By Jason Reid [via ammoland.com]
Dictionary.com defines “expense” as “The cost or the charge of something.” We all understand what expenses are and how we incur them, especially when we’re procuring our hunting gear for each season. “Investment” is defined as: “the investing of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.” In other words, spending money because the value of a particular item will be worth more in the future. How often do we justify the purchasing of hunting gear as an investment? I do, all the time and I am sure you do it too . . .
My father taught me, guns are an investment. They hold their value if taken care of and can be used for lengthy periods of time, even passed down through the family. When it comes to guns, it is no secret, you get what you pay for.
I once spent $250 on a used pump shotgun. Guess what, it is a $250 dollar gun.
There are some impressive guns at the Safari Club International Convention event here in Vegas. Guns for every need and adventure, from birds to elephants. Yet in my quest to find the highest quality gun, the price tag continued to rise. After seeing a few insane price tags, I turned the corner and saw the Beretta booth.
Beretta. You hear the name, you immediately think quality. A friend of mine once lent me his A400 for a few groups of geese while sitting in a cut wheat field. He almost didn’t get it back. Walking into the booth the search was on, until Ian Harrison, Direct of Beretta’s Trident Program, asked have you seen the Izumi?
Combining the essence of the Zen, which in Asian cultures is the perfection and harmony of all things, and their Premium Guns philosophy, Beretta has created the SO6 EELL IZUMI. This gun took five years to complete by artisans on two continents. As per usual, the stock is made of Turkish Walnut. The stock is a true side-lock for superior strength.
However, it’s the engraving – which took years to finish – that makes the gun a true legend. It was created by Artist Izumi Koshiro, the most important Samurai sword engraver alive. For this work, he used dragons as the theme for the receiver’s metal engraving. Dragons are symbolic; they ensure power and provide protection to the owner of the gun and his or her family. The result is a unique blend of culture: the symbol of power and protection from the Orient combined with the symbol of protection in American culture (a gun).
There are two different types of dragons engraved on the receiver: the Sea Dragon on the right, a Celestial Dragon on the left. Both are depicted bursting from waves chasing a small golden inlay sphere known as the Dragon Ball or the Sacred Pearl. For those of you not up to date with your early Taoism history, the Sacred Pearl is a symbol of wisdom or Yang energy.
Power, protection, wisdom and energy engraved by hand onto a high end shotgun, with golden in-lays. The Beretta SO6 EELL IZUMI is only shotgun like it in the world. There is a reason why this gun retails for $200,000 dollars. Investment or expense? Does it even matter?
It is only an investment when there is a greater fool to buy it.
If you operate in an arena where 200,000 bucks is disposable income, why not? Buy it, stick it in a vault under heavy security with your other investments and let it grow.
Guns are tools first for me. Not art or investment.
The new $3000.00 safe you would need to protect it, plus the insurance, plus inflation might well eat up any investment gain.
Storage, insurance and inflation will eat up a lot of investments. High end firearms are hardly exclusive to that. (Also, I’d spend a little more than 3 grand on a safe if I were storing arms like that.)
Anyway, if you consider $200,000 to be disposable income, buy it, shoot, enjoy it. You can’t take it with you, you might as well have the best of everything while it lasts.
If I have $200,000 in disposable income then I would be using it to secure as many transferable machine guns as I could. Those are a investment and a very good tool. Best of both worlds.
…and my West Memphis PD surplus Winchester 1200 riot gun can get as many birds if I put the appropriate barrel on it. I think I’ll pass, thanks.
The stock isn’t a side-lock, the action is a side-lock. The stocks on side-lock guns are often the weakest point of the gun because there is a minimal amount of recoiling surface in the side-lock action. LC Smith side-by-sides were often very weak in the stock area.
This is why side-locks gave way to the box lock guns in the UK and European gun trade over the years. Parkers and Foxes were box lock guns as well.
The one advantage of side-locks is that you can pull the locks to clean them as a unit without disassembling them. The “standard” side-lock today is the H&H interrupting sear lock design. Lots of gun makers have copied it. LC Smiths were not interrupting sear locks.
