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Bonhams Skinner’s two September sales in review

Bonhams Skinner held two September sales in the Historic Arms & Militaria department: the Early Militaria Collections live sale, which took place September 28, and an accompanying online auction of Militaria and Sporting Arms that ran September 19-29.

Bonhams Skinner - Bonhams Skinner held two September sales in the Historic Arms & Militaria department: the Early Militaria Collections live sale, which took place September 28, and an accompanying online auction of Militaria and Sporting Arms that ran September 19-29.

Civil War Monitor Catskill 35-Star Flag

Civil War Monitor Catskill 35-Star Flag

The Early Militaria Collections live auction yielded overall solid results with a hammer of $353,410. The top lot of the sale was 168, Civil War Monitor Catskill 35-Star Flag and Commander George W. Rodgers Commission, selling at $52,875 (including buyer’s premium). The flag is significant because it was flown on a Union Civil War monitor ship that took part in numerous important naval operations around Charleston, South Carolina. The lot also included the original commanding officer’s commission signed by Abraham Lincoln.  Another important lot in the sale was Lot 70, Important Provincial Ranger 1758 Siege of Louisbourg Powder Horn Belonging to Abijah Smith, selling at $22,325 (including buyer’s premium). The powder horn was sought after by many telephone and internet bidders. It is important because powder horns connected to the 1758 siege of Louisbourg are extremely rare and horns associated with Rangers from any campaigns are exceedingly scarce and always attract significant attention at auction.

Provincial Ranger 1758 Siege of Louisbourg Powder Horn Belonging to Abijah Smith

Provincial Ranger 1758 Siege of Louisbourg Powder Horn Belonging to Abijah Smith

The Militaria and Sporting Arms online auction likewise yielded solid overall results with a hammer of $189,960 ($223,203 with buyer’s premium). Here the top lot was a rare Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Uniform and Related Items Belonging to Major Alexander Dearborn. The lot featured a mid-19th century uniform coat, trousers, waistcoat, and several hats, selling for $7,000 ($8,250 with buyer’s premium).  Any mid-19th century American militia uniform is rare, and that this set with so many components was still intact is very unusual and prompted spirited bidding.  Additional lots that performed well include 1339, a scarce Parker Brothers 28-gauge shotgun selling for $4,800 ($5,640 with buyer’s premium), and 1261, a Japanese Tanto dagger selling for $4,800 ($5,640 with buyer’s premium). The tanto is a particularly fine example dating to the late 15th/16th centuries that was given to an American officer at the end of World War II.  

Overall, the sales performed well with most lots seeing active telephone, internet, and absentee bidding. The Arms & Militaria market, like most other markets, remains vibrant for rare items, in original condition, with strong value.

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