By John Brown

One of the strategic areas of the NFA industry that never seems to get the appropriate time and attention are the collectors and owners of C&R NFA items. By definition ATF defines C&R as:

“Curios or relics. Firearms which are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. To be recognized as curios or relics, firearms must fall within one of the following categories:

(a) Firearms which were manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof;

(b) Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and

(c) Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category may be established by evidence of present value and evidence that like firearms are not available except as collector’s items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary commercial channels is substantially less.”

Of the 182,000 plus machine guns in the National Registry, many are C&R NFA weapons that are coveted by collectors nationwide. They are original weapons that have not been modified significantly and in most cases retain everything from their original condition to the factory markings and all of the other identifiers that make them so valuable to collectors. Owning a C&R machine gun is like owning an original 1st generation Colt or Winchester title one firearm that continues to rise in value and collectability. They are usually rare and owned by collectors or shooters who recognize their value on many different levels. In many cases it is rare to see a C&R machine gun that has not drastically appreciated in value and collectability. Examples include many original factory manufactured machine guns like Thompsons, Browning 1917/1919s, Lewis guns, Maxims, Vickers or even Reising and Sten guns. These are all historically significant weapons and many C&R collectors view themselves as preservationists of historical artifacts while in their care. These items are highly prized collectors weapons and generally command top dollar in the NFA industry. We give them special consideration in not only their classification but in their historical and monetary value.

Nearly six months after the idea of starting the NFATCA, several board members came forward to make certain that we paid very close attention to the collector’s side of the NFA community. Not only did they feel that this was critical to our success but it was critical to recognize the C&R side of the NFA community, for after all, that is where the NFA industry was actually born. So the NFATCA board decided to make certain that not only would we include this important portion of the industry, but we needed to make certain that we represent those interests on our Board of Directors. Senior Board member Dan Shea immediately recommended that we place the editor of Small Arms Review, Robert Segel, as another board member, representing the interests of a strategic portion of the NFA community. Robert is a licensed C&R collector and a collector of note of early machine guns for over 35 years. Shortly thereafter, the NFATCA voted to add Robert as another board member to its ranks representing the C&R community.

It occurred to me recently at one of our gatherings that we have, on many occasions, ignored this asset in our operation and that many events have gone by without Robert’s presence. It also occurred to us that this is a strategic asset that we bring to the table that has gone unrecognized for too long. So it is with this article that we want to make certain that everyone recognizes several things concerning the C&R side of the NFA industry. First and foremost is that Robert Segel is a member of the Board of Directors of the NFATCA. Secondly, Robert does represent the interests of not only the entire NFA industry but is also a major voice for all NFA C&R owners nationwide. With so much happening in the world of C&R weapons within the industry I can safely say you will be seeing and hearing a lot more from that side of the NFA industry. It is important to remember that a good portion of the NFRTR is all about the Curio and Relic side of the NFA world.

Representing the C&R NFA world is an important part of what we do and is reflected in our title: National Firearms Act Trade and Collectors Association. Robert Segel is our primary point of contact on all C&R matters and has been responsible for working many C&R issues on the industry’s behalf.

In 2010, the industry will witness the NFATCA representing many issues surrounding the needs and concerns in the C&R community. We sincerely care about this strategic asset in our portfolio and depend heavily on Robert to steer all of us in the right direction with any C&R issue. Please look for Robert at all of our events and feel free to discuss not only C&R concerns that you may have but any NFA issue that you feel we as an industry representative need to look carefully at in 2010.

Come join the only organization looking out for your NFA interests now. Log on or call any Board member at www.nfatca.org.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V13N5 (February 2010)
and was posted online on May 4, 2012


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