As I have done once each year since my father’s passing in 2009, I republish this story on his birthday to commemorate his life in the antique firearms business.
My father was a collector of antiques. Specifically, he collected antique weaponry. It was the one continuous preoccupation in his life, and for more than 60 years he pursued this passion far and wide.
Because his pursuit was never ending, I have occasionally heard him called a “gun nut,” usually by people who are afraid of guns. More frequently he was called a “gun collector,” but he wasn’t even that. In the wrong hands those terms conjure up images of survivalists stockpiling weapons and preparing The Compound for apocalypse. That image, in my father’s case at least, is far from the truth, although he often joked about it.
Really, he was a historian gathering artifacts. And that’s what he called them. The artifacts he chose to collect, protect, and restore were weapons belonging to specific times and places. It was the history that intrigued him.
As a result of his passion, I grew up in a house where firearms were objects of fascination, not fear. They formed a backdrop, literally, to my youth. I consider myself fortunate to have handled and inspected so many tangible, tactile, and spectacular connections to the past. And I, like my father, view them with a perpetual sense of awe.
Now that he is gone, and his beautiful collection has been sent home with other appreciative collectors, I can share what he knew all along — It’s not a gun…
It’s Old World.
It’s New World.
Sometimes It’s Not a Gun at All.
It’s Nothing to Fear.
It’s not a gun. It’s history.
Thank you, Pop, for letting me in.
Note: I have been inundated with requests for additional photos of specific pieces, but all of the firearms pictured above were sold – reluctantly – at auction in 2010 and I no longer have access to them.
All images found here and at lodgetrail.com are protected by copyright and may not be used elsewhere. Contact me at the link above for usage requests.