Fairfield, Maine -- Twice a year, in spring and fall, two separate firearms auction companies conduct a firearms auction back-to-back. This April auction grossed nearly $17,000,000!
The event began on April 8 - 10 with a large offering of collectable and shooting firearms presented by the Poulin Auction Company that generated approximately $3 million for their consignors. This was immediately followed by James D. Julia’s Extraordinary Firearms Auction on April 11th and 2-day Sporting & Collector Firearms Auction April 12th & 13th, which together grossed nearly $14 million.
Some of the more notable highlights from Julia’s Extraordinary Firearms Auction on day 1 included:
- From the infamous Battle of Little Bighorn a Colt Single Action Army pistol SN 5773, the only complete and original Colt positively proven to have been used by one of Custer’s men during the infamous Battle of the Little Bighorn realized a price of $460,000.
- Cased 100 Guinea Lloyd’s Patriotic Presentation Sword for a hero of the Battle of Trafalgar, Captain William George Rutherford (1764-1818), Commander of HMS Swiftsure. Three descendants of Captain Rutherford traveled great distances to bear witness to the sale of this important piece of maritime history, including Captain Rutherford’s great-great-great niece who first learned about the sword coming to auction at Julia’s while reading the paper on the subway in her home city of London. She also, in a way, continues the family's proud seafaring tradition as the winner of two Olympic silver medals in rowing. This sword sold for $270,250.
- One of the most exciting Parker shotguns to come to auction in recent years was a high original condition 20 bore Parker A1 Special. Having fine scroll engraving and gold inlay sold for $253,000.
- A pair of 20 ga. Ivo Fabbri game shotguns sold for $299,000. What really sets these guns apart, other than the meticulous craftsmanship for which Fabbri is renowned, is the remarkable scrolling and engraving. The superbly executed large flowing open scroll with acanthus and floral highlights is a unique creation by Valerio Peli of Creative Arts, whose signature appears on right sides of the trigger plates. This dramatic scroll surrounds engraved portraits of an English Pointer and a Gordon Setter in different poses on each gun. The astonishing engraving work is by Italian master engraver Firmo Fracassi. Often engraving of this caliber takes 1000+ hours to complete, and Fracassi engraves an average of two guns a year for obvious reasons. Simply an irreplaceable pair of guns, and work of this intricacy will most likely not be available in the future.
- An early Krieghoff First Model German FG-42 Machine gun SN190, despite the fact it is a DEWAT (Deactivated War Trophy), sold for $195,500.
This auction included numerous important and in some cases, iconic collections. The Warren Buxton Collection is a great example of an old iconic collection. Warren was a wonderful man, passionate collector, great scholar and amassed what is most certainly the finest, most comprehensive collection of Walther arms remaining in private hands today. He was also the author of what is considered to be the three Bibles on Walther pistols. This sale represented the first session (the next will be in late October) for this collection. It included a number of great rarities from Warren’s collection that commanded strong prices, generating over $850,000 in total. His Walther Armee (AP) Pistol with long barrel, alloy frame, matching stock, and two matching magazines realized $69,000. Also coming in at $69,000 was an extraordinary Walther MP-PP single action/double action blowback pistol. Walther only made a handful of these large salt blued guns, and according to the previous owner, the pistol was of Chilean origins, possibly for trials to replace the Chilean Steyr Hahn M1912 pistols.
Military pistols from the collection of Frank H. Wheaton, III generated strong interest. His superb unissued Singer model 1911A1 presentation semi-automatic pistol attained the highest price from this collection sold for $80,500. His experimental High Standard .45 ACP pistol which was the subject of a 1981 American Rifleman Magazine article realized a final price of $48,875.
One of the finest collections of German Pickelhauben and early military helmets is that of Doug Buhler. A Prussian 1st Guard Regiment of Foot Officer’s Model 1897 Helmet which included storage case and Field Marshall shoulder boards from the estate of Prince Heinrich of Prussia, brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This excellent ensemble sold for $21,850. A Royal Saxon Guard Rider Officer’s Helmet with silver parade lion sold for $19,550. Another prize from this collection was a Prussian 1st Guard Regiment of Foot Officer’s Model 1897 Helmet which included storage case and Field Marshall shoulder boards from the estate of Prince Heinrich of Prussia, brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This ensemble sold for $21,850.
