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The idea for this thread was conceived from the recent thread that addressed Colts as an investment.

Yesterday was a snowy Sunday afternoon and I spent some of it looking at the results of the James D. Julia auction from October of 2013. Some of the prices were mind-boggling! And these prices weren't even close to what some stuff goes for (for example, a Colt Walker sold for $920,000 in 2008.

So I ask, then, who is the 'typical' (or 'atypical') person who can afford the $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 plus firearm? And, is this 'stereotypical' person doing this regularly?

I can only relate to myself and the very, very few individuals I interact with relative to the American population. I am college educated, and have a 4 year advanced degree. Having said that, most of the high end stuff, if not greater than my gross salary for a year, is greater than my take-home pay for a year. Most individuals I interact with have mortgages to pay, kids to pay for, student loans, etc. And these are professionals who earn more than the average salary in America.

I don't think of the typical urban professional as investing in firearms, especially if a stockbroker or computer geek. But, then again, the Wall Street Journal runs an ad for Rock Island Auction fairly regularly.

When I was in school, it was STRESSED to go to college. I am thinking BAD advice relative to having lots of free cash.

I am guessing the 'stereotypical' investor might be a successful small business owner. Just a guess. Perhaps some or many of you out there are this 'stereotypical' investor?

As for myself, I collect some very nice stuff, and if I were to sell it all, I could afford one or two firearms that are quite high end, the stuff I have already being fairly good, and well 'above average', but none of it more than $15,000 these days. I would think that if something really great came along, and I had to have it, if I could bring myself to sell everything, I could have this nice firearm. I suppose other folks may be doing what I did. But the number of folks doing this must be few, if at all, relative to the number of high-dollar firearms out there for sale at auction several times a year, let alone those for sale at private sale.

I look at these collections being sold at auction, and usually they are that of an old timer, who bought when no one else was collecting this junk, and they were practically giving this away. The only recent exception I can think of is the collection of Wes Adams, who bought a lot of stuff fairly recently and had the misfortune to pass away at a relatively young age. Wes Adams was a developer, but, relative to the general population, developers are uncommon, and probably not doing as well now as in the past due to the recession/depression.

You turn on the TV or read the news and all you hear about is the unemployed, underemployed, stagnant wages, etc. Most the time you think America is impoverished, or nearly so.

Then you look at auction results, and are truly amazed!

So who is the stereotypical discerning Colt investor?
 

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Most of the big players I have known or know of in the game are businessmen, inventors, oil men and doctors and lawyers along with a few that were just lucky enough to be born with trust funds that boggle the imagination. Most of them are shrewd and if they do sell their collections they come out nicely.

One gentleman I knew owned a bank and other business concerns and he figured out he could buy good stuff and hold it 3 to 4 years and put it in an auction with a negotiated sellers premium and make out like a bandit. He did it several times though the years. Like I said....a shrewd businessman to say the least. Plus a good guy also to boot.
 

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You're overthinking what a colt collector is ... a Colt collector is someone who appreciates Colt's, studies to learn more about them, shares the knowledge, and goes on the hunt. And depending on the collector's means, a $500 investment for one collector may require more thought than a $100,000 investment by another collector with better "means".

And when it comes to admiring collections, pretty and big are nice. But, give me the guy who can talk the gun and the "hunt", and that's the guy I value more as a collector.
 

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The first guy I worked for when I moved to Washington State ended up selling his machine shop. Years later I saw him at a gun show and we got to talking. He told me he was buying all the nice old octagon barreled Winchesters he could find. Never really got around to asking if it was for the enjoyment of ownership or as an investment further down the road. I think quite a few of these people who have alot of disposable income do it for the same reasons the rest of us do. Childhood memories, appreciation of finely made tools, investment income, etc. If I myself were Bill Gates I would be interested in historically significant firearms but not for flipping to make a buck.
 

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"So who is the stereotypical discerning Colt investor?"

^^
there is no stereotypical Colt investor!
people buy what they want because that's what they want to buy. you can't put all of us into a stereotype box.
 

