By Gus Pearcy
In 55 years of business, Jack Lawson has only conducted one antique, curio and modern firearm estate auction. This month, he’ll have his second.
“You just don’t get ‘em.” Lawson said. “You just don’t get this type of collection.”
Lawson will hold an estate auction of antique, curio and modern firearms in mid-April.
“It’s hard to find this type of collection,” Lawson said. “Most people don’t sell them. They either pass them on to the next generation, or if they do go to the marketplace, they typically are in an estate.”
The collection was assembled by Mike Snite of Detroit, a Renaissance man who collected more than 70 antique and relic firearms and sabers. In Snite’s bio, the collection is described as a walk through American western and military history. Among the collection are Winchester repeating rifles, Colt revolvers and Dragoon cavalry sabers from 1840.
Snite worked as a commercial pilot and was a fervent collector of Winchester repeating rifles. But he often branched out and at one point even owned a Gatling gun. He died in 2019.
His sister, who lives in Greencastle, did not want the collection. It took the auctioneers nine months to prepare each piece, then photograph the collection and advertise the sale.
Collecting firearms is the hobby to end all other hobbies. The culture and governmental regulation make it complex, but there are specifics separating the guns. An antique gun is a gun made before 1898. A curio and relic firearm is at least 50 years old or novel in a way appealing to collectors. Then the modern category is anything manufactured since 1971.
Pieces in this collection are so prized that bids are coming in from all over the world.
Lawson said this is a rare collection for Central Indiana, and he invites the curious to come and see the collection during the open house.
“These are museum pieces,” Lawson said of this rare collection. “Very seldom will you find anything like this in Danville, Ind.”
Lawson & Co. gun auction
When: 10 a.m. April 17
Where: Lawson Auction Gallery, 1280 E. Main St., Danville. Public open house: 12-6:30 p.m. April 16