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Old November 1, 2011, 07:17 AM   #1
Dino.
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C&R's as an investment?

Was watching an episode of "American Guns" last night where Rick Wyatt was selling some guns manufactured in the '60's (Colt Python, S&W 29, etc..) to some guy saying that they were a "good investment".

It got me thinking about the couple C&R guns that I have and thier potential investment potential.

Personally, I don't see the Colt Python or S&W Model 29 as "investment" guns simply because I feel there were just too many of them produced. But of course, I could be wrong.

The couple of guns in my own collection that I feel may have investment potential are a 1908 Colt Vest Pocket and a WWII Radom VIS. But again, there were a lot of these guns manufactured as well, so I don't know.

What are your thoughts?
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Old November 1, 2011, 11:15 AM   #2
Winchester_73
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Its much more complicated than people give this credit for

Quote:
Was watching an episode of "American Guns" last night where Rick Wyatt was selling some guns manufactured in the '60's (Colt Python, S&W 29, etc..) to some guy saying that they were a "good investment".
This is a very interesting and sometimes touchy subject. Guns can be a great investment, or a poor one. It depends on many factors. The biggest question is this:

How do you buy gun X and how do you sell gun X?

Obviously the key here is paying the least while selling for the most. Usually one cannot get a great deal in the present moment from a dealer, IE someone buys and sells for a living simply because the dealer cannot afford to give everyone a deal. Deals can come that way, but they are usually from private party purchases. Predicting demand for guns can be difficult.

The other thing that effects all of this is condition of the gun which entails IMO originality. Many people say that CONDITION CONDITION CONDITION influences prices, but its actually more so CONDITION RARITY and DEMAND. Those 3 factors drive a price and a market value for something. This can be verified through 1000s of examples.

Regarding the Python example, you are right to say they are not necessarily rare, a garden variety Python is always available depending on where you look. But you see, DEMAND is high for a Python. Then if you add that together with say it being high condition, a rare variant such as a nickel snubnose, then you really have a valuable gun.

Another thing I commonly read is the whole purchase price vs inflation thing. Again we can use the Colt Python. My father purchased a Colt python new in the mid 1970s, say 1974 for $175. He tossed the box, but the gun was really clean, 6 in blued model. Today a gun like that brings $1000 to $1300. So you might say well gee, if I bought it in $175 in 1974 and sold it in 2011 for $1100, you made $925. Well no, you didn't. The buying power of $175 in 1974 was MUCH HIGHER than $175 today, in 2011. Using the westegg inflation calculator (seems fair to me), the $175 was $764.90 in 2010, let alone 2011 dollars. So while a profit was still made, it is now and more accurately, much less. This is an important consideration when trying to estimate profit from a gun esp one purchased many years, or decades ago. Many times a gun's purchase price when inflated is less than its market value today, but NOT EVERYTIME! In fact many Colts beat inflation, while many other guns do not.

Yet another angle in this is the whole "well you should have bought gold in 1974 instead of the Python, because gold is a better investment". To use our 1974 example again, gold was $150 using an online chart I found. So my father could have bought an ounce, but for $175 he could have gotten 1.17 oz of gold. Yesterday gold closed for $1706.52. So my father could have kept the gold since 1974, had he bought it, and today the 1.17 oz would be worth $1996.63, nearly doubling the value of his Python today aka nearly a 100% difference in value. Sounds pretty good doesn't it?

Well there are some problems with the "gold is greater than guns for investment" argument. For example: lets say you bought 1oz of gold on Jan 21 of 1980. It was actually $850 back then, believe it or not. Adjust for inflation today and you just invested $2219.43 as many people probably did that year, but gold will go up up up right? Well lets go forward, and say you kept your oz of gold 10 years, how well did you make out? It was $406 Jan 22 1990. So guess what? You lost big time. Adjust the $406 to 2010, you get $668.56.
Lets go back to when you decided to invest in gold, in Jan 1980, because you want to buy in before the price escalates further. You paid $850 in 1980, which is $2219.43 in 2010. Fast forward to today, aka Oct 31, 2011 and gold is only worth $1706.52!!! You kept it 31 years, and you lost! Now obviously, there were clues that the $850 spike in 1980 was a better sell price than a buy price, etc etc. But the point here is that you can lose on gold. You have to know what you're doing to make the most, or to make anything. Coincidentally, the same is true for firearms.

