This week I would like to talk about the Original Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Gun Show: April 2023. It is advertised as the largest show in the world with 4,000 tables and I have no reason to doubt this claim. The show was started in the late 1950’s by Joe Wanenmacher and is a contender for the longest running gun show in the US. It has been in the same location and survived numerous waves of show promoters all trying to usurp its position. This show is held twice a year in November and April. I started attending this show in the 1970’s when it was the one show to save your collecting money for as there were many great military collectibles offered there. Unfortunately, today most of the quality military items are gone. The reasons I keep going are it is a big show, and one never knows what may be offered up and it is only 100 miles away. It offers the opportunity to buy something for the advanced collector. The show is massive and has thousands of people attending. There are so many people that it is very difficult to walk through the show. It is also best while you are walking and find something you are remotely interested in it is best to buy the item as you may not find your way back to it or if you do the items will probably be sold.
Of course, like everything that has been around for 60+ years there have been changes. Exhibitor’s tables are $200 each which is twice as much as the large OVMS military shows the MAX and SoS. At these prices it is difficult for the average military dealer to sell enough small $10-$20 items to cover the costs. The costs also keep many similar prices items from being offered at the show. Most items are expensive, and one can easily find high quality, vintage Colt pistols costing thousands of dollars.
Tips for a Successful Tulsa Gun Show 2023 Experience
- Come with a buddy and split the cost of the trip. Two heads are always better than one and getting a second opinion on an item before you buy is always good.
- Come prepared to walk around for several hours. It will take the average person six hours to walk through this show. If you make purchases along the way it will take longer. Bring a bag to carry purchases along with you so you do not waste time by having to return to the car
- Bring a water bottle and some snacks in that bag so you are comfortable along the way and don’t have to wait in line at the snack bar
- Bring plenty of cash as you do not want to delay or possibly lose a purchase as you stand in line at the cash machine
- Bring your cellphone and take many pictures. Many people send photos to friends asking their opinions on items before they buy them
- If you are unsure or have a question that the seller cannot answer ask for a right of return. Normally this is only good for that day at the show.
- Remember that everything is negotiable and do not be afraid to ask for a better price!
- Good luck and Happy Hunting!