The Personal Collection Collection of Angelo Bee
At 83, Angelo Bee, is one of the last of the master hand engravers that still relies on simple tools such as a specialized hammer and various chisels to turn ordinary guns into absolute works of art. Despite his age, his passion for engraving still finds him at his workbench almost every day. From humble beginnings, at 12 years old his family immigrated from Italy to Belgium. At sixteen he began his journey as a machinist at the Browning Fabrique Nationale in Herstal, Belgium. His desire to become part of the elite group named the “white coats” (the engravers), Angelo took four years of evening classes at the Beaux Arts de Liege to develop his artistic talents and was ultimately accepted as an F.N. factory engraver apprentice. He worked under the tutelage of Felix Funken in the custom shop for 25 years and is now often sought out by his peers for his expertise and intimate knowledge about the F.N. and the Browning Superposed.
In 1975, Angelo was sponsored by Frank Pachmayr and he immigrated to the United States to start his own business and he is a true testament of living the American dream. Hand engraving is a craft that he has been developing and perfecting for over 65 years and his hard work and devotion has brought him much success. Known for his specialty of gold inlays, he has engraved a countless number of guns for his clients which include sports figures, directors, heads of state as well as being commissioned to create special pieces by Warner Bros Movie Studios, Walt Disney and Ducks Unlimited, just to name a few.
In 2006, while on a trip in Belgium with his daughter, he acquired the only Browning Superposed .410 ever built on a small frame with serial #1. The history about this unique prototype thought to have been built for one of the department heads and the many rumors surrounding why it was not put into production remains a mystery. In retrospect, with Angelo’s lifelong relationship with Browning and the Superposed it seems very befitting that this unique man and this unique gun are forever historically tied together.
When asked why he still works so hard, his answer is always the same; “Because I absolutely love what I do and I can’t think of doing anything else”.
Angelo Bee currently lives in Chatsworth, CA with his wife Sammy and has four grown children.