Another fine collection is that of German industrialist, Friedrich-Wilhelm Dauphin. This was the final session of Mr. Dauphin’s Collection of Rare Military Pistols and the highlight was an Early Loewe Borchardt Model 1893, SN 13, with experimental features in absolutely stunning condition realized a final sale price of $74,750. The Prussian Guard du Corps helmet went for $14,950.
Another great collection was the world renowned collection of British rifle collector Robert W. Faris and included his 1924 British R.S.A.F. Enfield .303 SMLE No.1, MK VI Prototype Rifle sold for $56,350. Also from the Faris Collection were the only known surviving specimens of the British R.S.A.F Enfield .303 SMLE 1902 rifles made in 1901 for the ensuing troop trials of 1902, one being the A pattern and the other being the B pattern. Each sold for $31,625.
The Dr. Zack Catterton Collection of Confederate Arms included a Dance SN 243 which sold above low estimate at $46,000. His Griswold Navy, SN 1218 topped out at $28,750. This sale also included the final session of the Allen Hallock Collection of Schuetzen Rifles. The highlight of his collection was a solid silver, gold and enameled trophy referred to as the Ehret-Schuster Trophy which was presented at the first National Bundesfest held in America in 1895. It sold for $43,125. His Hoffacker Martini Schuetzen finalized at $21,850, while his CE Haenel Schuetzen sold for $20,700. The Donald H. Dix Jr. Estate Collection (much of which was sold previously by Julia’s) included his Saco-Lowell M60 went for $46,000. His Fleming Steyr sold for $33,350.
In addition to important private collections, the Julia sale consisted of a vast array of quality items from many different niches of the firearms collecting world. An engraved gold and silver Tiffany grip cased Model 1849, formerly in such prestigious collections as that of Al Kelley and Robert Sutherland sold for just over $25,000.
In the last few years, Julia's have handled a number of important collections of Confederate and Civil War arms. In addition to the Dr. Catterton Collection in this auction, there were numerous other Confederate items including a rare octagon barrel Dance Dragoon carried by Corp. John Hargrave from a Texas unit. The gun was consigned directly from a descendent of the Hargrave family and went out at $57,500. A Colt 1851 Navy which had been presented by the infamous Confederate raider, John S. Mosby sold for $40,250. A North Carolina 10-Star First National Confederate Flag topped out at $48,875. Julia’s regularly handles high-end historical items at their sales, and included in this sale was a collection of Charleston South Carolina Slave Tags. This group of 12 Slave Tags topped out at just over $86,000.
This sale included a recently discovered Henry Schively Bowie Knife with original sheath and belt. It went out the door for $80,500. Another important Bowie was an ivory handled Bell Bowie formerly belonging to F.T. Keelar of Skagway, Alaska. Keelar essentially had a pawn shop in the notorious tow of Skagway which was the primary entrance to the Yukon during the Gold Rush. People from all over the world traveled to Skagway with dreams of becoming rich in the Yukon. When many of these explorers arrived in the village of Skagway and saw the incredibly steep mountain that they had go over with their 2,000 lbs. worth of goods, they lost their enthusiasm immediately. The Mounties required anyone going into the Yukon to have 2,000 lbs. of gear to ensure they were able to sustain themselves, and 2,000 lbs. meant at least 20 trips up and down this steep mountain. Many gave up hope and looked to sell their equipment and Mr. Keelar was there and willing to pay cash. Obviously not only a successful entrepreneur but a busy one. His trade card which accompanied the Bowie Knives said, “Make your story short as I am a busy man.”
A select grouping from a noted scholar included a number of early weapons, including Wheelocks. The most unique lot was a massive pair of Dutch Wheelock Hand Mortars which dated around 1625. They sold for above high estimate at $57,500.
In addition to the pair of Fabbris mentioned earlier that brought approximately $300,000, an exquisite 28 ga. Pinless Sidelock Ejector O/U gun went out at $103,500. A 20 ga. James Purdey with extra barrels went out at $46,000. A number of quality American Sporting Arms included a Winchester custom grade Model 21 410 with gold inlays. It sold for $46,000. A very fine H&H Double Rifle cal. 500/465 Nitro “India Royal” Model went out at $55,200.
