Laden with sor­row

Kalamunda Reporter - - News - Justin Bian­chini

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.

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