Collector ammunition as an investment


#1

The question of buying collector ammunition as an investment comes up from time to time. This is easy to answer. DON"T.

Buy collector items bcause you want to own them. If they increase in value it is a bonus.

The cartridge market is VERY small and specialized. Most cartridges are worth very little and the ones which are rare and valuable are too risky to be considered as investments. Add to that the wild cards of new laws , natural decay , thining of the major collector pool which reduces the retail value of rare items and at the same time adds collections to the market further reducing value.

Some items you will only see for sale once in your lifetime but most you will see over and over again. Buy the ones which you like and can afford without creating family problems.

Establish a budget and stick to it.

Try to specialize. There are far too many cartridges to be had for general collectors and in any collecting field knowing a little about a lot is not as good as knowing a lot about a little.

BUY REFERENCE MATERIAL. A $20 book can save you hundreds of dollars. IGNORANCE is expensive. Recently on ebay a hand full of folks bid up a hand sectioned $20 flechette cartridge to well over $100 and I saw a .45 ACP with ECS headstamp for sale at a huge price identified as made for GERMAN paratroopers in WW2.

Most of us have shells which we paid too much for when we didn’t know any better. The quicker you get to know better the more enjoyable your collecting will be.

If you have money to invest and are not an INVESTOR put it in triple tax free bonds NOT collector cartridges.


#2

Damn! There goes my retirement!


#3

I thought you teachers were raking it in. No ? NEA officials seem to knock down some good bread. No filter down ?

As long as you have a gun to go with the ammo you can eat.


#4

I keep hearing about all these rich teachers. Well, maybe one day I’ll meet one.


#5

Well said. I have seen 20 5.45x39mm cartridges go down in value to .15 per round surplus shooter ammo in the past year or so! Fortunately for me I shoot all of the calibers I collect.

I am married to a teacher. They do not get paid half of what they should, beleive me. The BS they have to put up with dealing with piles of laws, regulations and requirements plus the useless, mouthbreather parents that want the schools to raise their kids for them…no way brother!

AKMS


#6

I know it well. We live in a culture which heaps money on trash entertainment types but begrudes the most important of our citizen workers what they get; teachers, soldiers, policemen, emergency med, firemen,- you know who they are. Try calling a rock star when your house in on fire. GOD , why do we all have to be so stupid.


#7

Well, there are some benefits. My students just got dismissed at 11:00 due to bad weather. Jonny’s off to Chinese Buffet!!!


#8

If there is any group of professionals in this country which is more under-appreciated and under-compensated than good teachers I am at a loss to name it. Won’t go further down that road on this site.

I agree that purchasing most any “collectible” item, including cartridges, as an investment is at best a crap shoot and not a viable investment vehicle.

That said, there have been many times I have wished I could transform my collection into stamps or coins of equal rarity so I could write my eMail from my beach front cabana in Rio. Thing is, I could care less about little bits of colored paper or silver and it would have been far harder to assemble the collection I have. Certainly it would have entailed far higher expenditures and, for me, a lot less pleasure!

.


#9

[quote=“Iconoclast”]If there is any group of professionals in this country which is more under-appreciated and under-compensated than good teachers I am at a loss to name it. Won’t go further down that road on this site.

I agree that purchasing most any “collectible” item, including cartridges, as an investment is at best a crap shoot and not a viable investment vehicle.

That said, there have been many times I have wished I could transform my collection into stamps or coins of equal rarity so I could write my eMail from my beach front cabana in Rio. Thing is, I could care less about little bits of colored paper or silver and it would have been far harder to assemble the collection I have. Certainly it would have entailed far higher expenditures and, for me, a lot less pleasure!

CSAEOD

I have collected stamps and coins as well. Stamp collecting is the most popular hobby in the world . You could fill your living room with stamps of the world for what a Winchester headstamped one inch Gatling costs. All of these collecting disciplines offer an historical and geographical perspective which is missing in the minds of most men (and women).

I have also sold all of these types of collectibles. In my experience the only one which comes close to an “investment” is coin collecting. “Investment” meaning that one recovers the cost plus a percentage of growth over time. This , of course , assumes that one does not buy over priced display type materials from the various commercial “mints”. Government minted precious metal and “key coins” bought with an eye on the bullion market AND the coin market can return a good increase.

ALL INVESTMENTS HAVE TO BE WATCHED REGULARLY. IF THEY ARE NOT , SOMEONE ELSE WILL BE MAKING MONEY WITH YOUR MONEY.

It is wise not to collect ANYTHING as an investment unless you first educate yourself about the field and the market. This includes collecting (saving) money as money shrinks in value unless “invested” in some medium of growth. When my father died the emergency $20 bill which he kept in his wallet was only worth $4 in current buying power. CASH is a trap for the ignorant. If your money is not growing at the rate of inflation plus your tax rate YOU ARE LOSING BUYING POWER.

It is hard for me to understand anyone who does not appreciate the real silver dollars and 20 dollar gold pieces. Put 20 real US silver dollars in your pocket and you will get some idea of what a dollar really was. Gold colored “token” dollars- BLAH ! Any one with interest in coin collecting feel free to contact me - stamps; not so much. Try a pocket full of early Russian 5 KOPEC coins if you want to know what Russian money was really worth in the days of Empire. Serious coinage !