Is this gun an investment? If it is truly the only one they will make, then yes, it would be. Consider the value of the Parker Invincible grade guns, of which there were only three made. They’re each worth over $1 mil each now. In 1929, when the first Invincible was made (at serial # 200,000), the catalog cost was $1,250. Adjusted for inflation, that $1,250 is now $17,305 (using the BLS inflation calculator). Is $1 mil+ more than $18K? Yup. Ergo, buying an Invincible in 1929 would prove to be a good investment.
Look at the Winchester rifles from 100+ years ago from their custom shop that have letters of provenance behind them. Very collectible and increasingly valuable.
What people who pooh-pooh such guns as these miss is that at some point, these cease to be strictly guns and they become a combination of gun and artwork. This gun is in that class with this level of engraving and embellishment. What’s a van Gogh worth today? The artist is dead, he’s not painting any more. Just as in all other collectible assets, when there’s no replacement available, and it is in demand, the value goes up. So it is in fine guns.
Those Parker Invincibles beat inflation by about 5%. Not bad but a savvy investor could easily do that in the stock market. Not too many of us were around in 1929, let alone old enough to drop top coin on a high end firearm. If you don’t appreciate the art, don’t invest in it. That 5% return is pretty awesome if you also get years of enjoyment out of it.
I own some stocks, but I can’t take any of them duck hunting.
That’s an excellent analysis! I was going to write something similar, but it wouldn’t have been as eloquent or informed.
If you are an aficionado of both firearms and art, and have the money to do so, by all means buy one as an investment.
However, a few things to keep in mind. Like all investing, the art market in particular, you really need to know what you’re getting yourself into if you intend to buy it as an investment.
The art market is quite volatile. Not only individual artists, but entire styles and even the market as a whole, sweep in and out of fashion somewhat unpredictably. You also need to have a buyer who can afford your asking price. In this case you need to find another lover of both art and firearms who can afford it. With each adjective you add to the buyer (rich, firearms enthusiast, art lover) the population of potential buyers gets smaller.
Also, due to its nature this art might be regulated out of existence and destroyed arbitrarily. It might not seem likely where you live today, but transport it to the wrong part of the country or world and it could happed because in fact it is a gun, too. Some people look at Mapplethorpe’s work and see only sickness; same thing here. Plus, over a hundred years, culture can change dramatically and this could either help or hurt value.
Finally, until you sell it you have to care for it properly. That means storage at a minimum, and most likely insuring it. Keep in mind that as with a buyer, finding an insurance company to insure this as both art and boomstick may prove more challenging or expensive than you expect.
And during all that time, the shotgun is not returning one penny. It is an ongoing expense from the moment you buy it to the time you sell it. There is a chance you will get zero or a pittance when you do go to sell it.
This in aggregate is why I like having dividend paying stocks as a foundation of my portfolio. :-). I personally wouldn’t go for something like this as an investment unless it represented, oh 5% or less of my total portfolio, and 20% or less of my nontraditional investment allocation. OTOH, if I were to view it purely as an expense, and bought it because I loved it and expected no return, then anything I get back is a bonus. Which is how I, personally, would need to see it before buying it.
Just playing devil’s advocate here, but there are a couple of counter arguments to your analysis. First, when it comes to the expense of keeping the firearm it’s likely to be a pretty modest expense. If you can afford a $200,000 firearm you probably already have a security system and quality safe and you probably live in a nice neighborhood so forgoing insurance would be an acceptable risk. For that matter you could probably get most of your initial investment back with your homeowner’s policy. Keeping it clean and oiled doesn’t cost much.
Second, there is no such thing as a perfectly secure investment. Had you spent $200,000 on GM stock in 1999 when it was $100/share you would have lost all your money except for a few paltry dividends. If you owned gold in the 1930s you would have seen the federal government seize your gold, compensating you with $20 per ounce, then immediately devalue the currency by 43%, effectively stealing nearly half of it’s value. Government bonds aren’t likely to beat inflation by design.
Of course, nobody with half a brain would put their whole life savings into a single stock nor should a high end shotgun consume the majority of your portfolio. But you might as well set aside some of your investment into things you enjoy, be it cars, guns, baseball cards, art or whatever.
