How to Sell a Gun Collection

Sell A Gun Collection Now

Who doesn't want a good gun collection?

Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as you would think.

Whether you are looking to downsize your collection, free up space in your home, or simply want to get rid of some guns, selling a gun collection can be a complex and overwhelming process.

Gun collections can hold tremendous value, so considering your various options is crucial to making the right decision. In this article, we'll provide a step-by-step guide to help you sell a gun collection quickly, safely, and for top dollar.

From understanding the value of your entire collection to finding a reputable buyer and completing the sale legally, we'll cover everything you need to know to sell a gun collection with confidence.

Written by:
Chet Williamson
03/15/2023
13 minutes read

Weighing Your Priorities

There are many options for you when it comes to selling your gun collection.

Some options are fast and easy but may not get you a good price. Some options can get you top-dollar for your guns, but take a lot of time and energy. Other options are more fun than others, like going to a gun show or attending a live auction house.

Since you do have lots of options when selling, it’s important to first understand what your goal is. After buying tens of thousands of guns from sellers like you, we’ve found that most sellers want a blend of speed, convenience, and competitive pricing. That’s why we offer both our no obligation Cash Offer option and our gun consignment option. Both of these are fast, enjoyable, and will get you a very good price for you firearm collection without the hassle and fees you would have with other options.

However, everyone differs. Considering the priorities below will help you find the right buyer when selling your gun collection.

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FAST, SIMPLE, AND EFFORTLESS

When selling guns, consider whether a quick and straightforward sale is a priority for you. If you prefer minimal time and energy investment, an easy and streamlined process that puts money in your pocket quickly can be ideal, especially for those with larger collections.

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FUN

Is having fun during the process of selling your collection a compelling objective? If so, you may want to seek out options that involve selling at a live auction house or renting a table at a gun show. You will meet other gun enthusiasts, and the atmosphere can be an experience.

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SAFE AND LEGAL

Safety and legal compliance should always be a priority for your selling experience. Prioritizing a secure and lawful process can provide peace of mind and protect both you and the buyer. Ensuring that all transactions and agreements adhere to federal, state, and local regulations and best practices is essential for a worry-free sale.

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COMPETITIVE PRICING

How important to you is securing a good deal for your gun collection? If getting the best value is a top concern, you will probably want to spend some time researching and comparing prices within the market to set realistic expectations and maximize your returns.

Ultimately, most people who are selling a gun collection seek a fair price for their firearms while ensuring a convenient transaction.

In the past, gun sellers would often have to choose between speed and value: would you prefer to sell a gun collection quickly to a pawn shop or gun shop, receiving only a fraction of its worth, or would you rather take the time to secure a fair price by searching for a buyer over weeks or months?

Fortunately, times have evolved, and modern options like Cash for Arms now offer both competitive pricing and a simple, hassle-free process.

Once you've determined which factors matter most to you in this sale, the next step is to assess the value of your gun.

Determine the Value of Your Gun Collection

Before you sell your collection, it is essential to determine its sale value. It’s not as difficult as you may think, but can be time-consuming.

Want to skip the hard parts?

If you'd rather save yourself some time and get a free cash offer for your collection from Cash for Arms, click “Get my Cash Offer” to get started.

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Here are some guidelines to help you determine your collection's fair market value.

Know What You Have (Exactly)

Start by researching the specific make and model of each gun in your collection. There are many nuances when it comes to firearms, so understanding which exact model you own can help you find more accurate values.

Once you're confident you know what you have, look for similar guns that have recently sold that you can use as comps to justify your values.

Note: What you paid for your guns is not relevant when determining what they are currently worth, so using current market data will yield you much more accurate values.

Here are several websites that can help you discover comparable sales or prices for numerous firearms:

Cash For Arms

Yep. As we've said a few times, our cash offer will give you a great idea of the value of your collection or gun. There is no obligation to sell, but if you want to you have the option to get a full check and not have to pay any of the shipping or sales fees.

Gunbroker

Explore the 'Completed Listings' section on Gunbroker to review recently concluded listings. Be cautious, as this area contains numerous listings that ended without bids or actual sales. Focus on the items with genuine bids.

Note: To browse completed listings, you will have to sign up for an account.

Gunbroker homepage

TrueGunValue

Explore the 'Completed Listings' section on Gunbroker to review recently concluded listings. Be cautious, as this area contains numerous listings that ended without bids or actual sales. Focus on the items with genuine bids.

