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In October 1916, when prominent Melbourne gundealer, James Rosier, was auctioning his business, a collector by the name of Mr. H.W.Fry stood in the crowd and bid. He secured two .577 Webley revolvers, one of which in time would pass into the collection of Mr. D.L. Archer who wrote of his purchase in his notebook in 1928. The other Fry purportedly took to America.

When the Guild was established in 1963 it provided the small group of private collectors in Victoria, indeed Australia at that time, with a means of sharing new finds, researching their collections, and generally enjoying their pursuit. It also offered a political voice to the issue of adequate heritage protection being offered to antique arms, in a decade which saw much of Melbourne's heritage architecture under threat from destruction.

Today, the essential aims of the Guild remain the same - to provide a network for fellow collectors to share and enjoy their pursuit, and to advocate and lobby for recognition of the important heritage status afforded to the items in private ownership.

The .577 Webley purchased by Fry almost 90 years ago, and its story remain amongst the collections of private Victorians. They highlight the important role of the private collector in continuing to preserve our cultural heritage for the benefit of future generations.
© Copyright 2005 The Antique and Historical Arms Collectors Guild of Victoria. All rights reserved.