As to your first point, I would strongly suggest you read your insurance policy VERY carefully, make sure you submit an appraisal to your company, and make sure it’s classified by them as art and not a firearm only. I could otherwise easily see the determination of equivalent replacement being a Mossberg, depending on the company and the adjuster.
It is kind of fun to think about, though.
My own dilemma: should I buy a Ruger Redhawk with a 7.5″ barrel now or wait for a 5.5″ barrel to become available? Or forget both and go for a S&W 460V?
Re your last point, people did just what you say nobody in his right mind would do…
Re the rest, it really comes down to probabilities we can’t know beforehand but can perhaps make some guesses about based on history.
Unlike your stocks/mutual funds, if you own a firearm you will know where it is, who is playing around with/attempting to manipulate it.
Until you don’t and it is stolen.
Hopefully would never happen but unless you’re a shut-in at some point you will be someplace it isn’t. And that is an opportunity for a thief.
“Muh Remberg 1370 kills them birds jus as gud, ya dumb rich fellers!”
Yup great investment if you have an extra $200,000.00 just hanging around . I’ll keep it in mind should I happen to hit the lottery.
If you have that much money ‘laying around’ bet you can get a much better return on it without buying anything physical at all.
Actually, the one asset class that has returned the most dependable gains in the last 100 years has been real estate.
Over a long enough time period. The market – any market – can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.
… says a refugee from both Chicagoland and California real-estate markets.. :-/
I keep telling the wife that those $3.00 Powerball tickets are investments too.
“…chasing a small golden inlay sphere known as the Dragon Ball”
Yeah, a $500 shooty will take just as many birds as the Beretta, juat as a Honda Civic will take you to the grocery store just as well as a Ferrari 488 GTB. But the Ferrari is art, and the Honda is just an appliance.
Finally someone who gets the point of it all. And 488 GTB? Someone keeps up on automotive news. Wise choice
You’ll have more room for groceries in the Civic.
Normally I find most engraving on shotty to be meh. This I like. If I only had that kind of free cash.
I must say though it feel like this type of engraving should be on some kind of fighting rifle or dangerous game rifle vs a bird shooting shotty.
It is a testament to the skill, patience, persistence, and pride that these [grand] master craftsmen possess. Even if I could someday afford this, I would not be able to justify it cause I like to use my tools… This is no longer a tool, it’s a high-quality piece of art (so an investment).
I also think it’s gorgeous, but $200K can buy a decent sized house around here.
I still get fire breathed down my back from my “dragon” for buying a Benelli a couple of years ago, when arguments usually start about finances . I can just imagine what would if I even attempted such an expense ,not that I could .
Hot DAMN that is a pretty gun.
But it’s still a gun.
I love the draconic metalwork, love it to death.
Should have been called the “Samurai’s Edge”, oh wait, Biohazard/Resident Evil already used that.
Any gunmakers wanna etch/engrave a beautiful American flag into a performance center type. Call it, the “War Sword or Minuteman’s Saber” or something like that.
And for those who believe the old south will rise again, do it with a Confederate flag and call it, the “Rebel’s Cutlass”.
Cool weapons need cool names.
Does the “old south” get to keep human slaves on their big plantations, or leave that part out?
For all of the high end Antebellum luxury items, they had to find ways to pay the bills somehow.
The casual painting of a whole culture in such a derogatory and demeaning way shows a real ignorance of what the civil war was based on, and it wasn’t slavery.
At that time, there was no serious attempt to outlaw slavery in the US. Slavery was legal in most states, including in what would become the northern Union states.
When Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation, it was only for the southern states that had seceded, not the northern states. Slavery was still legal in the north.
It became one of the issues, I’ve read of one reason, because Lincoln wanted to isolate the south from getting war supplies and monetary support from europe and by painting the war against the south as to “free the slaves” it helped to keep the south isolated.
It wasn’t until after the civil war was over that the thirteenth amendment was passed freeing slaves in all of the states.
The issue at the time and is still today about states rights and the right to secede when the federal government becomes too oppressive.
