NRA Annual Meeting – OGCA Exhibits

A Star given for every year OGCA has participated with a display at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits

A Star given for every year OGCA has participated with a display at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits

The 1954 NRA Annual Meeting

In 1954, the NRA extended an invitation to collectors’ groups to create educational displays at its annual meeting, and the Ohio Gun Collectors Association (OGCA) responded with tremendous enthusiasm! Since that inaugural display in ’54, OGCA has become an integral part of the event, never missing a single year and consistently presenting more displays than any other collector association in the country.

Over the years, the event has experienced significant growth. Currently, nearly 100 NRA-affiliated collector organizations are invited to participate. Their displays are strategically located in an area known as “Collectors Row,” away from the bustling commercial exhibits. Collectors Row serves as the first stop for many attendees and offers an excellent introduction to the captivating hobby of gun collecting, captivating thousands of NRA members as they explore its magical aisles.

During the 1960s

Since 1960, the NRA Gun Collectors Committee has been presenting awards to foster competitive participation from affiliated gun collector organizations. These awards are highly coveted and regarded as the pinnacle of peer recognition for a collectible firearm display. The most esteemed trophy, the Gun Collectors Committee Trophy, affectionately referred to as the Silver Cup, is awarded to the organization with the best overall display. Each year, the winning organization’s name is engraved on the trophy. Unsurprisingly, OGCA proudly tops the list, having been awarded the inaugural trophy due to its rich background and dedication to the craft.

Ohio Gun Collectors Association display at the 1959 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits

Ohio Gun Collectors Association display at the 1959 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits

2004 – Guns of the National Matches – A Century of Arms

In 2004, one of the most memorable collaborations in recent history took place with the exhibition titled “Guns of the National Matches – A Century of Arms.” Over 30 OGCA members contributed items to this significant co-exhibit with the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), led by Jim O’Neil. Through remarkable teamwork and unwavering determination, an exceptional collection of match target rifles, trophies, and other objects used in the National Matches was curated. Notably featured was the legendary “Farr rifle,” which 62-year-old George Farr used in the 1921 Wimbledon Match, achieving second place with a borrowed .30 caliber standard service rifle equipped with basic open sights. Farr’s extraordinary feat led to the creation of the Farr Trophy for the 1922 National Matches, an award that remains prestigious to this day and recognizes the top shooter using a service rifle.

This forty-foot back-lit display, “Guns of the National Matches – A Century of Arms,” won the Silver Cup

This forty-foot back-lit display, “Guns of the National Matches – A Century of Arms,” won the Silver Cup

2023 – 19th Century Semiautomatic Pistols

Our 2023 exhibit required three years of meticulous planning and substantial effort from numerous individuals. It will undoubtedly be recorded as one of our finest and most educational displays. Congratulations are in order for the 2023 committee led by Sean McCarter, which included Chris Rohal, Rod Kirian, Tom Bowersox, and Chuck Benton.

A heartfelt thank you goes to Len Antaris, who graciously represented OGCA with his extremely rare collection of every 1890s semi-automatic pistol produced and offered for military trials. The display titled “19th Century Semiautomatic Pistols” earned the top trophy, the Gun Collectors Committee Trophy, affectionately known as the “Silver Bowl.” This remarkable achievement marks the 11th time OGCA has received this esteemed honor. Len also received three out of ten Individual Gun NRA Silver Medallions for his Roth-Theodorovic (pg. 10), Bergman Suchard (pg. 8), and The Kaiser’s Gun (above and back cover). As if that were not enough, he was also presented with a Certificate for Best Grouping for his presentation of Mannlicher pistols (above and back cover). Additionally, OGCA received the Best Brochure Award, a beautifully designed masterpiece by Sandra Schwab. In total, six awards were bestowed upon OGCA, truly highlighting their exceptional accomplishments!

19th Century Semiautomatic Pistols

19th Century Semiautomatic Pistols

This significant exhibit was meticulously reconstructed one final time at the OGCA Annual Display Show held on May 20-21, 2023, where it was showcased as a non-competing display. Whether you had the opportunity to witness it in person or not, I strongly encourage you to immerse yourself in this fascinating topic with the electronic version of the 19th Century Semiautomatic Pistols Compendium that provides an abundance of information and video links that will captivate your interest for at least a week, ensuring you stay engrossed in this captivating subject matter.

Scan the QR code using your smartphone or or use the link with your web browser.

OGCA Membership

Though closed to the public, OGCA meetings are huge events drawing thousands of people from across the country, and regularly feature 600-700 tables of strictly gun-related material. According to the National Rifle Association, OGCA is the “Granddaddy” of all firearm collector associations, having been founded in 1937 and now standing at over 16,000 members.

Pictured: William R. Ham with a favorite Ruger

UPCOMING OGCA SHOWS

March 2024
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