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How much does collecting machine guns cost?

Well, more to the point: how much does it cost to run the Vickers MG Collection and Research Association (VMGCRA)?

About £2,000 ($3,000) a year before you even start to buy anything!

At the end of November, we had the Annual General Meeting of the VMGCRA. Whilst we discussed activities of the last year and those planned for 2020, as well as a little beyond, one of the main points of the conversation is finance. As you will know from reading the website and following the various social media feeds, the Association builds on Richard Fisher’s personal collection of Vickers MGs that he gifted to the Association in 2011. Since then, it has been run as an extension of a personal hobby with the aim of making it independent and self-sustaining for the future.

As part of this conversation, we discussed the costs of running the collection and it’s interesting to explain them here. Quite simply, before you even buy anything to expand and enhance the collection, you need to secure what’s there and ensure it’s safe for the future. This requires insurance, security and licensing fees (as it’s a Registered Firearms Dealer and Section 5 Authority). Then there’s the website costs as the outreach for sharing information, both hosting and domain fees.

ItemFrequency Amount Monthly equivalent
Section 5 authorisation renewalEvery three years £  747.00 £                           20.75
Registered Firearms Dealer renewalEvery three years £  200.00 £                             5.56
Website – WordPressMonthly £       7.00 £                             7.00
Website – domain namesAnnually £    40.00 £                             3.33
InsuranceMonthly £    88.11 £                           88.11
Security feesAnnually £  571.07 £                           47.59
Companies House registrationAnnually£12.00£1.00
 £                        173.34
Monthly costs of the Association (2019/20)

Then there are the costs of accommodation, electricity and lighting that aren’t currently included in the Association’s expenditure but will be in the next few years.

To be able to offset these costs, the Association relies on visits, minor manual DVD and poster sales and well as general donations through PayPal and, more recently, Patreon. To enable the Association to become sustainable beyond Richard Fisher’s support, it’s the £172 that needs to be covered monthly. Hopefully we’ll see Patreon support take us near this figure in 2020 and then be able to move forward with the plans for videos, writing, website expansion, as well as the high-resolution manual archiving that we’ve already started through

As a registered not-for-profit, nobody draws any money from the Association and there aren’t employees. All of those who physically support events and conservation, restoration or archival work are volunteers, including the Directors.

A sustainable base will then mean that all funds over and above can go into expanding and enhancing the collection, the visitors’ experience and sharing more and more of the valuable information that we learn about the Vickers machine gun and those who used it.

So, what can you do?

  • Consider becoming a regular Patron, which has its own benefits for individuals:
  • Make a one-off donation through PayPal
  • Purchase something through our sales page
  • Arrange for a group to come and visit the Association
  • If you work for an organisation that would like to support and event or some aspect of the Association, please contact us to discuss.

Of course, please join us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all active and regularly updated.

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