I find that it is now the liberal/progressives and their policies that are encouraging minorities, especially blacks, to stay on the plantation, beholden and dependant to the state as the new “massa”.
So, in your version of history had the south freed their slaves before firing on Sumter they would have gained the moral high ground over the evil north. England and other Europeaqn powers would have gladly assisted the non slave south and the confederacy would have won.
Didn’t happen did it. And now those of us in places like CA and NY are dealing with “states rights” trampling all over civil rights and the individual.
Perhaps you mean CONSTITUTIONAL Rights?
Never was there a better reason to go to war. So you’re one of those “war of northern aggression” folks? Funny how they had all seceded by the time honest Abe took office. Who was internationally known to be against slavery…but continue to repeat that tired old states right BS. Pretty sure firing on Fort Sumpter was not Yankee instigated. A “culture” based on chattel slavery is no culture at all.
So JWM, are you arguing for the supremacy of the federal government over the individual states?
So how’s the USSC support of no knock warrants, asset forteiture, warrantless searches of your private vehicles based on a dog’s say so, the support of the forced buying of a private commodity like health care, the support for the NDAA which allows for arrest and indefinite incarceration of a US citizen without the right of a lawyer or the right to face ones accusers in the court of law working out for you?
The latest ruling protecting the right to KABA as in individual right was decided by the USSC by one vote. One vote.
If the vote had gone the other way, we would probably be talking seriously about another civil war II and the right of states to secede when the federal gets to overbearing and tyrannical.
As it is now, with all of the other decisions by the USSC in fringing our basic rights that I spoke of in the beginning of my post, I see us as being ruled by a nine tyrants in black robes.
Our Founding Fathers fought a revolution over much less infringement of our civil rights.
I have no doubts that our founders would be spinning in their graves at what we have allowed to develop in the country they fought and died to create.
There it is, Saint Abe of the backwoods. Didn’t do diddly to free the slaves did he? You might reread some American History.
Sorry Former Water Walker. you’re free to continue to believe the propaganda pumped out by the Liberal/progressive controlled schools.
But the Civil War began for other reasons than “ending slavery” . It became that after the hostilities began.
After all, (let me repeat myself) The north owned slaves all through the civil war, “honest Abe” only freed the slaves in the southern states that had seceded with an executive order due to his “war powers”.
Did slavery need to end? Of course. But that didn’t come for all the states until after the war was over.
ThomasR. Do you feel happy with tyranny being imposed by the state as opposed to the feds? You will never sell that revisionist crap that the southern states had the right to secede from the union because the feds were being oppressive to states rights when the states in question practiced slavery.
How many twists and backflips of logic does it take to support a state that practices slavery in a war to grant that state freedom?
The rights of the individual is what we struggle for. Not the rights of fed .gov or state .gov. You give the rights and power to the state at the cost of the individual.
And whether or not the muslim world or places in africa still practice slavery has no bearing. Slavery, like the holocaust was to Germany, is a mark against our national honor.
You guys that practice making excuses for what was inexcusable are simply hard for me to fathom. And quite frankly I don’t even try to understand your thought processes. It’s like trying to understand a serial killer or child molester. Why would I even try?
Wow. JWM. Well at least instead of calling me a Nazi, now you’re equating the fact that I disagree with the common acceptance of the origin of the civil war as being equivalent to a serial killer or child molester.
You came to this conclusion as part of the politically correct indoctrination that you have received at the hands of the “Establishment”.
If you read very carefully and get past your conditioning, you will see I never defended the institution of slavery.
But this how PC works. It makes you get emotional and when you get emotional your logic and reason disappears.
ThomasR. You’re very slick(in your own mind). You defend and rationlise the states leaving the union, violently by use of arms, in order to preserve states rights. Which included slavery. You talk of the tyranny and overreach of the feds and the scotus but at the same time you gloss over slavery in those same states you make excuses for.
So, outside of supporting slavery, why else would you critise .gov in support of state.gov that had slavery at its core?
Tyranny is tyranny. Wheather imposed by fed or state. Apparently, you’re ok with slavery so long as it’s your state deciding and not the feds.
I’ll ignore that tripe about being emotional. Passion is not a fault.