If thats not enough for you, there is another big argument against gold when discussing gold vs guns. Gold is approx $1700 per oz right now, have you seen it lately for $800 per oz, real gold? How about for $1200? Chances are you didn't because anyone would buy it for that price and everyone knows the price of gold. Now consider firearms. Earlier this year I bought a Savage 24D 30-30 / 20g for $250. Great condition but no box. I later found out this gun was rare and sought after, and approx 3 weeks later I had sold online for $687 after shipping and auction fees were paid. Back to the old adage, how do you buy and how do you sell. I bought from an estate sale company who obviously did not know firearms. They bought out a deceased man's esatate and placed the value on the model itself, with no consideration for caliber / chambering which is major in terms of value.

This example illustrates how much faster one can make money on a gun, which IMO coupled with the other paragraph shows that guns are a better investment than gold IF other things are assumed IE buying right and selling right. I kept the gun less than 1 month and nearly tripled my money. I bought the gun way under market, I will admit that, and sold it the best way possible, but you see, buying it way under market cannot be easily done with gold. Often times with gold, you pay a fee / surcharge on top of it, so its instantly worth less than what you paid. With gold, its a long term investment, vs guns which can be very short term. The beauty with a gun is that after you sell the gun, you could take the money and invest in gold if you really wanted to or anything else for that matter.

One may counter and say, well getting a gun deal is rare too, but this is untrue. Its all in how you go about it, your knowledge base, how much money you have to tie into guns, how much you are willing to look, etc. I look for the best deals I can find and I have found many, many other examples I could have chose to illustrate. I don't sell anything that I really like, so some of my deals are only half done, IE I only bought the gun at a good price and did not sell because I simply don't want to at the moment.

To get to your specific examples, it could go either way and more info is needed. A colt 1908 is no kind of investment if you got ripped off initially. If the Radom is mismatched, reblued or unoriginal in another way, it too is not a great investment. If you bought them right, for whatever reason, they could be a great investment with the benefit of shorter term profit vs other methods of investing.

While some may question or simply not believe what I've said, I have done this all many times, and will continue to do so. I also have a coin collection and have invested in gold and silver in years past. There were precious metal opportunities that I missed, that I regret, but overall, in my specific situation, I think buying the guns was the best choice. Guns are more interesting to own IMO than a coin or bracelet or bar, etc.

Just my opinion here, not recommending anyone do anything. This is what I've learned, what I've done, what I still do, and esp what works for me. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Old November 1, 2011, 11:33 AM   #3
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Here's my more simplified take on it:

Investing in guns is like investing in collector cars. Most of the ones that are guaranteed to go up in value already cost a fortune. Even then, there's the chance that you may take a loss if you buy when the market is overheated.

Some milsurp C&R firearms have proven to be good short-term investments- e.g. cherry Swedish Mausers that cost $45 in the late 80s and are worth $350ish today, or unissued Russian SKS's that cost $60 in the mid 90s and are worth $400ish today. The problem with these is twofold: (a) you'd have to buy a bunch of them (and risk unwanted attention from the ATF) to make much money, and (b) it's not always easy to separate the good milsurps from the mediocre ones that really haven't ever gone up (e.g. Carcanos).

YMMV.
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Old November 1, 2011, 12:48 PM   #4
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Investment! What you mean investment?
That would infer that you would some day sell it like stocks, bonds, or CD's
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Old November 1, 2011, 03:11 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses!
IMHO, any "investment" is a gamble and dictated by current market value which we all know is subject to change at any given moment.

