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Old May 18, 2013, 04:08 PM   #1
LewSchiller
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Is what I've just seen typical?

Went to the Antique and Collector Gun Show in Denver today.
I'm not particularly a C & R guy but I like guns and it was a Gun Show so why not :-)
Lots of beautiful guns - lots of tables full of guns ranging in condition from pristine to nasty. More revolvers than I've seen in one place at one time...ever.

What I didn't see were transactions taking place...people walking around with guns they'd purchased...what I did see were geezers. Lots of geezers. (I get to say geezer because I am one). If 5% of the people in that huge show were under 50 I'd be amazed.

Now I get that most of the buying and selling at shows like this takes place on day one and the end of the last day and it takes place among the exhibitors. Standard drill - that's the way it is in most collector shows. But who will be the market for these guns in 10 years?

I'm sure the price tags reflect current book values but at those prices I don't see how a person with an interest in such firearms could ever justify the cost. If this is like other avocations I've been around, most of the guys started collecting and buying 30 years ago. Good deals to be had. Now they're looking to cash in their firearm based IRA's but who's buying?

Please don't flame me for asking - I really would like to know what the market is for these guns?
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Old May 18, 2013, 04:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Please don't flame me for asking - I really would like to know what the market is for these guns?
I believe that many or most sellers at gun shows are not really there to sell, but to buy from people walking in. I also believe that firearms are not investments but tools. Sure, some tools become collectable, but no one is going to get rich by sinking their money into collectable firearms.

The history and future of gun ownership in America is an interesting study, warped by all sorts of politics. It does seem to me that the market for antique and C&R firearms is shrinking, as is the market for hunting rifles.

And yes, guns shows in my experience are filled with irritable white men over 40. Which I can say, because I am one.
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Old May 18, 2013, 05:18 PM   #3
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The younger folks are buying Glocks and ARs.
If they're collecting, it's probably more Glocks and ARs.
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Old May 18, 2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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Right - but I think my observation is that younger people will never collect.
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Old May 18, 2013, 05:57 PM   #5
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All lies! im 22 and im a huge fan of C and R guns. my favorite guns are my M1 Garand and my K98. Even though i have a AK, AR, and would like a bunch more "MSR's" they just arent my favorite. My girlfriends favorite rifles are a No4 Mk1 Enfield and a Type 99 Arisaka.
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Old May 18, 2013, 07:33 PM   #6
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Im 19 and my firearm passion is milsurp rifles. I've got an Arisaka Type 38, Mosin Nagant, Yugo M48, and looking to buy a K31
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Old May 18, 2013, 07:50 PM   #7
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Lies?
You're an exception to an observation and that makes me a liar?
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Old May 18, 2013, 07:51 PM   #8
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Right - but I think my observation is that younger people will never collect.
Collecting anything is generally an older person's hobby, especially expensive items. I think the market is shrinking, but certainly not going away. The market for all firearms appears to be shrinking, but that doesn't mean it is still large.
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Old May 18, 2013, 08:21 PM   #9
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At 37 not exactly a spring chicken but an m1 carbine I had since I was 14. A mosin I just picked up ( beautiful hex receiver ) been eying yugo sks and any old .38 wheel gun I can find. Count me in as loving the old guns and war horses.
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Old May 18, 2013, 08:30 PM   #10
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Another point to add. If I had been to that show my wants would exceed my ability to afford. Married with young family and other important obligations equates to very limited hobby funds.
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Old May 18, 2013, 09:16 PM   #11
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Indeed...the guys behind the tables likely acquired their inventory through good trades and purchases - but they also likely started out when the market was low. How much were Colt service revolvers when they went to the surplus market? $50 each? I dunno.
Now they're $600. Don't know how many - if any - sold but that was the tag price.

I have an eye out for a nice useable .32 as I have a lot of .32 ammo. Didn't see anything under $390 and that included CZ 70's. Again - I don't fault anybody for how they price their guns - I'm all for people making money. But as a buyer I could only walk away.

