Liquidating a large amount of guns from an estate or large collection on GunsAmerica can be a lot of work. How do you sell a large gun collection effectively and for the most money, or how do you liquidate an estate with a large gun collection? Often the task is left to relatives and heirs, and they know little about guns. Before you start taking pictures and posting ads for sale, this is a brief overview of what you should consider. Selling a gun collection or liquidating a large gun estate, when it comes to the actual cash you end up with in hand can vary greatly with the method you choose.
Selling guns on GunsAmerica
1. You will always make 30-40% more on your guns using GunsAmerica than you will taking them to a local gun dealer to buy, if the local gun dealer can even capitalize the purchase of them. Used guns are where dealers make their money, and they generally lowball potential sellers who bring them used guns. If they can’t buy them outright they will offer you a high rate to put them on consignment, then they will list them on GunsAmerica.
2. By federal law, you are legally allowed to sell off a collection yourself. You must ship every gun made after 1898 to an FFL dealer in the state of the buyer. That dealer will send you his license, signed in ink or faxed/emailed and you must send the gun to the address on the license. Send a copy of your driver’s license with the gun, and retain the FFL license you receive for your records. Valid FFL licenses can be checked for proper address at the ATF FFL EZ-Check website.
3. Even though it may seem counterproductive to our cause here of selling guns online, we have to be honest with those seeking genuine advice as to how to handle what can be an overwhelming task. GunsAmerica may not be your best option.
4. We strongly suggest that you consider using Rock Island Auction instead of GunsAmerica. Listing more than ten or twenty guns takes a long time, and with classified ads and auctions, you have to sit on the ads until the right buyer comes along for every individual gun. We have put some promotional text from Rock Island at the bottom of the page, or you can go right to their consignment information page at http://rockislandauction.com/consignment_process to read more or watch a video.
5. Often the percentage that the auction house takes from the sale will be less than what you would lose by firesaling the guns to move them quickly. We suggest this because after 14 years of experience, we have seen people try to list collections, get bogged down, not ship in a timely manner, sell guns for less than they should, and end up bringing the guns to a local dealer where they got nothing short of robbed.
7. If you do decide to list them yourself, make sure you understand what they are worth. The Blue Book of Gun Values is the standard of the industry and they use GunsAmerica and other online sites to do their research. There is also a very good book that has pictures, called the Standard Catalog of Firearms. If you use that link at Amazon it will offer you them together for a discounted price of $53.40.
8. Guns are very commoditized. And don’t be surprised if many of the old Stevens, Brownings, Winchesters and Rugers are worth nothing more than utility value. Guns almost never get thrown in the garbage, unlike microwaves, TVs, and most automobiles. And old ones aren’t that much different than the new ones. There are way too many guns out there for all of them to be collectible, and most of them just aren’t. The price books will tell you if you have something that could fetch a collector price or if it is just something that always sells for $250, even though it is over 50 years old.
9. If you do find that you have what you think is a genuine collector gun, you should have it appraised by Rock Island, then decide if it is worth listing yourself or if they should include it in one of their big auctions of collectibles run several times per year.
10. When you list guns here, make sure you take a lot of pictures and disclose every single flaw you can find on the gun. It isn’t worth the extra $30-$50 you may eke out of a utility gun because you didn’t mention that the bore is dark, or that there are light scratches in the stock that don’t show on the pictures. If you are already making time you don’t really have to do this work, a return, refund, paying the return shipping, and the bad blood may turn your project into a negative experience, and nobody wants that.
11. Don’t use auctions on GunsAmerica without a fair price reserve. We have no control over who comes along that may or may not want that particular gun. For estate guns, you may feel that “whatever I get is found money,” but it will kill you to see that you have agreed to sell the gun for half the blue book value. Auctions almost never are bid up higher than the book. It is a myth of the auction culture. If you want to move a gun quickly, price it two or three levels down in condition in the book from the condition it really is, and use classified ads, not auctions.
12. As a new seller on GunsAmerica you will be suspected of being a fraudulent account, especially if the guns are priced below book value. It wouldn’t hurt to email customer service at email@example.com to let them know what is going on and what you are up to.
Overall, you will make more money listing and selling your guns on GunsAmerica if you price them correctly and are willing to wait for the right buyer. GunsAmerica has the most reasonable fees and we are pretty diligent about finding stiffs who waste your time and bouncing them. Over the course of liquidating a large collection you are going to have to deal with some issues. There will be some stiffs, someone will find a reason to be disgruntled about something, and it will take you some time to get all the guns sold and out the door. But it will happen.
