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Gun enthusiast sells 500 firearms from personal collection

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FARGO—A jaw-droppingly large collection is up for grabs as one of the largest gun collections in the country goes to auction in Fargo this weekend.

The numbers associated with Ed Karel's collection are almost hard to believe: A quarter million dollars, more than 50 years of buying, and at least 800 guns.

Now, almost as unbelievable, he's trying to get rid of them.

"I'm what they call a gun nut," said Ed Karel, gun collector.

Ed Karel isn't just a gun nut, he's a Goliath of guns: the kind of collector who dwarfs others.

In the past half century he's picked up nearly a thousand firearms, a collection dealers find impressive.

"There are museums out there that don't have as in depth collection as the single collector here," said Joshua Spooner, Duane's Gun Repair.

It's not just a lot of guns, they're quality too.

"Guns in the early 1900's that are 95 percent plus condition. Immaculate. They're a very excellent condition," said Spooner.

How does someone end up collecting enough guns to arm a battalion?

Karel says he's one part enthusiast, one part investor.

"I've never seen guns in 50 years take big drops. They either maintain value or rise," said Karel.

Before the days of the internet he would scour listings for anything to add to his cache.

The time has come for him to part ways with half his collection, he's putting 500 up for auction this weekend.

"Whether you're a collector or dealer a hunter or sportsman, there's something here for everyone," said Andrew Jossund, Resource Auction.

Including some very rare pieces: "This is a collection of limited Smith and Wesson, every model they made that year," said Spooner.

To part ways with 50 years of investing, of trips to gun shows and appreciating his haul, is tough.

"It's kind of taken something out of me when I'm selling these," said Karel.

That's an understatement.

"They're kind of a part of me I guess," said Karel.

The guns will be auctioned off at the Fargo Civic Center Friday as well as Saturday.

Every buyer is subject to a background check before getting their gun.