Note: To browse completed listings, you will have to sign up for an account.

True Gun Values homepage

Blue Book of Gun Values

The Blue Book of Gun Values can be a valuable resource for determining your firearms' worth, but it can be complex and requires a fee. Other industry publications may offer similar information.

Blue Book of Guns homepage

In general, Gunbroker offers the most straightforward, free method for finding comparable sales. Look for a comparable firearm with the same make, model, and caliber as those in your collection, and one that shares a similar condition to your guns. Again, firearms listed with no bids, or that completed with no bids, will not make for an accurate comp. You want to find guns that actually sold.

We can simplify this process for you.

Cash for Arms will handle these steps on your behalf and provide you with a no-obligation cash offer for your gun collection.

Get my Cash Offer

Once you determine the fair market gun value, it's time to consider the various costs involved with selling a gun collection so you can decide what you want to walk away with when all is said and done.

Costs involved with selling your gun collection

While finding the sold price of comparable firearms can give you an idea of your gun collection's value, it's important to keep in mind that you will likely incur fees during the sale, such as auction fees, shipping costs, and other sales and transfer fees. From our experience, these various fees generally add up to roughly 10% of the sales price, depending on how you decide to sell.

When selling guns online with Cash for Arms, we cover all selling costs, including shipping, so the offer you get is the cash you receive.

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Beware of hidden fees when working with different companies, as we've seen many gun owners complain about hidden charges at various auction houses and platforms.

Set your target sales price and net profit target

When setting your target net profit, it's crucial to factor in the costs of selling to ensure that you're not setting an unrealistic expectation for the true, cash value of your collection. If you look only at the selling price, you may feel disappointed when you find out that you owe selling fees, transfer fees, or have to pay other costs like shipping.

The Different Ways to Sell Your Gun

There are many different ways to sell your gun collection. Depending on what your main goals are for selling, different options may suit your needs better than others. In this section, we'll explore the different options available to you and discuss the pros and cons of each.

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How to sell your gun collection fast

Several options are available to sell your gun collection quickly:

Selling to Cash for Arms

One of the fastest and easiest ways to sell your gun is to use Cash for Arms. You can get a cash offer by spending just two minutes of your time submitting your guns. Our team is excited to help you and will be there with you every step of the way.

We issue payment within 24 hours of receiving your gun, and cover all the selling costs, making it a great option to sell your gun. Plus, our clients often report that we offered them far more than the other offers they received, including local gun stores, pawn shops, and other online buyers. See for yourself:

“I received bids from a few other places and CFA offered more than double what some of the others offered. The process was extremely easy and smooth.”

Jeff S.

“I tried two local gun shops as well as two others on line and this was the best offer I got. They made it very quick and easy.”

Dennis D.

“Compared to other options, Cash for Arms pays top dollar and waste no time in completing the transaction.”

Allen G.

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Want to skip the hard parts?

Cash for Arms will do the heavy lifting for you, and make you a no obligation cash offer for your guns.

Get my Cash Offer

Selling to a Local Gun Shop

Another quick option is to sell your gun collection to a local gun shop. While many local gun shops don't have the cash on hand to buy a large collection, some may. If the gun shop is able to purchase your entire collection, then you'll likely get paid on the spot. However, you may not get top-dollar for the firearms sold, and unless you’re used to going into gun shops, it can be a little uncomfortable.

Selling to a Local Pawn Shop

Pawn shops are also an option, but they will probably offer you even less for your gun collection than a gun shop. Selling your guns to a pawn shop should be a last resort.

Selling to a Friend

If you have a friend who's interested in buying your gun collection, this is also a fast option. Whether you get top-dollar for your collection is up to you and your friend, but we are always happy to hear about gun sales between friends, as it is one of the most pleasant ways to sell guns.

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How to sell your gun collection for the most money

If you're looking to get the most money for your gun collection, and are willing to wait for your payment, there are several options available. Here are the main options:

Selling or Consigning Your Collection with Cash for Arms

Our priority is to secure the highest possible payment for your firearms collection. While our clients often inform us that our cash offers surpass those from other sources, if our offer doesn't meet your expectations, we'll consign your collection and expertly market it over 14 days to a marketplace of over 3 million gun enthusiasts nationwide to obtain top-dollar. 

After the sale, you'll receive a generous 85% split of the net sales price. The best part? We cover all selling costs and handle shipping, making the process as convenient as possible for you. Our goal is to give you all the perks and none of the headaches.

