They cost how much? Check out this 1965 Holland & Holland new & used gun catalog…

1965 Holland & Holland Sporting Guns & Rifles Catalog
1965 Holland & Holland Sporting Guns & Rifles Catalog

Value is something I always think about when I’m looking at old guns. Is this Purdey a good value? What about this Parker? Which ones will people want 20 years from now? Which will fall out of favor? To understand stuff like this, I collect old gun catalogs – especially ones with price lists in them.

The catalog you see was an especially nice find for me. It’s a Holland & Holland New & Used Gun Catalog from the Spring of 1965. It’s full of ton of useful info: prices, lots of different guns from different makers, etc. More importantly, because this catalog was shipped to customers in the UK and the US there’s a key paragraph inside which unlocks the British £ to US $ conversion mystery:

“As an indication of your approximate total delivered costs including duty you may multiply the price of the weapon in £’s in London by 3.5. For example, a gun offered at £100 will cost you about $350, all charges and duties paid”

So what did a brand new, 12 gauge sidelock Holland & Holland Royal cost in 1965? £650 pounds, or $2,275 (that’s without a case or accessories). A 12 gauge H&H Northwoods boxlock was £200 or $700. New H&H Rifles were more expensive. A .470 Royal cost £985 ($3,447.50) with case and tools. It punished you with more than just recoil.

1965 Holland & Holland Sporting Guns & Rifles Catalog
1965 Holland & Holland Sporting Guns & Rifles Catalog

As for used guns, decent 12 gauge Royals were £375 – £425. A 12 gauge Purdey with new barrels by the maker was £500. The most expensive used guns are both O/Us: an early and super rare 12g H&H (#36000) and a 12g Woodward. Both are £950.

As for bargains, I spotted two. One was a cased Edwinson Green 12g Best-quality sidelock for £285. I’ve seen a few of these and they are fabulous – equal to a London Best. Then there’s a 16g Szulovsky sidelock for just £130. I’ve never seen or heard of a Szulovsky, but I bet it was a very fine gun.

To make sense of the prices, here’s are some figures from 1965: a basic Rolex Submariner was around $230, a Corvette Fastback Coupe was $3947 from the factory , the typical American home sold for $19,900, and the median American family income was $6,900. A new Rolls Royce Silver Shadow was £6,557.

Today, a brand new 12 gauge Holland & Holland SxS Royal costs $118,000. A stainless Rolex Sub runs $8,000, a new 2014 Corvette Stingray costs $54,950, the typical American house sells for around $213,000, and the median family income is $51,000. And a new Rolls Royce Wraith is $379,000.

And what about that H&H Royal from the mid 1965? In excellent original condition, here’s about it’s worth today:


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8 thoughts on “They cost how much? Check out this 1965 Holland & Holland new & used gun catalog…

  1. And in England a Georgian Country house with 8 bedrooms plus 5 acres of gardens and grounds was £5,900 (now £3m+) and a 3 bedroom house just 2 minutes walk from Harrods in Knightsbridge, London was £4000 (now £2-3m) Happy days!

  2. Very informative post – great research that provides some interesting historical context for used double gun prices. Thanks!

  3. Cool. Glad you like it. From what I can see, it looks like new London guns are far more expensive today than they were 50 years ago.

    I’m sure that’s a very simple analysis of what has happened, though. Wrapping your head about past-present values & costs is tough.



  4. Gregg,
    A doctor friend of mine had a Boss O/U 20 bore built for him with two sets of barrels. I guided him in the mid 70’s and as time went by he wanted me to purchase the shotgun from him. He was my same body build and the firearm fit me just fine. We discussed it and his price was in the $15K range, probably more than he had invested in it. I probably could have scraped up the money but had a different firearm in mind. I am sure we all have the hindsight firearm opportunities.

    I visited Dickson in Scotland in 1972 and the prices for the, then less known, used Round Action Shotguns was unbelievable L100 +.


  5. Wow – that was cheap, even then. One thing I learned from my little analysis is that fine British guns are more expensive today than they were in 1965. I imagine it’s because the makers are paying their employees more.

    Do you know where that 20g Boss O/U is today?

    Please let me know if hear of any other stuff like that which is for sale.



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