Denfeld News

July 17, 2011
Duluth News Tribune

Duluth gun shop owner Jack Puglisi dies

A nationally-known gun collector who acquired the Holy Grail of guns at an auction in 2007 and owned Puglisi Gun Emporium in Gary-New Duluth has died.

A nationally-known gun collector who acquired the Holy Grail of guns at an auction in 2007 and owned Puglisi Gun Emporium in Gary-New Duluth has died.
Jack Puglisi Sr., 69, died Thursday at St. Luke’s hospital, according to his obituary.

In 2007, Puglisi paid a then-world record of $287,500, including auction fees, for a gun made by Parker Bros., a top manufacturer, in 1914. The gun was originally manufactured to be shipped to Czar Nicholas II, but World War I broke out, and it ended up sitting in a New York dock before it was sent back to the manufacturer and resold to a New York man who gave it to his son.

The gun remained in obscurity for more than 90 years but became a thing of lore to collectors.

Puglisi told the News Tribune in 2007:

“I’ve been doing this for nearly 40 years. This is one of the most exciting things I’ve experienced, to buy something I never thought I’d own.”

Puglisi was born in Minneapolis on Christmas Day 1941, and his family soon moved to Duluth. He was a high school football star at Duluth Denfeld, where he was coached by his uncle Frank Puglisi. After graduating in 1960, he went on to play his freshman year at the University of Minnesota, then transferred to Superior State College. “Jarring Jack,” as he was called, was a star fullback who played for Mertz Mortorelli, who called Puglisi one of the school’s all-time greats.

Puglisi was signed by the then-fledgling Miami Dolphins of the American Football League, who were preparing for their inaugural football season in the fall of 1966. He tried out for the team, but ended up playing for the St. Petersburg Blazers and helped them to a North American Football League championship.

After returning to Duluth, Puglisi operated a used car lot for a time, and in the 1970s owned Puglisi Toyota.

But he was best known for his gun emporium on Commonwealth Avenue — which in addition to guns also carried some celebrity memorabilia. A 1989 News Tribune article reported that Puglisi was offering a pair of Elvis Presley’s pants for sale at his store, along with a guitar and cowboy hat that belonged to Hank Williams Sr.

Puglisi is survived by his wife, Carol; son, John; daughter, Lynn; and seven grandchildren, among other relatives and friends.

A visitation is scheduled for Monday from 5-7 p.m. at Elim Lutheran Church, 6101 Cody St., and again at the church on Tuesday from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. funeral service.

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