Selling Your Collection Privately

Selling your collection through a private transaction can also yield higher prices than selling to a gun shop or pawn shop. Here are several ways to do this:

Listing your gun on an online auction platform like GunBroker
Gunbroker homepage

Selling firearms online using platforms like GunBroker can be an excellent way to sell your collection for a competitive price. However, the signup process can be cumbersome, and you'll need to invest time in taking quality photos, preparing the listings, and performing a transfer through a local FFL. 

We have encountered many sellers who went through this hassle, only to achieve a lower price than our offer. Keep in mind, Gunbroker charges fees of 6% on the first $350 and 4% on the rest. Additional fees may apply if you boost your listing, which is necessary for full visibility. A limited or nonexistent reputation on the platform and the inability to accept credit cards can also make selling on Gunbroker challenging for many individuals.

Selling through a local listing website
Armslist homepage

Local listing websites, such as Armslist or regional online classifieds, offer another option for private gun sales. These platforms allow you to target potential buyers in your area, saving on shipping costs and facilitating transactions yourself. To sell on a local listing website, create a detailed post with high-quality photos, a clear description of the firearms' conditions, and your asking price. 

Be prepared to negotiate, as buyers may try to haggle for a better deal. Remember to comply with gun laws when selling your firearms, which may involve meeting at a local dealer (FFL holder) for the transfer. Selling on a local listing website can be time-consuming, with no guarantee of a quick sale or achieving your desired price. Additionally, you may spend literally hours interacting with someone that seema really interested just to have them ghost you.

Selling through a forum

Gun forums, like Calguns or The Firing Line, provide another avenue for private gun sales. These forums often have dedicated sections for buying, selling, and trading firearms. To sell on a forum, become an active member, and follow the community guidelines for posting your collection for sale. This may include providing a detailed description, quality photos, and a price aligned with the current market value.

The Firing Line forum homepage
Calguns forum homepage

Selling through a forum can be slower than other methods, as you may need to establish trust and credibility within the community before buyers engage with you.

Selling privately, unless to a friend, typically demands more effort on your part, as you will have to list your collection for sale, meet with strangers, deal with tire kickers, and possibly take it to an FFL for a transfer. This process usually takes much longer than selling to Cash for Arms, and you may ultimately end up with less cash in your pocket at the end of the day.

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How to have the most fun when selling your gun collection

There are quite a few options that can be fun. Most of them require a time and money investment, but can qield a good return although it is normally not guaranteed. We have a few of the options here:

Cash for Arms

Cash for Arms offers a guaranteed minimum price to cover your downside, and a guaranteed selling timeframe, ensuring you won't be waiting around for your payment. Utilizing a marketplace with over 3 million gun enthusiasts, and preparing best-in-class product listings, we routinely achieve record-breaking prices through our auctions. Plus, with a market-leading 15% consignment fee, our consignors receive 85% of the net sale value.

While we may not provide the same excitement as live gun auction houses, our team is passionate about assisting clients in selling firearms. Moreover, when your payment arrives the same day we receive your shipment, the experience becomes quite exhilarating.

Our team supports you throughout the entire process, offering friendly updates and prompt answers to any questions you may have. It might not be as lively as an auction or a bustling gun show, but selling to
Cash for Arms has its own enjoyable aspects.

Selling at a National, In-Person Auction

Selling your collection at a national, in-person auction house like Rock Island Auction Company can provide an exciting experience. You can view other firearms up for sale, and the thrilling atmosphere of the auction can be invigorating. However, this method may not be the quickest or most convenient, as it can take months and months to receive your payment. So, when does it make sense to use an auction house like Rock Island Auctions?Photo from Rock Island Auction - Collector Firearms Facebook Page

Rock Island Auction marketing post on Facebook
Photo from Rock Island Auction - Collector Firearms Facebook Page

We recommend working with an auction house if you possess genuine, museum-grade collectibles – firearms that can sell for $50,000 or more. Rock Island Auction Company (RIA) is our recommended choice for selling such collections, as it holds approximately 18 auctions annually (with 3 Premier Auctions), attracting a significant number of elite gun collectors and investors. This makes it the perfect venue for selling extremely rare and valuable firearms.

The downside of using Rock Island Auction Company, or any other auction house, is the potentially lengthy process to receive payment. Small Arms Review states that it can take up to six months for consignors to receive any money. Additionally, sellers have mentioned fees ranging from 20-25%, which can be quite steep

Selling your gun collection at a Gun Show

Gun shows present another alternative if you're seeking a fun and social experience. You'll engage with fellow gun enthusiasts and potentially obtain a good price for your firearms. However, you'll likely need to pay for a table at the show and may have to haggle and negotiate with buyers.

