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Brandon B




PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2007 8:49 am    Post subject: Las Vegas Antique Arms Show Event         Reply with quote

The Antique Arms Show at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada was quite the spectacular. The Show made its first appearance in 1962 resulting from a Las Vegas gun dealer by the name of Harry Mann who thought it would be a good idea to have an antique gun show in town. Probably unbeknown in its beginnings, but today most people know it as the World's greatest gun show. In the early 1960's there were around a 100 tables. Today there are more than 1,000 different tables with as many antique arms one can imagine. The magnitude of the event, and vast amount of guns and knives available should be witnessed in person to grasp the overall scale of the event. The cost for the event was $15/person a small price to pay for a 1,000 table virtual museum!

The first room we entered was full of knife vendors. Unfortunately Albion was the only sword vendor at the event this year. Mike Sigman and Harlan Hastings were easily spotted as they were the first table to the left upon entering the room. When I arrived, there were only a few spectators at their table. While there I was treated like royalty & felt like a kid in a candy shop, thanks to Mike and Harlan handing me one sword after another. They were fun and allowed all spectators to handle swords of their liking (a must for someone to fully appreciate them). Before leaving I purchased an Albion Squire Line 13th century Knightly sword that was sharpened up and ready for a new home. I was able to get some photos of Harlan holding his favorite sword, and Mike with a couple of his favorites on my last visit to their booth.

Although primarily a gun show, I was able to find half a dozen tables displaying some antique swords. At one table there was a nice Scottish gentleman by the name of Pat Tough with “Scottish Swords and Shields”, who had a full array of basket hilt swords. One of his oldest basket hilt swords dated back to 1430’. He was a real joy to talk to, and I had to ask him to repeat some words back a couple of times because of his authentic Scottish accent. All of his basket hilts had a nice feel to them, and he was great about letting others handle his collection. A couple of the swords had various engravings on them and would have made a great addition to any Scottish sword collector.

One of the antique vendors had a sword that looked similar to an Oakeshott type XIX. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to photograph it, but I was fortunate enough to be able to handle it. Though it dated back to the late 1500's or 1600's it still looked in great shape and had a minor pitting. The sword felt as solid as it looked and had no rattles at all. The thickness of the blade was at least 3/16” or more thick at the base with a nice distal taper, and peened over at the hilt. Being able to handle an original really helped me appreciate the type of work needed to recreate the originals. The antique sword looked like someone had put a new cross guard on it at some point in time.

The show also featured some impressive antiquated armor recreations by Robert Valentine of Nevada. He displayed an original pair of gauntlets and many recreations of helmets, gauntlets, weapons, and even horse armor. In the first exhibit room there was a vendor who had a mace with fancy artistic engraving work throughout it. It was selling for $2000.00. My eye also noticed an antique rapier that featured a place to insert the thumb for added blade control. That feature is something I have never before seen. I happened upon a buckler and a spiked flail at Laurence Gray’s table. The buckler was the first thing to catch my eye. It appeared to be newer, but the reverse side showed lots of heavy rust, and was constructed with heavy gauge steel. Laurence told us he speculated the buckler to be from the Indo-Asia area due to the scalloped design around the edge.

On the knife tables, I found a couple of assisted opening folding knives. One was made from stabilized Giraffe bone, the other was of Woolly Mammoth tooth ivory. They both featured Damascus blades, and were beautiful works of art. The Mammoth tooth opened lock back style, but also had a button much like a switch blade. It was double action which meant that with the flip of a switch it could either operate like a regular folding knife or a switchblade. I also talked to Doc Hogan from Pelican Rapids, MN in the knife section, who made a Damascus blade knife that was finished using the gun bluing process on the blade. It had less of a mixture to make fewer lines throughout the steel which allowed for a truly unique look.

There were hundreds of tables featuring antique guns, and it was hard to know which ones to take pictures of. There were hundreds of peacemakers, shotguns, and rifles;moreover, two rooms were dedicated to just antique guns. The first was full of mostly modern engraved shotguns, as well as some antiques. They were engraved, scrimshawed, gold plated, and detailed to the hilt. The prices for the guns in this room were too expensive for my taste,ranging from $2000.00 and up, but they were as beautiful as guns can get, true works of art. My most favored items were found in the second room. One such item was an 1851 Colt Navy Conversion (once a cap & ball revolver converted to take paper black powder cartridges). I only found a couple of these. Most people would notice this gun if they have seen the famous spaghetti western classic "The Good The Bad & The Ugly". Another of my favorite items were the array of 1873 Winchester Rifles on hand. There was one 1873’ Winchester in particular that my wife favored since it was the original to her replicated Winchester carbine rifle by Aldo Uberti.

