There are, of course, all sorts of possibilities. Ranging from one extreme to the other you can sell them yourself or, at the other end of the spectrum, have someone sell them for you. The major factors you have to consider are: 1) how much work do I want to do; 2) how much risk am I willing to take as in having strangers come to my house; 3) how much time do I have to do this; 4) how much money do I want or need to make as in do I want to keep every last penny or am I willing to pay someone to help, 5) are you knowlegable, patient and gambler enough to do the on-line auction. Your answers to these questions will help determine the route you take. I've looked over all the options for years. I've worked to help people sell their collections on consignment at the shops were I worked. I've gone the gun show route, spending weekend after weekend at gunshows trying to help widows get top dollor for their husbands stuff. I've sold my own stuff when my wife died. The best, easiest and most profitable experience was taking my own stuff to Rock Island Auctions and just turing everything over to them. I didn't even have a list of what I was giving them when I arrived at their door. The next moring, they gave me a list. Several months later, they gave me an extremely nice check--it really was three checks over a period of a year. I still get emotional about some of the things in the life-time of stuff that I sold and it's difficult to accept that I sank the money into the stock market and most of it's now gone, but it was the best experience in disposing of a large collection. I don't work for Rock Island but I trusted them and they fulfilled my trust. Best of luck --
I agree with sck. I have not used RIA but based on conversations with them I plan to do so when the time comes, and I have advised my wife to use them if my time left is a bit short of my planning. For a moderately large collection, they will actually come to the home and take care of things, even including gun books and accessories.
They take a decent cut, but I think it will be well worth it.
Trying to sell that kind of thing locally just won't work, as no local shop has walk-in trade with interest in those items. The same is true of local auction houses. On-line auctions are a PITA and you get involved in collecting money, shipping and, if any modern guns are involved, compliance with the applicable laws. Just too much trouble.
Fully in agreement, here. I attend a "few" gun auctions in Eastern PA every year - the best prices are realized at those run by the larger, more practiced houses. Depending upon the size and value of your collection, you may be able to negotiate their commision structure.
Jim Hauff ~ H&R Collector In Memory of Bill Goforth and Jim Ritchie
If you are computer savvy & have the time & energy selling them through ********* is an option. Otherwise, it sounds like Rock Island would be a great choice (especially with a possibly very large collection).
As a comparison, when my father died he had about 1200 military medals, 25 guns/rifles, ~5000 military books, and many pieces of military equipment.
The medals were sold by a friend on eBay, I sold the military equipment on eBay, and a nephew is finishing up selling the military books on eBay. It was a lot of stuff, and a lot of work. Only go down this path if the number of guns isn't that many and you are into it...
I ended up selling the guns over time at a gun show, face-to-face with friends of my dad & others, and one to a gun store. I kept a few.
My local gun shop buys collections. If you have a local gun shop, you might want to talk with them to see if they are interested in buying the collection. I would venture to say that if they have been in business for a while, they are honest and will not cheat you. Just in case, buy yourself a collectors guide of some kind to have on hand (such as the Blue Book of Gun Values) so you can double check the offer.
NRA Endowment Member
Retired US Army
Retired Postal Worker
My experience with Rock Island gives them my vote. I got a Colt 1905 automatic from them. It was missing the take-down plug - not mentioned in the description. My email reporting said I had made that part once before and it was a $150 job. Rock Island sent me a check for $150.