I'm with you Pezo - .38 Special is my soft spot and that's what I was looking for as well - but there wasn't anything in my price range.
I did drool a lot though :-)
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Old May 18, 2013, 09:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Collecting anything is generally an older person's hobby, especially expensive items. I think the market is shrinking, but certainly not going away. The market for all firearms appears to be shrinking, but that doesn't mean it is still large.
And there are better ways to buy than an Antique and Collectors 4 Day show that brought guys in from all over the country. This is like going to Barrett-Jackson and expecting to score a good deal on a car.
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Old May 18, 2013, 10:47 PM   #13
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zbones: Your taste in guns is excellent.
I had trouble getting the first four rounds from a friend's K-31 down to the bullseye's level at 100 yards.

Mausermolt: Your girlfriend is a cultivated, sophisticated lady with an eye for quality combat rifles.

Hoping that if my 24 year-old son is ever bitten by a gun bug, it will pull him into milsurp rifles.
I can only hope that his activities one day expose him to people like y'all, before our White House begins to actually comply with the UN Small Arms Treaty, which "he" signed. It could result in a steep tax on imported ammo one day, or an outright ban.

The UN has already paid numerous countries to destroy not only heaps of AKs etc, but also Enfields, Mausers and the ammo for them.
South Africa is only one place where gun shops were ordered to destroy Enfields.

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Old May 19, 2013, 12:18 AM   #14
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i wasnt calling anyone a liar in any seriousness...just saying i know lots of young people that enjoy a good milsurp

Thanks Ignition Override i take full credit for turning her on to great weapons :P

i think most everyone right now is turned off to gun shows because of the ridiculous prices being thrown around.
the older crowd is probably still going because its more of a social event anymore
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Old May 19, 2013, 12:59 AM   #15
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I really would like to know what the market is for these guns?
I think the market for C&R's is fairly small, aside from the milsurp market. Lot's of gun people don't even know what a C&R is. Even within the C&R community, many folks don't realize that C&R is pretty much most non-NFA firearms that's 50+ years old. It's going to be a huge market in another 10 years. If I'm still alive and the C&R License is still available, I plan on going nuts wearing out my license in my senior years.

Collecting anything is generally not done as an investment. There are way better investments out there than guns or cars or coins. To me it is an expensive hobby. My "collection" if one can even call it that, consists mostly of H&R & Iver Top Breaks and Fixed Frames. Granted they are all in unfired to excellent condition; not like most of the corroded stuff you see on GB. I also have a few collectible Colts & Smiths sprinkled in, but the majority of my firearms are modern shooters.

Don't collect C&R's expecting market returns. Collect C&R's for the love of the hobby.
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Old May 19, 2013, 07:28 AM   #16
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It would seem that just about any hobby that requires some amount of physical effort, patients and has any type of learning curve associated with it is on a down hill slide.
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Old May 19, 2013, 08:33 AM   #17
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It would seem that just about any hobby that requires some amount of physical effort, patience and has any type of learning curve associated with it is on a down hill slide.
Interesting - and true.
When we were kids it took a long time to ferret out the item of you pursued. The hunt was most of the fun. Now you just hit the net and turn it up in 5 minutes.

So I did an experiment just now.

Back in the 70's I collected antique radios and a few TV's. The Philco Predicta was - and for many still is - the holy grail. That's the one where the tube sits on top of the cabinet and can be swiveled around. It took me about a year to find and buy one. I went over to eBay just now and found 4 for sale. A quick Google search turned up another dozen or more - and that was without really trying.

Kinda takes the fun right out doesn't it?

Another thing occurred to me...This came up over at AudioKarma.Com... Before you can have a nice home sound system you have to have a home.
When I was 22 I was married and had a house. None of my friends kids in that age bracket reflect that or are even close.

So now you take guys who come late to adult life - and who have no heritage or historical interest in firearms other than perhaps having one defensive weapon - and the result is no market.

