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Hello all,

Obviously, when selling anything, the key issue is supply and demand.

That being said, how many members use the Blue Book of gun values when buying and selling used firearms? Should it
be considered the definitive guideline for buyers and sellers?
 

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I have one. Maybe a couple years old. There certainly is some good info in the BlueBook but prices may or may not be close. The higher demand firearms are always more volatile in price. Auction sold items can be an asset to current market values. There also seems to be regional/location factors involved.
Vic
 

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I've seen dealers use the Blue Book to show sellers what their item is worth, then explain to them they have to purchase it for less in order to make a profit. They buy it, then mark it up astronomically higher than Blue Book. Most of the prices in the Blue Book haven't changed in years but actual sales prices for desirable items have risen considerably. If you have a computer and/or a smart phone, the on-line edition is a bargain. Much easier to carry around, too! ;)
 

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I like how it shows the price curve for several condition percentages. For some guns, higher condition is very rare and the curve is steep. For other guns, the difference between an 80% and a 98% gun is about the same. It is also a good way to check obscure models and not have to have an internet connection. I haven't bought one in decades, but I still look at an old one once in a while.
 

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Value guides are obsolete before they're printed. They are simply a guide roughly based upon the day the information was collected and listed. Other than that they can work for you or against you in a negotiation or an insurance claim.
 

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The Blue Book depends on a specific series of dealers and the prices they receive when selling to establish the values. Dealers not in their circle are not used. For rarer items the value can often not be updated because the item either doesn't pass through their circle or may be so rare it doesn't sell anywhere for a given period of time. Hence no update in a value. As an example a pre-70 "BB" Colt Government that I once bought didn't increase in value for many years because none passed through the Book's circle of dealers. I remember this item sitting at $1000 for years. Yet one was not able to buy one for that price. Since that time I have take the Blue Book as an informational sourse whose actual values aren't accurate. The information it contains on various seldom seen items is of value. Prices aren't.
 

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They're great for dealers at gun shows that want to buy a gun for WAY under current collector value. Usually a guy will walk in with a gun and say "What's it worth?". The dealer then whips out the book and points to a column and says "look here, you're gun is only worth X". He then buys it for X minus 30%. A half hour later turns he puts it out on the table and sells it for X plus 50%. It happens time after time at the shows I used to attend...
 

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They're great for dealers at gun shows that want to buy a gun for WAY under current collector value. Usually a guy will walk in with a gun and say "What's it worth?". The dealer then whips out the book and points to a column and says "look here, you're gun is only worth X". He then buys it for X minus 30%. A half hour later turns he puts it out on the table and sells it for X plus 50%. It happens time after time at the shows I used to attend...
It is still happening.
 

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Adding to what already has been said about dealers using the book to "undervalue" a gun, they usually do not have the current copy but will bring one out that is four or five years old and refer to it try to screw you on the deal. Every once in a while, I will run into a good used S&W revolver at a pawn shop with a negotiable price after it has sat for five or six weeks. And pawn shops have very little into the gun when they take it in ($150.00 into a nice revolver and then put $500.00 on it for sale). I've found that most gunshops are usually not negotiable on a deal.
 

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There's no reason why any seller shouldn't ask for current market value or thereabouts for any product...not just a firearm. What they have invested in it is irrelevant to market value. Values go down as well as up. If a seller is buried in an item whose value has dropped it's not my responsibility to bail him out of it...he can either keep it or take the loss...it's part of business. If the value has increased I can negotiate and either buy it or not.

I don't deny anyone the right to make a fair profit...and I have an equal right to not pay the price if I feel it's unwarranted.
 

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The actual value of the 'Blue Book' is the color section that shows the percentage of finish.

That can come in handy for some who want to try to learn this all-so-important facet of condition grading, but I've often noted that sellers use the '100% finish' as their starting point, and price accordingly.

The real problem is that there doesn't seem to be consistency in editing, and some prices remain for years - a case in point is that some years ago, a buddy who collected S&Ws noticed that the then-current copy had ten year old pricing.

He carries that copy to this day - referring to it whenever he finds something, and showing it to the seller - and has added quite a few earlier S&Ws to his collection as a result.
 

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I remember when the Blue Book of Firearm Values came out. At that time it seemed great, but over the years I always seemed to end up selling for less then BB, and paying more.
IMO the older Gun Trader's Guide was better in that you at least had pictures or prints of the various guns, but no more accurate then BB.
You'd go to a gun show and the vultures would whip out their two or three year old Blue Book and blah, blah.
 

