from TMZ.

        • I’m not opposed to them earning money, either, but TTAG’s had way too many problems with their ad services for my taste, so they’re blocked now. Annoying auto-run video ads, ads hijacking browsers to try to force software installs, etc, etc. I finally just blocked ’em all.

  15. Colt Single Action Army’s are only available through the custom shop, with a wait of about 2 years…best bet would be to get one off gunbroker.

  16. Guns made of real blued steel and fine wood might become collectible over time. Plastic guns (Dyspeptic’s famous “cheez-whiz” guns) won’t.

    • Maybe if HK goes out of business some of their stuff will be sought after. Like the USP for example. I’m not sure if any other plastic guns will be collectible. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Desert Eagles appreciated in price in years to come, if due to nothing else but the cool factor (especially after production ends).

        • What about modern Colt revolvers? They are already expensive, but give it time and models like Python or Anaconda will go up even more. They’ll be up there with SAAs.

  17. I’m going to nitpick the question some. First, all gun models are currently for sale somewhere, even “collectable” guns. Second, anything and everything can be and is collected by some oddball. “Collectable” doesn’t really have a useful meaning.

    If the question is what gun currently in production is likely to have gone up in value in 20-30 years, then the SAA is probably as good a guess as any. There’s a bunch for sale on Gunbroker.

    Predicting what will have a strong collector market in the future is tough. Rarity is a must. A gun still in production is unlikely to go up much in value because supply can always increase (sort of the same reason art by dead guys appreciates better since they’re not making any more). Even then, manufacturers tend to stop and then later re-start production with collectible-type firearms. I don’t think any gun currently in production will be rare enough to be truly collectible in 20 to 30 years.

    Next, you have to combine rarity with demand. The tough thing is collector’s tastes shift around so the demand side is harder to predict.

    If you phrase the question as what guns that are reasonably-priced now are likely to go up in value, then the M1 might be good choice. However, the cheap Civilian Marksmanship Program M1s are usually not in original condition. They often have new and mismatched parts. That’s going to kill collector value.

    The bidding on the only collector grade M1 the CMP has for auction currently is already at $2,800. That’s reasonably priced for some, not so much for others. Collector grade M1 carbines are over $1,000.

    Absent legislative and market timing/bubble issues (which really aren’t collector issues), I think the chances are slim that a gun you can get today for under $1,000 will appreciate significantly in value over the next 20-30 years. It’s the old conundrum of fine things going up in value over time and ordinary things going down. By the time ordinary becomes fine, ordinary folks are priced out of the market.

    And there is today’s turd in the punchbowl. Get off my lawn!

  18. Milsurps, especially the K31 and Mosin. The former for low number produced + high quality the latter because there are so many of them people don’t mind sporterizing them. Also M1 Garands and Russian guns.

    So to recap:

    -K31
    -Mosin and its variants
    -M1 Garand
    -Russian guns, especially high quality stuff like the Vepr.

  19. I should have NEVER sold my K31 – it had all accessories, even the piece of paper with the original soldiers family name on it. I was in college and it was so expensive for me to shoot, as the only ammo I could find was hunting ammo. Dang it.

    I have an older Colt SAA New Frontier in .22 that has grown in value. I would think an old 1911 Colt 1911 National Match would increase in value. Authentic AK’s, Hi-Power’s, and unique relics may be of value – just my input. My dad has a rare High Standard that has gone up in value. Friend has a WW2 Star pistol that his grandfather got in Italy during the war, with extra magazine and the original box. War-era firearms could go up I think.

  20. Don’t know it would considered a collectable but do have a vintage Ruger SP101 9mm 2″ + 5 round revolver. Also have a S & W SS 63-5 .22LR 8 round revolver. I do know that with both I was asked by counter guy if I would call him first if I ever wanted to sell either one. Really won’t be selling either one, will leave to a relative in my will.

  21. Much of the discussion seems to be focused on guns that aren’t modern and are already near collectible status: Garands, AKs, SKSs and even M-14/FN FAL. That’s like saying a 1911 is a modern collectable. As good as they are none of the plastic wunderwaffens will ever be a collectable. Maybe an early production Glock 17 will become a classic just because. All our favorite AR and AK patterned stuff are just mass produced items. Maybe after 100 years of attrition those guns that survive will become collectable in the sense that the mass produced 1861 Springfield rifled musket is a collectable. The only candidate I see are S&W revolvers and the Ruger Red Hawk series.Probablly the only modern classics are the S&W revolvers.

