Gun collector wistful after selling collection at Claremont auction

Gun collector Leo Laden, who had to auction his firearms for security reasons, says it's hard to look at the bare walls where they used to hang. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Gun collector Leo Laden, who had to auction his firearms for security reasons, says it's hard to look at the bare walls where they used to hang. Picture: Martin Kennealey

GUN collector Leo Laden of Nowergup still misses 100 collectible guns and about 200 pieces of other militaria which he had to sell at McKenzies Auctioneers in Claremont last week.

“The sad thing is looking at the bare walls and the shadows where they were hanging” the 79-year-old told the Western Suburbs Weekly.

The former psychiatrist and RAF medical officer bought his first dagger, a 100-year-old Kukri, when he was 14.

However, stricter gun safety rules forced the auction when police said they wanted more security at Mr Laden’s Nowergup Antique Arms and Armour Museum of WA.

The police’s request came the day before his late wife Daphne was told she had terminal cancer, and just after the couple had returned from the national muzzle rifle loading championships in Adelaide.

After the auction, Mr Laden said he still could not consider how to use the money raised at the sale, which was the first all-militaria sale for the auctioneer.

“We sold about 85 per cent. Most of it went, and the only stuff which didn’t was minor, like bullet moulds and gun pouches,” McKenzies Auctions owner Peter McKenzie said

A bid of $10,500 got one gun buff a pair of late 18th century duelling pistols, and a German Nazi SS dress dagger sold for $3200 to another enthusiast.

However, some purchases were much cheaper, including an unidentified pistol holster which went for $15.

* The English Civil War musket was sold before the auction to a fellow dealer and friend for $20,000.

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