The SASS people did it right. Create an entire universe that promotes the acquisition and use of SA Revolvers and period correct rifles.
Brilliant.
But what of all the other sweet guns that are out there? What do you do with your collection besides take one or two out to the range now and then?
For rifles I see an even more bleak future. I was really surprised that Project Appleseed didn't have a presence at the show. They needed to be there - and the vendors needed them there even more!
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Old May 19, 2013, 07:55 PM   #18
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I have not been to a gun show in years. That is what they have become, "Shows". A very large percentage of the dealers are not even with reality on prices anymore. The internet is giving them a richly deserved beating. Auctions are also making shows obsolete. The last show I was at there was a stripped 99 Savage receiver laying on the table. It was in good shape, but was brown. The guy wanted $200 for it. Firm. 7-8 years ago. How ridicules can you get? That is one of the main reasons shows are starting to disappear.
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:19 PM   #19
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It's a mistake to assume that the attendees at a gun show are a valid representation of firearms owners in general. They're not.
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:22 PM   #20
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Back in the 70's I collected antique radios and a few TV's. The Philco Predicta was - and for many still is - the holy grail. That's the one where the tube sits on top of the cabinet and can be swiveled around. It took me about a year to find and buy one. I went over to eBay just now and found 4 for sale. A quick Google search turned up another dozen or more - and that was without really trying.

Kinda takes the fun right out doesn't it?
I know exactly what you mean. Among other things, I collect Royal Doulton character and toby jugs and have been for a few decades now. Items that went for several thousand dollars before the advent of eBay can now be found all day, all night, for less than a hundred. The value of my collection of these jugs has plummeted like a ballistic missile (as has the value of just about everything else I collect, for that matter).
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:28 PM   #21
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Ask the guys who spend huge money on Honus Wagner baseball cards before the advent of eBay. As it turms out there were a heck of a lot more out there than anybody thought and the value dropped like a rock.

But besides the value - it took away the challenge. Why go out and acquire something when you know you can get it whenever you want.
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:59 PM   #22
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It's a mistake to assume that the attendees at a gun show are a valid representation of firearms owners in general. They're not.
I don't think I'd put it quite that way. The people that attend gun shows, on both sides of the tables are valid representations of who they are. What they aren't is a true representative sample of all the gun owners in the land.

And that is because some segments of the gun owning populace generally don't attend gun shows. One thing nearly every attendee at a show has is some degree of interest or enthusiasm about firearms. I'd say that the majority of attendees have a high degree of interest or enthusiam.

There is a good chunk of the gun owning public that does not have a high degree of interest in firearms. They have one, or maybe two, or possible even more, but they are generally regarded as either emergency use items (personal/home defense) or sporting equipment. The households that have an old (or sometimes new) rifle, shotgun or handgun for "just in case" are many. The yearly deer hunter, with a single rifle or perhaps a shotgun as well, they may go to the sportsmans shows, and even the gun shows, but many don't bother.

The well heeled skeet shooter (or whatever) seldom visits the shows, just not much there to interest them...

Almost everyone outside of urban mass transit served areas knows how to drive, and most of us have cars. Some of us even like cars. But it is the enthusiasts that create and go to car shows.

Lots of us will look around a show, its enthusiasts that make deals.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:15 PM   #23
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Well put.
I guess the question then is - will there be enthusiasts in the future to sustain the prices that the sellers are seeking?
Enthusiasts have to be made - fostered - encouraged - developed.

In the terminology of another old mans hobby - Ham Radio - they need an Elmer.
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Old May 20, 2013, 07:01 PM   #24
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I think there will be more people interested in the older types of guns as they age, and tacti ninja in them wears down.

I am one of the 30 someting crowd that likes the older guns. I prefer revolvers over semi autoguns for range fun. I carry a Glock. 5 of the last 6 guns that I bought last year were vintage guns. 3 of them were milsurp. One was a repro of a milsurp that is a great shooter. The only factory new gun I bought was a lever action .45-70 Govt. (I bought it new due the fact that there are very few that ever come up on the used market local to me, and when they do they go fast.) The other two were vintige S&W revovlers that were too good of deals to walk away from.

My wife also likes the vintage stuff better. I think most have better ergos then most of the tacti garbage that takes up space in every gun store that sells guns. I wont fault the stores for it. They stock what sells, and people buy what they want.

Also many of us work, and have other monetary obligations that we have to take care of before even thinking about making another gun purchase. Much less buying one of the like new vintage revolvers.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:08 PM   #25
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I'm over the younger generation being 23 and within my own circle of friends who are gun owners the only other one who is into older firearms is 43, all my other friends are in their 20s-30s and they don't show much interest. On the other hand my first gun was a mosin, now I have lee enfields, garands, tokarevs, mausers so i guess it just depends on the person's individual taste. But on average at least now the younger guys are in to newer gun such as Ar-15's and AK's
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