Rock Island Auction Company, the worlds leading auction house for firearms , edged weapons and military artifacts.
Some collections need special treatment. Rock Island Auction Company can sell your gun collection or guns from an estate and get you more money. Our motto “We Believe in Presentation” and the best marketing for your items. Look at our 86,000 Square Foot Facility.
For larger collections:
- Cash advances.
- Pick up service.
- Free estimates for what your items can bring at auction.
- Finders fees for leads that result in consignment. Call 1-800-238-8022 or Email Us at Acquisitions@rockislandauction.com to Discuss Your Items. More specific consignment information and a short video can be found at
http://rockislandauction.com/consignment_process.This company was conceived on the idea that both the sellers and buyers should be completely informed and provided a professional venue for a true auction. A good reputation and proven results is a true test of any successful auction house. Rock Island Auction Company routinely sells over 60% to 70% of its auction lots to bidders who are absentee – that’s trust! Further, in the last six years Rock Island Auction Company has sold no less than 97% of the lots brought to the auction block.Here at Rock Island Auction Company, we have two different types of auctions: Premiere and Regional. Our Premiere auctions take place three times a year, each over a three-day period. Each of these auctions is made up of the rare, unusual, mint, and highly collectable pieces. The catalogs for these auctions are full-color, two volume sets consisting of over 600 pages and 6000+ photos. These auctions typically consist of 2700+ lots. These sales will garner on average 7 to 12 million dollars.
Our Regional auctions are made up of affordable antiques, beginning collector’s items, usable sporting arms, and many non-firearm lots. The catalogs for these auctions are black and white, 290 pages, and consist of 1200+ lots. These sales will garner on average $2 to $3 million dollars. We have named these “regional” as we encourage the buyer to view the items in person therefore we focus on buyers within a 500 mile driving radius. However these sales have become very popular. Our number of catalogs printed has sky-rocketed therefore our absentee bids have done the same. Both auctions can be viewed on our web-site in full color.
We can be trusted to obtain results. Just look at our record. Rock Island Auction Company is and has been the #1 firearms auction company in the world in sales for the past 7 years:
- 2004 – $14.6 million
- 2005 – $16 million
- 2006 – $19 million
- 2007 – $28.6 million
- 2008 – $31 million
- 2009 – $28 million
- 2010 – $32 million INDUSTRY BREAKING RECORD!
Questions to Ask any Auctioneer Before Consigning.
Q: Is the sales contract competitive?
A: Yes. Consigning with RIAC is a partnership, it is our responsibility to obtain the most money for your collectables. We keep our contracts at a simple percentage; we do not work with sliding scales which could work against you. Remember a low commission doesn’t always mean they are the b est choice. There are many factors beyond the sales commission. The bottom line is which auction house will get you more money.
Q: Should I be concerned with “hidden type charges”?
A: Yes. Even though “they” may tell you there may be additional charges are figures/amounts given? Rock Island Auction Company does not charge for photography. We do not charge for storage. We do not charge for insurance. We do not charge huge rates on cash advances. As stated above we keep it simple. If you come across a contract that charges for insurance consider this: if the sale grosses $12 million and each consignor is charged – let’s say 1.5% for insurance the auction house is making $180,000 on insurance fees alone (in one auction). We know for a fact that insurance does not cost that much.
Q: Does the auction company specialize in firearms or do they handle a broad spectrum of collectables? A: Rock Island Auction Company is dedicated to selling firearms and related items such as edged weapons and military artifacts. Selling firearms is our business, our passion, our expertise. We sell over 18,000 firearms annually. We have sold a minimum of 200,000 firearms from various levels of collecting since 1993.
Q: Does everything that goes to auction sell? What is the history of item s not selling at the auction company?
