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Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters
www.OldGuns.net
Newsletter
Number 9 -April, 2003
Celebrating Over Six Years Of Service To Our Collector Friends!
Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.


Contents:


Feature Article:
 

Four Gun Shows- Superb to Nearly Worthless

In March we attended four shows in two weekends, and got a sample of the wide variety of shows that collectors or gun enthusiasts, or gullible citizens might attend.

The Maryland Arms Collectors "Baltimore" Show is without a doubt the best gun show in the country for the serious collector, although some of the wealthier class seem to like Las Vegas. Baltimore features 800 tables with all good collector oriented stuff. No post-1898 handguns allowed in the building at all, no camouflage or surplus junk. Tables are hard to get and you almost have to wait for someone to die before you can get one, and most people have only one table, but a select few get two tables. This is a club run show, and if you care enough to bother reading our newsletter, you really should do whatever it takes to get there next year (March 20-21 at the Fairgrounds in Timonium, MD just north of Baltimore.) Here is an example of the sort of scarce items that may show up: In 1889 Springfield Armory made 100 "positive cam" trapdoor rifles. I have seen three of those in my life (including the one I bought at Baltimore about 10 years ago). At this show, there were THREE there for sale. Last year there were three out of the 151 "Long Range" trapdoors there, but only one this year. Al Frasca, the trapdoor guru, was there along with Scott Duff (M1 Garands), the Krag triplets Tom Pearce, Bill Mook and Frank Mallory; Colonial era experts George Neumann and Erik Goldstein; ammunition and ordnance super-expert J.R. Crittenden-Schmidt; and lots of other great folks who are experts in their fields, and nice, helpful people to boot! Also some Confederate cannons, some utterly superb displays of a wide range of collecting specialties such as engraved powder horns, an English Naval officer presentation sword decorated and embellished up the wazoo, etc. I cherish every minute spent at this show.

The Ohio Gun Collectors Association shows are only open to members and invited guests, but with over 10,000 members, they are big shows. This was their annual display show with about 50 tables of pure displays and another 650 or so of stuff for sale. As with most club shows, folks bring out a variety of stuff from their collections, or that they have found elsewhere. One of the great things about the OGCA show is their rule that strictly prohibits table holders from going around and selling stuff to each other until 8:00 AM Saturday when all the members stampede into the hall, so everyone gets an equal shot at the good stuff. While Baltimore has a focus more on the antique and collector end of the spectrum, OGCA spans the entire range of gun enthusiasts, with a great mix of antique and modern, pristine to relic condition, and in all price ranges. Of course all the related stuff is there too, books, collector ammo, bayonets, parts, etc. Conspicuously absent are the hordes of folks peddling peanuts, cell phones, stuffed animals, etc that have crept into to some shows.
The displays were magnificent. The best of show was the pair of Walker Colts that belonged to Col. Walker. (One the subject of a lawsuit alleging mail fraud when the sellerin jacked the price up to about $3.25 million.) Some other great topics included several tables each of M1 Garands; Sniper Rifles; Model 52 Winchesters; SKS rifles; Browning High Power pistols, plus assorted other Colts, Winchesters, Kentucky rifles, etc etc. One favorite was John Garand's "other gun". Garand only owned two guns, as he was a designer, not a collector. One was M1 rifle serial number 1,000,000 (currently on display in the NRA museum as part of their "Exceptional Arms from the American Society of Arms Collectors" exhibit). The other is a S&W long barrel pistol with shoulder stock that he enjoyed shooting. A S&W factory letter documents delivery to John Garand in Springfield, Massachusetts, which was home to S&W as well as Mr. Garand and Springfield Armory. They had an awards banquet Saturday with NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre updating the crowd of about 450- people on legislative issues. S&W collector/"Gun Guy"/Mr. Old Town Station [and all around good guy] Jim Supica spoke on "Arms of Provenance" discussing historical backgrounds of guns. (Very similar to his excellent piece in the Blue Book, well worth reviewing.) OGCA shows are always great and when I win the lottery I will still be short of money to get everything I would like at one of those and a Baltimore show.

Dayton OH, Hara Arena- We snuck away from the OGCA show briefly to hit this show, since it was only about 45 miles away. Best that can be said for it is that there was a large, enthusiastic crowd looking at the camouflaged stuff, dozens (perhaps hundreds) of greasy surplus rifles, piles of AK and AR-15 clones, and the ubiquitous cheap swords made in far off lands. Of the 300 or so tables, maybe 50 had older collectible guns, and few of those had any redeeming values of condition, history, rarity or price that merited being picked up for a closer look. Relieved at knowing we were not missing some great treasure, and having wasted nothing more than the price of admission, we sped back to the OGCA show to bask in the aura of good stuff again.

