Dave Bushing — Morphy Auctions, Denver, Penn.
Morphy Auction holds four large firearms auctions a year, with 80 percent of the offerings in the form of firearms, the remainder in ammunition, accessories and knives. Nearly all Morphy firearms are collectible pieces rather than current production items.
Morphy’s firearms expert, Dan Bushing, says that no matter the time period, collectible firearms in average condition just are not moving that well—and prices are low when they do sell.
“There’s no shortage of these brown and grey firearms on the market,” Bushing notes. “At our last auction, we had all sorts of Winchester 94s in that condition, good, shootable lever actions, and over 100 years old. They averaged between $800 and $1,200 per rifle. Then we had one Winchester 94 with 98 percent or better of its original finish and in fine condition—$3,500!”
If you have a collectible firearm in the original box, you may have hit the lottery, he adds. At their January 2015 auction, Morphy offered 10 Winchester Model 63 semi-automatic rifles for sale, all in extremely good condition. They sold, on average, for $800 apiece.
“Then we had one Model 63, same condition as the others, but in the original box,” Bushing says, “that sold for $3,600. So that original cardboard box, in effect, brought in three times what the rifle did!”
On the slower end of collectibles, he finds, are Civil War-era firearms. Bushing says many of the older Civil War collectors have retired or passed away, and the younger collectors just don’t seem to have the interest in firearms from this period like the “old guard.”
Editor’s Note: This brief originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.