I am curious to hear your opinions as to why some “collectible” firearms can be professionally refinished and either hold or increase their value while others it lessens the value. Not talking about a “rattle-can” or “bubba” refinish here but a solid job from a reputable company.
For example, I have noticed over the years that HK P7s, Browning Hi Powers and
Sig P230/232s that have been refinished do not seem to loose any value. On the other hand, I’ve seen older Colt & S&W revolvers, as well as Colt 1911s, that have been professionally re-blued or parkerized that ended up selling for quite a bit less than their original finished counterparts.
I’m hardly any sort of authority on the subject, but I would always prefer a gun that hadn’t been refinished, regardless of its condition. (If the condition were so bad that I wouldn’t buy it as it, I wouldn’t buy it reconditioned either.)
As for refinished guns going for the same prices as not refinished, I suppose that if there was enough demand for a rare model, then perhaps it wouldn’t matter to prospective purchasers. If someone absolutely wanted a P7 to carry then I could see having it redone in a corrosion resistant finish or buying one if it were available. In that case it would be the difference between collectability and practicality. There aren’t, though, too many people who would plan to carry a registered S&W Magnum and be worried about rust.
I don’t know if any of that’s valid, but my thoughts.
I think a lot has to do with the type of gun and why it is collectable.
There are plenty of HKs and SIGs available, and anyone who buys one will likely shoot it, so refinishing if needed is a matter of practicality.
Old Smiths and Colts in really good shape are hard to find, and when you pony up five or six figures for one you're probably not going to toss it into the old range bag for a day of shooting.
Today, my jurisdiction ends here…
Really depends on what it is. In many cases, the refinish is a superior finish to the factory and if done by reputable firms, it could add value. That's the case with a somewhat rare Llama 87 target pistol a friend sold. He had it hard chromed by Ford's Refinishing and it sold for 50% more than a mint factory version. Why? Because it was improved and more durable than what the Spanish manufacturer Gabilondo y Cia did at the factory.
I own two surplus CZ83's and had CCR refinish them. They'd for sure go for a lot more than if I hadn't.
Thanks for your insight gents! I really don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. Probably a very individual thing as to what motivates one person to place a high value on something while another person doesn’t.
The first thing to understand and keep in mind when discussing the “value” of something like a gun is what the term actually means.
I own a lot of things, especially guns and optics, that would cost a lot of money to replace. I’m currently offering some guns for sale locally at prices that are based on what other guns are advertised for and I believe they are priced fairly for a total of over $6000. But does that mean they’re worth or that their value is >$6K? No. At this time in fact, they’re not worth anything in terms of money. I can’t take any of them to the store and exchange it for a cart of groceries.
But what about, “I could sell this easily for $X?” Okay, when you sell it for $X, then the money in hand will be worth $X because that’s what money is, but not before. When it comes to guns in particular they can often be sold only for much less than what their owners believe they could be or should be sold for. That’s something countless gun owners have discovered to their disappointment.
This is very often seen with guns that have been modified in other ways: “I had this done to it; I had that done to it; that makes it worth more.” Well, no, not necessarily. Very often the opposite is true because I don’t want a 1944 Remington Rand 1911A1 that’s been modified with BoMar rib and sights and set up for wadcutter target ammunition. That might have been true 70 years ago when such (unmodified) guns were available for cheap in any pawn shop and someone wanted to get into bull’s-eye shooting, but it would be a lot harder to find a buyer for such a gun for what it’s “worth” today. As mentioned, a lot of it depends on things that can vary over time.
FWIW, most collectors of old things value condition above almost everything else, the more original the better.
Today, my jurisdiction ends here…
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