Laden with sorrow
READ MORE AT IT was a sad day for WA antique gun collector Leo Laden last week. More than 300 lots of his military collection went under the hammer at McKenzies Auctioneers in Claremont.
“Do you know how that is making me feel after collecting for all these years?” the 79-yearold said before the auction.
“I was 14 when I got my first dagger, a 100year-old kukri, with my own pocket money.”
The former psychiatrist and RAF medical officer has been forced to sell 100 of his 200 guns after police said he would have to increase the security at his Nowergup property where he has run his Antique Arms and Armour Museum of WA.
“Those I’m selling you don’t need a licence for. They’re muzzle loaders, the ones you stick gun powder down the barrel,” he said.
Dr Laden’s troubles started in April this year when he received a police inspection, the fifth in 40 years as a militaria dealer.
“They told me my security wasn’t good enough. I had a 400-year-old English Civil War musket I got from a castle in England,” he said.
“They said ‘you can’t have it on the wall; you might frighten someone’.
“I would have had to spend tens of thousands of dollars on security if I continued as a dealer.”
The next day he and his late wife Daphne received news that she had terminal cancer.
They had just returned from the national muzzle-loading championships in Adelaide.
Dr Laden’s English Civil War gun was not in the auction. He sold it to a fellow dealer and friend for $20,000.
Antique gun collector Leo Laden with a flintlock 12 gauge shotgun from New Zealand.