In previous articles we have discussed how to go about applying for your collectors licence and recently I have been fielding a lot of question about what justifications you can apply to which categories so let’s have a look at what applies to what.

  1. Significant Commemorative Value

You must be able to link that particular model of firearm to a particular event in history e.g. you have a Navy Arms reproduction Trapdoor Springfield Cavalry Carbine as carried by those poor bastards in the 7th Cavalry when it all went tits up at Little Big Horn. You can easily write an A4 page on how it was the standard issue rifle for the US Cavalry at the time and how it was totally outclassed by the Native Americans who had developed a real liking for Winchester repeaters. Of course this also opens the door for early models Winchesters and let’s not forgets all the Colts, S&Ws and Remington handguns that were present on the big day.

Now just because the firearm has COMMEMORATIVE engraved on the side of it doesn’t mean it automatically qualifies e.g. you have a Model 94 Winchester or Winchester clone with Little Big Horn battle scenes engraved all over the firearm, nice. But as I’m sure you are all aware the actual battle took place in 1876 so any firearm that was in manufacture AFTER that date can’t be linked to the event. So as much as you would like to apply for your Colt 1911 Little Big Horn Commemorative it won’t qualify. To get a firearm passed under this category you really have to know your history as well as your firearms.

  1. Significant Historical Value

This is where you have to show a link to a particular period in history.  Let’s say 1836 to 1860, this covers the development of the Colt percussion revolver from the Colt Patterson to the pinnacle of percussion revolvers the Army Model of 1860. You can easily cover the requirements of this classification as you can show strong links with these firearms to that period of history, who it was used by, what it was used for and who by. You can also cover when, where and by who was it manufactured.

There are a number of periods that spring easily to mind such as The Civil War, the American West, WW1 and WW2 most of which will dovetail into your collectors theme anyway.



  1. Significant Thematic Value

This is where you need to show special significance of the firearm to the development, manufacture or use of the firearm. You must be very specific in your theme e.g. the development of the Lee Enfield or the developments of the Mauser not just bolt guns of WW2. For example let’s take the venerable SMLE No1 MK III.

You must be able to identify a valid theme to the development and manufacture of the firearm. E.g. this rifle was manufactured at Lithgow SAF from 1913 till 1959 and was the standard service rifle for all branches of the service throughout that time.

You must be able to show how this firearm fits into your theme and its significance e.g. this rifle was a significant milestone in the development of the SMLE and was Australia’s main battle rifle for 46 years and saw service in all of Australia’s theatres of conflict as well as being manufactured by all countries in the Dominion. 

Of course if you already have some SMLE’s in your collection you need to point out where this example fits into the theme. E.g. this rifles fits the spot between my Lee Enfield Mk 1 (Long Tom) and my Lee Enfield No 4 MK 1* and shows the continuation of development for the SMLE rifle.

  1. Significant Heirloom Value

Must have special significance because it was owned or possessed by a direct or indirect member of that person’s family. So you’re going to have to show a number of things to qualify for this one, basically the firearms history as it relates to you and your family.

How did it come into the family and how is the firearms history involved with the family. When did it come into the family, who possessed or otherwise used it, what was it used for, is the firearm inter-generational and what is YOUR link to the firearm and the family.

I recently applied for a Winchester Mod 92 under this category; it was my Grandfathers brother who got it from his mum when he started as a Forestry Cadet back in 1919. He lived till he was 96 and then the rifle was handed down to me and I hunted with it for years. This year saw me retire the rifle to my collectors licence and it transferred across with no problems as I was easily able to prove Heirloom value.

Remember to licence any firearm you have to prove genuine need and these classifications lay out the guidelines you need to do so as I’m afraid “I want one” doesn’t really cut it. If you follow these simple guidelines it makes it very easy for the assessor to say YES.  Don’t forget you can always contact us here at the shop for any advice on how to get your application together.

Gunny Out