What firearms are considered to be curio and relic firearms?

Curio and relic firearms are defined as firearms which are of special interest to collectors because they possess some qualities not ordinarily associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. To be recognized as a curio or relic, firearms must fall within one of the following categories:

(1) Firearms manufactured at least 50 years prior the current date, but not including replicas thereof;

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

(3) Firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, or bizarre or from the fact of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.

ATF has recognized only complete, assembled firearms as curios or relics. ATF’s classification of surplus military firearms as curios or relics has extended only to those firearms in their original military configuration. Frames or receivers of curios or relics are not generally recognized as curios or relics.

Collectors wishing to obtain a determination whether a particular firearm qualifies for classification as a curio or relic may submit a written request for a determination to ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch. ATF’s classifications of curios and relics firearms are published in ATF Publication 5300.11.

Last Reviewed October 17, 2018