Getting back to cartridges as an “investment”. I recently purchased a lifetime collection assembled by a major , serious collector of a particular caliber for $1,000 plus shipping. I am sure that he spent thousands of dollars over 35 years just in travel and show expenses. Of couse he had a good time but as an investment it was a bust. It is easy to confuse investing and entertainment until you get to the bottom line.
.[/quote]


#10

I agree that you need to focus on the enjoyment of collecting whatever it is you choose to collect, rather than looking at the collection solely as an investment. However, how you choose to go about assembling your collection determines how good an investment it will be. If you focus only on the specific items you need to fill the gaps in the collection, you will end up usually paying premium prices for your additions; not only are you assembling a great collection, but you also have the satisfaction in some cases of knowing you are the buyer responsible for setting the record price for a particular item.

I choose to take more of a shotgun approach to my cartridge collecting, buying in quantity with the goal of selling the excess items to pay for a small number of items I choose to keep. While I have a tough time turning loose of some items in order to achieve this goal at times, I have been able to assemble a pretty good collection that has essentially paid for itself. I may have to wait a while to pick up a particular item that I want to add, but eventually, it will come along. In the meantime, I have added items I didn’t even know I wanted, and have had a lot of fun along the way. There’s not much I enjoy more than sorting through a newly acquired batch of dirty old ammo.


#11

I know what you are saying Guy, I have sorted through carrier bags and buckets full of empty cases, saving the best examples of each headstamp. I have even had to sort through a bucket again once to find one case I realised I threw in there by mistake when it was supposed to go on the “keepers” pile. A while ago I sent a bucket (weighing about 25lbs) of 7.62 cases for scrap after sorting through, and got


#12

Falcon, actually after many commercial shooting ranges here sweep up the brass, they either sort it themselves in slack periods or sell it to others who do - the primary types being handgun and “military” origin casings. The fired brass is then sold to reloaders for discounted prices. The average rod and gun club range where I shoot is often (not always) picked clean of everything except non-reloadable stuff such as Berdan primed cases, CCI NR types and steel casings (milsurp or inexpensive Russian import product such as Wolf). Actually, if one knows when a police agency is practicing or qualifying (I have always lived in relatively rural areas where these agencies typically don’t have their own ranges), that is when to go if one wants to scrounge brass, as the LEOs receive quality (usually) ammo in quantity without charge (as well they should) and seldom take the brass away. The last time I bought any brass for reloading common cartridges was at least a decade ago, and then only because the price was so low I couldn’t refuse ($0.002 each, for once fired).

.


#13

[quote=“Guy Hildebrand”]I agree that you need to focus on the enjoyment of collecting whatever it is you choose to collect, rather than looking at the collection solely as an investment. However, how you choose to go about assembling your collection determines how good an investment it will be. If you focus only on the specific items you need to fill the gaps in the collection, you will end up usually paying premium prices for your additions; not only are you assembling a great collection, but you also have the satisfaction in some cases of knowing you are the buyer responsible for setting the record price for a particular item.

I choose to take more of a shotgun approach to my cartridge collecting, buying in quantity with the goal of selling the excess items to pay for a small number of items I choose to keep. While I have a tough time turning loose of some items in order to achieve this goal at times, I have been able to assemble a pretty good collection that has essentially paid for itself. I may have to wait a while to pick up a particular item that I want to add, but eventually, it will come along. In the meantime, I have added items I didn’t even know I wanted, and have had a lot of fun along the way. There’s not much I enjoy more than sorting through a newly acquired batch of dirty old ammo.[/quote]

CSAEOD

This is where you turn the page from collector to dealer. Collector and dealer are two entirely different identities from an investment point of view.

My comments prior have been for “collectors”. The business of collectors ammunition is a far different matter. Once you start buying in duplicate or more with the purpose of selling you have established a business. I discourage collectors from “investing” in a collection. I encourage those who want to take the step to “dealing” on whatever limited or unlimited basis they can feel comfortable with. This sort of business expands the collecting universe AND can be a good investment of your cash.


#14

I found the dealing identity a necessity to be able to enjoy the collector identity; I have done both for about 25 years. The availability of the internet sure has made it so much easier for the collectors and the sellers.

Why would you discourage a collector from investing in a collection?? I can’t think of a better way for a beginning collector to get started than to find a collection to buy.


#15

Ike, I am surprised anyone can be bothered to sit there and sort through it, although I did wonder if they sold it to reloaders. But once you have the reloadable stuff, all the brass Berdan primed cases, damaged cases and rimfire cases could still bring in a few extra dollars as scrap for doing little. I reckon a garbage can full would be worth about $100 (well about


#16

[quote=“Guy Hildebrand”]I found the dealing identity a necessity to be able to enjoy the collector identity; I have done both for about 25 years. The availability of the internet sure has made it so much easier for the collectors and the sellers.

Why would you discourage a collector from investing in a collection?? I can’t think of a better way for a beginning collector to get started than to find a collection to buy.[/quote]

You might want to start reading this post from the beginning.


#17

I’d rather not.


#18

Falcon, if a person is selling 1xF cases to resell for a typical $0.03 - $0.10 each and they have several large buckets a day to sort, it can be reasonably lucrative (if mind-numbingly boring) to do so. Typically, they concentrate on semi-auto pistol and rifle types. The folks who shoot wheelguns and bolt actions are less likely to scatter their brass.

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#19

I’d rather not.[/quote]

Your answer is there for the taking.


#20

Falcon
There are case sorters available that sort for both caliber and berdan/boxer cases, at the rate of thousands/hour.

The ranges I go to (I scavange all my own brass + all I can use that others have left behind) sell their brass to a commerical reloader (same one they purchase their reloaded ammo from).

These guys are using automated systems (like the Camdex camdexloader.com/products.htm) that go from “buckets of brass” to “boxed ammo” untouched by human hand.

You can believe that anything that they can’t use themselves or sell to another reloader is being sold for scrap metal.