Now that you're familiar with the options for selling your gun collection, we want to help you steer clear of potential scams.

Thompson submachine gun with a drum
Photo from Rock Island Auction - Collector Firearms Facebook Page
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“We recommend working with an auction house if you possess genuine, museum-grade collectibles – firearms that can sell for $50,000 or more.”

In contrast, Cash for Arms offers a guaranteed minimum price to cover your downside, and a guaranteed selling timeframe, ensuring you won't be waiting around for your payment. Utilizing a marketplace with over 3 million gun enthusiasts, and preparing best-in-class product listings, we routinely achieve record-breaking prices through our auctions. Plus, with a market-leading 15% consignment fee, our consignors receive 85% of the net sale value.

Want to get top dollar without the waiting?

Maximize your profits through Cash for Arms. Guaranteed minimum price, fast selling timeframe, and high-quality product listings.

Get my Cash Offer

Selling your gun collection at a Gun Show

Gun shows present another alternative if you're seeking a fun and social experience. You'll engage with fellow gun enthusiasts and potentially obtain a good price for your firearms. However, you'll likely need to pay for a table at the show and may have to haggle and negotiate with buyers.

Selling your gun collection to Cash for Arms

While we may not provide the same excitement as live gun auction houses, our team is passionate about assisting clients in selling firearms. Moreover, when your payment arrives the same day we receive your shipment, the experience becomes quite exhilarating.

Our team supports you throughout the entire process, offering friendly updates and prompt answers to any questions you may have. It might not be as lively as an auction or a bustling gun show, but selling to
Cash for Arms has its own enjoyable aspects.

Now that you're familiar with the options for selling your gun collection, we want to help you steer clear of potential scams.

Want to skip the hard parts?

Cash for Arms will do the heavy lifting for you, and make you a no obligation cash offer for your guns.

Get my Cash Offer

Steering Clear of Scams

When selling firearms, it's crucial to remain vigilant about potential scams to avoid being exploited. Here are some tips to help you steer clear of scams:

Magnifying glass laying on an open notebook
Photo by RODNAE Productions: https://www.pexels.com/photo/office-display-business-market-7948058/

Watch out for fraudulent buyers.

Scammers may pretend to be buyers and offer to buy your collection, but they'll likely request personal information or some form of payment before finalizing the transaction. Always confirm the buyer's identity before divulging any personal information or accepting payment. If someone asks for security codes or anything similar, block them and move on. Don't let the excitement of finding a potential buyer impair your judgment.

Exercise caution with payment scams

Scammers may employ fake payment methods or assert they've sent payment when they haven't. Accept only secure and verifiable payment methods, such as cash, PayPal, Zelle, or other reliable payment options.

Choose a public meeting place.

When meeting a potential buyer, always select a public location to ensure your safety and prevent potential theft or violence. Consider contacting local gun shops to see if they would allow you to conduct transactions in their store.

Avoid shipping before receiving payment.

If you're dealing with a non-FFL private buyer, never ship the item before obtaining full payment. Scammers may assert that they've paid or will pay after receiving the item, but they'll likely vanish with your guns. Additionally, exercise caution when shipping without an FFL's assistance. Shipping a gun directly to a private buyer out of state is illegal and could result in serious consequences. When in doubt, always use an FFL for your transfer, even if not legally required.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can reduce the risk of being scammed while selling your firearms. Always exercise caution and trust your instincts when interacting with potential buyers.

Want to skip the hard parts?

Cash for Arms will do the heavy lifting for you, and make you a no obligation cash offer for your guns.

Get my Cash Offer

Legal Aspects of Selling Your Firearms Collection

When transferring ownership of your firearms collection, it's crucial to carefully consider the current laws and regulations. Make sure to research the legal requirements for selling firearms in your state, as each state has different rules. Although federal laws, such as background checks, are not always mandated for private party sales, some states do require them. Consequently, it's important to be aware of both federal and state laws when selling your firearms.