I don't buy guns as "investments" but it's nice to own guns that have the potential to increase in value as opposed to decreasing in value, like most.
I also don't own any "safe queens". I have no use for them. I'm extremely anal about cleaning and maintaining my firearms and very conscience of humidity conditions, etc ... but I buy guns to shoot them.

Anyway, I was just curious about the only two guns I own that may possibly have the potential to increase in value ... the 1908 Colt Vest Pocket and the Radom VIS. Occassionally, this curiousity steers me to sites like GunBroker where I feel is a good source for determining "market value". After all, something is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay. However, one must also bear in mind that what one is willing to pay today may not be what they will be willing to pay tomorrow.
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Old November 1, 2011, 05:16 PM   #6
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Just because you bought it cheap 25 years ago doesn't mean it was a good investment. 100 dollars in the 80s isn't 100 dollars today.
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Old November 1, 2011, 05:44 PM   #7
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The home you bought in 2006 was supposed to keep going up exponentially in value too, wasn't it? After all, real estate had NEVER depreciated before...

My current belief is, just like those that still hold to the "if you buy and hold for at least 10 years in the stock market, you'll make a decent return"-always has been that way..." is also out the window.

"Things" that are hot collectibles today, may not be so tomorrow.

I'd never buy a firearm at current market value as an investment. Only if it were severely discounted and a real "steal"...

A rifle, handgun, classic car, or home....doesn't matter. It's "worth", is exactly what someone is willing to pay you for it, on the day you sell it. No more, no less.
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Old November 1, 2011, 07:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
The home you bought in 2006 was supposed to keep going up exponentially in value too, wasn't it? After all, real estate had NEVER depreciated before...
Yep, this was my thinking when I purchased two rental properties ... JUST BEFORE the housing market crashed!
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Old November 1, 2011, 07:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Just because you bought it cheap 25 years ago doesn't mean it was a good investment. 100 dollars in the 80s isn't 100 dollars today.
Were you quoting me? I said that in post #2.

Quote:
A rifle, handgun, classic car, or home....doesn't matter. It's "worth", is exactly what someone is willing to pay you for it, on the day you sell it. No more, no less.
While I agree to an extent, the fact is that the gun market seems to have been much less effected by this recession than other things such as cars and houses. Its hard to say why. When I go to gunshows, I still see $1000s of dollars, big deals, people selling, people re-selling, tons of deals being made etc. I still see guns sell online for stupid prices, almost as if I should just get my 01 and quit my day job. Like a friend of mine said at work, many of the people who had money before this recession, still have money today. Maybe they have a little less, maybe they weren't effected much, maybe they somehow capitalized on the last so many years, but the truth is, some people still have their money / income. Many others still have their good job, even though they are a minority today in that position. For example, there is a huge demand for health care related jobs, and those people buy guns just like they did in say 1995, cause they're not feeling it the way others sadly are.

I sold a decent bit of guns online this year, nearly all to US citizens and many brought much more than expected. They went all over the country too, not any particular state or even area. So are gun guys/girls die hard? does everyone think that the next guy wants to buy so they should first, or buy to sell to the next guy? Is there mad buying because of fear of legislation? I don't know, but I know what I see. I see a lot of money being passed around, I do also see people tightening up, and I do see some guns perhaps bringing less than before, but I see others bringing more than ever. I see that a lot of Colts and WWII related guns are like platinum, almost beyond gold in an analogy sense, like the thought of owning such a beast is tied to a large amount of money, automatically, like PB and J or something. Sometimes I almost wonder why don't more people get into guns, and the trading of them, but then I realize guns are much different than metals and the like, despite the collectors paying enormous prices, even considering the times we live in. A good gun is a good gun, regardless of the economy. That's what I have witnessed more times than not.

How long does it take the CMP to deplete of hot items? Anyone watch that? Amazing.

I have a lot invested in my collection and while I think there is potential for the gun market to drop off, I look at history, and then today, and then consider the future, and I come up with "either things will stay the way they are with guns, or perhaps increase (after legislation passed, people may want guns more)". None of us can predict the future, we only make educated guesses. Who knows what will happen...

