It can be a daunting process buying that first antique gun. My advice is to go to lots of gun shows, and view and handle lots of guns, and meet lots of dealers, before buying. I would always advise a beginner to buy from a reputable dealer rather than buying in a general antique shop or from a classified advert. There are just too many ways to be stiffed. You may pay more from a reputable dealer in the area you have chosen to collect it, you have much more chance of getting something pukka for your money. As a baby collector you are quite vulnerable to shysters so don’t make it too easy for them.
I have written more in the article Buying a gun, available from the menu under “Antique Firearms”