A few thoughts and facts on Collecting (H&Rs and others)
I wrote this posting on "another" forum, in response to a bunch of negative postings regarding collecting "junque" guns, which the poster(s) identified as Iver Johnsons, H&Rs, Hopkins and Allens, Forehand, Forehand & Wadsworth, etc. - you know - all the non-S&W/Colt/Winchester/Remington/High Standard etc. HIGH END collectibles. I offer it here, because I thought it was pertinent to this site, also. Although, we don't see as much "negative" crap here as on other sites. It's a bit long, but - I enjoyed rereading it this AM.
I think a general FYI is due here. I began collecting H&R firearms just about 16 years ago. At that time, prices were fairly low, because demand for these guns, as collectibles, was also low. I was able, for a couple of years to set my limit for purchase price at $100. The pricing guides available at that time, were woefully inadequate with respect to descriptions and information and well as pricing. As my collecting HABIT became more fixed in my psyche, I found myself in possession of most of the "commonly" available and lower cost examples, models and variants. I also found the prices rising a bit, from year to year - this from personal experience, not internet chatter or listings in so called authoritative guides. My collection expanded, as I became able to spend more on needed items. I found myself raising my bar to 200, then 500 and finally to over 1000 bucks for items that were scarce or were cross collectible. This often put me in "conflict" with S&W and Colt collectors, as well as generalist collectors. Over those past years, I have personally purchased over 600 H&R firearms, of all types and flavors - some of them quite rare and eminently desireable as attested to by the winning bids on on-line auctions, live auctions and gunshows, other collectors, etc. I became acquainted with several high level colletors of H&R specialty/rare/scarce firearms as well as several well known researchers/authors. During the past few years, as more information has become available both on-line and in print (primarily "THE BLUE BOOK..." rewrite) the interest in H&R firearms, as well as other "inexpensive" brands, has increased and the collecting of these firearms has driven the prices to higher levels. Over the past 3 years I have sold close to 200 examples of H&R handguns, of all ages and models, etc. - most being duplicates of better examples - and have only TWICE (out of approx. 200 times) either lost money or broken even (1 time each) with what I originally had invested in those pieces. Most of these ~200 items, were sold through one of the top on-line auctions and the remainder were sold, personally, by me at gunshows at which I worked with a couple friends who hold FFLs - in PA you must transfer ownership of modern handguns through a licensed dealer. In most cases my "GAIN on INVESTMENT" was 20 to 50% - in some cases it was as high as 142%. These returns are MEGA times better than any monetary investment that I've made in the past 30 years.
My point? Well, I'm saying that to baldly state that H&R, IJ, H&A, etc. firearms are cheap, inexpensive, poorly made S-N-S type firearms that don't sell for more than 100 bucks, is, well, just plain wrong. I've bought and SOLD H&R handguns for over $800. I've bought several shotguns for just under and just over $1000. I've bought several rifles (M1 Garands) for well over $1400 each.
I'm not suggesting that anyone should get into collecting any type of firearm and expect it to perform as well as my collecting/collection has - of course timing is everthing - but the fact remains - there are people interested in getting their feet wet in the collecting field and who don't want to spend their entire "poke" on one single example of a S&W Model 3 or Colt Model P SAA or a Winchester HighWall in 50-110, but would like to have several to many pieces of honest American historical firearms that show the development of that Industry over time.
I know this is long and probably boring to most readers, but I've been biting my tongue for years when reading the POOH-POOH that is written about H&R and other firearms of that class. Usually from people who have an agenda or bias towards the "QUALITY" collectible, in their estimation, firearms. Do what you want to do, but don't try to squash what others want to do.
I agree that the rewrite and repricing done for H&R firearms, beginning with the 29th Edition of "THE BLUE BOOK of GUN VALUES" by S. Fjestad, has gone a long way towards opening some folks eyes to the collectibilty and values of H&Rs. We need some "new blood" to get into the Hopkins and Allen, Forehand and Wadsworth, etc. collecting and research, so that these old venerables can take a rightful place in the collecting/pricing guides.
Thanks for reading.
Jim Hauff, H&R Collector and Researcher[/color]
Jim Hauff, H&R Collector and Researcher
Jim Hauff, H&R Collector
RIP Jim, passed away on October 12th, 2012