Quote:
"Things" that are hot collectibles today, may not be so tomorrow.
I predict guns to say solid. Part of the reason is that there have been tons of studies by people favoring control, those in the middle and the people who support our rights that show a lot of the BS from the Clinton era and before is unsupported statistically. This is the info age, where we all have endless info at our fingertips, we all have hi speed internet, we can get nice PCs for less than $1000. PCs are just like an oven or TV now, a standard for most people.
People are finding out the truth about many things, and guns are one of them.
Since people know more, they are more pro gun now than possibly ever. Anti gun people seem to have a level of ignorance because of their claims are unsupportable by any type of evidence. There also has been a lot of pro gun legislation recently which is HUGE for our cause.

I mean look at this site, its been around a long time, but not 20 yrs either. The time when it was "in" to be against guns, or when you had to believe Uncle Bob or the news that guns were dangerous is OVER. Now you can find out anything you want yourself, quickly and easily. There is no need to be a sheep, no need to blindly accept the opinions of your fellow man. Now with infinite info, form your own opinion!

All of this helps the future of guns IMO. I'm confident in that, but I also don't think the economy will get better anytime soon.
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Old November 1, 2011, 07:27 PM   #10
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im an advocate of hard assets, guns have and will continue to serve me well in storing my wealth. guns are as good as money in the bank or if your like me much better than having money with the banksters.
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Old November 1, 2011, 07:30 PM   #11
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oh yeah... i had my license for 3 years and let it expire but i loaded up

$79 K31's
$89 SKS's
$99 M48's

the list goes on, you tell me if thats not a good "investment", it sure is a good way to park some worthless US dollars.
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Old November 2, 2011, 02:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Personally, I don't see the Colt Python or S&W Model 29 as "investment" guns simply because I feel there were just too many of them produced. But of course, I could be wrong.
I was offered $1,500 for my Python and turned it down. Considering I paid $491 in 1982 yep it could have been very lucrative for me. The only way and this is my opinion for C&R guns to be an investment is to be buying high priced C&R's to start with.
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Old November 2, 2011, 04:10 PM   #13
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I feel like a dork for writing this, but according to the .gov inflation calculator, $491 in 1982 is about $1150 today. So in the 30 years you have held on to it, it's gone up in value about 40%. Granted, not terrible, but not great either, considering almost 30 years have passed. And that's a python, one of the most collectible revolvers ever produced. Even today, the house my parents bought back in 87 for around 65000 is worth twice that.

Now, if you had bought a whole crate of them for that price then it'd be a different story.

Basically, I'm saying that I wouldn't make selling collectible guns in the future my main retirement plan.
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Old November 2, 2011, 04:36 PM   #14
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It takes a lot of work to sell a firearm for book value.

If you are looking to make money on your firearms, a bud of mine who cleared out his arsenal told me the buying patterns at the time.

Garands were gold. People bought his Garands and he made money on them.

M1903's, and A3's, he was lucky to sell them for what he had in them.

Anything Colt sold well. People will pay for the pony.

When it came to match rifles, he lost money. NM AR15's were not worth the money he paid for them. However Bubba liked "Mil Spec" when it came to AR's.

In general original factory was worth a lot more than a modified gun. Bubba is not too sure about things that are not factory.

I can tell you, guns in weird calibers, such as Ackley improved, they don't sell worth crap. You will loose money. If you bought one of those guns that came in the "cartridge of the week", once those rounds become rare or collectable you will loose money on the firearm.
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Old November 2, 2011, 05:58 PM   #15
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Oh... if we all knew what that next big collectable is going to be...

anylize what makes something collectable...

things we had as a kid...

things we wished we had when we were younger...

things peer pressure forces us to buy...

things hollywood influences us to buy...

of course all of this is only possible once we reach a point that we have spare income to buy these things

cars are a good & easy place to look... Model T's & Model A's used to be high dollar cars, back when people of that age that drove them as a 1st car, or were a teen ager when their parents owned one, or when their high school buddy had one... but once those people died off, those prices dropped, & the 30's cars were worth more... that progression of dieing buyers has progressed to the 50-70's muscle cars bringing top dollar today...