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I kind of "collect" Colts, but the most I ever paid for a beautiful condition used Colt was $1500 and that took a lot of hunting and consideration for spending that much money. But, I only got to the point in life where I had a little 'extra" money and figured i could justify buying Colts when i was around 58.
The people that spend over $5000 on 1 gun are in another financial category.
 

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I've commented on this recently too, and I'm sure ruffled some feathers. I have enjoyed reading about and looking at Colts for 40 years. From an early age my time was spent in the gun section of libraries, and at gun shows. In all that time, either I didn't make enough money, or I didn't feel I could take money out of my family's mouth by buying a lot of guns. I bought maybe one a year, cheap Colts. I'm a former systems engineer, and have several degrees. My extra money went into activities and vacations with the family, and investing 10% or more into my 401Ks. The latter have dropped to half 3 times in my life, by the way...so certainly some investors feel they could have more stable holdings with Colts.

Colts, gold, multiple motorcycles/quads, etc...all are luxury goods. The people that buy more than one, have more disposable income (they are "rich") so it doesn't matter to them whether they have a big bank account or a big gun safe. Years ago, when companies paid retirement and guns were cheap, some retirees spent their pensions on guns every month. That's going away, as the generation that was able to work until 55, then quit and continue pulling in a big paycheck for life diminishes.

There are a few gun collectors who aren't rich, but know how to trade up, wheel and deal, find the hidden treasures for cheap. I found that was barely possible by the 1980s - everyone and their uncle assumed ANY gun was super valuable. You just couldn't pick up cheap SAAs and Pattersons at the flea market or from Granny after the 1950s. But in other collectible fields it's still possible. With the internet, the world is your market and research center. 1970s lunchboxes, antique fountain pens, old farm tools...and similar things have experienced boom and bust cycles. People can get smart on a topic, old 78 RPM records say, and sweep the country buying them cheap, while buyer excitement grows on forums. I have spent 6 years in one of those antique markets, and done very well. I started with $50 (said to myself I will not spend more than that on this new hobby), bought an item, resold it for $100, bought two more, etc., etc. By 2010 I was traveling to Europe with my proceeds, buying more antiques in my field. But it took me many hours of research, phone calls, and sometimes throwing down a good chunk of money to buy a good deal. I didn't buy high on Ebay and cross my fingers, instead I could buy at 25% of the going rate if I worked hard.

I think some of the quick gain mindset has worn off on current gun collectors. But the main difference is guns cannot be bought cheaply, very often. So it's a purely speculation game, like stocks, real estate, or gold. You don't buy low and sell high. You buy at the current rate, and HOPE it goes even higher.
 

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I guess I am the "stereotypical" poor mans investor. 20 years ago I had the collection I wanted when I could get early models of SAAs for decent prices that were in reasonably good condition. Had to sell all of them to pay for flood damage to the house and made a couple hundred dollars on each and thought that was great back in 2003. Now I started again and have three. One I paid $1100, one $1500 and one $2000. That is my highest limit though. I am not in it for the revenue. I am in it for the love of the Colt, the heritage, the history of what I am holding in my hand.
 

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I pride myself in not sticking myself into a catagory. Maybe someone else wants to place me in one but unless they've lived my life or live with me I seriously doubt they'd be close. I "collect" and maybe do accumulate what inspires me, what appeals to me and what I've learned to admire for the way it's built or the function it has. I've not invested in Colts though, as stated before, I could sell them for more than I paid. I'm probably at the tail end of purchasing and more in caring for and enjoying my firearms. That was until that tragic boat accident of course. If I wanted to make money I'd have to advertise my Colts, or seek out a place to consign them for the maximum bang for my buck. My other investments are historically stable and should provide food on the table and a roof over our heads and one phone call nets me immediate money in the bank account, no waiting and no wondering. I've worked all my life and at 64 feel comfortable with the fruits of my labors but by no means am I a blue chip individual, just plain comfortable. I don't brag on how much I'm worth because quite frankly, who cares besides me and my wife and heirs? Nobody. I buy what I like or do without and congratulate those that can afford those 5k or 10K beauties. Good for them and I'm happy they're happy.
 

