HARRISBURG RUGER COLLECTORS
DISPLAY SHOW 2007
by Bill Hamm
Photography by Matt Olivier
MARCH 17 – 18, 2007
This year’s annual spring Ruger Display show was held
at the Mid-Atlantic Arms Collectors show in the Farm Complex at
Harrisburg, PA. What a great
venue!!! This is a 1,000 – 1,200
table show packed with quality firearms and shooting and hunting accessories.
Our host, show promoter Mr. Nick Jubinski, really made us feel at
home and went out of his way to meet our every need.
The regular dealers also welcomed us and were quite complimentary of our
displays. Nick located our displays right in the middle of the
building. We were able to interact
with a lot of show attendees and received a lot of positive comments about our
displays. A lot of folks said that
they had never heard of a “Ruger Club” and hoped that we would come back to
As for the displays, they were pure quality!
We had 15 displays spread out over 18 tables. Displayers came from Florida, Maine, Maryland, New York,
North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia. One non-displayer flew in from Mississippi.
There were four new displayers in the group.
There were Rugers represented from the beginning of production to current
production. This was indeed a very
educational group of displays and seemed to be appreciated by the public.
Hopefully, this will bring out more
collectors that are willing to share their guns with the public and us.
There were several good guns to be found on the dealers’
tables as well as a few that were seen moving among the displayers themselves. I saw a very rare NIB brass frame Super
Blackhawk and a very rare “Ross” variation .357
Flattop that one of our displayers was able to purchase.
There was a minty boxed .44 Flattop,
two 10” .44 Flattops, a 7-1/2” .44 Flattop, a NIB with shipping carton Super
Single-Six, some mint Flatgates, a Hawkeye, three variations of Lightweights,
“S” marked .44 Flattop, several other .357 and .44 Flattops, .45/45ACP,
3-digit No. 3 rifle, 4-digit Flatbolt rifle, and several other desirable
single actions. The show promoter
brought out 20 – 30 rare, minty, mostly non-prefix No. 1 rifles to sell.
There were a lot of old parts that several of the displayers were able to
pick up at reasonable prices. All
in all this was a great show.
The show promoter gave away a
$400 cash prize for the Best Educational Display.
There were three judges that he chose from his dealers to determine this
award. After much deliberation they
were deadlocked on two displays and decided to split the money between them.
You will have to read about the displays below to see which displays won
this nice prize. He also gave $50
to the person who drove the longest distance; we determined that this was Bill
Hightower from Tallahassee, FL.
We presented Nick with a plaque to express our appreciation
for his hospitality and told him how much we enjoyed his show.
We also told him that we would like to come back next year, and he said
that we would be welcomed back.
Descriptions of the displays are shown below:
(Click Pictures for a Larger Version)
“HAPPINESS IS SPANISH ENGRAVED #5113”
DISPLAYED BY FRAN GIVEN
AWARDED FIRST PLACE NOVICE CLASS
A one-gun display, Fran’s gun is an extremely rare Spanish engraved Single-Six, serial number 5113. When Bill Ruger contracted with Charles H. Jerred, Master Engraver, to engrave his Ruger Single-Sixes in the USA, this was the “pattern gun” that Bill selected and sent to him as an example to follow. A letter from Bill Ruger to Jerred was displayed that explained in detail what he wanted the work to look like and prices that he was willing to pay for the work. Fran also displayed a factory letter, copies of actual sales receipts, and an original advertisement for the engraved Single-Sixes. This gun was on display at the NRA Convention in 1989 as part of the RCA display and won a “group within a Group” award. A wonderful piece of early Ruger history! A great way to start displaying…winning 1st place in your class!!
“50 YEARS OF RUGERS, SOME OLD, SOME NEW”
DISPLAYED BY BUDD GIVEN
AWARDED THIRD PLACE ADVANCED
Budd’s colorful display included several early original Ruger models and the new 50th Year Anniversary models to go along with them. Examples included an early Standard Auto, an early Single-Six flatgate, and original .357 and .44 Flattops. Their 50th Anniversary models were also displayed. There was also a matching serial number set of the 50th Anniversary .357 & .44 Flattops in their factory glass top presentation case. A lot of 50th anniversary memorabilia was displayed – baseball bat, clock, glasses, mugs, etc. There were also some very rare pieces of memorabilia from Argentina. Instruction manuals and boxes rounded out the display.
“RUGER REVOLVERS - BOXED WITH SHIPPERS”
DISPLAYED BY LEE SUNDERMEIER
AWARDED FIRST PLACE ADVANCED
Lee’s outstanding display contained some very rare “Complete Packaged” old model guns that are so very hard to obtain by collectors. Several factory brass framed guns, a single digit Hawkeye #5, and a number of Blackhawk .45 Colts were included. All of the packaging was very crisp. Lee stated that it was his intent to help educate the public about the proper packaging of the old model guns and the contents of each package. Examples of model numbers with the corresponding owner manuals, dates, warranty cards and inserts were shown for this “education” purpose.
