No collector should expect to complete their collection in one fell swoop. They are built over years of hard work, searching, bargaining, and more often than not some convincing. The sale that Rock Island Auction Company will host on Dec. 6-8 will be exactly what hundreds of collectors need to fill the empty spaces in their collections. Several of the collections featured in this variety-rich auction are nearly encyclopedic in their coverage of a single genre and stand side-by-side with sensational individual items.
Proudly representing the 450+ Winchesters in this auction is yet another phenomenal Winchester from the prestigious Mac McCroskie Collection. Offered to the public in lot 1007 will be an extraordinary, factory No.2 engraved, gold inlaid, Winchester Model 1894 Deluxe sporting takedown lever action rifle. The tight, small scroll work surrounds the gold framed scenes of large game animals presented in highly detailed gold inlays. The gold outlines continue on the bolt, hammer, lever, link, frame, barrel, and forearm to provide a luxurious border to the handsome, Style H checkered, piano finished forearm and pistol grip stock. Also to be found in the Winchesters is an superbly rare Model 1873 “Digital” 1 of 1,000 in lot 1025, an “Ultra Set” of 11 boxed, factory engraved, gold inlaid, consecutively serially numbered, Winchester Model 70 Ultra Grade Featherweight bolt action rifles in lot 342, as well as standard and special order variations of many early Winchester model years such as 1873, 1876, 1886, 1892, and 1894. There are even 11 Henry rifles in the sale including lot 1026 with an elusive iron frame.
The Colts in this auction are even more numerous than the Winchesters. They exceed 600 in number and span the range of the company’s manufacturing history. The chronology starts with 6 different Patersons, including the coveted No. 5 Texas Paterson, and moves on through over 170 years of firearms prowess. Buyers are sure to appreciate lot 1077, an exceptional Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver with its case hardening and astonishing level of beautiful dark finish. Lot 1465 contains one of the ever popular Gatling guns, specifically, a Model 1874 Gatling gun with its field carriage and magazine! Other remarkable items include: a cased, Gustave Young engraved, Colt Model 1849 Pocket revolver with ivory grips in lot 3122, and an exceptional, documented, factory engraved, silver and gold plated Colt SAA revolver with its factory letter in lot 3160. A revolver that received a great deal of attention at the 34rd Annual All Colt Convention is lot 3163, an extraordinary, Ainsworth inspected, Company K marked Colt SAA Cavalry Model revolver. It appears with other attractive items such as nearly 100 First Generation Colt Single Action Army revolvers, many of which are factory engraved, a documented “Buntline Special” with octagon barrel, a beautiful Glahn pattern, pre-war SAA revolver with carved steer head pearl grips, and the final installment of the Jerry Bowe Collection featuring over 150 Colt percussion revolvers. Nearly all of Mr. Bowe’s revolvers have some sort of special feature be it engravings, original boxes, stunning cases, complete accessories, factory letters, gold inlays, and more. The sheer volume presents an excellent opportunity for multiple collectors to put high quality Colt revolvers into their own collection.
The Smith & Wesson selection in this auction may not have the volume of the previous two manufacturers, but it certainly matches them in quality and rarity. Within the 80+ Smith & Wessons to be sold are some of the rare and highly sought Model 320 revolving rifles. These scarce firearms come to Rock Island Auction Co. from the esteemed collection of Dr. Don Anderson. His collection encompasses all barrel sizes, finishes, and variations produced by the factory. While also responsible for the aforementioned Colt Paterson revolvers, Dr. Anderson’s passion remained the revolving rifles, the crown jewel of which is a simply stunning, Gustave Young, factory engraved, cased, Smith & Wesson Model 320 single action revolving rifle, 1 of 2 ever manufactured by the factory. Another exceptional example of Smith & Wesson’s craftsmanship is an engraved, two tone, 3rd Model Smith & Wesson 38 safety, hammerless, double action revolver with pearl grips, factory letter, and documentation stating its exhibition at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Other notable S&W’s include a scarce No. 1 lever action repeating pistol, an excellent selection of antique derringers, plentiful flintlock arms, as well as a quality assortment of single shot rifles.