Sorry JWM, I disagree. Passion is one thing, but closed minded bigotry bordering on hatred that you showed by calling some one that has an honest debatable belief different than yours being the equivalent of a child molester, serial killer and a defender of slavery is not passion.
It is the worst kind of darkness that a human being can use to justify mass slaughter of those that they disagree with.
So I think you need to read again what I wrote and then look in your own soul as to the origin of this way of thinking.
ThomasR. Reread it. You’re still defending the tyranny of the state. I will agree with you that slavery was not the only cause of the war. But the war did put an end to slavery in this country. The southern states felt so strongly about the issue of slavery as to be blinded to the international ramifications of their practice. Without the help of England and other powers they had no hope of winning that war.
One simple act. Free the slaves. Would have taken the wind out of the norths sails and would have brought much needed help from outside powers.
But the war to free themselves from northern “tyranny” was lost, in large part, because of their overriding need to enforce tyranny on a part of their own population.
Does this make any sense to anyone other than…….. well, anybody?
Now, my question remains. Are you more comfortable with the tyranny of fed.gov or the tyranny of state.gov. Neither has rights. We, the individuals have the rights.
Nope JWM. You still don’t get it. You still are reading what you want into my posting. I’m a liberterian, both of the parties, republican and Democrat are just two versions of state control over our lives
Slavery of any human being is an abomination.
What you object to is that I don’t paint the south as unmitigated evil in their defense of what even the north was practicing at the time.
The reason you have painted me as a child molesting, serial killing defender of slavery is because I don’t follow the herd in making someone that believes differently than me into a monster, like you do.
I do my best to practice what Christ was teaching, love the sinner, not the sin.
Maybe to you, me being a Christian is worthy of my death, I know many liveral/progressives that feel it would be nothing more than I deserve.
But it is part of the world I choose not practice. I don’t need to follow the herd in making those different than me into a monster, even if you continue to dehumanize me as being sub human.
ThomasR. I did not bring religion into this. I never wished for your death. As for you being “sub human” I simply stated that it was as difficult for me to understand apologists for the south as it was for me to get into the mind of a serial killer or child molester. I don’t even try.
States rights is a mantra that is used to cover a lot of sins. I live in CA where my civil rights are being denied by the state. And the tyranny of the majority. My only hope for my rights, short of becoming a refugee, is if the fed.gov steps up and does it’s duty, thru the courst hopefully.
So long as “states rights” are being used to deny human rights I will continue to speak against them.
Let me try to shorten this argument up. If the Civil War was about states’ rights and not slavery, what right were the southern states fighting for?
If the “old south” went back to slavery, they would find some things haven’t changed since the 16th century, such as the number of places they can buy those slaves from black men.
Slavery is still legal in various Muslim countries And in various places in Africa. After all, muhammad owned slaves, and if you were to say anything that muhammad did is wrong, you would be killed.
It seems some people don’t quite grasp the concept of art.
The museums of the world are FILLED with nonart crap for which fools paid millions. At least this will go bang.
I look at that shotgun, and I think about the cold mornings, the slog through the mud, and the wet drippy woods here abouts. If I had it I wouldn’t even take it out of the safe to show my best friend, much less take it in the field!
When the AWB hit I had a couple of Colt AR-15s I didn’t particularly want, so $400.00 turned into $1200 for the CAR and $1500 for the HBAR. The A2 scope mount and the demilled M-203 were snatched up like hot cakes!
I bought a couple of HK-91s directly from HK for $399.00 each in 1984, and then added about $400.00 in accessories (mags, loader/unloaders, light and heavy bipods, scope mounts, ejection port buffers, sight tools, A3 stocks etc). In April 2014 each rifle sold for just over 3K, and the accessories netted another 4K. That’s 20 years and 1000% return on investment!
If you’re looking for investments you have to be cagey. My method (if I have one) is to look at quality products that are intrinsically useful, and not in any particular demand at the moment. Beyond that I buy things that I want. And I don’t sell them until I find something that I want even more.
