Curt Kramer — Kramer Auction Service, LLC., Prairie Du Chien, Wisc.
At a recent auction, Kramer Auction Service featured a large number of commemorative rifles and handguns. Auctioneer Curt Kramer notes that buyers are either “into” commemorative firearms or they are not.
“We typically don’t see a lot of crossover on these types of firearms from other kinds of collectors,” Kramer adds. “What makes some commemoratives more desirable than others, however, is the same as other firearms: rarity and condition.”
To bring top dollar, commemoratives typically need to be in “New in Box” condition, he explains, with all original paperwork and accessories. Larger issue runs of specific commemorative rifles and handguns tend to sell for less than short runs.
“However, you have some commemoratives like the Winchester John Wayne and Crazy Horse issues, which always seem to be strong sellers despite the issue size,” Kramer notes.
At the recent auction, Kramer sold a Winchester John Wayne Commemorative Rifle for $1,485 and a Winchester Crazy Horse Rifle for $990—both above their original sale prices.
All in all, Winchester commemorative rifles hold their value very well. At auction, Kramer also moved: a Winchester 94 Wild Bill Hickok Rifle for $1,015; a Winchester Model 94 Wrangler II Carbine at $960; and a Winchester 1995 Florida Sesqui-centennial for $865.
Commemorative sets do well for Kramer, too, like the Colt Bicentennial Three Gun Revolver Set, with original cabinet, that netted an impressive $4,370, and a matching set of Colt Nevada 1873 Peacemaker and Frontier Scout Revolvers for $1,820.
“Other sets which may have smaller production numbers but a very high issue price seem to be recently doing better,” he notes. “Many of these high dollar sets slipped in price for a few years after they were issued, and remained somewhat soft, but are coming back strong.”
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.