Whether they are handed down through generations or purchased new, sporting guns are popular collectibles and it is essential that they be kept and insured correctly. I would always suggest that these are part of a good high net worth contents policy, as insuring anything stand alone usually works out to be more expensive and the cover is not always the most comprehensive.
Certainly, it is easy to single out the great names and set them aside. Double shotguns by British makers such as Dickson, Holland & Holland, Purdey, Westley Richards, Boss, E.J. Churchill and others are easily identified, and their values continue to increase. In general, shotguns from name makers in Great Britain were handmade, however there are many shotguns that bear a London maker’s name and address but that have actually been made elsewhere in England, mostly in Birmingham. These shotguns are worth considerably less than a shotgun made solely within the London premises.
J Purdey & Sons is one of the oldest gun makers in the country, dating back to 1814. A new Purdey gun today will cost as much as a small house. (A single Purdey 12 bore shotgun at Bonhams has recently sold for £43,243). Based in London, the Company has provided guns to many members of the Royal family since its early days.
Guns from the 1930s are often thought of as the best shotguns to buy as a collector. In 1928 Purdey made 300 guns but in the early 1930s production fell to around 100 a year as tough economic times took their toll. With the arrival of the Second World War many shotguns were left unused in cabinets for years whilst their owners were on the battlefields; many owners failed to return. Guns from this period have a rarity value combined with generally good condition due to lack of use.
Like any collectible these should be valued on a regular basis, depending on the volatility of the market to ensure insured prices are current and accurate.
Something to bear in mind for any shooting enthusiast is liability insurance, this usually is part of a membership with a shooting authority. This would cover damage to any third party as a result of you shooting. A good high net worth household insurance will also include this as part of the liability section. It is common for shooters to be double insured, this is something to watch out for as there are often clauses limiting liability if other insurance is in place covering the same risk. This article explains the double insurance issue in a bit more depth.