As long as there are human beings, there will be those who choose to reside in the devils lair. In short, there will be those who will try to make a living cheating others. The great gunsmith, Jim Clark, Sr., and I sat stuffing down Chinese food in a back street Atlanta restaurant one evening and were discussing a man who had just given us the royal shaft. Jim made a statement I will never forget. Jim said, “There are some men who just have larceny in their hearts.”

One man I know with “larceny in his heart,” spent his entire life dreaming up ways to defraud unsuspecting gun owners, collectors and gunsmiths. I knew this man for over 50 years, observed as he defrauded hundreds of unsuspecting men, and spent two vacations in Leavenworth Federal prison as punishment for his foul deeds.

The last contact I had with him he was buying cheap foreign made slides, removing the lettering with a surface grinder, and roll-marking valuable, rare marks in their place. The lettering was done with original Colt roll marks duplicating the rarest of rare Colt lettering such as was on the early 1911s, early commercial 1911A1s, and of course the ones carrying the rare marks such as Singer Sewing Machine Co. The slides were artificially aged and impossible to detect by the causal collector or buyer. Now in his late 70s, he never got the larceny out of his heart and never realized if he had applied his remarkable talent to honest endeavor, he would have made millions and become an icon in the firearms industry.

Dishonesty has a ceiling, honesty does not. If you swindle and deceive you will be discovered, you will be caught and you will forever be tagged as a fraud and a phony. If you are sincere and treat your friends and customers honestly in all your dealings you will have no limit on what you can accomplish. I have the ability to take an old Colt or a new one and turn it into historical piece worth thousands of dollars and no one except an experienced collector would detect it as a counterfeit. However, I would not even consider using my 41 years of collective talent to swindle an honest man.

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