Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters


Consignment Sale- Is this a good choice for you?

Owners wishing to sell all or part of a collection have four basic options: selling themselves; outright sale to a dealer, consignment sale, or auction sale.  Each method has advantages and disadvantages.

  • Selling yourself to a retail customer can be done by advertising in local papers, or specialized collector publications, or even on the internet.  You will have to provide detailed descriptions, establish prices (that may be too high or too low) answer lots of questions, wait for people to send payment, take care of packing and shipping, and worry about kooks and weirdoes knowing you have valuable items.  If you enjoy doing all this, you will get the full retail selling price for your items.
  • When dealers buy outright, they usually pay 60-70% of what they are sure an item will sell for.  If you have an “XYZ gun” that may sell in the $400-500 range, a dealer will probably pay $240-280 for it, being pretty certain they can sell at $400.  The owner knows how much they will get and they get paid right away and the dealer hauls the item away.  You have to hope you are negotiating with an honest dealer, or you may want to get offers from several.  All this is much less work than selling to a retail customer, but you end up with less money for your item.  Dealers often will want to "cherry pick" and only buy the good stuff. leaving you stuck with the less desirable pieces.  It may be worth considering in advance if you will sell part, or only accept offers for everything as a lot.
  • When dealers sell on consignment they charge a commission (usually around 20%) based on the actual selling price. The owner does not get paid until the item sells, but has the potential to get a lot more for an item.  If the dealer sells the “XYZ gun” at $600 the owner would get $480.  If sold at the lower end of the price range ($400) the owner would get $320.  Is the extra amount received worth the wait and the risk of having the item in the dealer's possession while it is being sold?  Many owners think so, while others dislike the wait and prefer taking a lesser amount for an outright sale.  Dealers sometimes would not be interested in an outright purchase of some items at any price for a variety of reasons (out of their normal line, would tie up too much money in an item that may be a slow seller, need to do more research to determine fair selling price so reluctant to buy until the research is done, etc).  However, they are often willing to handle the same items on consignment.
  • Auctions- These can be a big gamble.  A clever auctioneer with a hot crowd of serious collectors can sometimes get very good prices for even marginal items.  A poor auctioneer or a disinterested crowd or poor weather could result in very low prices for even very good items.  Most bidders at auctions seem to be dealers, not collectors, so many items often sell at wholesale dealer prices, not collector retail prices.  The owner will get about 30% less than the actual selling price after accounting for catalog fees, buyers’ premiums, sellers’ premiums, and assorted other charges.  Some firms hold auctions frequently, others only a few times a year, so it may be a long time before an item sells. Some auction firms specialize in high grade pieces (high profit for them) and do not want to get involved with less valuable pieces.  Again, watch for "cherry picking" which might leave the owner to handle the less desirable items.
How to explore consignment sales with us:
  • Contact us before shipping anything.
  • Tell us about what you want to sell, and send some photos (we will provide an email address when you are ready- the can NOT be attached to the email form on the site links).  We will discuss what you have, possible price ranges, and whether we think we can do a good job selling them for you.
  • If we agree that we are a good match for your needs, we will make arrangements to pick up the items, or request you to ship them to us by insured UPS.
  • When we receive the items we will inspect them and confirm recommend selling prices.  We will sign a contract with you to sell them at a minimum selling price. Often we are able to justify higher selling prices after thoroughly researching items. We usually will start offering items at the higher end of the estimated price range.
  • Since customers are buying from us, our reputation is on the line.  We will describe items to the best of our knowledge and belief, and will not misrepresent items for a seller.  We will not take items on consignment at prices that we think are unrealistic or unfair to the buyer..
  • We normally contract for a consignment period of 180 days (six months) to sell your items, with an automatic renewal period.  This allows time to research them properly, advertise them in catalogs or by other means, and offer them at appropriate collector's shows.  This also allows time to drop the price to the minimum level if unsuccessful selling at a higher starting price. In our experience about 80-90% of properly priced items will sell in that period.
  • We are responsible for the security and safety of your items while in our possession, and will give them the same secure storage as our own inventory, covered by insurance for the consigned value.
  • When your item is sold (customer has paid for it, it has been delivered, and the three day inspection period is over) we  will send you a check for the sales price less the commission.  Our normal commission rate is 20% of the actual selling price. (This will be clearly stated on the contract we both sign when ready to sell your items.)
  • We will gladly provide contact information of previous consignment customers as references.
  • Remember, there is no charge unless your item sells.  Give us an opportunity to help recycle those items for another collector to enjoy!
Want to see examples of items currently being sold on consignment?
  • Check our catalog pages. Usually around 10-20% of our guns are consignment items.  Some are local dealers or private collectors or prior customer and collectors or estates from all over the country. We invite you to join them.
This would be a good time to click-here to e-mail us a list of what you are considering selling or get answers to any questions you might have.

    Thanks for your time.                              John Spangler & Marc Wade

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