When is it Time to Cull the Herd?

And, conversely, the answer might be an empty room, if you’re the spouse who sees the gun room as the mistress (a bad miscalculation: he would not leave you for getting jealous of a mistress) or one of these people, jonesing for gun bans:

(You have to wonder how many of those are Single Moms Demand types after the usual ultimatum: “Either the guns go, or…” Experience teaches that the guys are generally happier with the guns).

For the rest of us, the right answer might be: “Just one more!” Or “just a few more!”

Over the years, we’ve observed an interesting phenomenon. The guys who build amazing collections are not gun hoarders, and they don’t mind letting one, or some, go, for a purpose. We’re nearer to hoarders, and we have safes cluttered with junk that came in as auction bycatch, or guns that are more interesting because of the circumstances in which we acquired them, than due to any particular strength of them.

And guns do tend to accumulate. After a recent buying spree, we’re still trying to get everything corralled in the inventory, and we have enough money tied up in guns that it’s a part of our Solvency Statement, which is a bit like a personal version of the accounting statements that firms and non-profits must make periodically.

For example, we have more in guns than we have in any individual stock or mutual fund. And so it factors into wealth management and estate planning.

It would be irresponsible to leave a messy estate, so it’s probably time to cull the herd. Nobody else will care about the memories that come with some junker or other, because those memories will be off in the afterlife. (The good news about the afterlife: if either the moslems or we Christians are right, where we’re going there’s no moslems).

And it’s probably better to balance the portfolio… as we’ve written before, guns are a lousy investment. We’re just ready to delude ourselves and remember only the ones that did appreciate, and forget how many years it took them to do so and what the same cash would have done in an index fund.

So it’s time for inventory again, and then it’s time for some of the chilllens to go make their way in the cruel, hard world with some new hoarder collector.

And that runs up against a hoarding trigger: With a couple of exceptions for junkers and good trades, every single gun we’ve sold over the years, we’ve come to regret.

Plus, if we sell only junk, while we improve the quality of the collection overall, we don’t really free up much money. One of the things we have is a Jennings J22. (It was bycatch in a six-firearm auction lot). It’s missing a part, but if it costs $25 for the part we still have a $25 gun. Another is a pretty little Italian .25 that has an … interesting … safety. In the fire position, the gun fires. And in the safe position, it fires. (Well, it clicks. With this result on a function check, we’re not inclined to put real cartridges in the thing). If those Italian engineers had put 1/10th of the effort into function that they put into styling… but then, we had a Fiat in the family, once, too, and we’ve listened to Ferrari owners complain about build quality, and seen a drawer full of broken M9 locking blocks.

Plus, we either need to buy another safe (and down that road looms the spectre of, what happens when you’re out of “where to put safes”?), or free up some space.

You know, for the guns we’ll buy with the money from these ones. You gotta keep the portfolio balanced!

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