Holt’s hold quarterly auctions at Princess Louise House in London, and the December 2008 sale, which included a collection of guns from Eric Clapton, realised a record total hammer price of £2,008,914, £700,000 more than the September sale.

The auction firm claim that a string of successful sales throughout 2008 proves that carefully chosen best quality shotguns and rifles are looked upon as a safe investment.

Managing director of Holt’s, Nick Holt, said: “It is great to see that quality guns are still seen as a sensible and long-term investment by so many people.

“Guns made by the best British and European gunmakers hold their value tremendously well, so even for non-shooters it is worth thinking about buying guns as an alternative investment.”

For more information on the auctioneer, including details of their free valuation days that take place all over the world, visit www.holtandcompany.co.uk.