Lafayette, IN National Guard Armory- As with most small shows on Sundays, it was laid back, and the 100 or so tables were obviously spread out a bit to cover dealers who [wisely] only stayed for Saturday. More camouflage, more plastic guns, more cheap swords, more surplus ammo, more greasy surplus rifles, and more new pistols. A fair percentage of used and older guns, but of widely varying quality and prices. One gent had several ratty trapdoors that we would not want to be seen selling, but he felt they were surely worth $1,000 or so, each. I believe we saw a trapdoor rifle cut to carbine size here, offered as a carbine, at a genuine carbine price, but it may have been somewhere else. Assorted clunky shotguns, and well abused deer rifles, and a few probably still safe to fire handguns. There was one dealer with some genuinely nice Civil War stuff, unlike so much of the bogus "Confederate" stuff inflicted on unsuspecting buyers by some dealers. He had an excellent M1855 rifle musket at a realistic price, but obviously far above the price level of anything else in the show. With no purchases made from the flea droppings found, only a few bucks were lost in the admission charge.

This was an excellent review of the types of shows that are available to many people, and the reasons some find it frustrating to find things for their collection. It also reinforced our opinion that we provide a valuable service to collectors by diligently tracking down all the neat junque we offer, saving you lots of travel and time digging through piles of manure to see if there is a pony somewhere. If your local shows are the depressing "camo and ammo" types, you really should consider making the trip to some of the better shows to restore your optimism. Of course, I should point out that I know someone who purchased a Pedersen device at a rinky dink little show for next to nothing, and I got my gas-trap Garand (at a fair price) at very poor quality small show. The harder you work, the luckier you get, so do not automatically dismiss ANY show as "not worth going to."

 

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The Good Old Days- "Easy Availability of Guns"

That is the cause of all the violent crime in this country, according to those who want to take all your guns away. However, prior to 1968 people could walk into all sorts of stores, and buy all sorts of guns with very few restrictions (mainly waiting periods on handguns in a few states or metropolitan areas). High schools had shooting teams, and kids brought old guns to school for show and tell, history class or to work on in shop class. I did all of these. A friend recently pointed out a story about a Mom (not one of the "million misguided mommies") who bought her son a .303 Enfield rifle at a Philadelphia department store (John Wanamaker) in the early 1960s, took it home on public transportation and gave it to her son. No crime spree ensued, and no one got excited about (a) department stores selling guns; (b) gun sales with no background checks; (c) carrying a gun in plain view on public transportation, (d) parents giving their kid a gun.

I lived in Philadelphia at that time, and remember going to one of that chain's stores, and seeing the Enfields for sale. I wanted one, and spotted one that was a bit different (a Mark V trials rifle, like the one in the story, I later figured out) in the barrel of No 1 Mark III rifles at $9.95 each. Anyway, I did not get it, but this was a great reminder of how someone else became a gun collector. Hope you enjoy this story too, over on the Fulton Armory website http://www.fulton-armory.com/MomsGun.htm

The fact that criminals commit more violent acts AFTER these restrictions were imposed, while there was less crime BEFORE is a clear indication that gun control is a failure. Every one of us needs to stand up to the well intentioned idiots who suggest that since all their other gun control schemes have not worked, maybe just a few more restrictions on the good guys will suddenly fix the problem. The Brits and Aussies have taken gun control to the absolute extreme, total bans and confiscation, with only increased violent crime. Gun control has been proven to be a failed concept that only disarms honest people and has not effect on crime. It is time to roll back the existing ineffective laws.

 

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New Page On War in Iraq/Against Terror

As part of our salute to the brave men and wome of our Coalition forces who have brilliantly and boldy freed Iraq, we put it on a separate page. We have been getting a lot of really good info from various sources on this topic and wanted to share it with you. We added a new page where we will put that sort of information, divided into four sections:

  1. Origins of the War Dealing with the threat and the overall importance with some keen insights by very smart people (we don't write this stuff!)
  2. Frog Giggin' Comments, complaints, criticism and other aspersions on the snail eating ingrates. Maybe something nice if anyone ever sends us anything, but they get what they deserve.
  3. Preparations, Non-Combat Background, Miscellaneous:
  4. Humor Pictures, Jokes etc.
    Our Troops Headed to the Gulf Observations from a flight attendant on the attitude and behavior of our troops. Little is heard about these men and women on the news while they fawn over protesting scumbags.
    Combat Readiness of our Troops in the Gulf A retired Marine's critical analysis of skills and readiness as troops arrive and pick up prepositioned gear. He has high standards, and the troops meet them.
    Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare Summary What it is, how they work, and practical tips on what you can do. Military NBC expert spells it out in plain English anyone can understand. Best I have ever seen!

  5. From the Front Stories and photos from the folks at the front, doing what needs to be done. These are the grunts who deserve the greatest thanks, as their butts are on the line, enduring lousy weather, the perils of combat, and support operations, no showers, a diet of MREs, and darn little good stuff. If you have items you would like to share, please send them to us and we will consider adding them, with credit or anonymity as desired.

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Huge Collection Coming - Tells Us What You Want


We have just taken possession of a large collection from an estate. It is heavy on US military arms, (many from DCM/CMP) including a handsome M1941 Johnson, over 20 M1 carbines from all of the manufacturers including Winchester, IBM, Rockola and Irwin Pedersen; 30 Garands, a dozen nice M1917/P14s, and a few odds and ends. It also has many good foreign pistols and rifles. About 20 excellent Lee Enfields, (including very scarce training and target variants and two early carbines); and some ugly "pre ban assault rifles". It will take us several months to sort through everything and get it cataloged, researched, and photographed to be posted on the site.

