There are a number of scenarios where a client may require an accurate valuation on a firearm: insurance purposes, in order to establish a fair sale price, or for import or export.
At Stronghold, once we have inspected the firearm to ascertain the correct model and manufacturer details, and established accurately its condition, our go-to is S P Fjestad’s Blue Book of Gun Values. We may also consult other online resources, such as auction houses, and when we are confident our valuation is accurate, we will issue a written appraisal.
An accurate description of a firearm’s condition is essential in estimating the value of any gun. Differences in condition can easily halve or double the value of a collectible firearm. The terms used in evaluating firearms condition have specific meaning. The most widely used set of standards for grading firearms condition is that defined by the American National Rifle Association, as follows:
(Note that there are separate rating systems used for Antique vs. Modern Firearms.
STANDARD FIREARM CONDITION RATINGS
- NEW: Not previously sold at retail, in same condition as current factory production.
- PERFECT: In New condition in every respect.
- EXCELLENT: New condition, used but little, no noticeable marring of wood or metal, bluing perfect.
- VERY GOOD: In perfect working condition, no appreciable wear on working surfaces, no corrosion or pitting, only minor surface dents or scratches.
- GOOD: In safe working condition, minor wear on working surfaces, no broken parts, no corrosion or pitting that will interfere with proper functioning.
- FAIR: In safe working condition but well worn, perhaps requiring replacement of minor parts or adjustments which should be indicated in advertisement, no rust, but may have corrosion pits which do not render article unsafe or inoperable.
ANTIQUE FIREARM RATINGS
- FACTORY NEW: All original parts; 100% original finish; in perfect condition in every respect, inside and out.
- EXCELLENT: All original parts; over 80% original finish; sharp lettering, numerals and design on metal and wood; unmarred wood; fine bore.
- FINE: All original parts; over 30% original finish; sharp lettering, numerals and design on metal and wood; minor marks in wood; good bore.
- VERY GOOD: All original parts; none to 30% original finish; original metal surfaces smooth with all edges sharp; clear lettering, numerals and design on metal; wood slightly scratched or bruised; bore disregarded for collectors’ firearms.
- GOOD: Some minor replacement parts; metal smoothly rusted or lightly pitted in places, cleaned or re-blued; principal letters, numerals and design on metal legible; wood refinished, scratched bruised or minor cracks repaired; in good working order.
- FAIR: Some major parts replaced; minor replacement parts may be required; metal rusted, may be lightly pitted all over, vigorously cleaned or re-blued; rounded edges of metal and wood; principal lettering, numerals and design on metal partly obliterated; wood scratched, bruised, cracked or repaired where broken; in fair working order or can be easily repaired and placed in working order.
- POOR: Major and minor parts replaced; major replacement parts required and extensive restoration needed; metal deeply pitted; principal lettering, numerals and design obliterated, wood badly scratched, bruised, cracked or broken; mechanically inoperative; generally undesirable as a collector’s firearm.
PERCENTAGE OF ORIGINAL FINISH SYSTEM – This system is widely used by collectors and dealers, and has been popularized by Fjestad’s excellent price guide, Blue Book of Gun Values. It’s important to note that this system usually refers to the PERCENTAGE OF ORIGINAL FINISH REMAINING ON THE METAL SURFACES. Note that if a gun has no original finish remaining this system does not really apply. Also, if a gun has been refinished, it would not be ratable under the Blue Book system, although a percentage description may be used such as “90% of factory refinish remains”. This is an accurate description, but if using the Blue Book as a price guide, remember that it applies only to ORIGINAL factory finish.