Although there is a spring in the step of the UK economy, there is still some way to go before we are back to the ‘boom years’. But, when it comes to trade in cherished (or pre-owned) guns, there has been a healthy economy throughout the tough times because a good sporting gun will always hold its value. When times are less positive, people look to release the value on their asset; when things are more optimistic, they are prepared to pay a premium for a desirable gun.
In fact, like property, there is never a bad time to buy a cherished shotgun and there are some beautiful examples available if you remain vigilant and monitor the market. For connoisseurs, owning a gun is like owning a piece of fine art.
A rare or unusual gun will always sell: Old English guns, such as Holland & Holland or Purdey, will naturally create interest. However, just because a gun has a recognisable name or unusual provenance does not mean it will raise a masterpiece price - condition is everything.
Knowing where to find guns of this quality is an important factor and Ray Ward's connections in the gun trade means there are always interesting and unusual cherished guns available in our gun list.
For example, we recently sold a pair of previously owned Boss & Co shotguns. What made them particularly unusual was that each gun had guitarist Eric Clapton’s initials (EPC) engraved on the oval, making them highly desirable for rock music aficionados as well as accomplished shots. These beautiful, 1912 Over-and-Under shotguns were also in fine condition having been re-barrelled in 2005, making the £95,000 price tag reasonable for the pair.
Barrel condition, in particular, is critical: barrels with reduced wall thickness also mean significantly reduced second hand value, because this issue will more than likely require a re-barrel. That decision itself can make a difference – new Purdey barrels are priced at around £10,000, while barrels from a fine gunsmith, but not the original gunmaker, will be less expensive - at around £5,000 - but reduce the resale value of the gun.
Whether you’re buying a new or previously owned shotgun, you may be particularly concerned about the weight of a gun. For women, or a junior shot, a gun weighing less than 6lbs is probably ideal. A good example is the pair of previously owned, bespoke Ray Ward shotguns which weigh-in at 5lbs 13oz. They are self-opening, with a single-trigger, sidelock ejectors and adorned with golden game birds on a colour case hardened action. This pair comes with extra barrels and the guns are presented in a double leather motor case at a price of £143,000.
A well-maintained sporting gun, even if it has seen a great deal of use, is easily identified and even easier to re-home than a shotgun or bolt action rifle that has clearly been unloved and mistreated. Ray Ward Guns, with its reputation for shooting perfection, is highly selective about which used guns it buys and sells and the same should apply to anyone looking to purchase a cherished sporting gun. Research carefully and seek professional advice unless you are absolutely certain about the gun’s history. That way, you are likely to become the proud new owner of a cherished gun, with no nasty surprises.
Author: Richard Bacon