Early and modern U.S. military pieces are also nobly represented thanks to the collection of Dr. Richard Branum. His collection is astoundingly diverse and contains, without a question, the most important and encyclopedic grouping of Model 1873 “Trapdoor” rifles. It includes all calibers, barrel lengths, and variations of ramrod bayonets that were put into full scale production, as well as several officers models and Custer range carbines. It is led by an extremely rare, original, late 1892 experimental .30 caliber Trapdoor rifle in lot 1482. This marvelous collection comprised of items from “The National Armory at Springfield” goes hand in hand with the over 100 Civil War arms in this sale. There will be Civil war pistols and revolvers, LeMats, Fayetteville Armory rifles, Burnsides, sabers, daggers, a pipe inscribed to a member of the 8th Ohio who was killed in Gettysburg in lot 3097, and even a framed example of the first National Flag of the Confederacy in its 13 star configuration in lot 3086. It is quite a departure from the familiar “Stars and Bars” and for a Civil War collector is as unique and fascinating as it is desirable.
Later U.S. military pieces include an outstanding Johnson M1941 rifle in lot 3552, a remarkable gas-trap M1 Garand rifle with a rare theater made blast deflector and authentication letter in lot 1535, 1911s from nearly every major manufacturer, popular trench shotguns, scopes, knives, and more. One of the highlights appears in lot 3559 which features a spectacular, nearly new, early Colt Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol, serial number 1172, with a factory letter, niter blue components, and a deep “oil slick” finish characteristic of the earliest Colt 1911 pistols. Others must see lots are a rare and desirable Savage Arms Co. Model 1907 U.S. Army 45 ACP test pistol in lot 1556, and an outstanding Rock Island Arsenal M15 General Officer’s Pistol with belt, holster, magazine pouch, magazines, GO flags, and car pennant in lot 1571.
Foreign military items are another area where Rock Island Auction Company continues to put the best into the hands of collectors. Over 400 foreign military items will appear in this sale including the rare, the extremely desirable, and some of the highest condition examples known. Certain to attract attention is the incredibly rare prototype Walther KPK pistol in lot 1343, an equally rare experimental Nazi Gustloff-Werke pistol with matching magazine and holster in lot 1392, a mint Borchardt pistol with stock holster and magazine in lot 1358, an outstanding presentation DWM model 1902 Luger carbine with gold inlay stock and deluxe bird’s eye maple case in lot 1337, and a historic one-of-a-kind cased DWM Model 1900 commercial presentation Luger with a gold inlaid chamber in lot 3380. There are also many unique items from the Third Reich such as a highly ornate silver punch bowl given to Hermann Goering for his wedding in lot 3388, a golden Luftwaffe Pilot/Observer badge that is absolutely encrusted with diamonds in lot 1348, and finally lot 3400 which contains a “Great Chair” from the collection of Heinrich Himmler, adorned with Himmler’s initials as well as several series of eerie runes. There are also German bladed weapons, fine Japanese military rifles, a grouping of eight high condition, sequentially numbered, Persian Contract CZ Model 98/29 bolt action rifles with their test targets in lot 3356, as well as the assortment of quality German military long arms and pistols that you’ve come to expect from Rock Island Auction Company.
Last, but not least, is our gigantic selection of sporting arms. Over 800 will appear in this sale and the selection is nothing short of spectacular. The assortment of high grade shotguns, fantastic double rifles, safari grade rifles, large bore weapons, and special order classic shooters is astounding. Highlights include an outstanding, engraved, Purdey & Sons 400 Express, hammerless, double rifle with case and accessories in lot 1768, an engraved John Dixon & Son, side by side, double barrel, hammerless rifle with case in lot 3283, an engraved Alexander Henry double barrel, hammer rifle with the Dholpur State crest inscribed on its stock shield and case in lot 3280, a matching pair of cased, engraved John Dickson double barrel, side lock, hammerless shotguns with accessories in lot 3238, and last but certainly not least is a scarce, cased Charles Lancaster quad barreled, hammerless shotgun with accessories in lot 1719.
For more information, please visit www.rockislandauction.com or call 1-800-238-8022.