Contents Claims Solved: The Case of the Tranquilizer Gun

Is this tranquilizer gun a collectible? We solve the mystery.Not every job entails investigating the pedigree of a wild animal-control tranquilizer gun, but that's just your average day-in-the-life of a claim adjuster when it comes to contents.

In this month's contents conundrum, an adjuster finds himself in the challenging position of having to assess the value of a stolen item: a much-coveted animal tranquilizer gun that the insured claimed was a collectible manufactured in the late 1950s with an estimated value between $4,500-$5,000.

But what do you do in the case of a stolen item that the insured claims is a unique collectible but has no photos or documentation? Our intrepid adjuster, admitting like most of us to having little-to-no knowledge of the collectibles market for wild animal-control tranquilizer guns, turned to a specialty contents claims service to help him solve this mystery as quickly and accurately as possible.

Case Background

As a first step, contents claims specialists carefully interviewed the insured and were able to determine that the gun was a CO2 powered handgun that fired tranquilizer darts used to subdue animals. The insured could not remember the manufacturer, but had a vague recollection that the brand name included the word "capture." Taking the investigation online, contents specialists were quickly able to conduct an internet search and identify the brand name and manufacturer as Cap-Chur Animal Tranquilizer Gun manufactured by Palmer Cap-Chur Equipment, Inc. in Douglasville, Ga.

Once the manufacturer had been confirmed, contents specialists determined that the tranquilizer gun was still in production and could be one of two handgun models made by Palmer: either a short-range or medium-range pistol. The more expensive of the two models -- the medium range pistol -- retails direct from the manufacturer for $443.52. But what about the insured's claim that his stolen tranquilizer pistol -- manufactured in the late 1950s -- was a unique collectible that could be worth as much as $5,000?


The Result

Contents claims specialists are schooled in the art of finding collector markets and using these resources as benchmarks for assessing the value of unique items. Collector markets are amazingly diverse and often surprising in the communities and commerce that coalesce around rare and unique objects.

So, with an open mind, our contents specialists set to the task of finding the collector market for wild animal-control tranquilizer guns, but could find no evidence that such a market exists. Additionally, contents specialists learned that to purchase darts used in this particular gun, one must be a licensed veterinarian, thus eliminating any secondary market value.

As a result, the research supported a retail replacement value of a gun of like, kind and quality at a maximum value of $443.52. Case closed.

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