Take a Shot at History

On Starting A Collection

by Harry Viezens

I have been asked many times, what beginning collectors should look for in creating a firearms collection. That is really a complicated question to answer. There are several things to think about and consider when starting a collection. First off, what do you want your collection to do for you? Do you want a investment collection, a theme collection, or a brand or makers collection, or a combination of those mentioned, or something else entirely. The next thing is to consider how you will fund this collection. These are important things to consider in planning your collection.

There is one thing I cannot stress enough about collecting, does not matter what kind of collecting is involved, that is knowledge of the subject to be collected. With out knowing your subject well,you will make poor choices and bad investments. The best thing you can do after deciding what your interests will be in collecting, is to invest in reference books and research materials. After that go to auctions and shows that feature these subjects that interest you. You will get a pretty good idea of values and grading of these items. Going to these shows and auctions can also be a good source to figure out what is the most desireable and more valuable of the items you wish to collect. And finally talk to dealers and collectors, that is also a good source of advice and knowledge. The trick is to be willing to listen!

When collecting the items themselves, always try to buy the best condition you can afford. Do not try to accumulate stuff just to have it in your collection. Do not forget, a nice collection can comprise of only a few items when the items are unique, rare or desireable to a collector. I do tell prospective collectors when dealing in firearms however, that to purchase a junker firearm in the guns they are interested in. That gun is to be used to learn how to dismantle and reassemble that firearm. It also a great learning aid to understand how that gun works. In this way the person will be able to inspect and check out the prospective purchase for themselves and understand what they are doing. No dealer likes to have their guns handled by a bumbler who could possibly damage their guns. In many cases the dealer can ask the customer to leave if a situation like that happens. The dealer or someone else familiar with that gun can examine and show the product for the buyer if the buyer is not familiar with that gun. The buyer however should try to have a excellent working knowledge of the firearm being inspected. In this way, the buyer can look for replacement parts, poor repairs and other defects which can affect the guns value. One very important thing to remember when examining a firearm, be sure to ask permission first! Many of these guns can be valuable, rare, and downright expensive!, so being polite and respectful to a dealer and his products can go a long ways. It also does not hurt to tell a dealer that you may not be familiar with that particular firearm and would he explain the particulars of that gun. Most dealers would be delighted to explain and teach a prospective customer about their firearm in question.

What I am stressing here is a firm background of the subject to be collected. The more you know on your choosen subject the better informed as a collector you will be. Knowledge is truly power! I have spotted rare and unusual firearms and accessories that others had passed up because I did my research and was able to profit from it.

On funding your collection, the worst thing you can do is get in debt for a collection! Do not use credit cards for purchases unless you can pay the bill in full each month. The best way to fund a collection is to put aside each month a portion of your earnings for a collecting fund. Think of it like a investment or savings portfolio. When you have a nice nest egg built up then watch for items for your collection that you may want to buy. Do not make this common mistake of buying something just to buy it. Take your time and buy smart! I hope that you the reader, get something helpful out of this article. If you wish to discuss this article or any of my other articles feel free to contact me.

Happy Collecting!