10 Steps to Consider...

...if you're interested in collecting old guns.

Recently, I was preparing to go on a buying trip and began thinking about how much pleasure this hobby had brought to me over the years. The changes that have taken place are immense. In my early days of collecting old guns, almost all of my purchases were made in person at gun shows, gun stores, estate sales or pawn shops. With time, more and more of my purchases were from online (see Buying a Gun Online).

collector on phone
Buying Trip Begins with Phone Call

In my Gun Blog today, I thought I would talk about some basic generalities of collecting, which could apply to anything and not just old guns.

A collector taking a buying trip typically involves someone who has a passion for collecting specific items, such as art, antiques, vintage items, coins, stamps, or other collectibles, embarking on a journey to acquire new pieces for their collection.

Here's a general overview of what a collector's buying trip might involve:

  • 1. Research: Before the trip, the collector researches the items they want to add to their collection. This includes studying market trends, understanding the current value of items, and identifying potential sources or sellers.
  • 2. Setting a Budget: It's important to establish a budget for the buying trip to ensure that expenses are controlled and within reasonable limits.
  • 3. Destination: The collector decides on the destination for their buying trip. This could be a specific city or region known for the type of collectibles they are interested in. For example, someone collecting rare books might visit a city with renowned bookstores.
  • 4. Itinerary: Creating a detailed itinerary is essential, including the schedule of which places or sellers to visit, dates and times, and any related events or auctions happening during the trip.
  • 5. Networking: Connecting with local collectors, dealers, and experts in the field can be valuable. They might provide valuable insights, introductions to sellers, or knowledge about hidden gems.
  • 6. Transportation: Arranging transportation to and within the destination is crucial. This could involve booking flights, trains, or driving to reach various locations.
  • 7. Accommodations: Booking accommodations for the duration of the trip to ensure a comfortable stay.
  • 8. Negotiation Skills: Collectors often need to have strong negotiation skills to secure the best deals on the items they want. Bargaining is a common practice in buying collectibles.
  • 9. Authentication: Verifying the authenticity of items is crucial, especially when collecting valuable or rare items. Collectors might consult experts or use authentication services.
  • 10. Packing and Shipping: Planning for how acquired items will be packed and shipped back home is important. Fragile or valuable collectibles require special care in packaging.
  • 11. Documentation: Keeping meticulous records of purchases, including receipts, provenance information, and any certificates of authenticity.
  • 12. Customs and Regulations: Understanding and complying with customs and import regulations is necessary, especially when bringing collectibles across international borders.
  • 13. Enjoyment: A buying trip can also be an opportunity for collectors to immerse themselves in their passion, visiting museums, galleries, and other attractions related to their collecting interest.
  • 14. Evaluation: After returning from the trip, collectors assess their purchases and decide how these new items fit into their collection. They may also consider whether further research or restoration is needed.

Collector on phone, planning buying trip
Ready for the Buying Trip

A buying trip can be an exciting and fulfilling experience for collectors, allowing them to add unique and meaningful pieces to their collections while also expanding their knowledge and network within their chosen field of interest.

The Buying Trip

A collector taking a buying trip typically refers to a person who collects various items or artifacts as a hobby or for investment purposes, and they are going on a journey or trip to acquire new pieces for their collection. Collectors can be interested in a wide range of items, such as rare coins, stamps, antique furniture, vintage cars, art, memorabilia, or even more niche items like comic books, action figures, or sports cards.

At times, you may not find what you're looking for, however...

You may find a related item, like those Smith & Wesson Survival Series knives. During a buying trip, collectors often visit different locations, such as antique shops, auctions, estate sales, flea markets, or even other collectors' private collections. They are on the lookout for items that fit their specific collection interests and may be willing to pay a premium for particularly rare or valuable pieces.

You have to carry weapons cause you always carry cash
Weapon and Cash

Collectors may also use these trips as opportunities to network with other collectors, dealers, and experts in their field. They often rely on their knowledge and expertise to identify authentic and valuable items, negotiate prices, and make informed decisions about which pieces to add to their collection.

The experience of going on a buying trip can be both exciting and rewarding for collectors, as they have the chance to discover unique items and expand their collections while also learning more about the history and value of the items they're passionate about.

backup gun
Back-up Gun

The collector may have a particular focus or interest in certain categories, such as rare coins, vintage toys, antique furniture, art, stamps, sports memorabilia, or any other type of collectible. The goal of the buying trip is to find and acquire items that are missing from their collection or to add unique and valuable pieces to it.

Final Word... Specifically on Collecting Old Guns
Collecting old guns can be a fascinating and historically significant hobby, but it also comes with responsibilities and legal considerations.

Here are 10 steps to consider if you're interested in collecting old guns:

  1. Research and education:
    • Start by educating yourself about firearms, their history, and the various types of guns you're interested in collecting.
    • Learn about the laws and regulations surrounding firearm ownership and collection in your jurisdiction.
  2. Legal compliance:
    • Ensure that you comply with all local, state, and federal laws related to firearm ownership and collection. These laws can vary significantly depending on your location.
    • Obtain any necessary licenses or permits for firearm collection.
  3. Safety and responsibility:
    • If you plan to keep the guns in working condition, learn about gun safety and safe storage practices. Always treat firearms with the utmost respect and care.
    • Store your firearms securely to prevent unauthorized access, especially if you have children or inexperienced individuals in your home.
  4. Determine your focus:
    • Decide on the type of guns you want to collect, such as antique firearms, historical military rifles, vintage handguns, or a specific manufacturer or time period.
    • Consider whether you want to collect firearms in their original condition or if you're interested in restoration projects.
  5. Networking and community:
    • Join gun collector forums, local gun clubs, or historical reenactment groups to connect with other collectors and enthusiasts.
    • Networking with experienced collectors can provide valuable insights, advice, and potential sources for acquisitions.
  6. Sourcing and acquiring:
    • Look for reputable dealers, gun shows, auctions, and online marketplaces to acquire old guns. Always ensure that you follow the appropriate legal procedures for acquiring firearms.
    • Research the provenance and history of any firearm you consider purchasing, as this can significantly affect its value and historical significance.
  7. Maintenance and preservation:
    • Properly maintain and care for your firearms to preserve their value and historical integrity. Avoid over-cleaning or altering them unless you're an experienced gunsmith.
  8. Documentation:
    • Keep detailed records of your collection, including information about each firearm's history, acquisition date, provenance, and any restoration work performed.
  9. Insurance:
    • Consider insuring your gun collection to protect your investment in case of theft, loss, or damage.
  10. Enjoyment and education:
    • While collecting old guns can be an investment, it should also be an enjoyable and educational hobby. Use your collection to learn more about history, firearms technology, and the cultural significance of these artifacts.

Remember that collecting old guns can be a costly and potentially complex hobby, so approach it with patience and a commitment to adhering to all relevant laws and safety guidelines. Always prioritize safety, responsibility, and legal compliance in your gun collecting endeavors.

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Hobbies are a matter of personal choice...

Some individuals naturally gravitate towards hobbies because they find them enjoyable, while others may prefer to spend their free time in other ways, such as socializing, watching movies, or simply relaxing.

"I've made more friends than I can count over the years, through my hobby."

Hobbies can provide a way to unwind and reduce stress. Engaging in activities you enjoy can have a positive impact on your mental and emotional well-being. However, not everyone needs a hobby to manage stress; some may have other coping mechanisms.


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