A massive 8-Bore E.M. Riley Doublesold sold for $43,125
Winchesters and Volcanics included an New Haven Arms cased pistol #1 with 6” barrel. It was in great condition and went out at $37,375. A high relief gold plated Winchester Model 66 signed by Conrad Ulrich was in outstanding condition but at one time had been mounted with an appropriate replacement stock. It went out at $12,500. A small bore nickel plated Model 73 Deluxe sold at $74,750. A L.C. Smith monogrammed Grade 20 ga. went out at $20,700.
One unusual and interesting lot in the sale was a superb handcrafted Werner Concord Style Stage Coach. In superb condition and entirely handcrafted, it was at one time in the collection of the late and renowned Winchester collector, Wes Adams. The coach had not only been a prideful part of his extraordinary collection, but bore him to the graveyard after his demise. It went out at $46,000. A silver mounted Bowland Saddle sold for $39,000.
Just after the auction concluded, Josh Loewensteiner, an agent for Julia’s, proudly announced that he had just completed a contract to handle the Estate of the late Dana Tauber which includes what is believed to be the finest grouping of A.H. Fox Shotguns ever assembled. This collection will be in their late October 2017 sale.
For a number of years now, Julia’s has consistently handled some extraordinary and important military collections and this sale included various collections as previously mentioned, but one special item consigned by a private collector was a pre-WWII Polish Wz .38m Semi Auto rifle sold for $69,000. The rifle was developed by Josef Maroszek and adopted by the Polish Army as the Wz. 38 M. A limited production of just 55 of these rifles was completed in 1938 by Warsaw Rifle Factory 2 (Zbr.2) before the German invasion. Just five known documented examples are known to have survived, and this rifle, with an overall appearance and finish that is near mint, is one of only two of these that have been in the United States. This rifle generated intense interest and bidding. An Officer from the Polish Army came all the way from Warsaw to Maine to repatriate this rifle to his homeland. After much bidding, this historical rifle is indeed heading back to its origin and will eventually be preserved and displayed at the Polish Army Museum in the heart of Warsaw.
A 1898 Brass Argentine Maxim went out at $43,000. A Krieghoff FG-42 Second Model generated approximately $150,000. A German MG-42 Tripod Machine Gun brought $57,500. Another highlight was the Colt M-16 A1 with grenade launcher used in the 1983 movie, Scarface, in which Al Pacino announces, “Say hello to my little friend!” It out at $51,750. A desirable Steyr AUG Machine Gun with Fleming auto-sear pack sold for $33,350. A registered full auto H&K Machine Gun went for slightly over $43,000.
Sessions 2 & 3 featured Julia’s newly formed Sporting & Collector sessions. This session usually includes guns that average under $8,000-10,000 with some exceptions. A vast array of firearms were offered over these two days, including fine moderately priced shotguns, Winchesters, Colts, etc. A Winchester Model 66 Carbine went out at $13,800. A Colt from the Collection of Gary Helin went out at $12,075. This session of the sale included a little over 1,000 lots and saw a great deal of participation.
Julia’s next Firearms Auction is scheduled for Fall of 2017 and will again include a fabulous collection of spectacular arms.
About James D. Julia, Inc.
James D. Julia, Inc. is one of the top 10 antique auction houses in North America as measured by annual sales. It is headquartered in Fairfield, Maine. The company also has an office just outside Boston, Massachusetts in Woburn and has been in business for nearly 50 years. The company conducts high-end, antique collectables and fine art auctions throughout the year. Julia’s has routinely established new world auction records through its sales events. The company consists of 3 key divisions. The rare Firearms Division in which they are the leader today for high end, rare and valuable guns. Their next Fine Art, Asian & Antiques Division auction will take place in August 2017. Also, the Rare Lamp, Glass & Fine Jewelry Division, again a leader in this genre, will hold their next auction in June 2017. Each division is regarded for its excellence and is staffed with world class specialists to ensure fair and professional authentication, identification and evaluation services. For more information on James D. Julia, Inc. please visit www.jamesdjulia.com.