Shoot­ing for high re­turns

RISKSA Magazine - - CONTENTS - Do­minic Uys

It isn’t of­ten that you en­counter a piece of valu­able in­vest­ment art that can dou­ble as home se­cu­rity. Clas­sic English shot­guns of­fer a high re­turn on in­vest­ment but that doesn’t mean they should be con­fined to dis­play cases.

Take one look at a stunningly en­graved James Purdey & Sons 12- bore side- by- side shot­gun and you may be­lieve that it be­longs in a gallery but these sturdy, well bal­anced arms have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing some of the best sport­ing guns ever man­u­fac­tured. “These are guns to be used and en­joyed. Even the most or­nate Purdeys with top- end gold work are still used for shoot­ing and we very much re­gard our guns to be use­able high- end art­works,” head of gun sales at James Purdey and Sons, Ian An­drews says. “Prop­erly main­tained guns also last a re­ally long time, even with reg­u­lar use. I have seen 120 year- old guns that fire just as well now as they did when they were made,” he adds. Ben­nie Laub­scher, direc­tor of B. W. Laub­scher & As­so­ciates adds that the ma­jor­ity of his clients are also shoot­ing en­thu­si­asts, who of­ten take these in­vest­ments out for hunts or clay shoots, in spite of their age. “A well main­tained gun can with­stand many years of reg­u­lar use with­out de­valu­ing at all and I think it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that this is one in­vest­ment that you can en­joy for as long as you own it,” Laub­scher says. “On the sec­ond- hand mar­ket you can get hold of a shot­gun that was man­u­fac­tured 70 or 80 years ago. Their bar­rels and fir­ing mech­a­nisms are usu­ally in im­mac­u­late con­di­tion and you could rea­son­ably ex­pect to be able to take these out for shoot­ing. In fact, many of the Purdeys in the sec­ond­hand mar­ket right now, were made some­where be­tween the First and Sec­ond World War, and they are still in fan­tas­tic con­di­tion for nor­mal sport use,” Laub­scher says. Con­sid­ered one of South Africa’s fore­most Purdey ex­perts, Laub­scher is a dealer in high- end and rare firearms, as well as an ac­com­plished gun­smith. While re­turns on in­vest­ment are steady on the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, their growth is not gen­er­ally con­sid­ered mas­sive, with in­vestors gen­er­ally see­ing their guns’ value in­crease by around 3- 5 per cent a year. The South African mar­ket can be a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence, how­ever. Laub­scher con­tends that the mar­ket for high- end clas­sic shot­guns has a lot of po­ten­tial in South Africa, with some buy­ers see­ing their in­vest­ments grow sub­stan­tially. “I have seen the value of shot­guns grow by 30 or 40 per cent, in some cases as much as 100 per cent over the course of a year. That is not to say that ev­ery high- end shot­gun will in­crease in value. I also wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily rec­om­mend

ev­ery Purdey that makes its way onto the mar­ket to a client as an in­vest­ment. Not just shot­guns, but ri­fles too fetch a good price in the mar­ket. I re­cently sold a Purdey small cal­i­bre dou­ble ri­fle for R850 000. It nat­u­rally de­pends on the ex­change rate and then it ab­so­lutely de­pends on what the col­lec­tors in the mar­ket are look­ing for at that mo­ment,” Laub­scher says. “It is quite an ex­clu­sive mar­ket and de­mand is al­ways go­ing to out­weigh the sup­ply. This has done a lot for the guns’ in­vest­ment value. When South African col­lec­tors want to sell some of the guns in their col­lec­tions, a buyer can usu­ally be found very quickly,” he adds. Buy­ing right how­ever, is the tricky part. “There aren’t many peo­ple who re­ally know what to look for in a gun. In South Africa I think there are about two other real ex­perts. The en­grav­ing is one thing, cer­tainly, but there are also finer things to look at such as the qual­ity of the fir­ing mech­a­nisms. Most peo­ple aren’t able to iden­tify these fine points but that is where the trust- re­la­tion­ship that I built with my clients is im­por­tant, when I sell them a gun that I con­sider to be a good in­vest­ment,” Laub­scher says.

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