    • Well in the modern market there are original/old AR15s, SP1s, etc that command a higher price, prebans always are priced higher, and there are a variety of manufacturers that have gone out of business that arguably qualifies their products as collectable because they are no longer available from the original manufacturer.

      An example, my ZM Weapons LR300. It is a modified gas system AR15. It isn’t made by the original manufacturer anymore (ZM Weapons) and it isn’t made by the manufacturer that bought the product rights any more (Para). I’d say it’s collectable because its uncommon and not made any more plus it is a unique design in a largely homogenous platform. But even with those factors it doesn’t command a super high premium.

      • Everything is collectible but modern firearms are cookie cutters. There will always be people with thing for a certain variant but face it you aren’t going be getting $10K for any AR in your life time unless it’s literally gold plated.

        • I might living in CT….

          But I think you bring a good point, is collectability tied to value? I don’t think so.

  22. The very first rule of collecting, never to be violated is collect something you like. I don’t care if it’s stamps, rare books, coins, etc, if you hate looking at them, your collection will either suffer from neglect, or you will sell it. If you like Colt SAA revolvers, invest in a book or two and read up on what is rare, what the differences are between 1st, 2nd, 3rd generations are,serial number ranges, etc. I had a 3rd generation Colt SAA in .45 and I fired maybe a box of ammo thru it before I sold it. It worked fine, but I have no regrets in letting mine go. I have other firearms that I am hoping to take with me into the afterlife because I just would never part with them.

    The second rule of collecting is that anything made and marketed as a collectable generally isn’t a great investment financially. Examples would be all those gold plated engraved pistols in the gun magazines sold as “limited editions” for large amounts of money, John Wayne commemorative rifles, the yearly Winchester commemorative lever actions from the 1980’s and 1990’s. When adjusted for inflation, they haven’t really gone up much in value, even if unfired in the box in perfect mint condition. You want to look for rare factory variations, with the emphasis on quality, and craftsmanship in original condition as much as possible. My M1 Garand is a great shooting rifle, but it’s a mish mash of parts from several manufacturers and will never be worth more than any other similar shooting rifle. My cousin got his thru the DCM the same time I got mine, and his is near mint with all matching serial numbers made by International Harvester. He won the luck of the draw as we both paid the same. His is collectable.

    The third rule of collecting is get your collection appraised and insured. Bad things and sad things happen, and insurance can help replace a collection that is lost due to fire, flood, theft, etc.

  23. A couple of observations;

    First, there’s a huge difference between ‘collectable’ and ‘valuable’. For instance, any ’50 year anniversary’ Ruger is highly collectable but will probably never be valuable. Last year I bought a ’50 years of 44 magnum’ Blackhawk that someone (one of many) had stuck in a safe for 7 years without ever firing it for what would have been a good online price for a new run of the mill Blackhawk in .357 or 45 Colt. Ruger only made some 20,000 of them. In fact they made about 5000 with serial numbers 89-XXXXX then made a second production numbered 870-XXXXX and kept making them for 2 more years. Mine was the 613th off the factory line. It’s a range toy. The lesson? Rare = valuable. Savvy marketing = collectable.

    Also, the Beretta 92 will live on for decades beyond what it’s normal lifespan would be because people will reminisce about how great of a military sidearm it was and how awful whatever they replace it with will be.

  24. I’ve always wanted a Wildey in .475, with as many barrels and configurations I could afford. Alas it does not look like I’ll be able to afford such a gun anytime soon. I could imagine those would only go up in value as time goes on.

  25. My considered opinion is that rarity alone does not make a collectible. The pre 1970 Ford Mustang and the Jaguar XKE were made in huge quantities, and both are among the most collectible vehicles in existence!

    For current production firearms that have potential collector value I like the Tavor and Steyr AUG. Add an Uzi carbine, a Belgian AK underfolder, and an Armalite AR-10T (target) in .308. I also like the Barrett M107A1, SCAR 16 and 17 (particularly the 17), the PS90, and the Seiko TRG-42 in .338 Lapua.

    If we consider recently out of production firearms I would pick a Sig Sauer P220 in .38 Super and an Armalite AR-10 BNMF National Match in .308.

    I purely love the ergonomics of the PS90, but am reluctant to add another weird round to the stable. The TRG-42 is another matter because .338L has such fantastic ballistics that it is like nothing else we own! I think adding it would be justified on that basis.

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