Now that we’re more than a month into the Trump era, I’m eager to see how the new administration, controversial legislation, and even heated Twitter exchanges about gun control affects firearm sales in the secondary market.
Logic would tell me that sales will slow down. After all, gun sales soared during President Obama’s eight years in office. A recent USA Today article I read stated that since Nov. 4, 2008, both Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm, Ruger & Co. stock rose more than 1,000 percent. A similar trend was seen during the Clinton Administration as well.
On the contrary, a recent Time article stated that gun ownership in the U.S. is the lowest it has been since 1978. Don’t believe it? Apparently, the gun sales rose during the past eight years among gun owners buying more guns.
Effects on auctions
So, how does this all shake out for the auction industry?
You have to remember that the secondary market is different than retail. I think bidders will continue to seek out sporting, collectible, recreational and defensive guns at auctions because they know they can find quality firearms at a good value.
There’s also the matter of trust. Auction houses are FFL holders, and they must adhere to all state and federal laws.
So far, it has been business as usual at our auction house, and prices for collectible guns continue to be strong.
As an example, recently we sold a Colt Python that realized $3,000 with buyer’s premium. They just continue to command top dollar.
I’m also seeing more Western guns selling at auction. Recently, we sold a Colt Single Action Army that realized $3,120 with buyer’s premium. It had condition issues, but still performed well.
These examples are Colt. However, other brands are fairing just as well. Browning, Remington, local favorite Ruger and Beretta have all been performing admirably.
Even though gun owners and buyers may relax a lot under President Trump’s tenure, I’m not anticipating a sudden drop of interest in the guns we sell at auction. The Baby Boomers and older are downsizing and selling off their collections. And, no amount of tweets or controversial public policies will change that fact.
The buyers may have been motivated by fear when it appeared that Hillary Clinton might win, but now I think they’re motivated by pure collecting passion.
Tips before purchase
If you’re in the market to purchase antique firearms, check used gun prices in the Blue Book of Gun Values as well as sites like LiveAuctioneers and Gunbrokers.com before placing a bid.
Check the gun’s condition in person or ask for the auction house to provide photos and a condition report if you are purchasing it online.
Also, make sure you will clear a background check as most major auction houses will require a Federal background or NICS check, as it’s known.
If you’re selling, don’t despair. I don’t think this new Trump era will make prices in the secondary market plummet. They may not be “huge” or “the best,” but I think they’ll continue to be decent.
Josh Levine owns J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jlevines1 on Twitter.