Issue 06 December 2019

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Sixty years of gun investments

What returns will guns bought sixty years ago give today?

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Auctions & Markets|December 2019

Considering guns as investments has always been a debatable venture. The data provided by a recently discovered catalogue from Scottish gunmaker Alex Martin of 20 Exchange Square, Glasgow, dated July 1954, provides some useful prices for long-term value calculation.

Martin lists a range of used guns for sale in his shop By comparing these with the retail prices of similar guns now and cross referencing the prices with the cost of other goods and wages, we should be able to see how well guns have fared as investments over the last sixty five years or so.

Some examples of guns for sale in 1954. I have given the list price and, in brackets, the equivalent of that value in today’s money)

12-bore Pairs

A cased pair of single-trigger Lang side-locks: £300 (£7,596)

A cased pair of Rigby best side-locks with Damascus barrels: £250 (£6,330)

A pair of McNaughton round actions with Damascus barrels:£170 (£4,304)

12-bore Single Guns

A Boss single trigger side-lock ejector: £200 (£5,064)

A Dickson round-action:£160 (£4,051)

A cased Holland & Holland ‘Royal’: £145 (£3,6710

A cased Dickson boxlock ejector with 3” chambers and 32” barrels: £150 (£3,798)

A Grant best sidelock: £130 (£3,291)

A cased Army & Navy sidelock: £155 (£3,924)

An Osborne boxlock ejector: £120 (£3,038)

A cased Lancaster best sidelock: £95 (£2,405)

A cased Holland & Holland Paradox (HG) with extra 12-bore barrels: £55 (£1,392)

Single Small Bore Guns

A Henry best sidelock 16-bore: £135 (£3,418)

A cased William Powell boxlock ejector 16-bore: £65 (£1,645)

A cased Kirk boxlock ejector 20-bore: £70 (£1,645)

The assumption we must make is that these guns are all in retail condition, with good wall thicknesses and comparable to what a reputable gun dealer would stock today. I would expect them to make the prices listed below:A MacNaughton Round Action with damascus barrels would have increased in value nicely.


12-bore Pairs

A cased pair of single-trigger Lang side-locks: £12,000

A cased pair of Rigby best side-locks with Damascus barrels: £15,000

A pair of McNaughton round actions with Damascus barrels: £12,000

12-bore Single Guns

A Boss single trigger side-lock ejector: £13,000

A Dickson round-action: £8,000

A cased Holland & Holland ‘Royal’: £9,500

A cased Dickson boxlock ejector with 3” chambers and 32” barrels: £4.500

A Grant best sidelock: £8,500

A cased Army & Navy sidelock: £4,000

An Osborne boxlock ejector: £1,500

A cased Lancaster best sidelock: £5,000

A cased Holland & Holland Paradox (hammer) with extra 12-bore barrels: £8,000

Single Small Bore Guns

A Henry best sidelock 16-bore: £6,000

A cased William Powell boxlock ejector 16-bore: £4,000

A cased Kirk boxlock ejector 20-bore: £2,200

Average annual wage in 1954: £487
Average cost of a car : £700
Average cost of a house: £1,946
Average wage in 2019: £28,184

Readers can do their own comparisons but if you bought a used Dickson Round action in 1954 for £160, today you could expect £8,000 - £10,000 for it. That is nicely in excess of the price index comparison value of £4,051. So, it would seem that over sixty years or so, guns well bought have been good investments, especially considering that you can use and enjoy them without radically devaluing them, as long as you take basic care of them and keep them in good order.

 

 

Published by Vintage Guns Ltd on

Auctions & Markets|December 2019

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