It depends on what you collect and how you do it. I find most early arms collectors go for the more "sexy" wheelocks and matchlocks. I collect early flintlock because for the price of one original wheelock lock I can buy a complete flintlock pistol and with luck more than one. I also do almost all of my buying on European websites. There are a lot of collectors that do not wish to deal with language barriers and international shipping. I admit it is frustrating to have a musket in customs for a few weeks but even with shipping I get items from Europe cheaper than a similar item already in the states. I don't collect modern custom made for the same reason, I can get several original arms for the cost of one modern, albeit lovely, long rifle or Fusil de Chasse.My motto is: if you focus on shooting and not "collecting" you won't get burned.
I gave up playing collector years ago, it's just not worth it. Seen too much "Confederate " stuff at gun shows.