We do NOT sell GUNS.
We do NOT sell PARTS.
We do NOT offer GUN VALUES.
We do not represent any gun
makers or sellers.
When we retired some years ago we found time to indulge a favorite interest, U.S. history. One day my husband, Rob, while rummaging through a library of books he had been left by an old friend, came across a 1955 Bannerman Catalog. It looked familiar and after a while he recognized it as being his own copy from his youth that Rob's father had probably lent to our friend while Rob was in the Navy long ago.
I decided this wonderful old book should be shared with others and sought permission from the Bannerman family to reprint it. That granted, I began the labor intensive task of preparing the book for reprint. That first book took me almost three months, something I can do now in a matter of a couple of days.
Then I began to interview printers. I quickly learned the cost of having the book printed by even the least expensive jobber, in numbers I comfortable storing, was way out of reason. I then began to look into doing the printing and binding myself, something I do today.
The Bannerman Castle Trust, which looks after the ruins of the old Bannerman Arsenal on the Hudson River near West Point, was one of my first customers. I added more titles from our own collection of old gun catalogs and soon a plan began to form in my mind. I decided to preserve old gun catalogs for future generations before they are all gone. This concept evolved into what I could call my Mission Statement:
Briefly put, I am attempting to place together a definitive collection of old gun catalogs for future generations to use as a reliable source of information about relic firearms and for related historical research. One day, it is my intention that my files be made available to historians and collectors in .pdf format on-line for them to download and print themselves. In the interim, I sell bound reprints in sufficient quantity to allow me time to add new titles while supporting the business and allowing enough profits to add new titles.
The majority of my present customers are not computer savvy enough to print and bind their own copies, but I am hopeful the next generation and those to follow will be skilled enough with computers and technology to do so.
In no way do I want to reproduce "forgeries" of existing ephemera. What I currently print in my basement to support the business is, necessarily, in such small quantity that there is no chance my meager efforts will, in any way, adversely affect the now global marketplace for originals and only a moron would mistake one of my reprints as being an original. A reprint of an old catalog is not an original any more than a first generation Peacemaker is lessened in value by Uberti reproductions. Furthermore, I make no effort to use precisely the same paper, covers, inks, or even to duplicate the exact size of the originals. My reprints preserve firearm information only.
Regarding the quality of my reprints I have a few statements to make. All reprints are done on at least 92 bright 20# acid free white paper and the images are the best I can reproduce with the latest digital equipment and software available. All covers are heavy semi-glossy (or high gloss) high contrast paper and are printed in color unless otherwise stated. Keeping in mind that I reprint over 3500+ different old gun catalogs and gun manuals, all my reprints necessarily reflect the quality of the originals or copies I work from. Not all are perfect by any means. By definition ephemera, especially as it refers to old advertising catalogs, was meant to be temporary. Many old catalogs were printed on poor quality, thin paper with cheap inks that bled. They suffer from stains, rips, bleed-through, fading and a host of other problems. Not all can be restored to original condition (although some can be made better than they were when they came from the printer). I also work with both old reprints and old photocopies. Why? Because where else will we find some of the most rare old gun catalogs I offer? I do, however, replace poor copies with better ones if they become available. Also, don't forget I don't charge much either. Irrespective of "quality" or rarity I charge based on number of pages, advertising costs and cost to acquire and reproduce (color ink is especially expensive). I should add that I do not necessarily reprint things to the exact size of the original or on the same paper or with the same binding etc. To do so would be prohibitively expensive. Also, some authored books also carry a royalty fee and the price reflects that. (See Guarantee below).
Each book is printed to order and is hand made. I regret to admit that, on occasion, I make a mistake. Despite my best efforts, sometimes dates are wrong or something gets printed upside down or backward or the printer fails or something completely unforeseen happens. Mea Culpa! I am very sorry but I confess I am a real live human person not a huge, anonymous, error-free machine and things happen. Don't panic and please don't use threatening or deprecating language when you describe the problem- just send me an email- firstname.lastname@example.org. I will fix it and send you a new copy for free and you probably won't even have to bother returning the bad copy. There, isn't that better? (See Guarantee below).
Regarding dates, I publish over 3500 old catalogs and manuals. I date them using the best tools I have but sometimes they are wrong. I depend on my customers to help me here and guide me to more accurately date things. So, if you see an error, please let me know so I can fix it. Again, it isn't the end of the world, please treat me respectfully.
Anyway, all the foregoing is why I offer a money back guarantee. If you don't like it, I'll give you your money back. Of course, I don't do that too often with the same person! So, please don't be shocked, aghast, disgusted, left breathless or, my favorite "very disappointed" if you get a very occasional catalog that would not be of acceptable quality to insert in Double Gun Journal. It was the best I could do with it and you are covered by my guarantee (I do try to be fair in my descriptions too).
I have been fortunate to have been warmly greeted by the firearms community. So many generous collectors have shared their valuable collections of old gun catalogs with me that I cannot express my gratitude. Every day I get calls from wonderful people from all over the world who want to help. These terrific people help you too. Their loans to me mean I can keep my prices low by not having to spend as much as I would otherwise be forced to spend to acquire old catalogs. Please send me an email telling me what you have to share! Many people let me give them a couple of my reprints in exchange as a thank you! (All Original Catalogs are not damaged, are sent by insured post and are returned promptly- references are available).
By the way, all my digital files are backed up daily and duplicates are stored off-site for security.
During the last many years I have been gratified by the response of gun owners, historians and writers who have shared their collections of old gun catalogs with me. Equally exciting were the orders for catalogs by namesake descendants- Tryons, Greeners, Tolleys, Forehands, Popes, Lefevers, Hibbards and others. Then there are the actual manufacturers who sought copies of their own history. Holland and Holland, Shiloh Sharps, The Daisy Museum, Griffin & Howe, Boss, Winchester; not to mention two Hollywood "gunfighters", movie and TV producers, movie prop people, forensic experts, a host of college professors and school teachers and a lot of writers.
I have sold catalogs to people in thirty-two countries and now can make a fool of myself in half the word's languages. I answer an average of twenty-five specific questions a day and a lot of non-specific ones such as "I have a wooden bar-bell thing, what is it?" I regularly field questions and requests from collectors of guns, ammunition, decoys, knives, tools, glass balls, bottles, skates, dog collars, whistles, folding boats sleeping bags, hats, folding metal targets and even plumb bobs. A major New York fashion designer ordered a whole box of old catalogs featuring outdoor clothing he could copy (I am still waiting to get paid)!
Lots of calls I get are from people who have a gun and want to know how much it is worth, sort of like Antiques Roadshow. Naturally, it is almost impossible to appraise a gun on the phone. One recent conversation ended something like this, "Bob, go to a national chain bookstore and look for a book on gun values that has pictures. That should help you identify your Stevens." "Uh, OK Abby. Ya wan me to tak my gun to Barnes an Noble an look for a book.?" "NO Bob! Do not take your gun to a book store, take a picture of it with you!"
With over 3500 old gun catalogs and manuals available at attractive prices, I feel I have a wealth of supporting information to offer anyone interested in old firearms. Collectors can learn a lot about the fabric of life at the time their weapons were made and Cornell Publications is a fine starting point.