Tables piled with rifles, ammunition, and knives fill the Turvey Centre this weekend – but a gun show isn’t normally the place one might think of to go antiquing.
The Saskatchewan Gun Collectors Association is holding its annual show this weekend. Nestled in between one table selling old Canadian regiment medals, and another selling modern firearms is Gary Schmidt with his antiques.
Rifles sit on a stand, on the table underneath them small pistols are laid out in glass cases.
Schmidt touches on each of them, giving details on the firearms’ dates and how they were used.
“Remington’s Colts, they were all cap and ball pistols, they’re all from about 1860s … there’s also a star in there which was the second most popular pistol in the civil war … back then the men and the ladies used to wear muffs and they’d carry the pistols in there.”
The shine on the pistols is dulled with age, but small detailing like ivory handles, and engraving on the barrel still stand out.
“They’re works of art, they were well made back then, they weren’t mass produced, they were still mostly hand-made,” said Schmidt.
The antique firearms, along with several pre-1945 military firearms are part of Schmidt’s collection – something he’s been adding to for about 50 years.
Schmidt said it’s actually getting easier to find antique firearms these days.
“Most of these guys that collected them are, they’re getting older now, so a lot more of these collections are coming on the market. And unfortunately, there’s just not enough young people coming up that’re interested.”
Many of those firearms are going to the U.S., according to Schmidt, because of the disparity between the Canadian and U.S. dollars, and sellers can make a lot more selling to American buyers.
Schmidt couldn’t say why he was drawn to older firearms, and when pressed about whether he had a favourite, he joked “no, not really, they’re all my children.”
The show is open on Sunday as well, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.