GUIDELINE FOR DETERMINING THE “COLLECTIBILITY OF A FIREARM”

 

1.       Background:

 These Guidelines have been prepared to address the requirements of Section 17(1) (a) of the FCA of 2000, which reads  “A firearm which may be possessed in a private collection is any firearm approved for collection by an accredited collectors association

 

2.       Introduction:

Given the wide diversity of legitimate firearm collecting interests, the “collectability” or otherwise of a specific firearm is determined not so much by the firearm itself, but rather by the  context within which it is being considered.

This is recognised by the various Collector Associations and in the FCA Regulations, through an appreciation of the specific Collector’s area of interest or focus . This is referred to in FCA Regulation 5(1)(a) as ‘Theme or Field of Interest’  and is covered in greater detail in a related Naaccsa publication devoted to this topic.

It is therefore generally accepted that the ‘Collectability’ of a given firearm is assessed primarily by the ‘Fit’ and ‘value’ of that firearm within the context of that Collector’s stated Field of Interest and/or Theme(s),  as approved by the accredited Collectors Association of which that Collector is a Member  .

 

3.       Determination of Value:

‘Value’ can be measured in a number of different ways , but the  FCA Regulations July 2004 give us some guidance in this regard by referring to   the “Historical, Technological, Scientific,  Heritage, Cultural, Artistic, and Educational  value ” of firearms, plus “Other” elements of value which the Association may determine , within the  specific “Theme or Field of Interest”

 

4.       Other recognised attributes of “value”:

(as referred to in the FCA Regulation 5(1)(a)  which  Collectors’ Associations would typically recognise under “Other” )

4.1     The “Classic” approach

Many artefacts, be they cars, clocks, jewellery, furniture , or toys , tend to achieve what is often referred to as ‘Classic’ status of interest to Collectors when they are typically 25 years old or more . In many respects this can apply to Firearms as well i.e.

The Firearm should be at least 25 years old (moving window), with one or more of the attributes alluded to in the above definitions i.e. Historic, Technological, Scientific, Heritage, Cultural, Artistic, Educational or Other defined by the Association  .

 

4.2     The “Emerging Classic” approach

Similar to the examples used in the ‘Classic Approach’, it is often possible to identify artefacts which are showing signs of becoming a ‘classic’ even after only a short period of them being discontinued. In the case of firearms we can therefore consider–

The Firearm should be discontinued for at least 10 years, with the likelihood of becoming of interest from a Historic, Technological, Scientific, Heritage, Cultural, Artistic, Educational, or Other approved perspective.

 

4.3     The “Thematic” Approach

 

4.3.1      Part of a demonstrable Theme of “current value”:

 

There are numerous legitimate ‘Themes’, but one example might be a collection of oldest to newest “xxxx” (including origin, maker, designer, user, type, design, style, usage, calibre, etc.)

 

4.3.2      Part of a demonstrable Theme of “future value”, where the likelihood of such future value can be demonstrated or motivated.

 

4.4     The “Uniqueness” Approach

 

4.4.1      Commemorative issues (e.g. Mauser Gewehr 98 centenary)

 

4.4.2      Limited editions (e.g. “Last of the Walther PP’s” cased sets)

 

 4.4.3      Proven (or generally accepted) association with famous (or infamous) people or events

 

4.4.4      Current scarcity or rarity (locally or internationally) for whatever reason

 

4.4.5      Unusual or unique design, materials or method of manufacture  

 

4.4.6      Custom or “one off’s”

 

4.4.7      Prototypes

 

4.4.8      Limited production runs

 

4.4.9      Investment grade firearms

 

4.4.10    A Heritage Object, as described in the National Heritage Resources Act, and its associated Regulations 

 

5.         Replica’s and Representative Examples:

It is often not possible for reasons of availability or price, for collector’s to own ‘original examples’ of the artefacts within their Field of Interest.

 In many instances it is therefore only possible to acquire Replicas of well known or famous fire arms (e.g. Historical, Marque, or Model).

 

 

Prepared and approved by NAACCSA ExCo