Suggestions on how best to identify collectable ammo?


I am currently dealing with a pretty large assortment of pre 90s random ammunition some in original boxes and some not. I am still cataloging what I have, but the list so far appears to be extensive. I don’t believe the previous owner was necessarily an ammo collector, but they also would collect odd pieces of firearm history so there is the chance some is mixed in there. My fear is there may be ammo that would be of interest to the collector and it ends up getting shot, traded, or disposed of because we don’t know what we have.

I guess I am looking for a relatively easy way to identify what is collectable and what isn’t. With firearms and military gear, using sites like gunbroker, rock island, and james julia have made things somewhat easier to organize what we can pull up in past auctions. I didn’t know if there were similar sites for ammunition and cartridge collecting especially one where it is easy to compare images to make sure the identification is correct since my knowledge here is nothing.

I realize there is a huge assortment of what is out there and every collector has their own taste, but any guidance would be appreciated. If this was only more modern ammo, I wouldn’t bother asking, but some of the boxes appear to be pretty old even if they are name brands I recognize like WInchester Western and Remington.



Welcome to the Forum.

There are a number of very knowledgeable cartridge collectors who participate here on the forum and can provide sound advice on what is collectable and what is common shooting ammunition.

Probably the best way to get advice on this matter using the Forum is to take a series of good quality, in focus and properly lighted photos of groups of boxes (say 5 to 10 boxes at a time) showing the box labels and then a group picture of the same boxes showing the information on the box end tabs. Then post the pictures here on the forum.

Start off with a few sets of group photos of box labels & end tabs that you think are of interest, this should provide you with some good feedback on what you are dealing with and how to proceed.



Thanks I was tempted on doing that, and figured I would ask before I get to deep in the inventory process. I just didn’t want to flood the forum due to how many there are.

Once I get some ones that appear interesting I will post some photos.


For example here are a couple of older ones I just pulled out of a can.


That is a very difficult question to answer, as it all comes down to what someone wants to collect. One person may throw good money at you for 22 rimfire ammo that someone else would either walk past or shoot.

The question is what are your interests in the ammo? Are you interested in collecting or just looking to sell it off for the family of the previous owner?


I don’t really have any interest in collecting nor the space to do so. At this point I think the goal is to shoot what is cheap and sell what isn’t. I don’t necessarily have a cut off as far as dollar amount, but I just worry I will shoot something I would be better off selling.

Right now my method is to essentially search the box on google images and see one that matches. Then I check to see if it takes me to a site selling them to get an idea on price.


The first set of pictures are great!

I not an expert but I would say the Remington Kleanbore, Winchester & Peters boxes are collectable.

Post more pictures.Something that may help is when you are writing something in a dialog box here on the forum you can drag and drop pictures stored on your computer into your open dialog box. Said pictures are then stored in your dialog box and can be easily seen when anyone opens the thread.

Also you need to allow some time for Forum members to see your postings, many people only look once a day or every couple of days.



These are boxes that may appeal more to gun collectors for display with a gun of that caliber. Especially if shrink wrapped in plastic for preservation and adding the appearance of being something special. I would expect to find gun collectors paying about $35-50 per box for these.
Just my sense of the market for this stuff, others may think they are worth more or less, but at least it is a starring point for you.


Nice set of .41 Colt boxes. All are collectable. Remington’s with the red end flap were only offered for a short time. They also offered that same style box with white instead of red on the end, the other Remington, with the child warning, is from the 1960’s.

About value, a gun collector would pay more for one of those (full, correct, and in nice condition) to go with a gun he had than a cartridge collector. So different markets.

Cartridge collectors have more of a feel for what it out there than gun collectors as they are just looking for a nice period box to go with the firearm & could for the most part care less if one Remington box was harder to find than another provided the price was the same.

These are not really old being one-piece end flap boxes. (the older style had packaging in a 2-piece box, lift-off top ) However as they are still in reasonably nice condition (although the Western & the Peters are a bit worn) they are certainly collectable to a gun or ammo collector.

Also a factor in boxes is if they have the correct ammunition, or not in them, has a major effect in the value, mostly for gun collectors, as a lot of cartridge collectors are quite happy with a empty box.

As to giving you an actual $ value without knowing your market (gun or ammo), actually holding the box & looking inside it’s very hard to do with any accuracy, because of the above mentioned factors.

hope this is of use,.

I just saw JohnS’s reply & another side of that is that shrink wrapping can crush the box somewhat. A better approach, in my mind, is to wrap it closely with Mylar & tape the seams with a short piece of cello-tape so it’s not airtight. Wrapping does two things it keeps dirty fingers from soiling the box if it’s handled often and 2, if dropped it helps strengthen the box & prevent catastrophic breakage.
Personally I prefer my collection boxes unwrapped as I think the paper and the ammo need to breath. However I do wrap boxes when I offer then for sale because of the two above mentioned problems.