On July 7-10, I worked at the 41st Annual Winchester Gun Show sponsored by the Winchester Arms Collectors Association as part of my internship here in the Cody Firearms Records Office this summer. Overall, it was a fun experience being able to meet all the collectors and members of the Winchester Arms Collectors Association. As I assisted with the table for the Firearms Records Office, I was able to not only learn about what goes into gun shows but also see a gun show from a different perspective.
Walking around and seeing all the different items being sold, as well as the educational displays exhibits that were presented was really enjoyable. In terms of interacting with people, it was fun to meet various collectors and auction houses that do this type of work for a living. During the show collectors would come to our table and ask for a search on their firearm. In some cases the search would be for a firearm that they could potentially sell, which could give the item more value. While walking around the gun show, I noticed that many guns for sell were accompanied by searches or factory letters from our records office. In my search through the tables, I saw many guns that grabbed my attention. One of my favorite rifles that I saw was the .44-40 1860 Henry that featured a beautiful engraving.
Winchester firearms were not the only things being sold at the gun show. Throughout all the tables, there were many other items like ammo, memorabilia, flintlocks, sights, knives, Native American jewelry and more. There was also an assortment of Springfield rifles, Colt revolvers, and quite a few Colt 1885 Revolving Rifles.
Two of the displays that I found to be very interesting, featured a Sharps Model 1874 and one on a Winchester 1873 .44 caliber Smooth Bore Rifle that was believed to have been given to Oglala Sioux Chief, Young Man Afraid of His Horses by Buffalo Bill Cody. Other exhibits showed various models of Winchesters along with bullet molds. In addition, there was a firearm that had been proved to have been recovered from a ship wreck. The rifle was a Winchester 1873 .44 caliber Winchester Center Fire that survived from the wreck of a steamer named, John H. Starin, on February 20, 1909. The ship departed from New Haven, Connecticut and was set to arrive in New York. The wreck was reported in the New York Times. This piece along with so many others, were very interesting. Another firearm that caught my eye was this rather strange space looking gun that looked homemade.
During my time at the show, I was also able to learn a lot more about how to read the manufacturer records. I became familiar with what records we have and especially with abbreviations. This was extremely helpful in learning how to read the records. Overall, I am really happy that I was able to experience the Winchester Gun Show by working with the Firearms Records Office. If you didn’t get a change to come to this year’s Winchester Gun Show, make sure you make it to the show next year.