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Been admiring/buying Colts for about 35 years. Started out buying for practical reasons. A Dick Special and a Colt Commander for carry.Then buying because I liked them. Bought a 1903 Pocket hammerless and a 1917 because they are fun to shoot. Carried the 1903 because it is flat and easy to tote.
Got older and started buying "good deals" when they presented themselves. Have never been rich,no degree ,no pedigree.
Got lucky in the market and had a rich Uncle. Worked in the Military Industrial complex for a while and made a little $$.Always tried to wheel and deal and trade up when possible.
My Colts are more an investment for my widow or other heirs.I buy them because I love to shoot them sometimes and enjoy having them.
Always thought the big 4 in gun collecting were Winchesters,Lugers ,US Martial and Colts.Have a few nice Winchesters,a couple of nice GI arms and more than a few Colts. Never got into Lugers.
For investments try property or the market. Anything related to food,energy,communications and booze are a good bet. Lately ammunition seems a good investment too.
I buy guns because I like them and hope they will maintain or increase a little in value.
 

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My first Colt was a peacemaker 22 NIB for about $100 in 1977 when they were first discontinued. Somehow during college I was able to gather up $450 for a nickel NIB SAA 44 special in 1982. Both of these I still have and shoot. Since then my collection has really grown with my same ideals that I only collect what I will shoot, not that there is anything wrong with NIB and/or safe queen collectors. Colt scouts, huntsmans, police positives, official police, trooper MKIII, pre-war pocket models in 25, 32,380, 22 rifles and some shotguns are all available for around $300 and up for shooters. In short most can be a colt collector but ones resources determines what is in the collection.
 

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I don't think there is one stereotypical profile for big time or small time (no offense) Colt collectors. I know guys who have a ton of money from owning businesses, managing money, inheritance and any combination who also collect guns of various types. Some of those guys might have a Python and a Diamondback and consider themselves Colt collectors. I have a pretty decent Colt collection mostly focused on Snakes of all shapes and sizes but I actually don't consider myself a big time collector. Another good friend of mine (who owns an engineering firm) has a mind-blowing multi-million dollar gun collection that includes one of nearly every Colt revolver made since WWII, but also a number of rare machine guns - the works. He is on another level and is one of the kind of guys you mention would participate in those high end auctions - he routinely buys stuff $10k and up. He recently bought an NIB full auto military surplus Colt M-16 (unfired). I think he paid $34k for it or something like that. He doesn't just buy Colts, but other guns as well. Me, I'm somewhere in the middle but I know I don't fit any box very neatly. I'm not quite 40. I've made a bit of money in various business ventures - actually the most successful one in tech - but I still work for a living and to support my family. Yet, I'm a staunch conservative Libertarian (certainly not a Liberal in the modern definition of the word...). I have collected guns since before I could legally own them. I built up a small collection of classic double guns which I still have. A few years ago I really caught the Colt bug and starting collecting them. Also, I should mention I don't just collect them. I have some that I own purely for the joy of shooting. Some, I actually hunt a bit with. Others, are pure LNIB collector pieces that I pull out of the safe periodically to fondle. I treat my shotty collection just the same way - some I use a lot, others I pet. All this to say in my experience it is extremely hard to put anyone into any boxes that I've interacted with in this space - it truly runs the gamut in terms of how they view their collections, where they come from and how they behave. I do think that generally people who frequent those high end auctions (and I do know a few of them but am not in that club myself) are generally folks who have serious means from some combination of wealth generation - again, owning a business, selling a business, being a retired senior exec somewhere, inheritance or some combination. If you really dig into economic data, by the way, you will see that while there are a lot of people struggling, the rich and super-rich are actually a pretty fast growing group of people on a global basis...
 

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On the other hand, there's the "collector" like me. I was a S&W fan (not a collector) when a deal falleth from heaven. I bought a "Snake" collection (plus 4 additional Colts) from an elderly gentleman and paid an average $900.00 ea. I didn't even know what a "Boa" was until I unboxed it and did some research. Half were NIB, all in great condition. A year later another deal came up and I added 21 handguns through a "Fire Sale" from a widow who had a house full of guns that made her nervous. 6 more Colts. So, does that make me an "Involuntary Collector"?
 

