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Collector rifles showcase Rowan County history

By Paris Goodnight
pgoodnight@salisburypost.com
Rowan County scenes will be featured on a dozen limited edition gold-plated rifles that will help raise funds for the local 4-H Hot Shots Shooting Sports Club.
Jim Combs of Wellington Ltd. brought the first one that will go on sale for $3,400 by the Post recently. Only 12 will be made, with another 12 collector revolvers possible if the rifles sell out.
Combs travels the country selling collectibles like the .44-mag-caliber “Rowan County Special Edition Henry ‘Big Boy’ ” that has features like Grimes Mill, the old courthouse and Daniel Boone engraved in gold.
Beth Stebe, who is leading the 4-H Hot Shots, said the club will be selling a thousand raffle tickets for $10 each to raise funds, with the winner getting the rifle Combs is showing. She said the club also will get a cut from other rifles sold.
Stebe says about 25-30 children ages 9-19 have joined the club since it started in October. Members shoot at the Rowan County Wildlife Club, which she said has been instrumental in backing the club since it started.
A craftsman in Arkansas does the intricate work after Combs and his Colorado company research a location to spotlight. Each rifle comes with a French-fitted case.
Twelve is the magic number to keep them as collector items, which Combs hopes will maintain their value. He said buyers from even small places like Fincastle, Va., bought all 12 for Botetourt County in two days. So he’s confident local collectors won’t balk at the price for the jewelry-grade nickel used on the rifles with 24-karat gold that is baked on.
He’s on a tour promoting firearms that showcase places like Stanly and Union counties also.
Other historical scenes that are engraved in gold or the wood stock are:
– Founding of Rowan County in 1753
– Fire department from 1877
– Confederate War Prison 1861-65
– Railway station 1908.
Wellington Ltd. makes all sorts of collectible firearms, including a .22-caliber rifle for The N.C. Association of Rescue and Emergency Medical Services’ 50th anniversary and the Robert E. Lee 200th birthday 1851 revolver.
Most people who don’t stash them away in a safe put guns on display in a special case. But they don’t shoot them: that cuts the collector value in half with one shot, Combs said.
For more information, call Wellington Ltd. at 866-895-9355 or Combs at 970-215-0677. The company’s Web site is www.wellingtonltd.com. You can also contact Stebe at 704-267-9146.

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