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Multi-million dollar auction to feature arms, armor

Greg Martin Auctions’ Fall live auction to feature noteworthy collections of antique arms and armor
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September 2, 2009

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA – Greg Martin Auctions’ Fall Sale will be held September 27 – 28 at its new Southern California auction venue, reflecting the recent move of company headquarters from Northern California. September’s live auction, expected to be a multi-million dollar event, features over 1,200 lots and several noteworthy collections of antique arms and armor. The sale will be held at Doubletree Guest Suites Anaheim Resort & Convention Center, near Disneyland. In additional to a broad selection of collectible arms, armor and historic memorabilia, the September auction offers both noteworthy collections and individual items that are rare or unique.

A collection of particular interest in the September sale is that of William J. Maier III, featuring 130 fine Smith & Wesson Revolvers, including numerous large-frame Americans, Schofields and New Model No. 3s – with most examples showing virtually no use. Specific highlights include the very rare 1st Model 1st Issue 1st Variation SERIAL NO. 21; a 1st Model 1st Issue 2nd Type, Serial No. 733, with Civil War history to the Battle of Antietam; and a .38 Safety Hammerless 3rd Model, one of the rarest U.S. martial arms ever acquired by the government. Other featured items in the auction are final lots from the John R. Woods Collection, including high-quality Western spurs by Garcia and Heisman, several collectible knives, modern sporting arms, cannons, framed cartridge boards, and a rare framed Winchester “Cock of the Woods” advertising poster dating from 1905. The third featured collection offers many fine antique firearms and memorabilia from an East Coast estate.

Greg Martin Auctions’ two-day sale will be held in three sessions: Session I, which begins at noon on Sunday, September 27, presents Fine Antique and Collectible Firearms. On Monday, September 28, Session II features the remainder of the John R. Woods collection, starting at noon. Session III begins immediately after Session II and features Modern and Sporting Guns. Like the past two auctions, the fall sale will be held at the Doubletree Guest Suites Hotel, 2085 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, California. Parking is free for the event. Auction Previews are held from 10 am – 5 pm from August 25 through September 26 at Greg Martin Auctions’ new headquarters, located at 2152 Alton Parkway, Suite K, Irvine, California.

Greg Martin, principal of the firm bearing his name, reiterated that antique firearms continue to be a store of safety and value during uncertain times. “Although the economy shows signs of possible improvement, no one knows when we hit bottom, just like no one knew when we reached the top,” Mr. Martin said. “Regardless, this segment of the market continues strong, is maintaining its value despite today’s volatility and provides collectors with great pleasure along the way.”
Highlights of the September auction include:

Fine and Historic Cased Pair of Engraved, Monogrammed and Ivory-Gripped Civil War Presentation Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolvers. Serial nos. 92275/. and 93215/. .36 cal., 6-shots, 7-1/2" barrels, each marked on top "- ADDRESS SAML COLT HARTFORD CT. -" within engraved border and with intricate finial engraved at muzzle end of each marking. Left side of each frame engraved "COLT'S/PATENT." Diamond contour inlaid brass plaque on lid, with inscription hand-engraved "PRESENTED TO/Col. Wm. C. Browne/by his friends/at/WATERTOWN.N.Y." Colonel William C. Browne was elected colonel of the 35th New York Infantry, known as the "Jefferson Grays." The cased set comes from the family of Colonel Browne, and has not previously been in a private or public collection. (Estimate: $150,000 – 250,000)

Ainsworth Inspected Colt U.S. Cavalry Single Action Revolver. Serial no. 2200, .45 Colt cal., 7-1/2" barrel, originally blue and case colored, smooth walnut cartouched grips. This 1st year production example is clearly marked with small initial "A" for sub-inspector O.W. Ainsworth and may be observed in various locations on this revolver. According to Single Action historian John Kopec, each regiment received 1000 Cavalry revolvers. The 6th U.S. Cavalry received many revolvers with serial numbers very near this subject revolver, including serial nos. 2223 and 2401. The 6th Cavalry was involved in skirmishes in the Indian Territory and Adobe Walls, Texas, during 1874. Mr. Kopec further states that the subject revolver has somehow escaped the Ordnance Department's recall of 1893 and has remained today in its original Cavalry configuration. This revolver had either been lost, stolen (deserter), or captured by the hostile Indians. Since the overall condition of this revolver pre-empted being lost or captured by the hostiles, Mr. Kopec states that it is his opinion that it had been liberated by a deserter during these pre-recall days. (Estimate: $40,000 – 60,000)

