The World of Arms Auctions

Firearms are one of the most interesting and unique objects that can be sold at auction. As a result, an entire sub-industry has developed around them with some companies choosing to leave furniture and artwork behind and dedicate themselves entirely to this niche market. A few of the leading names in this arena include James D. Julia, Inc; Rock Island Auction Company; Morphy’s Auctions; Cowan’s Auctions; Poulin Antiques & Auctions; and Holt’s Auctions. These auction houses handle everything from preparing and selling the weapons to the legal compliance and post-sale logistics involved with this specialized field.

The weapons and armour they sell span a wide range of historical epochs. They are coveted by individuals who collect based on their specialization and also collectors who appreciate the art of fine engraving that is found on many firearms. The value of a gun may be determined by its make or model, the role it played in history, its status as an icon or the “aura of romance” associated with a particular manufacturer.

Arms auctions attract a varied group of buyers, from experienced collectors looking for a specific gun to heirs whose estates contain a variety of firearms and are seeking an expert to turn them into cash or check. This diverse group of potential buyers provides a valuable venue for the sellers and offers an opportunity for collectors to find something new that will add to their collection.

Bonhams arms auctions and Armour auctions feature a wide range of weapons and armour from different periods in history. A few highlights from this sale include a 17th century French silver mounted shakshuka; a Saxon puffer pistol; a Polish hussars sabre; a fine pair of Austrian flintlock over and under officers’ pistols by Stockel and a rare factory engraved pair of Smith & Wesson New Model No 3 Russian revolvers. Edged weapons such as a North Italian hand-and-half sword and a Moghul jade hilted dagger along with a number of muskets and polearms also cross the auction block.

Attending an auction in person is the best way to participate but, if this is not possible, there are several online bidding options that allow you to place bids at the same time as other prospective buyers. Generally over 60% of an auction’s items will sell using the online bidding options. When you win a bid, your weapons will be shipped to you once all paperwork and payments have been made and any applicable waiting period has passed. Once received your firearms should be securely stored until used and should be handled responsibly and in accordance with state laws. In the United States, federal regulations prohibit the shipment of any firearms that have not been registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer System (NFRTS). This process is a lengthy and complicated one that requires careful attention to detail to avoid any unnecessary delay in shipping your purchase. The NFRTS is a database of all regulated arms in the United States and includes a searchable database by serial number, type, maker, date of manufacture and more.