Saturday, April 9, 2016

Treasures of Round Top Fair

Took a trip to Roundtop Fair a few weekends ago, near Lost Pines, Texas.  One of the nation's biggest gathering of vendors for the biggest garage sale/antique show, held bi-anually.  The actual event is held within a 10 mile radius of Roundtop, specifically Warrenton.  You can go to the surrounding towns and they'll have groups of vendors selling stuff.

Warrenton is where the biggest gathering of Vendors are located.  In Warrenton, within ten minutes I found a tent with all sorts of guns being sold by a retired gentleman.  He was there with his wife, who I suspect was forcing him to liquidate his collection.  In the center of the tent was a table which held some M1 Garands, 1903 Springfields, M1 Carbines, Krags, Mausers, fancy muzzleloading flinchlocks, a few modern wood-stocked sporting rifles, and a glass case full of overpriced .32 pistols and breaktop revolvers and a few Smith and Wesson revolvers.  There was a singleshot Gewehr 1871 for $200 in good condition that was tempting me, but I knew better than to buy an obscure blackpowder rifle in an obscure caliber that costs $5 a round.  Basically standard Old-Guy weaponry, nothing that interested me.  In the surrounding tables were random antique stuff.  Boxes of skeleton keys, a lone French Berthier bolt missing the bolthead, spurs, pieces of furniture, picture frames, kitchenware.

Lifesize T-800 statue for $1000
What a deal!
Several umbrella bins on the ground held a bunch of rusted toy rifles and some de-activated guns.  Single shot shotguns, .22 bolt actions of unknown make missing parts, a Spencer carbine with the barrel chopped and a rod welded in the chamber, and a late-war Arisaka Type 99, with it's bright red stock and a stripped bolt duct-taped around the receiver.  It was missing a bunch of parts and the stock had been chopped at the band.  I don't particularly care about Japanese, Italian and French rifles and I promised myself I would never own these guns just because they are chambered in weird, obscure cartridges, and on top of that, I don't like adding more calibers to my collection.  However, I could not go home empty-handed!  I removed the bolt and peaked down the bore.  The chamber was intact and rifling visible.  I asked him how much and he said $20.  I took it.

I should have offered $15, but whatever.  I have a complete spare bolt and a bin of parts at home I could probably partially restore it with, and I have a chopped fore-end from an Enfield that I could hack onto the Arisaka somehow.  I could probably make my money back by selling the extra stripped bolt on ebay, although I probably will spend as much money as a complete Type 99 trying to restore this thing.

I actually ran across two more Arisaka Type 99's at the show.  One was crudely nailed to a 2x6 pine plaque, though otherwise good-looking.  The other was in worse shape than the one I paid for, but complete.

Traveling from Warrenton to Roundtop there are a bunch of tent cities and barns with vendors selling stuff.  Warrenton is a good place to go for random antique junk and I think we spent about three hours just walking through there browsing.  Near the end of Warrenton tent city is Cole's building, with more fancier stuff - real antique furniture, and at least six gun dealers with nice antique rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, and other pieces of militaria.  I recommend bringing at least $300 if you're serious about buying something here.

We stopped at a barn near Roundtop, where there was a ton of cowboy stuff.  Holsters, boots, spurs, revolvers, amongst other random junk being sold by women - kitchenware, plates, jewelry, clothing.  Is that sexist?  I can't help it if that's what they were selling!  I spotted a half scale Colt 1851 Navy in .22 cap and ball for $400.  I'd never heard of or seen one and a quick google search doesn't reveal much about it, but I saw something similar being sold at Cabelas in their firearms display room for the same price, so it couldn't have been too rare.

Outside the barn was a man who told us he came all the way from Missouri just to sell stuff there.  He was selling a bunch of surplus ammo cans, crates, wooden dummy rounds from navy guns, green Sea-Bags (I guess army people call them "duffle bags", how odd!), and other stuff.  I spotted an ammo crate for $20 and knew it was a good deal so I took it.  Inside was a short length of thick docking rope and an old antique bubble level.  The wood of the level was moldy, but the bubble level still intact.  I figured that was worth the $20 and the crate could be used to store my ammo.

Next, a few miles up the road at one of the smaller barns/vendor gathering, we spotted a wood box.  Inside was a bunch of mementos, medals, a letter, and newspaper clippings from a Hospital Corpsman Fred L. Martin during World War I.  Interesting I guess.  The box is nice too.

All in all, Roundtop fair is a great place to waste money - highly recommended!  Pics of loot, click to enlarge:

The Colt 1908 didn't come with it but
 I thought it looked period correct, I guess!

Relevant Links:
Roundtop Show Official Website - Everything you need to know about the event.