I was also fortunate to find an old used stock whip, and was surprised by how much life was left in it. This type of whip can be seen in the movie "The Man from Snow River". Any serious Aussie cattle drover owned one. The vendor of the whip didn't exactly realize what he had. Being an avid stock whip cracker myself, I was able to educate him on the construction of the whip. It was built just the same as the whips Jim Craig used in The Man from Snowy River movies. I almost made the purchased seeing that it was only $300 (the same price as a good new one). The other item that caught my eye was a playing card signed by "Sitting Bull" himself priced at $1,000. Other items I found interesting were original native American Indian pots for sale. These were not recreations, but antiques and were priced exceptionally well.

After a full day of walking, taking pictures, conversing with vendors, and still not being able to pass an exhibit without seeing something we missed the first time, we decided this was one of the best shows we had ever been to. It was definitely worth every penny to take a step back in time and enjoy treasures from around the world. This show should not go unmissed, and we are already looking forward to going again next year.

Photos can be seen In the Vegas Antique Arms Show 2007 album.

May God grant us the wisdom to discover the right, the strength to choose it, and the will to make it endure. - First Knight
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2007 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for sharing your experiences at the show. This is the only time I have felt the need to go to Las Vegas! So you have any photos of your adventure?

Thanks,
Jonathan

PS--Pat Tougher has a website: www.scottishsword.com , and many swords from his collection are featured in Richard Bezdek's Swords and Sword Makers of England and Scotland.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2007 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey everybody!

First, I want to thank Brandon for sharing this with us. For those of us who can not attend these events, this type of report is a means by which we can live vicariously through those lucky enough to go! Thank you so much.

Second, I wanted to mention that I've added a brand-new photo album to our Albums Section with photos from Brandon's trip.

Photos can be seen In the Vegas Antique Arms Show 2007 album.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2007 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the report Brandon. I was set to go until the last minute, when a category 5 winter storm and some family issues wound up keeping me at home. Maybe next year!
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Brandon B




PostPosted: Fri 19 Jan, 2007 3:53 pm    Post subject: Vegas antique show         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
I was set to go until the last minute, when a category 5 winter storm. Maybe next year!


Wow crazy about the storm! We are already excited about next years show. Who knows, I just might see you there. It would sure be nice to see a couple of other sword vendors there. I really enjoyed the Albion stand, the guys there are a blast. Pat Tougher was really fun to talk to. He has quite the Scottish accent, my wife loved listening to him.

May God grant us the wisdom to discover the right, the strength to choose it, and the will to make it endure. - First Knight


Last edited by Brandon B on Fri 19 Jan, 2007 4:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jan, 2007 3:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/photo/13278.html

what a dangerous young lady! Is she defending her bedroom? Laughing Out Loud

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jan, 2007 4:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Vegas antique show         Reply with quote

Brandon B wrote:
Pat Tough was really fun to talk to. He has quite the Scottish accent, my wife loved listening to him.


He is a great guy, though his last name is Tougher, not Tough. Happy

Happy

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Fri 19 Jan, 2007 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That basket hilt you are holding has quite a long blade. About how long would you guess it was? It looks brutal.

Thanks,
Jonathan
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Brandon B




PostPosted: Fri 19 Jan, 2007 4:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Vegas antique show         Reply with quote

Michal Plezia wrote:
what a dangerous young lady! Is she defending her bedroom? Laughing Out Loud


Well you know it is Vegas after all! The Venetian is sure a nice place, we took all kinds of fun photos there.

May God grant us the wisdom to discover the right, the strength to choose it, and the will to make it endure. - First Knight
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jan, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What are Mike and Harlan of Albion wearing? Is it pants? is it a kilt? What exactly am I seeing in these photos?
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Brandon B




PostPosted: Fri 19 Jan, 2007 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
That basket hilt you are holding has quite a long blade. About how long would you guess it was? It looks brutal.


Gussing I would say about 40 to 44 inches. It was a nice one. Pat was sure nice to let me handle them all.

May God grant us the wisdom to discover the right, the strength to choose it, and the will to make it endure. - First Knight
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Brandon B




PostPosted: Fri 19 Jan, 2007 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
What are Mike and Harlan of Albion wearing? Is it pants? is it a kilt? What exactly am I seeing in these photos?


They are sporting beautiful black kilts. It takes a real man to make those look good! I thought it was fun they were wearing them.

May God grant us the wisdom to discover the right, the strength to choose it, and the will to make it endure. - First Knight
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Hugo Voisine





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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jan, 2007 2:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the pics Brandon, I like to see "hands-on" pictures of swords I might purchase one day (talking about the Albions)... Wink
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