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On the other hand, there's the "collector" like me. I was a S&W fan (not a collector) when a deal falleth from heaven. I bought a "Snake" collection (plus 4 additional Colts) from an elderly gentleman and paid an average $900.00 ea. I didn't even know what a "Boa" was until I unboxed it and did some research. Half were NIB, all in great condition. A year later another deal came up and I added 21 handguns through a "Fire Sale" from a widow who had a house full of guns that made her nervous. 6 more Colts. So, does that make me an "Involuntary Collector"?
Ha! That makes you a VERY fortunate person! Collector or not...who cares!
 

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Well I always thought if you couldn't afford a gun you wanted go back to work and make enough to getter done :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Once again why worry about others....this is still AMERICA....go do it if you can....nothing holds anyone back but themselves ;) ;) ;)

I just wish I was smart enough to be "ONE OF THOSE GUYS" :cool: :cool: :cool: YMMV....RR
 

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On the other hand, there's the "collector" like me. I was a S&W fan (not a collector) when a deal falleth from heaven. I bought a "Snake" collection (plus 4 additional Colts) from an elderly gentleman and paid an average $900.00 ea. I didn't even know what a "Boa" was until I unboxed it and did some research. Half were NIB, all in great condition. A year later another deal came up and I added 21 handguns through a "Fire Sale" from a widow who had a house full of guns that made her nervous. 6 more Colts. So, does that make me an "Involuntary Collector"?
Sounds like a guy with an eye for a bargain when the buying opportunity arises and all the while you are building a collection of arms that already have a built in "profit" and should continue to increase through the years. Contrary to many in our society, I don't think it's a bad thing to make good decisions and accumulate some wealth. :)
 

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Money alone does not make a happy collector. I am sure that some remember the lawsuit that made the news over the pair of Colt Walkers supposedly originally belonging to Sam Walker. The high end collector had been overcharged by someone buying guns in his behalf, and it ended up in court. The collector had spent in the neighborhood of $32 million on high end guns, but in the end it all turned sour.
 

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Money alone does not make a happy collector. I am sure that some remember the lawsuit that made the news over the pair of Colt Walkers supposedly originally belonging to Sam Walker. The high end collector had been overcharged by someone buying guns in his behalf, and it ended up in court. The collector had spent in the neighborhood of $32 million on high end guns, but in the end it all turned sour.
Like the man said......"You don't have to know diamonds......you have to know your jeweler."

The "jewelers" in this case got greedy and killed the golden goose and also tarnished their own reputations in the process.

The world we live in today is fraught with dangers like this when you put your total trust in an advisor or group of advisors.
 

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I have read with interest all the comments regarding "collecting". I guess I fall somewhere in the bewildered category. When my father-in-law passed away in 2009, my wife inherited one-third of his "gun collection". In her third, she got a couple of fine rifles and a Colt 1911 he had carried in WWII. Needless to say, once I held it in my hands I was hooked. Being retired and having been fortunate enough to have invested wisely in my 401K, I had a few disposable dollars. I listened to some sage advice and focused on buying Colts and Winchesters. Since 2009 I have been able to pick up some remarkable values, such as a NIB Python for $700.00 and two NIB 4 inch Diamondbacks for $800.00 each. Others, such as the Woodsman series, I've had to pay market value. What started as a modest collection has mushroomed into something almost out of control. I've been fortunate enough to find and purchase many of the "iconic" firearms and am still on the hunt. I buy first for the historical aspect, then for the market impact and finally for whether or not I like the item. I take great pleasure in the fact that some day, my grandson will have many hard decisions to make in regards what to keep and what to sell.
 

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The only disadvantage I have, is cleaning all of the guns. I started doing 5 per day. Took 2 weeks. Found Renaissance Wax, and cut it down to one week once a year. What a cross I have to bear...
 
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