A: This is a very important question to ask. This will truly tell you if the auction house is reaching a large audience and is able to sell what they put up for auction. This is a direct reflection of their marketing ability. It will also tell you if they understand market value. For the past 6 years Rock Island Auction Company has maintained a 97% average sell through rate. We routinely sell approximately 2750 lots in an auction and 97% truly sells!!! This translates into only 3 out of every 100 items do not sell. If you check out our closest competitor you will see that this past year they held one auction in which over 33% did not sell!! This translates into for every 3 lots offered for sale only 2 sold or to put that in comparison to RIAC, 33 out of every 100 DID NOT SELL!! Potential buyers want to participate at an auction where they have the highest chance of obtaining what they have set their sights on. At RIAC potential bidders know that this is possible without bidding against huge house numbers that do not represent the market place. With our consistent 97% sell-through rate both buyers and sellers experience a real auction. Why bid at an auction where every third time you hold up your card to bid the lot won’t sell because you are bidding against the house? This deters bidders and items simply will not sell. RIAC has proven the free market is the place to sell. We have established world record sales and understand that auction averaging will result in our seller’s being satisfied.
Q: When selling a large collection or estate how do you choose what to put to auction?
A: Sell your collection all at once through a “firearms” specialty auction house. Do not sell off pieces one at a time. The only result in selling individual pieces is someone will get the best pieces cheaper than they would at auction and the rest of the collection will suffer as the good pieces always bring in significant buyers which help the rest of the collection. This is especially important for estates. Estates will bring more money sold as a true estate with everything included. Once the “word” is out that an estate has sold its best items (even rumors) it is hard to recapture the excitement that a true estate generates.
ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION
Q: Question advertising claims that state the auction house is #1 or gets the highest return for your firearms?
A: We have seen it happen right in front of our very own eyes. Our competitors state in public advertisements that they too are #1 in the industry. How is this possible? How can we both be #1? We are not afraid to put out figures and do so each auction. We tout our sell-through rate (as above) and can issue numbers on the amount of firearms sold each year. Our competitors don’t because they can’t.
At RIAC we sell 16,000 – 18,000 firearms per year! Our sales records are as follows: 2004 $14.6 million, 2005 nearly $16 million, 2006 $19 million, 2007 $28.6 million, 2008 $31 million, 2009 $28 million , 2010 $32 million. No other firearms auction company comes close.
Q: How do I know that the auction will be well promoted?
A: Rock Island Auction Company is the only auction house in the world to advertise with full page ads in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and dozens of industry publications. We also send out a 12 page full-color brochure each Premiere auction to our massive 60,000 plus pre-approved client listing. Our internet presence is far ahead of any other auction company. Check this fact out and you will be impressed. Finally there is our state-of-the-art catalog which is distributed world-wide. It has set industry standards and is proud to have won a Gold Ink Award in the printing industry.
Q: How do I know the auction house will attract bidders?
A: Rock Island Auction Company currently has 60,000+ pre-qualified buyer s in our database. Ask for proof of distribution of marketing materials. We know we more than triple our competition in direct mail marketing. We are also aggressive with web traffic soliciting via numerous e-commerce campaigns that will bring your items directly to collectors from all over the world. We are currently working with two LIVE bidding services to promote our auction world wide (Proxibid and iCollector).
GUNS LAWS EFFECTS ON RESULTS
Q: Gun laws vary from state to state and can prohibit the sale of some firearms.
A: All auction houses can’t obtain the same result for you. Gun laws vary from state to state and various state laws prohibit the sale of some firearms. An example is California. The California laws only allow one gu n per month to be purchased by residents. Additionally, in California many guns that are commonly sold elsewhere can’t be sold in California. Other states also have laws that prohibit or severely restrict the sales of guns. The overall problem is many auction houses in those states such as Californiawill accept the consignment of guns knowing they will have to be sold to persons outside that state. The bottom line to you the consignor is your guns for the most part will be sold to dealers in other states. Traditionally dealers do not pay the highest price as their “inventory” is purchased for resale. Those who consign to auction realize the highest pric e when their items are sold to the “end user”, the collector. COLLECTION PICK-UP
Q: Does the auction company pick up collections?
A: RIAC travels all over the country to pick up collections. We do not charge for pick up of large collections. Also ask if the drivers of the auction company are certified by the Department of Transportation (D.O.T.)?
Q: How do I know my collection will be safe while on the road?
A: We are insured to handle the most valuable of collections. Plus all our drivers are D.O.T. certified.
Q: How do I know if the auction house will live up to its claims?
A: Ask for references, and be sure to call them. And remember, don’t wait until after the sale to say… “I wish I had known”. Unsure of what to look for or the right questions to ask when searching for the best auction house? You’re not alone. Regardless of who you choose make an educated decision and base it on facts. We compiled the above questions to help you in your decision making. In the end we believe you will find that RIAC truly has the advantage over other auction houses.