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Collecting antique and historic weapons : What type of collector of historic weapons are you?

Discover your collector profile.



Collection of antique and historic weapons for sale
Collection of antique and historic weapons for sale


Antique and historical weapons collection: Who are the collectors of historical weapons... There is no single answer. There are 5 main categories, but as many motivations as there are collectors.

Percussion musket dating from the 19th century
Percussion musket dating from the 19th century

The "heir" collector: This is a collector who inherits an antique weapon that has often been hung above a fireplace or piece of furniture. These weapons are often kept in memory of a relative. Most of these weapons are of limited value due to their modest provenance, unless they come from a wealthy residence. On the other hand, some weapons are undiscovered treasures. The market value of a gun is based on a number of criteria, including its rarity, working order and historical interest. Unfortunately, many heir collectors are disappointed when an expert confirms a market value that is far lower than their hopes, childhood perceptions or sentimental value. Often, the best place to find the highest value for an inherited antique weapon is at the top of the fireplace or the piece of furniture from which the weapon has always hung.



Blunderbuss musket: a MUST for any serious collector!
Blunderbuss musket: a MUST for any serious collector!


The "Militia" collector: Often a hunter, policeman, soldier, etc., the "Militia" collector acquires weapons used during his years of service as a souvenir of an almost visceral passion. In Canada, with the adoption of new regulations on firearms that prohibit combat weapons, the "Militia" collector must set his sights on authentic historical weapons that are permitted, mainly if they were manufactured BEFORE 1898. The "Militia" collector will have a preference for functional historical weapons and will be excited by the idea of occasionally firing black powder at a range or shooting club. It should be remembered that authentic historic weapons are over 100 years old. We strongly advise against using them for live firing. It is better to acquire a replica of a historic flintlock weapon if the "Militia" collector wishes to practise shooting with black powder. Once again, it is important to comply with the firearms regulations in force, particularly where replica historical weapons are concerned. In Canada, flintlock muskets reproducing weapons manufactured BEFORE 1898 may be owned, transported, stored and displayed without a firearms licence. However, this privilege is limited for replica flintlock pistols, even those that reproduce weapons manufactured BEFORE 1898.



Soldier of the Régiment de Berry
Soldier of the Régiment de Berry

The "Heritage" collectors: Often history buffs, "heritage" collectors look for guns that are associated with historical events. They are fascinated by the weapon's contribution to a conflict, the reputation of its user or the gunsmith who made it. Durringer and Probin are two examples of weapons prized by "heritage" collectors. The heritage collector's mission is to pass on the military memory to future generations. Heritage collectors prefer authentic weapons. But they will also appreciate replicas of historic muskets and pistols, provided they are faithful to the original weapons. It is also common to find "heritage" collectors dressed in the uniform of an 18th or even 17th century soldier, reproducing military manoeuvres in life-size events.


Thomas Probin's pistol: one of the last five in the world
Thomas Probin's pistol: one of the last five in the world

The "investor" collector: The "investor" collector is recognised by his considerable financial resources and his long-term vision for the resale of his precious objects. The "investor" collector understands that he must limit himself to acquiring historic weapons of great value and avoid buying every weapon offered to him. The "investor" collector looks for rarity and quality. They will not hesitate to pay thousands of dollars for a recognised weapon that is in demand. When an "investor" collector decides to buy replicas of antique weapons, he won't be satisfied with buying just one weapon... he'll make sure he has a complete and logical collection of replicas. For example, he'll want a collection of at least 4 to 6 guns from the same manufacturer; Charleville for French guns or Tower for British guns, etc. The collector is more interested in quality than quantity.


Replica pistol made by Tower
Replica pistol made by Tower

The "compulsive" collector: This is generally a budding collector who discovers himself and decides to buy everything on offer. Their aim is to exhibit as many weapons as possible, often of lesser quality. However, the value of his collection will remain stagnant or even decline if his selection of weapons is based on the quantity of weapons exhibited rather than their quality. Sometimes, the 'compulsive' collector's stage is a step that will lead the person to increase the quality of his acquisitions so that he qualifies in the 'Heritage' or 'Investor' category, but more often than not, the 'compulsive' collector will abandon his passion for lack of means, space or... threats from his spouse.


High-quality replica of a Light Dragoon pistol... another must-have for any collection!
High-quality replica of a Light Dragoon pistol... another must-have for any collection!

Aim for quality rather than quantity: A collection worthy of the name should ideally include at least 6 historic weapons. It's better to opt for authenticity and rarity rather than quantity for lesser quality. High-quality replicas that are faithful to the original weapons are an interesting compromise, since they are magnificent to display and can be used for live firing in compliance with the law and safety conditions. Don't hesitate to consult a professional gunsmith and collectors' groups before buying a historic weapon. Some replicas are so good that even a trained eye can fall for them.


British Flintlock Brown Bess Musket
British Flintlock Brown Bess Musket

A few references: A musket is a portable firearm with a long smooth-bore barrel. It can be fired by a wick, wheel, lock or percussion mechanism used in the infantry from the 16th to the 19th century. Look for the following authentic or replica guns: Brown Bess, Brown Bess Long Patern, Brown Bess India Patern, Charleville, Saint-Etienne, Tower, Durringer, Duringer, Thomas Probin, Light Dragoon, etc.


Contact us for additional references.

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