Robert E. Petersen loved cars—so much so that he began a small publication in 1948 called Hot Rod magazine. Motor Trend soon followed, and Petersen Publishing Co. was born. A flourishing business enabled Petersen to indulge in a second love: guns and hunting. Over time, he amassed one of America’s finest firearm collections.
Actor Robert Stack, famed for playing Eliot Ness in the popular TV series The Untouchables, was also a noted skeet shooter. He came in second-place in the National Skeet Shooting Championship in 1935 and, in 1936, his five-man team broke the standing record at the National Skeet Championships. His Purdey shotgun, later acquired by Petersen, was inlaid with his RLS initials.
Another collectible from expert shotgunner Robert Stack is this Parker DH Grade 20-gauge shotgun. It was made for Stack in the last production run of Parkers prior to the start of World War II, at the end of the Parker Shotgun manufacturing era. It’s considered the last double gun made by Parker with raised vent rib barrels. The stock is inlaid with Stack’s RLS initials.
The Winchester Model 21 side-by-side shotgun was a regular choice for many hunters and shooters. This is not your standard shotgun though—it was custom-made for Robert E. Petersen and bears his signature as well as his Petersen Publishing Co. logo and names of four of his magazines: Hot Rod, Guns & Ammo, Sports Afield and Motor Trend.
Featuring an unusual interchangeable barrel system, Dan Wesson revolvers are rarely found factory engraved. This Model D11 .357 Magnum features gold animal inlays and a carved grip inlaid with Petersen Viking helmet logo and Robert Petersen’s REP initials.
Here’s another Winchester that was created exclusively for Robert E. Petersen. This Model 21 Pachmayr shotgun is heavily embossed and inlaid with solid gold to commemorate the publisher’s love of hunting. The grip cap bears the engraving “Custom Made for Robert ‘Bob’ Petersen by Pachmayr.”