Recently, someone broke into the National Civil War Museum and stole three antique firearms.
Mayor Papenfuse put out a statement claiming the weapons were fakes and that the city was defrauded. Is the mayor an expert on antique weapons? No. Does the mayor have any evidence for this claim? No. Papenfuse says, “I am troubled by the fact that a questionable antiques dealer could simply write a letter to the mayor and say, ‘here’s my price,’ and the mayor would say, ‘sure, I’ll write you a check for the full amount’ with no negotiation and no question as to whether or not this was actually real or even worth it.” Riiight. He’s simply trying to sabotage the museum again, which to this observer makes him a suspect in planning the robbery, since he had this plan to cast aspersions on the museum ready to go. It would at least be prudent for the police to investigate and clear him as a suspect.
But we’ve heard from an actual expert now. Surprise, surprise. Papenfuse is wrong–again.
“Sam Small, one of the owners of The Horse Soldier, an antique store specializing in Civil War-era artifacts, has collected and sold similar items professionally for more than 30 years. Friday, he hit the books. ‘This is every kind of Colt firearm that was ever made,’ he said, flipping through one of several reference volumes. In one of them, he found the kind of gun set Col. Samuel Colt gave as gifts, many of them to generals and other military leaders. ‘And then to civilians,’ Small read from the page, ‘E.S. Sanford and Simon Cameron.’ Simon Cameron, a Harrisburg native, was Lincoln’s first secretary of war. It’s his gift from Colt, a set of pistols apparently engraved to him, that was stolen from the museum. Reed paid more than $250,000 for the guns and a few other pieces in 1996. ‘I think the pistols were probably priced exactly where they should have been,’ Small said. He thinks they’re probably worth at least $200,000 now.”
Instead of trying to smear the museum again, Mayor Papenfuse could have made a positive contribution by asking the public for assistance in finding the stolen articles. But no, that would be a mature, responsible action. That’s not how Hizzoner rolls, however. He prefers smears and innuendo. Too bad. Harrisburg deserves better.