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When either buying or selling collectibles it's important to know their values, very well. People should also know the general rules of business and human nature. The Blue Book is just one tool, it can be used for good or bad dealings.

If you are buying from a "dealer" you are paying high retail. He could be an owner of an antique store, an online seller, or a new automobile lot. They are trying to get the absolute highest profit margin because it's a business. When you are selling to a "dealer" you will get the lowest price, because you are seen as a "wholesale source".

Most of the time I try to buy wholesale, from individuals. But also "test the knowledge" or dealers, by asking their price on obscure guns. Sleepers. Those NOT in demand. Knowledge is power. I bought a very obscure muzzle loader last week, retail, from a very big antique guns site. But they didn't know what it was, I did. I seldom pay high retail, and the Blue Book game doesn't get played with me. I would never walk up to a retail seller and say "what's this gun worth?". I KNOW what it's worth, and may try to get HIM to buy it for more....because HE doesn't know! It's the ancient human endeavor called barter. Don't play if you can't handle the risks.
 

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I usually pay according to how bad I want something. If it is something I have been looking for without success, I will pay more than what I figure it is worth if I have too. I have never regretted paying a little too much for something I wanted, but have regretted not paying too much. It has happened more than once at Tulsa. Find something I have been looking for but think it is just a little too high, and the next time by it is gone.

Guns International gives a pretty good cross section of what people are asking for collector guns.
 

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Usually blue book is way low on high condition boxed pieces from my experience. Some are absurdly low. Example combat cobra for about 5 editions in a row, it had 100% around $800. You could have sold 5 nib for $3500 each almost instantly during this same time frame. Also one that eluded me, never owned the little CC. I haven’t bought a blue book past couple years, last one it was still a grand or less...
There are some opposite examples, one of my best friends (much my senior) loves 1st gen Colt SAA which I know nothing about. He said he couldn’t hardly get half of what blue book says in the lower conditions.
So each will be a case by case example. I highly suggest if you have a desirable 30 year old/+ piece, visit completed auction sites before pricing.

All this said, I still say IF I could only own one gun book, it would be the blue book.
Why? The actual info in it. I collect quite a few different things (about anything quality vintage USA made). I’d see a gun super high condition with original box, I could look at info. From the years produced, models, etc, I could always make an educated if it was a good buy or not. Most of the time I was right on my guess and sometimes right in spades. So important to me, I used to keep at least an old copy with my tools in each vehicle. Never know when you will find a diamond in the rough.
 
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There used to be a dealer who regularly set up at SouCal gunshows who used to buy guns from estate sales. He then used the Blue Book to price them, I personally observed him doing that on more than one occasion. I'm sure that he was satisfied with the profit that he was making based upon whatever he paid for each gun.
I used to make a beeline for his table as soon as the show opened at 9 AM. I purchased several guns from him at way below market value over the years, especially here in California where prices are typically 20% higher than the rest of the country. I guess he didn't feel like doing some online research in order to establish the prices. He usually sold all of the guns he had on display by the end of the first day so maybe a quick turn was more important to him than the maximum profit. A good example was a Smith & Wesson "Baby" Chiefs Special in about 99% condition in the original matching red box with wax paper and Helpful Hints brochure. I watched him use the Blue Book to price it as just a used, high condition Model 36 Chiefs Special. The box alone was worth over $200. I stood there waiting for him to price the gun and as soon as he was done asked to examine it. The deal was made for under $400 including the transfer fees. We were both happy. Well, maybe me more than him.
 

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Before there was the internet, and before it was commonly used, there were only guidebooks like the Blue Book. The internet actually brought some prices down, due to what was thought to be "rare", really wasn't. And some guns went up, as forums and chat groups started hyping quite common guns. Basically, the books can't keep up with all that. But they are good for reference, as said above. You find a Stevens Visible Loader or a Savage NRA 22A, do you know what it's worth? Do you have a smartphone or internet connection with you at that flea market? Like Big_gus said, I used to carry one to shows just in case I found something I didn't know.
 

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Hello all,

Obviously, when selling anything, the key issue is supply and demand.

That being said, how many members use the Blue Book of gun values when buying and selling used firearms? Should it
be considered the definitive guideline for buyers and sellers?
I've never found their prices to be very accurate. I haven't looked at one in years
 
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