gun valuation books/publications

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by wpshooter, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    I have a friend who just seems bound and determined that he will not consider paying any more for a gun than the value that is shown for it in some gun valuation book that he uses (no, I don't know what/which publication it might be).

    My opinion is that those type of books are for the most part an averaging system of what a particular model of a gun may be worth and do not NECESSARILY always reflect what one should consider paying for a particular gun.

    For instance we have been discussing him purchasing a High Standard target pistol, either a Trophy or a Citation.

    When I point him to some very excellent condition Citations and the seller is asking say $800 range for them and when he looks it up in his little book and it say the value is only $400 to $500, he says that there is no way he is going to consider paying $800 for it !!!!!

    I try to tell him that he can not strictly go by those publications and that he has to consider many other factors in determining what price to pay for a particular gun but he will not listen.

    Is he being too closed minded or am I too open minded ?

    Should I let him just find a $400 Citation and let him find out that "he probably gets what he pays for" ?

  2. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

    May 27, 2010
    DeBary, Florida
    My opinion on books is that they are a good point of reference to work from but NOT the definitive authority. Even those that write these books generally put some kind of disclaimer regarding this. I use books to get a very broad idea of value but you're right... There are so many other factors to consider. Usually though, I try not to pay higher than any book value unless the gun is exceedingly rare and unaltered. Example: A Winchester Pre '64 Model 70 has a range in value. But if that gun happens to be, say, a first year production... And maybe in a rare caliber with some other custom work that can be authenticated as being "Factory Upgrades" then book value is meaningless. It's worth far more than book value. This also works the other way. If that same rare Winchester was re-blued some time in it's past, then it's relatively valueless. Might be pretty, but only good as a "shooter".

  3. SGVictor

    SGVictor Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    One Shot one kill is correct that most of these books do make disclaimers and list reasons why there will be variations from the published values.

    I have been a contributing editor for both the Blue Book of Gun Values and The Standard Catalog of Firearms. Presently I only participate with the Blue Book and I do this in conjunction with several other members of the High Standard Collectors' Association. These members are scattered across the United States and as you might expect there is sometimes some variation. I simply use a arithmetic average of the values.

    The guides have some adders for some features and accessories but in the case of being able to cover all variations and the corresponding variations in values is just not possible.

    I view these guides as only a guide and it is especially important for a novice since they may help prevent him or her from making a significant financial error. Advanced collectors already have a good idea as to the variations and the corresponding values.
  4. As the co-author and editor of "The Red Book of Winchester Values", I can positively tell you that it is impossible for any book to accurately predict the value of every single gun that you might encounter. The best we can do is provide a value number that is within +/- 10% of what the gun might sell for on any given day. Your friend is being way too close-minded in my opinion.

    Bert H.
  5. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2006
    Valuation guides are usually based on observed sales prices from the past year or two or have just had their values adjusted by some mystic amount known only to the author. This makes them outdated on the day they are published. There is also the regional variation in prices. Probably the biggest variation is trying to get both buyer and seller to agree on condition. There are any number of "condition" systems out there and I sometimes think that no two people can agree on them. (A lot seems to depend on whether they are seller or buyer.;))

    Bottom line is just has been said by others.... They are just a guide, not a retail price list.

    As an aside... Anybody else notice at gun shows when a dealer is looking to buy your gun, the guide he breaks is usually several editions old, but, if he is selling, it's usually the latest available......:D:D
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    The problem of guides that are outdated is impossible to fix, given the publication lead time. But some, like the Blue Book, come out about yearly, while others, like Flayderman's, will come out less frequently. I think that most people understand that, and also understand that the values given are guidelines, not gospel.

    But a big problem is the internet. It seems common for sellers on the internet to wildly inflate the value of guns. Further, there is absolutely no way a buyer can tell how much of a description is factual and how much is (to put it bluntly) a lie. They get away with it because so many bidders are so ill-informed or naive that they pay those inflated prices, thereby ratcheting up the price of common guns. (No, not every Walther PP belonged to Hitler, and that M1 Carbine was not carried by Robert E. Lee!)

    In addition, some folks deliberately inflate values so as to make their own collection more valuable; when they sell, they cite their own valuation to set the asking price.

  7. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    As a contributor to "THE BLUE BOOK..." by Fjestad for H&R firearms - I spend a lot of time watching on-line auctions, going to gun shows, going to local gun auctions and actually buying a selling H&R firearms. The valuations I provide every Fall for the new edition to be published in Spring, reflects what I have actually observed or have been told by reliable collectors. Valuations in the "BLUE BOOK" are as up-to-date as can be possible but are NOT absolutes - market area, money in that area, number of collectors, and a lot of other factors will dictate what you see on gunshow tags. Those factors, along with the FACT that most vendors at gun shows are willing to "haggle" will generally regulate the price you pay for the item you want. Of all the dozens of guns I've purchased (maybe a couple hundred) at gun shows, I can only recall two times that I paid the "tag price" - which was on a gun I absolutely had to have for my collection and which I considered within the realm of reasonableness.
    My opinion on someone who will not buy because of listings in a book and is not willing to negotiate and haggle- that person is missing out on some fine firearms.
  8. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    When it comes to these types of people, Yes, let him find out for himself and don't waste time or breath on trying to convince him otherwise, it willl just be wasted.

    I have a couple of Blue Books and they are a great reference source more than anything else. I consider their pricing to be ballpark guides. Bottom line is that a seller can ask any price that they'd like to, but the buyers ultimately set the price.
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Another point is experience. I don't carry books to a gun show, but over the years I have learned to trust my "gut feeling" on most prices. But over those same years, I have missed out on some good deals because I chose to "think about it" when my "gut" told me to buy, quick.

  10. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Well-Known Member

    guys in this case i think i may agree with his friend. if his book is fairly recent and show that EXACT model at 4-500, then no i wouldnt want to pay $800 either. unless theres something "special" as oneshot mentioned..Theres just too much info missing to really say for sure... but at "face" value i would maybe go just a little highter than the 500..if its in almost new condition and has been cared for properly...

    just my 2 cents worth..
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