By Frank Iannamico
Eventually, no matter how much you enjoy shooting and collecting firearms, there comes a day when it’s time to pass your coveted collection onto new stewards. Many collections take a lifetime to build. Finding the appropriate venue to market your collection can be a daunting and emotional process.
What is the best way to legally dispose of your guns? Today, there are several options available; many that did not exist in the past. If you have had your collection for a number of years, you probably bought most of your guns through the advertisements in one of the monthly periodicals of the day, back when your word was your bond. Unfortunately, things have changed. A few potential buyers and sellers are simply scammers out to swindle unsuspecting individuals. And then there are those that get what is referred to as “cold feet.” These are individuals who want details, photographs and your time, only to back out of the deal using a plethora of excuses, too numerous to list here.
Disposing of your cherished collection through your heirs, who may not know the value, legal or other protocols of selling Class III goods, can be confusing for them. And they could open themselves up to being duped by a “friend” of the late owner; someone offering one low-ball price for everything, including all associated accessories that usually have substantial value themselves. If you haven’t made a list of your collection, accessories and their current values, it is prudent that you do so. Tagging each firearm, or making an inventory list, with a value and status: transferable, pre-May or post-May dealer sample. The Class III market is continuously changing; be sure to update the value of your inventory periodically.
Today, there are many more options available for disposing of machine guns and related goods.
One popular venue for buying and selling that has become very popular is the internet. This option allows for inexpensive advertising and instant posting of an ad. The disadvantage to this method is that many potential buyers and sellers are not comfortable with the internet; making a deal and sending a substantial amount of funds, without ever speaking or meeting the seller. Another option is to request an offer from one of the reputable dealers, many who will purchase entire collections.
Buying—Where Have All the Machine Guns Gone?
During the “good old days” just a few years ago it was relatively easy to find whatever machine gun or accessory you wanted. More recently, the availability of “the good stuff” has diminished, which often raises the question of “Where have they all gone?” The answer is into personal collections, and usually, the collections are not liquidated until the owner retires or passes away.
Whether you’re an advanced Class III enthusiast or ready to make your very first purchase, the procedures of buying a machine gun have changed a lot in the last few years. One of the major influences has been the widespread use of the internet. While the internet allows you to shop at home, there are risks involved. One disadvantage to internet shopping is the often vague descriptions in the text of the ads, which leave out many key details. On what ATF form will it be transferring from the current owner- is there a double tax involved? Any pitting or corrosion present? Can you rely on the (often) poor photographs of the gun taken with a cell phone?
Another increasingly popular option is a firearms auction. Auction houses that specialize in firearms are growing. Machine guns are expensive—if you are planning on spending a substantial sum of money it may be wise to attend the auction and view the guns firsthand. Attending an auction is very much like attending a gun show. All the firearms are available for examination by attendees, and (most) everything will be sold to the highest bidder. If you’re going to bid by phone or online, the auction houses offer professional photographs and accurate, detailed descriptions.
Since its founding in 1997 by Dan Morphy, Morphy Auctions has provided buyers and sellers with a venue for selling antiques and collectibles. Morphy Auctions is headquartered in Denver, Pennsylvania, along with an office in Las Vegas, Nevada, for west coast customers. Morphy’s is a full-service auction house, with over 35 premiere auctions annually. The company’s mission includes ensuring consignor satisfaction with every auction, offering world-class customer service and providing buyer support to create confidence for all clients seeking a pleasant selling or purchasing experience.
Morphy Auctions is one of the largest under-roof auction houses in the country, spanning over 45,000 square feet. The building is designed to meet the growing and changing needs of the industry. The well-lit, fully carpeted and climate-controlled gallery is customized to ensure the ideal atmosphere for the items housed within the facility. The items are secured properly and are professionally displayed to maximize their eye appeal. The auction room’s design features the latest telecommunications, wireless technology and custom acoustics for the best auction experience possible. Adjacent to the auction room is a comfortable dining area equipped with an audio-feed function and windows to enable bidders to monitor the auction activity while taking a break to enjoy lunch or dinner.
Morphy’s has an in-house staff dedicated to assist and advise both buyers and sellers with evaluating firearms, which includes an NFA weapons specialist. If you are new to the Class III world, the terminology and categories of guns can be confusing. The firearms staff at Morphy’s can guide you on the many types of NFA firearms: transferable, dealer samples, original receiver guns, C&R, tube guns, Rewats, Dewats and guns with welded receivers. All Class III items consigned for auction are transferred to the auction house. When the item is sold, Morphy’s submits the ATF paperwork to transfer the item to the successful bidder. The consignor receives payment after 45 days. Upon ATF approval, the shipping department packs the item and ships it to the new owner. There are buyers’ and sellers’ premiums. The seller’s commission fee is negotiable, depending on the size and value of the piece or collection.
Morphy Auctions has experienced tremendous growth over the years. During December 2017, Dan Morphy of Morphy Auctions announced that he had successfully merged with the renowned international auction company of James D. Julia, Inc., which then became a division of Morphy Auctions. Many firearms enthusiasts are familiar with the Julia Auction House for their many successful firearms auctions that offered some very unique and rare firearms. Morphy Auctions realized annual sales of $35 million dollars within the last year. Within this same period, Julia’s generated $43 million dollars in annual sales for a combined gross of $78 million dollars. With this total of potential annual sales, Morphy Auctions is poised to become one of the largest auction houses in the country. No collection is too large or too small for Morphy Auctions to consider.
The combination of the highly experienced and much acclaimed Julia team together with the outstanding auction team that Morphy has already formed will make Morphy Auctions the ultimate place to go for rare firearms and rare collectibles.
Whether you are interested in selling or buying guns, coins, dolls, toys, fine and decorative arts, automobiles, advertising, coin-op, jewelry, cast iron or general antiques, Morphy’s can provide the specialist and departments to accommodate you. By having category-specific sales, they can target the top collectors through their marketing and advertising efforts. Visit their website for the dates and times of upcoming auctions.
For More Information
Morphy Auctions is located at 2000 North Reading Road, Denver, PA, 17517 and can be reached by telephone at 877-986-8880, Facsimile 717-336-7115. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Denver, PA, Auction Gallery is open 7 days a week, Monday through Friday, 9:00am-4:00pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9.00am-1.00pm. The Las Vegas facility is located at 4520 Arville Street, Las Vegas, NV, 89103 and is open Monday through Friday from 9:00am-4:00pm. For more information regarding Morphy Auctions, visit morphyauctions.com.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N5 (May 2019)