How to Legally Sell an Antique Gun

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Guns classified as 'antiques' (manufactured in or before 1898) according to U.S. gun laws can legally be bought and sold without a gun license. What constitutes an 'antique' gun can be different in every state, and state laws on the subject vary. Generally, guns considered antiques or replicas can be bought and sold without a special licenses or transfers.

Legally Sell Your Antique Gun

Familiarize yourself with the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) (see Resources below). This federal act exempts antique guns and replicas from purchasing and sales regulations. Guns that fall within the antique category outlined in the act do not need to be legally sold or transferred with a Federal Firearms License (FFL).

Place an ad in a newspaper, magazine or online classifieds to advertise and sell your antique gun to private local buyers. Include pertinent information about the antique gun, including cost and condition status.

Put your antique gun into consignment with a gun dealer or online gun auction. You will retain ownership of your gun, and if it is sold through the broker they will deduct a percentage from the sale and handle the final details of the sale.

Sell your antique gun through an auction house. Auction houses have the power to effectively advertise, and they often receive the largest amount of prospective buyers. An auction house tends to take approximately 35 percent of the price a gun sells for to cover commission and taxes.

Consider selling at a gun show. May people attend gun shows to purchase collector's items and antique gun pieces. Selling at a gun show also gives a private seller access to several gun dealers at the same time.

Contact local antique gun dealers and set up an appointment. A dealer will want to view the gun and its specifications. A dealer may offer a lower price than market value, but they are always looking for more inventory.


  • Know that gun sales are regulated not only through the federal government, but also through local and state laws. Check state and local gun regulations to make sure your gun qualifies as an antique, and if there are any stipulations on legally selling it.


  • Make sure additions and alterations to your gun do not disqualify it as an antique. Review the GCA for more information about altering guns and antique status.
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