Pros: Comprehensive, valuable information
Cons: Needs to be better known
Blue Book of Gun Values
Blue Book of Gun Values, 27th Edition, by SP Fjestad (2006)
This book sells over a million copies whenever a new edition comes out, so it is extremely popular even though many persons reading this may not have heard of it.
It is shocking to me, a firearms and history enthusiast, that the Blue Book of Gun Values - the recognized Bible of firearms pricing - has not been reviewed yet on the wonderful shoppers paradise that is Epinions. I know that many of you reading this are enthusiasts also because I attend the local gun shows and they are continually packed to the rafters with interested parties buying and selling and many of them use this book to determine what is fair and reasonable.
There are many times this book comes in handy. First of all, nobody can be in touch with every single model and variation of firearm produced by manufacturers today, let alone all the firearms produced since the industrial revolution. But that's what the Blue Book lists, pretty much anything made since cartridge firearms became the norm, about 1870 or so. For Colt firearms, that have such an intimate connection with American history, they go all the way back to the origins of the company in 1836.
The 1,700-page book is arranged in alphabetical order with the usual prefatory information like a table of contents, a few articles and ads for things like the National Rifle Association and National Firearms Museum, both highly recommended, by the way, then there follows a grading section that shows glossy full-color photographs of guns in various grades of condition. The photos are crystal clear and give a very good idea of where the wear occurs in the finish of various firearms. In collecting, condition is everything. There can be many, many dollars of difference in only minor differences of condition when you are examining a rare firearm, so it pays to do your homework before you part with some of your scarce resources (money) to take home a piece for your collection. Just to give you an example, an original Colt Single Action Army - the popular cowboy six-shooter seen in countless western movies can range in value from $450 to half-a-million bucks. !! It pays to know which one you are holding in your hand!
Once you get past the grading material, the paper turns to newsprint type and goes through the known makers of firearms from A to Z, with each model verbally described and pricing in several grades of condition listed.
By any chance if you find a firearm that is not listed in the main section, you will often find it in the "Store Brand Crossover" section. Some firearms manufacturers specialized in making guns for sellers like Sears & Roebuck, Western Auto, True Value, and many other concerns. These models are cross-referenced and will allow you to determine who actually manufactured the gun you are examining. This book along with The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson stay on the top shelf of my library. If you are a firearms enthusiast, you need one of these, too.
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