July 29, 2009
[Editor’s Note: this article is reprinted with permission from our sister publication, antiquetrader.com]
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Over 500 lots of important Civil War items, rare and vintage firearms and all manner of militaria will cross the block in an auction slated for Aug. 15 by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. Featured will be the lifetime collection of the late George J. Bisacca, whose mainly Civil War collection was housed in the Eastover Resort complex in Lenox, Mass. The auction will begin at 11 a.m.
The expected top lot is this Civil War-era Gatling Gun,
Model 1883, with Accles feed mechanism.
Estimate: $175,000 – $250,000
It is the first time Fontaine’s will have dedicated an entire auction to war memorabilia. Company president John Fontaine said the early buzz has been encouraging. “The initial reaction to the news within the collecting community has been tremendous,” he said. “Mr. Bisacca owned an astounding, museum-quality collection that will be selling to the highest bidder, without reserve. This is an opportunity for collectors that may never come along again.”
Included in Mr. Bisacca’s collection is a Colt M 1883 Gatling Gun, named after the man who invented it and a precursor to the modern-day machine gun. It had ten barrels and pumped out over 600 rounds per minute. The one being sold is fully operational and is in fantastic condition. There is also a second Gatling Gun in this auction.
The cannons in Mr. Bisacca’s collection are no less impressive. These include a British 1812 Naval mount cannon, a Coehorn mortar cannon, an 1861 Civil War ordinance rifled cannon with CSA markings, a Mann smooth bore prototype cannon, a Mann rifled prototype cannon, an 1892 Hotchkiss mountain rifled cannon, other cannons, and cannonballs.
Also from the Bisacca estate: hundreds of firearms, cannon shells, drums, bullets and other projectiles, pistols, muskets, saddles, swords, bayonets, canteens, belts and buckles, period uniforms, spurs, daguerreotypes, powder horns, ramrods and more. Most items are from the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World Wars I and II.
The Bisacca collection comprises well over half of what will be offered. “His has been called one of the largest privately owned Civil War collections in the world,” Mr. Fontaine remarked. “It has been enjoyed by thousands of visitors to Eastover, from visiting schoolchildren to seasoned Civil War buffs. We will have people from every part of the country coming to this very important auction.”
A packed house is expected for the Aug. 15 auction. Online bidding will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com and Proxibid.com. Online bidding will also be available directly through Fontaine’s Web site, and phone and absentee bids will be accepted. A color catalog may be ordered by calling Fontaine’s at 413-448-8922. Previews will be held the week prior.
To learn more about Fontaine’s Auction Gallery and its calendar of upcoming events, please log on to www.fontainesauction.net.
Photos courtesy Fontaine’s Auction Gallery.
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