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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.)

Logan Metesh is a firearms historian and consultant who runs High Caliber History LLC. Click here for a free 3-page download with tips about caring for your antique and collectible firearms.

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  1. Is it bad that I recognized the Spiller & Burr revolver just from the top strap before the photo scrolled into view? (You might be a gun nut if…)

      • I’ve been studying Old West era guns for a game I’m making. I can’t tell the diff between a Remington and a Colt just by looking (yet), but those Spiller & Burr revolvers are pretty distinctive. Plus my playtesting character carries one. 🙂

  2. First, Timonium is not Baltimore. It is the suburbs, and the suburbs are relatively safe.

    Second, what good does this review do me weeks after the event. How about sending me a birthday card “the birthday party we had for you the week you were out was great. Sorry we forgot to tell you about it Happy Belated Birthday”

    • Have you been going lately? I haven’t, but I’m only a few hundred miles away, so I have several dealer/collector friends that go. From the reports I’ve gotten, the money isn’t there anymore, and, more importantly, the interesting guns aren’t either.

  3. I’ve been going to the Baltimore show for years. It used to be in downtown Baltimore at the Armory, but it moved out to the Timonium state fair grounds where there’s more room. Yeah, it’s in the People’s Socialist Republic of Maryland and I can’t carry there (I live in Virginia), but this show is one of the few reasons I will venture into that state. One will see so many flint longrifles, Colt SAAs, Winchester lever guns and so forth that it’s easy to get desensitized by it all. The food is fair food and I usually ignore that. Usually what I look for (and my budget will afford) is stuff for my USMC collection. This year I was lucky enough to come away with an original 1859 USMC NCO sword ($550). I also saw a couple of 1826 USMC NCO swords, but they were a little pricier, starting at $2,700. Yes, stuff is pricy, but the exhibitors are usually pretty good about letting people look at stuff (IF they ask first), and are usually full of interesting information about their items. Its also fun seeing old friends (both vendors and visitors). If I’m still above ground next year, I plan on going again.

  4. If you can still have such a gun show in Maryland, then perhaps things are not as bad I have been told. This is a good sign.

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