An Associated Press story circulated about in early March about booming gun sales in Texas. Some people fear that if Obama gets reelected, guns might become scarce. And for the past few years, gun sales have increased across the board but what about the market for vintage firearms?
As it turns out, sales of collectible guns are booming right along with the sales of AR-15s and polymer pistols.
This month James D. Julia’s Spring Firearms and Knife Auction brought in nearly $18 million in sales making it the highest-grossing firearms auction ever held in history. Tom O’Hara, a writer for Antique Trader (a sister publication to Gun Digest in the F+W Media group) was there to witness the bidding during the two-day auction.
Here are some highlights of the event:
–A Colt 1919 B.A.R. Commercial 30-06 automatic rifle went for $43,700.
–A historic Sauer double rifle presented to Hermann Goering by the City of Suhl, Germany, in 1934 sold for $115,000.
–A rare Colt engraved service model Ace pistol sold for $103,500. It was estimated to go for $40,000-$50,000.
–A 20 ga. Parker Grade 3 hammer/lifter shotgun, sold for $32,200.
–An L.C. Smith 20-gauge Monogram Grade went for $51,750.
–A Purdey best over-and-under 20-gauge single trigger game gun sold for just under $60,000.
–The highest selling lot of the sporting arms was an Alfred Lancaster .450 double rifle made for the Maharaja of Bulrampore. The gun made in 1871 was fitted with a complete butt stock and fore stock made from rhinoceros horn. It sold for $138,000.
–One lot was an original crate of unissued Winchester Model 94 Saddle Ring Carbines that were discovered in a warehouse. It sold for $218,500 after an intense bidding war.
So it seems that the world of vintage firearms is humming along quite well when compared to the rest of the firearms marketplace. People love brand-new guns that come fresh out of the box with new packing oil, but a lot of people love old guns that come with a history and the wabi-sabi aesthetic of gunmetal polished by time and use.
Read the rest of O’Hara’s report at Antique Trader.