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RIAC April 30-May 1 Premiere Firearms Auction

Rock Island Auction Company announced its 2016 April Premiere Firearms Auction held on April 29, 30 & May 1. There will be 2,600 lots of several collections and single item heirlooms that combine to provide an assortment of opportunities to the the collecting community.

This phenomenal sale is anchored by six assembled collections, four of which have appeared in previous RIAC auctions. The Royal Hunt Collection of mounts taken by some of the most powerful men in the world at the turn of the 19th century, returns for a second installment featuring regal and historic taxidermy. The Piedmont Collection of stunning Kentucky rifles and ornate high art antiques also makes a second showing, and leads the way for the over 850 antiques in this sale. In a third appearance, there will be the Walker West Collection of Colts & Winchesters which will include iconic American firearms. The Putnam Green/Sycamore Collection is no newcomer to RIAC auctions, and brings much experience and interest in terms of German military items from World War II. These historic pieces of militaria include high condition original uniforms, rare helmets, and other items collectors seek to fill their collections. One of the new offerings to the private market this auction will be the Dr. Peters Collection showcasing a large amount of historic Civil War weapons, and other fascinating arms from 19th century manufacturers, both the well-known and the obscure. It is a wide array of designs that shaped our country and others that never achieved the fame and fortune their creators sought. Last, and certainly not least, is the well anticipated, extraordinary, and expansive Robert “The Bear” Bretherton Collection.
The Bretherton Collection cannot be narrowed to a single genre. With an emphasis on European semi-automatic arms, the collection hosts a medley of rare prototypes, experimental firearms, opulently decorated high art weapons, and so much more, all in the very highest of condition. Original finishes over a century old look as if they left the factory yesterday.



Historic Winchester Model 1886 Rifle Serial Number 1 Presented to Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Captain Henry W. Lawton, Noted Captor, following the Surrender of Chiricahua Apache Leader Geronimo


Presentation Quality Deluxe Hoggson Factory Engraved and Gold Plated New Haven Arms Co. First Model Henry Lever Action Rifle with Rosewood Stock


Pocket watch presented to Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Captain Henry W. Lawton, Noted Captor, following the Surrender of Chiricahua Apache Leader Geronimo

When three of the top four firearms in the entire auction are Winchester and Henry rifles, it’s a good sign for aficionados of high condition, iconic, lever guns. The most talked about arm of the auction thus far, appearing in lot 1025, has earned itself the front cover spot on Volume I of this auction’s catalog among many other places. It is a historic Winchester Model 1886, serial number 1, presented to Captain Henry Ware Lawton for this capture of the Apache leader Geronimo, accompanied by his presentation watch and chain. A close runner-up comes nine lots later in 1034, and is a Hoggson engraved, first model Henry rifle with a lustrous gold plate finish. Other high condition examples abound in nearly every model, miraculously still in excellent condition. We are also honored to present a Winchester 1876 One of One Thousand rifle that has not been seen by the collecting public since 1966.



Historic and Previously Unknown Cuno Helfricht Factory Engraved Colt Single Action Revolver Owned by the Legendary Andrew Robertson, Cattle Baron of West Texas, with Phenomenal Documentation and Consigned Directly from the Robertson Family


Historic Presentation Cased Factory Engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket Percussion Revolver Inscribed to Latter Day Saint Leader and Utah Territory Governor Brigham Young

The over 500 Colts in the April Premiere Auction positively shout, “Condition!” There are new and near new pre-war Single Action Army revolvers in their original boxes, scores of cased Colt revolvers, surprising rarities, and firearms with outstanding histories for sale. One Colt that embodies all those qualities is the nickel plated, pearl gripped, Cuno Helfricht engraved Single Action Army in lot 1251 that was a single gun shipment in 1917 to the extraordinary Texas cattle baron A. B. “Sug” Roberson, and has remained in his family ever since. Other Colt highlights include an early-1912 production Model 1911, a factory engraved and silver plater Model 1851 Navy bearing a rare Tiffany grip as photographed in The Book of Colt Engraving, and the flagship of the entire auction: Lot 1222’s spectacular and historic presentation cased, factory engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket inscribed to the leader of the Latter Day Saints and the Governor of the Utah Territory, Brigham Young.

Foreign Military

The Robert “The Bear” Bretherton Collection offers scarce early models and seldom seen prototypes. Included in the collection are the Walther prototype “Armee-Pistole” with its matching shoulder stock and a the first production Walther G41? There will also be Japanese copies of the Garand and Pedersen rifles. Available for sale will be a Walther self-loading sheet metal prototype rifle, serial #3.

US Military


Documented Civil War Confederate Leech and Rigdon Percussion Revolver


World War II U.S. Singer Manufacturing Company Model 1911A1 Semi-Automatic Pistol


1931 Dated Springfield Armory Prototype Model T3E2 Semi-Automatic Rifle in .276 Caliber

Not to be outdone by our foreign military selection, the variety and condition of the U.S. Military arms in this auction spans centuries of weapons used by our nation’s men-at-arms. Collectors will see Civil War arms, such as a scarce Confederate Leech and Rigdon revolver in lot 1102 and significant models of the 1911 including a gorgeous Singer manufactured version in lot 3626. In lot 1649 resides a rare 1931 dated Springfield rifle serial number 15, that would eventually become the M1 Garand, is chambered in .276, and labeled as “T3E2.” It will appear next to its primary competition, a Pedersen rifle, as well as the extremely rare Pedersen GX prototype, serial number 1, which used a Garand action – only 12 of which were ever made.

RIAC will be attending the following gun shows:
The Tulsa Arms Show in Tulsa, OK – April 2nd & 3rd
The Big Reno Show in Reno, NV – April 8th, 9th & 10th
The NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY – May 19th, 20th, 21st & 22nd
The Colorado Gun Collectors Annual Show – May 20th, 21st & 22nd


Rock Island Auction Company
7819 42nd Street West, Rock Island, IL 61201

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