I drove down Greenwich, CT, on Saturday for the 2010 East Coast Fine Arms Show. I walked in about 9:30am, full of caffeine and high expectations.
Ever since Vintagers pulled out of Millbrook, NY, this show has been THE place to see fine guns. In the past, dealers from all over have showed up with fine guns: Purdeys, Holland & Hollands, antique hammerguns, vintage Francottes, pristine Griffin & Howe bolt rifles and top quality antiques.
Unfortunately, this year was different.
While there were some nice guns at the show, the number of dealers and high-quality pieces was way down. Attendance seemed down, too. The only thing up was the prices. That being said, Greenwich still had far more fine shotguns and rifles than anything else going on in New England.
The dealers there included Robin Hollow Outfitters, Roger Bain, Jack Jansma’s Wingshooting Adventures, Wildwood Guns and Connecticut Shotgun. These guys had a a mix of old and new guns with them. Robin Hollow had this .410 Parker AHE on their table. While it’s a decent looking gun, a lot of the Parker guys think it’s an upgrade. For bolt rifles, Roger Bain had this 7×57 Hoffman with him. An impressive gun, for sure.
While I saw a few English and European side by sides (nothing special), I did see some fine American guns. There were a handful of Parkers in decent shape: a couple 16g VHEs (one with 32″ barrels), a decent 20g VHE, a 12g VHE Trap gun. There were also some nice AH Foxes, including gun #35. Number thirty five is an early production, high-grade double that was made for an executive at the Fox factory. A lot has been written about this gun – especially in The Double Gun Journal. In the past few years, I think this gun has been up for auction at least once. I’m not a Fox nut, but it’s a nice looking side by side. I think the price on it was $65,000.
I also saw some nice guns walk in, including a 20g Robertson percussion shotgun ($2500) and a 12g Charles Daly Diamond Grade like this one, but with a straight grip. The same guy also had a 20g Bernardelli Gamecock like this one, and a 20g Ithaca Flues with damascus barrels and a ton of original condition. Another guy was trolling around an AH Fox A grade 16/20 gauge combo. The gun had a refinished wood and a straight grip. He wanted $3500.
The Parker and Fox collectors had excellent displays full of beautiful guns. A couple private collectors had some gorgeous, hard-to-find American doubles on their table, including a nice L.C. Smith A2, a Nichols & Lefever hammergun, a high-grade Remington hammer gun and nearly new 12g & 20g Lefever HEs.
The most impressive gun of the show was Connecticut Shotgun’s new A-10 American. They had a color-case hardened 20g there that was real nice gun. With rose & scroll engraving, a solid rid, and a straight stock, this gun was a real elegant gun. While most O/Us leave me cold, this one fired me up. This O/U is available through their A-10 American Custom Shop.