Christmas February 2010
Chicago in February can be pretty miserable but Lincolnwood, some 10 miles Northwest of the downtown of the Windy City is the Mecca of the Centaureaficionados the world over. That is if you can make an appointment with Mitchell Shore at Shore Galleries, 3318 W. Devon Ave, Lincolnwood, IL 60712 www.shoregalleries.com.
As the second son of famous Sigmund “Sig” Shore Mitch was virtually born with Centaures in his hands: during the 1960s, together with brother Scott, he is the one who actually “made” the 3rd variation Regular New Model Army, the variant with the Ormsby type naval scene on the cylinder…but that is another story.
Today Mitch successfully runs Shore Galleries’ family business in it’s third generation, “…from an auctioneer of fine art, to a gun peddler”, as his dad used to exclaim.
Shore Galleries traces it’s roots back to 1956. It evolved from an auction house specializing in arts and antiques to a sporting goods dealer, importer of reproduction antique firearms and surplus military arms to the law enforcement supply company it is today. But more importantly here, Mitch is the proud curator and keeper of the most exciting and complete collection of early Centaures and FAUL memorabilia known to this cowboy.
Thanks to the introduction of Dr. Jim Davis of Replica Percussion Revolver Collectors Association a contact was established with Mr. Leslie Field, formerly Mars Equipment Corporation, Chicago (subsidiary of Shore Galleries, founded 1958, who among other tasks were in charge of importing the Centauresinto the USA within the Shore group of businesses) and today legal counsel to Shore Galleries. Back then Les Field’s prime responsibility was the military surplus gun business and he acted as liaison officer with FAUL’s. This gentleman is one of the original founders of the replica industry still around.
I will always be thankful to Leslie Field for the wealth of background information he provided about the early years in the life of the Centaures AND for setting up this meeting February 27, 2010 with Mitchell Shore. Les had him open his gun vault for me. This way I could have a look at this wonderful Centaure collection his dad and Bill Edwards had started. Below are a few of Leslie Field’s and Mitch Shore’s recollections back from the days and some pictures that I was privileged to take!