“EARLY CASED SUPERS”
DISPLAYED BY BILL HIGHTOWER
Bill brought out six of his great mahogany cased Supers for all of us to enjoy. Included in the group was a very rare Long Grip frame without the Eagle logo in the barrel address and a High Polish that was without the Eagle logo. Bill also had one of the rare mahogany cases with nickel hardware in its so rare that it is almost unique outer cardboard shipping carton.
“RARE RUGER .44 CARBINES”
DISPLAYED BY VAUGHN CHASE
AWARDED BEST GUN OF THE SHOW FOR #4 DEERSTALKER
Vaughn’s fine long gun display included six of the rarest .44 carbines in existence. One gun, the Deerstalker #4, was the first Ruger long gun shipped from the factory! This gun was awarded “Best Gun of the Show.” Others shown included Deerstalkers serial numbers 4 & 7; a factory hand checkered International stocked .44 Carbine, which is 1 of only 3 known; a hand checkered .44 Fingergroove Sporter .44 Carbine which is 1 of only 5 known; the only known “S” marked second .44 Carbine; and Deerstalker #2121 which is a double shipped gun. This was Vaughn’s first display; what a showing!!
“FIFTY YEARS OF FLATTOPS”
DISPLAYED BY MATT OLIVIER
Matt’s fine display covered all barrel lengths of the .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum “Flattops.” The three variations of the New Model 50th Anniversary .357 & .44 Flattops were also displayed, along with a factory Matched Set of Anniversary Flattops. Sets of extremely rare original factory ivory and rare stag grips along with memorabilia, American Rifleman original advertisements for the Flattops, a 1957 catalog, and Shooting Times advertisements for the 50th Anniversary guns were included. All guns were boxed except the 10” .357 Flattop.
“OLD MODEL 3 SCREW RUGER BLACKHAWK CONVERTIBLES”
DISPLAYED BY ROBERT M. NELSON
AWARDED SECOND PLACE ADVANCED CLASS
This complete eleven-gun display had examples of all the old model Blackhawk Convertible variations. It included all barrel lengths and even the grip panel medallion changes. It also included a rare “D” marked duplicate .357 magnum/9MM convertible. Advertisements and pictures accompanied this fine display. Examples of the various boxes and different cylinder boxes were also displayed.
DISPLAYED BY BOB ANDERSON
AWARDED SECOND PLACE NOVICE
Bob’s display was just great! In case you a re wondering the “R-R-R” in the title stands for “Rustic, Rugged, Reliable". Bob had all the basic Flattop models displayed on an old barn wood backdrop. Examples of old advertisements, cartridge boxes, barbed wire, horse bridles, calving rope, a old coffee pot on a camp fire and I believe some gambling cards were well placed to support the R-R-R theme. Bob even had a couple of half full bottles of redeye whisky setting there that he had to watch very closely. This was Bob’s first display; wow, I can hardly wait to see his next one!!
“5 of 6”
DISPLAYED BY ROD KIRIAN
AWARDED FIRST PLACE INTERMEDIATE
Rod’s outstanding display consisted of five sets of consecutive serial numbered .357 and .44 Flattops with different barrel lengths. He had sets of the 4-5/8” and 10” .357 Flattops. His set of 4-5/8” .357 Flattops was two-digit #96 & #97!! He had sets of the 6-1/2”, 7-1/2” and 10” .44 Flattops. He is only missing the 6-1/2” .357 Flattops; knowing Rod I expect we will see a display of “6 of 6” before it is all said and done! The display also had a very nice backdrop of the old yellow and black Blackhawk “Flattop” box with a left end label for the .44 Blackhawk and a right end for the .357 Blackhawk.
“RUGER COLLECTING MORE THAN GUNS”
DISPLAYED BY TYRONE PHILLIPS
AWARDED SECOND PLACE INTERMEDIATE
Tyrone’s eye-catching display showcased several fine examples of Ruger handguns but focused more on examples of various memorabilia associated with Ruger. It included examples of employee Christmas gifts, accessories, and employee 10 Year club items. Items were displayed from Pine Tree Casting, which is a part of the Ruger Company. Also shown were items from the very early Bill Ruger and Alex Sturm days. Examples of Bill Ruger’s tool company’s hand drills and Alex Sturm’s children’s books that pre-date the formation of the Sturm, Ruger, & Co. firearms business. This display includes four different variations of the very scarce 1 to 1 scale models of the Super Blackhawk and two small games with .44 Flattop promotional info. on the back of the games.
“RUGER FACTORY SINGLE ACTIONS 1953 – 1973”
DISPLAYED BY DAVE WHITMAN
Dave’s great display of fine condition Rugers represented an example of the different barrel lengths of the Single Action revolvers of all calibers produced from 1953 to 1973. Dave’s display also included 4 very rare guns. They are 1 of 9 known Nickel plated Super Single-Sixes with a "non-Inc" barrel, 1 of 3 known 10” Super Blackhawks, a 4-5/8” Super Single-Six and a factory engraved Single-Six. Examples of period cartridge boxes for the different gun’s ammunition also accompanied the display.