As a special favor to our newsletter subscribers, we want to give you first shot at some of this collection. We do not normally work want lists, or encourage people to submit wants. However, if you have SPECIFIC items you want, please let us know and we will TRY to give you an early opportunity on items as we get them ready. Note- SPECIFIC- means maker, model and condition, not a general " all the good stuff" wish list. We cannot send a list of everything we have, and don't want to play pen-pal on this. If we think we have a match for your want, we will let you know that and when we have info ready, we will try to remember to let you know the specifics. If we are sure we do not have a match, we will let you know that too.

 

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PayPal Has Turned Antigun, So We Are Anti-PayPal


Paypal was purchased by auction mega power E-bay, which has strongly anti-gun policies, and the two began merging their operations. Paypal recently promulgated policies that prohibit use of Paypal to pay for any type of guns or gun related stuff offered in some of the "Paypal shops" operation where they let people advertise stuff. Thus they do not (yet) prohibit our accepting Paypal for purchases from us, since we are not hosted in their "mall." However, it is clear that they hate guns, gun dealers and gun buyers, and therefore we see no reason to financially support them. Every Paypal transaction with us incurs a charge of 3% which they deduct from the amount you send to us. Therefore we have had to play the silly game of stating that our posted prices are for cash, and to compute our Paypal price you must add 3%. That means YOU are paying 3% more than necessary when you use Paypal. We no longer want to accept Paypal for any of our transactions, and we encourage you to stop using it as well. No point in feeding the mouth that wants to bite you. In addition, we previously reported on their absolutely pee-poor ability to resolve problems, and we know of another reputable gun dealer who had an ugly problem with them that they could not or would not solve. Nuff said about Paypal. Give that money you would have wasted supporting them to the NRA instead! We are always happy to take you checks, money orders, or credit cards.

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Book Review:

Bayonets From Janzen's Notebook, 1987

by Jerry L. Janzen
258 pages 8.5" x 11" hardbound. The second and subsequent printings include 6 pages of additions and corrections but the rest of the text is unchanged. $35.00 (available on our books page for $35 postpaid).

This book first appeared 15 years ago, and I loved it the first time I saw it. I later met and became friends with Jerry, and helped sell most of the guns from his estate after his death. Now I sell copies of his book because it is an exceptional reference. Note the sequence, but I felt obligated to share this in interest of full disclosure.

Anyone who is interested in bayonets, but not yet an advanced bayonet collector needs a copy of this book. Most bayonet dealers include a Janzen number in their descriptions to help identify items. It is arranged alphabetically by country, and then chronologically within that country. Each item is illustrated with crisp detailed line drawings of each bayonet and usually its scabbard, and often with many of the variations. It does NOT get into the literally dozens of possible variations of markings, or subtle nuances in minute details within a specific model. There are other books for the advanced folks who savor such trivia, such as Skennerton's British and Commonwealth Bayonets, or some of the advanced studies of the German G98/K98 bayonets. Janzen's book allows the rest of us to quickly and accurately identify the vast majority of bayonets we will ever encounter. If we know the country, or even suspect it is one of several possibilities, it is a snap. If we are clueless, then it is not difficult to thumb through looking at the pictures until we get a match. Then, we will know that we have something we want to keep, or something to justify the purchase of an additional bayonet holder (i.e.- rifle), or we can use this to find out what we should be looking for to add to a rifle that we already own. There are about 1,000 different bayonets shown, and in 15 years I have only encountered one or two that were not included, and they were pretty obscure variations indeed. This covers socket, sword and knife bayonets, and will be a great help to any arms collector. As noted, above, we sell this book because it is an essential reference.


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Need a French Tank For Your Collection?

Some GI's spotted a pair of very early French tanks in Afghanistan. Note that we USED to have one in the U.S. Armor museum at Fort Knox, but the ungrateful frogs wanted it back, so we politely returned it for their museum. Very interesting story at http://defendamerica.mil/articles/feb2003/a022703b.html

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Darwin Award:

Darwin Award Honorable Mention

(Note: Darwin Awards are earned by those who remove themselves from the gene pool by extraordinarily stupid actions, demonstrating the survival of the fittest members of a species.) Used courtesy of http://www.darwinawards.com

Child Pandering
2002 Honorable Mention
Confirmed True by Darwin
(19 October 2002, Portugal)

Parents take note! Catering to a child's tantrum can have dire consequences, as a Caldelas mother recently discovered. When her four-year-old son refused to eat his soup unless she let him play with a gun, she handed it over -- and was promptly shot in the stomach by an accidental discharge. Although she survived, her dangerously questionable parenting practices earn her an Honorable Mention.

 

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This is the end of the OldGuns.net Newsletter

We hope it was useful or interesting.  We invite you to visit Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters, http://oldguns.net when you are ready to add to your collection, or even if you decide to sell all or part of it.
John Spangler & Marc Wade

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