The Maryland Arms Collectors Association has hosted the Baltimore Antique Arms Show each spring since 1954. Regarded as one of the premier events in the country, it is on the “gun bucket list” of most collectors.
There’s lots to see among the show’s 1,000 tables … but there’s also lots that you won’t see. Looking for vintage military camo clothing, beef jerky, surplus Mauser rifles, or 6.5 Creedmoor ammo? Well, then perhaps this show isn’t for you. Looking to see – up close and personal – some of the most rare guns in existence that you’ve probably only ever read about? Well, then perhaps this is the show for you. And if your pockets are deep enough, you can bring most of it home with you.
Mixed in among the endless sea of museum-quality pieces that are actually for sale, you’ll also find displays showing off different collections that are privately owned. The displays serve to educate the public and allow the owners to compete for show awards.
The stuff for sale, though, is absolutely incredible. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a sale and a display table! For example, while walking one of the aisles, I spotted a rare Confederate-made Spiller & Burr revolver. I chatted with the guy who owned it and he was more than happy to pull the gun from the case and let me take a closer look.
Then, as I glanced back at the case from which this piece of history had emerged and I saw yet another rare Confederate handgun – a revolver made by Leech & Rigdon. He was more than happy to pull that one, too, for me to examine. It was painfully obvious that I couldn’t afford the guns ($45,000 for the former; $34,500 for the latter), but that didn’t matter to the owner. He could tell I was enthralled with the history of the guns and being able to share that bond of history was what really mattered.
This is just one example of the myriad rare and historic arms on display and offered for sale at the show. You can’t take two steps without running into arms history from all over the world. Guns, ammo, swords, armor … you name it, the Baltimore Antique Arms Show has it.
If you’re intrigued, then you’ve got plenty of time to prepare for next year’s show. It is held on the 3rd weekend of March every year in Timonium, MD, which is just outside of Baltimore. (I know, I know. Trust me, though, it’s worth it.)