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3 Factors Affecting the Value of Antique Pistols

by Beatrice Lambert

Pistols were viewed as a symbol of status and prestige by many throughout the years. As ornate as they were functional, antique pistols have become quite collectible among modern firearms enthusiasts.

In order to begin amassing a valuable collection of antique pistols for yourself, you must become well-versed in the many factors that can influence the value of these firearms on the collector's market.

1. Condition

Condition is always the biggest factor when it comes to valuing an antique weapon. The better the condition, the more valuable a gun will be.

Pistols were often carried by their original owners on a daily basis. It's not unusual to see some wear on an antique pistol, but this wear should be minimal. Excessive pitting or corrosion can significantly detract from the value of the gun.

It's important that an antique pistol be kept in its original condition. Restoration work, even when performed by a skilled professional, can lower the value of an antique gun.

2. Completeness

Another critical factor used in determining the value of an antique pistol is the completeness of the weapon.

Some parts of an antique pistol are more durable than others, which means certain elements can be lost over time. For example, a pistol manufactured with wood grips may deteriorate to the point where the grips are no longer present.

Some pistols could be missing a cock or ramrod. The more complete an antique pistol is, the more valuable it will be to collectors.

Any gun that comes with the original maker's case and accessories will be extremely valuable to collectors.

3. Provenance

Collectors want to be able to trace the lineage of their firearms all the way back to the original manufacturer. If this isn't possible, then a provenance tracing the gun back to a prominent collector can be valuable.

It's important that an antique pistol come with documentation proving where it was made, who purchased it, and who subsequently took ownership of the gun throughout the years.

A complete and accurate provenance allows an appraiser to determine how the history of the pistol affects its value. If a pistol can be traced back to a famous individual, maker, or royal armory, it will hold more value than a pistol with no clear provenance.

When you understand the factors that affect the value of antique pistols, you will be in a position to invest in valuable weapons to add to your own firearms collection.

To learn more, visit a shop with American or European antique pistols for sale.