DISPLAYED BY BOB CAMPBELL
NON-JUDGED MASTERS CLASS
Bob displayed 18 of his fine old .357 Flattops. Several rare variations were shown including the .357 Flattop serial number 357!! A two digit #69 was there along with another rare factory “High Polish” Flattop with extremely rare factory ivory grips. #16970, 1 of 4 known “S” marked .357 Flattops and a documented “Ross” variation along with some other 4-5/8”, 6-1/2” and 10” barreled six & eight groove guns rounded out this great group of Flattops.
“CONSECUTIVE NUMBERED TRIAD”
DISPLAYED BY BILL HAMM
NON-JUDGED MASTERS CLASS
This display consisted of a fine Triad or “group of three” consecutive numbered rare Charles H. Jerred factory engraved Single-Sixes. Serial numbers 44933, 44934 & 44935. All have the same “Revised Standard” engraving pattern but each one exhibited a different characteristic. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only 3-gun consecutive numbered group of Jerred engraved guns ever put together and displayed. The all blue Jerred engraved Single-Six, #24372, was also displayed to demonstrate how the guns fitted into their presentation cases.
“TWENTY-TWO .22s, THE RUGER SINGLE-SIX, 1953–1968”
DISPLAYED BY JIM SCHAFER
NON-JUDGED MASTERS CLASS
AWARDED BEST EDUCATIONAL DISPLAY BY SHOW PROMOTER
Jim’s outstanding display included a complete set of Flatgates, a complete set of Lightweights including “S” marked guns, with both the Single-Sixes and Super Single-Sixes in between. Many of these guns had beautiful red cylinder frames that all collectors dream about. An extra Type 3 Flatgate with an after market period “Premiere” loading gate was also shown. Out front of the standing display was a factory “All Blue” Jerred Engraved Single-Six and a factory Nickel-plated Super Single-Six. A parts board with most all of the parts changes during that period was also displayed as well as examples of the packaging for these guns. I fully agree with the judges, excellent showing and certainly educational!
“MAJOR DESIGNS OF RUGER HANDGUNS 1949 – 1973”
DISPLAYED BY RUSS DOUCETTE
AWARDED THIRD PLACE NOVICE CLASS
AWARDED BEST EDUCATIONAL DISPLAY BY THE SHOW PROMOTER
Russ’ first display ever sure impressed the Show Promoter’s judges; he tied with Master displayer Jim Schafer for the Most Educational display award! His theme followed R.L. Wilson’s book, Ruger and His Guns. Russ displayed thirty-three different Ruger handguns that were major designs as set out in the book. This included an early Salt Cod box and Standard Auto and a Charles H. Jerred factory engraved Single-Six. A time line chart was displayed depicting these major designs from 1949 – 1993. This was a great display for the collectors and general public as well. Books and other documents were also shown.
We all gathered
Saturday night after the show for a fine meal and later for the Awards
distribution. Matt Olivier presented Award Plaques to each 1st,
2nd, and 3rd place winner in each class.
A plaque was also presented to Vaughn Chase for the Best Gun of
the Show. Jay Hansen and Dalia
Lev, of the Ruger Collectors Association, made arrangements with
Sturm, Ruger, & Co., Inc. to have several pieces of Ruger Memorabilia
available for each displayer.
They also provided an RCA Certificate on the new RCA letterhead for each
displayer. The new letterhead
really looks sharp. Chad Hiddleson, Owner & Editor of the Red
Eagle News Exchange, also gives each first place display winner and the best
gun(s) of the show winner a free year’s subscription to his paper.
We would like to encourage each of you to begin making plans to attend next year’s Spring Harrisburg, PA Display show. Get those displays built!! Any of you that have never displayed please ask first timers Bob Anderson, Vaughn Chase, Russ Doucette, or Fran Given how they liked it; I believe that they will tell you just how much fun it is. Not only will you enjoy it and likely gain fine guns for your collection, but it will help further and support our hobby and continued collectibility and desirability of the fine Ruger Firearms.
The Ruger Collectors' Association is the oldest organization for the Ruger collector and/or enthusiast. Membership includes the Association's sporadically-produced newsletter and invitation to members-only events. For more information (or to apply for an annual membership), write to: Ruger Collectors' Association, Inc., P.O. Box 240, Greens Farms, CT 06436
The Red Eagle News Exchange is a quarterly publication filled with new information, updates, and articles about collecting Ruger firearms and memorabilia. This is an excellent resource for the Ruger collector and/or enthusiast, and the wealth of information sent to new subscribers as a free gift with a paid annual subscription is alone well worth the money. Highly recommended. For more information or to subscribe, write Red Eagle News Exchange (Chad Hiddleson - Editor), 1945 Clover Avenue, Perry, IA 50220, or call (515) 465-2057.
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