ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Rock Island Auction Company demonstrated again why they are the number one firearms auction company in the world as their historic offering of firearms achieved similarly historic prices on the auction block at their Sept. 13-15 Premiere Firearms sale – grossing $13.1 million in sales.
“If our September sale proves anything, it’s that firearms remain an attractive hard asset investment and the demand for the historically significant, the rare, and the high condition continues to grow,” said Patrick Hogan, President and CEO of Rock Island Auction Company. “It has been my belief for years that firearms have been underrated both as a collectable and as an alternative hard asset investment. This past auction we saw an inflow of not only new collectors, but also individuals who identify these treasures in world history as a finically sound investment,” concluded Hogan.
Over the course of the three day live auction almost one thousand bidders from around the world descended on Rock Island Auction’s Preview Hall to inspect, bid, and with any luck, purchase one of the over 2,700 pieces in the sale. Those live bidders experienced some steady competition from all 50 states and over 25 countries, as over 13,000 absentee bids were placed via sealed bids, telephone, and the internet.
The two most anticipated pieces in the sale were both from the world renowned Mac McCroskie Winchester Collection and they did not disappoint as they were far and away the highest grossing lots of the weekend. Lot 3100: The Finest Iron Frame Henry Rifle Extant realized a world record price for a standard 19th century made American rifle at $603,750. Lot 1100: Magnificent Documented Conrad F. Ulrich Masterpiece Gold Plated Factory Exhibition Quality Relief Engraved and Signed Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle achieved $437,000. In fact, Winchesters accounted for the top three lots of the sale as Lot 1108: Inconceivably Rare Factory Engraved Winchester Model 1876 .50 Express Deluxe Short Rifle, commanded a $230,000 sum.
Winchesters were just the beginning of the banner weekend for American made 19th century firearms. Colt firearms, the iconic companion pieces to Winchester Rifles, also achieved some incredible prices. Lot 3058: a desirable, documented A Company No. 182 Walker Revolver, Samuel Colt’s first commercially successful revolver as well as his first military contract revolver, was estimated at $75,000 – $110,000, but instead brought an impressive $155,250. Lot 1059: a documented, cased, British Proofed Colt Model 1860 Army revolver with rare matching canteen shoulder stock went out the door at $80,500. An immensely rare case for a Number 5 Texas Paterson, Lot 3063, brought $80,500 while Lot 1062: a desirable No. 2 Paterson with extra cylinder, achieved $46,000. Lot 3168: an exceptional factory “A” engraved Wilbur A. Glahn first generation Colt Single Action Army revolver with ivory grips sold for $40,250.
One of the most intense bidding battles of the weekend occurred late in the afternoon on Saturday when Lot 1780, a rare and magnificent factory engraved Colt Officers Model double action Target revolver with fabulous gold initial inlaid mother of pearl grips, crossed the block. The revolver carried a presale estimate $8,500 – $14,000 and quickly exceeded the high estimate as hands shot up all around the auction hall. As the auctioneer asked for $20,000 the field narrowed and near $27,500 it was down to two. “It was a classic bidding war,” said auctioneer and RIAC’s Executive Director of Client Services Jessica Tanghe, who was calling the sale. “At least once during an auction we have an item that far exceeds expectations and as an auctioneer it is extremely exciting.” The lot achieved an impressive $37,375.
Other impressive 19th Century American firearms results include:
Lot 1 (above): Extraordinary Documented Gustave Young’s 1893 Chicago World’s Fair Exposition Engraved and Gold Inlaid Smith & Wesson 44 Double Action Frontier Model Revolver with Nevada Gold Mining Lawmen History which brought $155,250.
Lot 3101: Exceptional Volcanic Lever Action Navy Pistol from the Winchester Arms Collection/Cody Firearms Museum estimated at $22,500 – $37,500 left our doors for $40,250.
Lot 1093: Fine U.S. Contract New Haven Arms Co. Henry Rifle estimated to hit $45,000 – $70,000 rang the bell at an impressive $80,500.
Notable Sales of U.S. Military Arms
Lot 3591: Rare World War II Singer Tool Room/Prototype M1911A1 Semi-Automatic Pistol with Documentation, estimated at $20,000 – $40,000 sold to an ecstatic floor bidder for $43,125.
Lot 1817: Historic Extremely Rare Cased Presentation From The Prime Minister of Israel To U.S. General Walter Bedell Smith IMI Double Action Military Revolver brought $18,400.
Lot 1835: Original Early 1913 Production U.S. Marked Colt Model 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol with Colt Factory Letter, estimated at $7,500 – $11,000 yet achieved $13,800.
Lot 1828: Pedersen Device with Two Magazines, Metal Carrying Case, Magazine Pouch and Springfield M1903 Mark I Rifle, was estimated to bring $40,000 – $60,000 and hammered for $63,250.
Notable Sales of 20th German Military Items
Lot 1392: Extraordinary World War II Walther Factory Relief Engraved Cased Presentation Model PPK Pistol with Documentation and association to Hermann Goring, realized $37,375.
Lot 1393: Massive Inscribed Historic Hitler Presentation to Goring Sterling Silver Platter with Gem Decoration, achieved $54,625.
Lot 3366: Exceptionally Rare World War II Walther Factory Engraved Gold Plated Nazi Helmut Gommlich Presentation PP Semi-Automatic Pistol with Ivory Grips, earned $43,125.
Lot 3352: Rare Original Unaltered Imperial German DWM Model 1906 First Issue Navy Luger, which carried a conservative pre-auction estimate of $7,500 – $12,000 brought $31,625.
Other Noteworthy Sales
Lot 3265: Exceptional Best Quality Cased Pair of Engraved Gold Inlaid Egg Percussion Dueling Pistols with Framed Print of Egg Gun Shop, estimated at $22,500-35,000, but finished at $43,125.
Lot 1096: Outstanding Presentation Winchester Second Model 1866 Carbine with Henry Patent Barrel Address, estimated to sell between $32,500 – $45,000, but went out the door for $46,000.
Lot 3099: Excellent Original Winchester “Double W” Style Cartridge Board with Frame, was estimated at $18,000 – $27,500 and brought an astonishing $43,125.
For more information on Rock Island Auction Co., visit www.rockislandauction.com or call 1-800-238-8022.