I'd expect guns to do the same... brands can save you a little bit, but it's certain models or configurations that will bring the top dollars

Hollywood... the wild card... cowboy action shooting, fueled by Hollywood movies, has those original guns at premium prices right now... buyers never owned those, their passion is solely driven by those movies...

carefull... the next big movie may just feature an old Toyota Celica, who's driver kills at will with a 25 acp Jennings auto & by the 2nd movie... those $49.00 Jennings will be selling for $490.00
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Old November 2, 2011, 09:20 PM   #16
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I look at it this way:

If I put my extra money in the stock market, it can either gain or lose value and its no fun.

If I put my extra money in a savings account, it will grow slowly, but it is no fun either.

If I put my extra money into guns, they will always be worth something and they will provide me with entertainment and fun for the rest of my life.

So, when I die, my kids can sell them or keep them, but at least I had alot of fun with something of value I get to pass onto my kids. Stocks, bonds, savings accounts and gold would never satisfy the way guns do.
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Old November 2, 2011, 09:20 PM   #17
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If you know what you are doing, you can probably make a couple bucks.

If you stocked up on Finnish M39's, Swiss K31's, and Yugo SKS's while they were all $100 or less, you could make a couple bucks.

If you bought a bunch of M91/30's, it's going to take a few more years.

However, it seems like getting enough for say, retirement would be risky and difficult. You need to make damn good guesses, and all that buying and selling could very attract BATFE attention. And in the meantime, you need to store and maintain them.

I wonder if you'd be better off with some other antique or collectible that does less attention from federal law enforcement.
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Old November 3, 2011, 02:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Quote:
The home you bought in 2006 was supposed to keep going up exponentially in value too, wasn't it? After all, real estate had NEVER depreciated before...

Yep, this was my thinking when I purchased two rental properties ... JUST BEFORE the housing market crashed!
Real estate has always had ups and downs just like any other market. Dig up some info on the 90's housing market bubble and crash. Not as bad as this one, but bad nevertheless. It took some folks 10 years to regain the value in their homes. In fact, over the last 60 to 80 years, real estate has averaged only 8% or so in returns. Basic mutual funds have averaged better. I"m not sure Wyatt meant that it was an investment vehicle so much as he was saying that the gun being purchased was a fine choice. I am just collecting the guns I want in my collection. I have other investment vehicles for saving and increasing wealth.
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Old November 3, 2011, 08:25 PM   #19
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I heard the Dutch have the best real estate records, going back to the 1500's.