Here are some common federal laws to keep in mind when selling your firearms:

Federal law forbids certain individuals from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving firearms or ammunition, including any person who:

  • Has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year
  • Is a fugitive from justice
  • Is an unlawful user of, or addicted to, any controlled substance
  • Has been adjudicated as mentally defective or committed to a mental institution
  • Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States
  • Is an alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (with certain exceptions)
  • Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions
  • Has renounced United States citizenship
  • Is subject to a qualifying protective order
  • Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

Here are some examples of common state requirements, which vary depending on the state:

  • Some states mandate a background check or permit for private sales, while others allow transactions directly with private buyers.
  • Some states ban specific types of firearms (i.e. some modern firearms) or magazines.
  • Some states require firearms registration with state or local law enforcement, while others don't necessitate such documentation.
  • Some states have waiting periods for firearm purchases.
  • Some states require sellers to document the sale or report it to law enforcement.
  • Some states have different laws regarding selling a gun collection to a family member.

To learn more about selling a gun in your state and ensuring compliance with local laws, click here and then choose your state.

General Recordkeeping and Etiquette

When selling a firearm collection, it's recommended to maintain accurate records, follow appropriate etiquette, and maintain a friendly and professional demeanor. Here are some general suggestions:

Bill of Sale

FA bill of sale documents the transaction and safeguards both the buyer and seller. It should list the make, model, and serial number of the firearm, the sale date, the names and addresses of both the buyer and seller, and the purchase price. Both parties should retain a copy of the bill of sale for their records.

Identification

Verify the buyer's identification and confirm that they are legally permitted to purchase firearms. Some states require a background check before selling a firearm, so research your state's laws before finalizing the sale.

Shipping

If shipping the firearm, adhere to proper procedures and comply with all relevant laws. Depending on the destination, you may need a licensed firearms dealer to ship the firearm. It's always illegal to ship a gun directly to a private buyer out of state.

Secure Storage

Until the firearm is sold, securely store it to prevent unauthorized access. This is particularly crucial if you have children at home or live in a high-crime area.

Friendliness and Professionalism

Maintain a friendly and professional demeanor throughout the transaction process. Be open to answering any questions the buyer may have and be patient in your interactions. Exhibiting a positive attitude and a professional approach will help foster trust between you and the buyer, contributing to a successful transaction.

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“Maintain a friendly and professional demeanor throughout the transaction process.”

Following these general guidelines will help ensure a smooth and legal transaction when selling your firearms.

By taking these steps, you can confidently sell your firearms collection, knowing you've acted safely, legally, and responsibly. Whether downsizing your collection or merely freeing up space, selling your firearms collection can be a fulfilling way to pass on these treasures to a new owner who will appreciate them as much as you have.

We know the process is overwhelming. That is why we created our company -- to help people sell their guns quickly and easily without dealing with any stress or confusion. Cash for Arms can simplify, expedite, and secure the process of selling your firearms collection, ensuring you receive a fair price while minimizing hassle.

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"By taking these steps, you can confidently sell your firearms collection."

Regardless of the path you choose, taking time to research and prepare will contribute to a successful and rewarding experience when selling your gun collection. By staying informed and diligent, you can navigate the sales process with confidence and pass on your valued items to new owners who will appreciate and cherish them just as you have.

When dealing with the legality of selling guns, we always recommend using a firearms attorney to answer any questions you have, as laws are always changing all around us.

Happy selling!

Want to skip the hard parts?

Cash for Arms will do the heavy lifting for you, and make you a no obligation cash offer for your guns.

Get my Cash Offer

Wrapping Up

Selling a gun can be a straightforward process when you follow the necessary steps. It's essential to first determine your goals for selling your firearm.  Then, figure out the value of your gun, considering factors such as the make and model, condition, and comparable sales. Explore different selling options based on your priorities, whether it be convenience, maximum profit, or a fun experience. Always be vigilant and cautious when dealing with potential buyers to avoid scams and ensure a safe transaction.

Furthermore, make sure you are aware of both federal and state laws regarding firearm sales and adhere to any legal requirements in your area. Proper recordkeeping and etiquette are crucial to ensuring a smooth and legal transaction.

Options like Cash for Arms can make the process of selling your gun easier, faster, and more secure, ensuring you get a fair price while minimizing the hassle. No matter the route you choose, taking the time to research and prepare will help you have a successful and rewarding experience selling your firearm.

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We value your interest in our services. Due to regulatory requirements, we can only accept contact information from individuals 21 years of age or older. However, individuals aged 18 and above are eligible to sell firearms through our platform. If you are between 18 to 21 years old, please exit this pop-up and refrain from providing your phone number. Those under 18 should leave the website. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in adhering to these guidelines.

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