I get it. I’m an antique and art dealer…and I know the usual advice is to buy what you like and not worry about the investment. I really like this gun but the jury is out if it ever will accrue in value from a base cost of $200000. Lots of overhead that doesn’t accompany things like the stock market too( I also sold insurance in a past life). If I could blow 200K on this I wouldn’t care anyway. Blow away!
Its purty, so is my smelly. It is far more useful and only cost me $94.
1) The Asian motif suggests that the gun was designed to be sold in Asia. While it seems strange to Americans, wealthy Chinese (and Russians) have to deal with living in a kleptocracy that they might need to flee quickly. For that reason, they often stash excess cash in “real” assets like art, gold, and US real estate. These real assets are difficult/impossible for their home countries to track and/or confiscate.
2) Is it really a gun if it will never be fired? I think it is Art.
Hey…my Ithaca 37 has a game scene on the receiver, does that count?
You probably meant to be flippant in your question, but I’ll answer your question with serious numbers. Allow me to break out my Blue Book.
Let’s say we’re talking about a bog-standard 37. What’s that worth? A Model 37/37R in 100% condition is worth about $295 to $335 in plain to checkered configuration.
OK, so let’s find a 37 made with a game scene on the receiver. A Model 37 Supreme, 100% condition, which had a checkered walnut stock & forearm, engraved receiver is worth $675 in the 1967 to 1997 date range, $895 for the recent run from 2003 to 2004.
A Model 37, 60th Anniversary Limited edition, which was available in 20ga only, with a dog game scene on the receiver, high grade wood, only 200 made in 1997 is worth $1,450 in 100% condition.
Take another example. 1911’s are hardly rare. There’s tons of 1911’s out there – literally. Tons and tons of steel were turned into 1911’s for the US War Dep’t and then civilian production. So how much could a 1911 be worth?
Well, if it is one of the 500 1911’s made by Singer in WWII, quite a lot. A 100% Singer 1911 is worth over $15K today.
Rarity is what breeds high valuation in guns. Even if it is a highly-produced model of gun, if made in a limit number with a certain feature, embellishment or modification, will often become highly valued over time. Look at the valuation of Garands for another example. $1200 should get you most field-grade Garands in good shape. A sniper variant of a Garand, with all the original numbers and leather cheekpiece? Now you’re over $2500 and up.
So your Model 37 is worth more than a plain-jane 37. In time, if yours is one of the 37’s of which there were only a few hundred made, it will become worth more.
Seriously, who doesn’t love this guy?
I think you might be off by a digit there on a 100% vintage Singer 1911. $150K, not $15K, would be the correct going market rate for a Singer. If you had a Singer you could sell it and almost afford this Beretta 🙂 Personally I think the Singer would continue to appreciate in value faster than the Beretta.
I was being flippant. My Ithaca 37 is sort of a Plain Jane parkerized finish Turkey Gun that did not sell and the gun shop in Fort Wayne marked it way down just to move it out the door. The gun was new and was sort of covered with dust when it was taken off the rack. I felt sorry for it.
Dragon Ball Z gun…had to say it.
It comes paired with a tanto. Japanese sword smiths of Izumi’s caliber can obtain those prices on the sword alone. I have collected Nihonto for about 25 years. I have never sold one for less than I paid for it, ever. Some have appreciated in value by 500% …you just have to know what you are looking at.
FYI, the artist last name is Koshiro not Kosher.
Seriously what happened to the reply button? Whatever in reply to ThomasR-try telling my beautiful black wife the American Civil War was NOT about slavery. Yes states rights were in play but the south rebelled because LINCOLN was elected. Familiar with the Lincoln-Douglas debate? I guess not…
Anyway, back to the original topic: the Beretta. Compared to what you see on a Purdey or Piotti, the engraving looks—dare I say it?—crude. Kind of like something you’d see tattooed on a Yakuza underboss if the “artist” actually worked for a rival gang out for revenge.
I do not like the engraving. Beretta, with 500 years of gun making in italy, could have had an ancient roman theme to their engraving.
I have never sold one for less than I paid for it, ever.uch as the number of places they can buy those slaves from black men.tThese real assets is difficult/impossible for their home countries to track or confiscate. Slavery is still legal in various Muslim countries And in various places in Africa.
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