There have been ups and downs. The war with England, the war with the French, the loss of their Empire, Nazi occupation. I am certain values dropped during the Nazi occupation. However, ignoring market timing of peaks and valley's, the price of Dutch real estate went up with inflation over the centuries.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/03/wo...pagewanted=all
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Old November 4, 2011, 09:21 AM   #20
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My other hobby is...or was, guitar. Ten plus years I watched as the prices for 50's and early 60's era Fenders go thru the roof. Suddenly '54, '57 '63 Strats that were bought a few years prior was going for 10's of thousands, some in the 50K neighborhood. But they're a legendary guitars and they're aren't made that still exist. Good chance of a good return there.
Then prices began to rise on later era Fenders, to the point where 70's era stuff began to go from can't give 'em away to over well over $1-2K really quickly. People were buying them up with many thinking "it's an investment". The problem is there are ten of thousands of them and that era's quallity has an awful, awful rep. I don't see where there'd be the market they envision for these things 20 years down the road. It's just an old mass produced guitar.
My point is unless you're willing to spend a lot of money to buy an investment worthy firearm, the odds of seeing a return better than the typical savings, money market account, or stocks isn't good. There are millions of Mauser, Mosen's, etc. so those will never be rare. For the uncommon ones, you have to figure out (guess) what the market is going to be for them years down the road. Is there going to be enough demand (beyond a small group of shooters and collectors) to be able to sell it let alone turn a profit that represents a real investment return and not just a dollar amount that went up with inflation? Then there's the condition of the firearm when you sell it...shooting them on a regular basis won't help to maximize the return.
I try and get the best deal I can on what I like with a goal being, maybe, I could make a couple of bucks if I sold it. 50 years ago the thought of making a thousand dollar profit on a firearm would sound great. That $1K isn't very impressive today.
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Old November 4, 2011, 11:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
My other hobby is...or was, guitar. Ten plus years I watched as the prices for 50's and early 60's era Fenders go thru the roof. Suddenly '54, '57 '63 Strats that were bought a few years prior was going for 10's of thousands, some in the 50K neighborhood. But they're a legendary guitars and they're aren't made that still exist. Good chance of a good return there.
Then prices began to rise on later era Fenders, to the point where 70's era stuff began to go from can't give 'em away to over well over $1-2K really quickly. People were buying them up with many thinking "it's an investment". The problem is there are ten of thousands of them and that era's quallity has an awful, awful rep. I don't see where there'd be the market they envision for these things 20 years down the road. It's just an old mass produced guitar.
Hey bumnote,
Sory to go off topic here but my other hobby is also guitar and I have a couple that I think might be investment worthy.

One is a minty, all original 1986 PRS Custom 24. It's a first year production PRS with a serial# 5XX. This was hand built in the old Annapolis factory prior to all the CNC stuff. My dad bought it new in 1986 for $1600. He passed away in 2007 and left the guitar to me. I'll never sell it as it's too sentimental, but I'm still curious what it may be worth.

The other is a 1993 Ernie Ball "EVH". Also minty, also all original.
This was EVH's very first production guitar an only 6,000 were ever produced from 1992-1995. I bought it second-hand and paid $1700 for it about ten years ago. Just curious what it might be worth and if would consider something like this an "investment" guitar.
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Old November 4, 2011, 02:47 PM   #22
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One of Rule of Investments is Liquidity. Right now it's a Buyer's Market in real estate, housing, etc.
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Old November 4, 2011, 03:33 PM   #23
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Dino, don't know much about Ernie Balls or PRS's so I can't guess worth...but i know enough to know that PRS is going to be worth a pretty penny one day. Low serial number, 1st year production, hand made...those are the things collectors will seek out and pay for. You could probably get $5-6K for it today, but don't quote me on that. . Years down the road it'll be worth a lot more. If you don't play it, tune it down a half to whole step to keep just enough tension on the neck, but not enough to risk damage.
Sorry for the highjack...
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Old November 5, 2011, 11:29 AM   #24
Dino.
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Quote:
Dino, don't know much about Ernie Balls or PRS's so I can't guess worth...but i know enough to know that PRS is going to be worth a pretty penny one day. Low serial number, 1st year production, hand made...those are the things collectors will seek out and pay for. You could probably get $5-6K for it today, but don't quote me on that. . Years down the road it'll be worth a lot more. If you don't play it, tune it down a half to whole step to keep just enough tension on the neck, but not enough to risk damage.
Sorry for the highjack...
Thanks bumnote, and I agree.
I believe the economy has had an effect on ALL aspects of "investments".
After all, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay, and in these tough times, that's not much.
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Old November 5, 2011, 11:40 AM   #25
Onward Allusion
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Location: IN
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Sure, some guns appreciate considerably in value through the years. However, firearms are not investments. I don't care if some gun you picked up 20 years ago for $300 is now worth $800. Do the math, it's around 5% ROI. All those folks that stocked up on AK/ARs in '08/'09 lost their shirts - if investing was their primary objective.

Firearms are meant to be enjoyed not to be acquired for investment purposes. If you want solid investments, stick to the old tried and true - stocks, precious metals, real estate <<<--- yes, RE - even in this crappy market. If you gots the cash - buy condos for 20% of what they were worth 5 years ago and rent 'em out.
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