ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Rock Island Auction Company’s July Regional Firearms Auction was the largest one held in its 20+ year history. The volume of firearms was unprecedented as the world’s top firearms auction house sold over 3,000 lots containing 6,500+ firearms in a mere three days. After the smoke had cleared, the sale garnered an impressive $4.4 million in sales, the third highest grossing Regional sale for the auction house.
Of the top two drawing lots in the auction, one was the first offered. Lot 1 contained a New Haven Arms Company Volcanic lever action carbine with the desirable 21-inch barrel and sold for $21,850.
The second was the First Generation Colt Single Action Army revolver and its posse of accessories in lot 2229, all attributed to “Longhair” Jim Courtright, one of the first marshals of Ft. Worth, Texas. The inscribed revolver, case, knife, and flask found a collector who appreciated them to the tune of $18,400.
These two items were anticipated to draw some high bids, but no one saw the sleeper in this auction residing in lot 2197. It was a simple looking lot consisting of two Soviet swords and two shorter knives that started its bidding at $800. It wouldn’t take people long to figure out something special was being sold as an eager 3-4 bidders quickly took the bidding above $9,000! Soon, all that remained was a phone bidder and a Proxibid user as the bidding continued to climb.
The auction hall was one large murmur interspersed with several astonished chuckles as the bidding passed $20,000, then $25,000, and even $30,000. In the end, there could only be one victor and the persistent phone bidder would have his edged weapons for no less than $40,250.
Revolvers were a huge draw during the sale. Whether it was big Smith & Wesson wheelguns, Old West six shooters, or the red hot Colt snake guns, anything with a cylinder was quickly snatched up by an eager crowd of collectors. Of particular note was a first year production Colt 1860 Army with its two digit serial number, appearing in lot 66. Reasonably presumed to be manufactured within the first month of production, this iconic percussion revolver drew $10,925.
Also reaching attractive prices were a scarce Remington 1890 Single Action Army revolver in lot 4189 and an early production Colt 1851 Navy percussion revolver in lot 4074. Each one achieved more than double its estimate, at $4,600 and $3,450 respectively. Modern revolvers were not immune to this phenomenon! A Texas Longhorn Arms Grover’s Improved no. 5 single action blew past its estimate to sell for $2,875, and a pair of Colt Diamondbacks in lot 4917 sold for the same price.
Military arms, both foreign and domestic, continue to be a major source of interest for collectors and have enjoyed corresponding prices. A high condition Mauser “S/42” code ‘K’ date Luger with its holster in lot 2512 reached an impressive $3,450. Artillery Lugers were also a hot item in the sale, as shown by a fine DWM 1914-dated artillery Luger with its accessories in lot 2582 and an Erfurt 1914-dated artillery Luger with its holster and attractive blond grips in lot 2513, which each left our doors for $3,450.
Switching to U.S. military firearms RIAC provided several lots of multiple M1 carbines to collectors from a host of war time manufacturers such as Rock-Ola, National Postal Meter, Winchester, Quality Hardware, Inland, Harrington & Richardson, and more. Not one sold for less than $1,000 and often for more, like the World War II Inland M1A1 paratrooper carbine in lot 2951 that was united with a new owner for $2,185. Model 1911 pistols also continue their 100+ year legacy and show it proudly, like the 1918 manufactured Colt M1911 in lot 2936 that brought in a well-deserved $2,587.
The wide variety of militaria presented by Rock Island Auction Company was a boon for collectors. Besides the aforementioned Soviet swords and the bidding war they inspired, many other lots sought to become overachievers. Lot 621 contained a large grouping of Japanese military equipment, a signed sword, and a pre-World War I uniform that more than doubled its estimate by selling for $4,312.
A scarce Unertl U.S.M.C. sniper scope in lot 4604 was also gladly snatched up for the same price, as were the German-style knives and Nazi-style daggers in lots 4362 and 595. It was a great auction for military artifacts and the market appears ready, willing, and hungry for more.
At the end of the day, this was one of the top three Regional Firearms Auctions that RIAC has ever hosted. It contained more lots and items than any auction in its history and showed a continuing strong market in nearly every collecting genre. This was the second and final Regional Auction for 2014 with two additional Premiere Firearms Auctions remaining, to be held September 12, 13 & 14 and December 5, 6 & 7.
For more information regarding this sale or interest in selling with RIAC, visit www.rockislandauction.com or call 1-800-238-8022.