Very Rare Smith & Wesson 1st Model 1st Issue 1st Variation Revolver with Low Serial Number.  Serial Number 21, .22 short RF cal., 7-shot, tip-up frame, 3-3/16" barrel with maker and address markings on top rib, blue finish with traces of silver, varnished walnut grips, bayonet style barrel latch, cylinder marked "White/Patented Apr. 3, 1855", the only specimen known with this marking. The 21st revolver produced by Smith & Wesson, manufactured in 1858. Only two earlier serial numbers are known, No. 5 and No. 11. A rare opportunity to purchase one of the earliest known Smith & Wesson 1st Issue revolvers.  (Estimate: $25,000 – 35,000)

Rare 17th Century English Pikeman's Armor Ensemble.  A rare and desirable armor ensemble with matching collar, breastplate, tassets, backplate and fluted helmet with combing, brim and sideplates. Entire grouping is decorated in typical Greenwich style with finely detailed chevrons and patterned rivets. This particular lot has aged to a beautiful, rich patina, accentuating the period workmanship and elegance. Sold together with accompanying wooden plinth and polychromed figural stand. Pikeman armor is extremely rare and a complete ensemble seldom comes to market. This group dates from before the English civil war and is superior in every way. Even during their lifetime, many sets were frequently intermingled or elements became separated, leading to mismatched suits. Provenance: William E. Simon Collection. A businessman and philanthropist, Mr. Simon served as Secretary of the Treasury from 1974 – 1977. (Estimate: $25,000 – 35,000)

Scarce U.S. Harper's Ferry Model 1805 Martial Flintlock Pistol. Serial no. 433, .54 cal., 10-1/16" barrel with under-rib and steel thimble, brass front sight and dovetailed rear sight, barrel marked at breech: 433/US[in oval]/eaglehead/P [in oval]. Lockplate marked: Harpers/Ferry/1807/[eaglehead]/US. (Estimate: $25,000 – 30,000)

Historic Teddy Roosevelt "Rough Rider" U.S. Colt Artillery Model Single Action Revolver. Serial No. 113456[frame]; 49034 [barrel]; 115423[cylinder]; 55631[triggerguard]; 120395[backstrap]. .45 cal., 5-1/2" barrel with Hartford address, frame with three line patent date and marked: U.S. Frame also with inspector stamp DFC. Barrel marked: H.N. and P. Grips with RAC cartouche. Sold together with Colt factory letter confirming basic configuration and original 1884 ship date. Included also is a Letter of Authentication from John A. Kopec, which details the final ship date of 1/31/1896 and confirmation that the gun remains exactly as it was when it shipped. He also states this gun is listed in the National Archives records as being issued to the 1st Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders) and that the activity date of June 20, 1898, was cited in those records. (Estimate: $20,000 – 40,000)

Smith & Wesson Model 3 1st Type Russian Contract Revolver.  Serial no. 211, .44 Russ. cal., 8" barrel, blue finish, Russian contract marked in Cyrillic for the Russian market and Ainsworth proofmark on butt; also with Imperial eagle over "KO" proof on top of barrel rib ("KO" were the initials for Russian inspector Capt. Kasavery Ordinetz.) The finest condition Russian contract S&W known to exist. (Estimate: $20,000 – 30,000)

Cased 12 Gauge J. Purdey & Sons Sidelock Ejector Double Barrel Shotgun, engraved by K.C. Hunt.
Serial no. 28079, 12 ga., 27" chopper lump barrels with matted Churchill-style rib. Barrels marked: J. Purdey & Sons/Audley House, South Audley Street, London, England. Casehardened sidelock action engraved with foliate designs and game scenes: Left side: full coverage of a hunter taking a rising cock pheasant in a corn field. Pheasant in a circular medallion, Right side: full coverage of a hunter firing at a flock of geese. Canada geese in a circular medallion, and underside with foliate details with a pair of rising grouse in gold. Silver oval with initials: WMB. (Estimate: $20,000 – 30,000)

Winchester Hotchkiss 1st Model Deluxe Sporting Rifle. Serial no. 4039, 45-70 cal., 26" octagon barrel, blue finish, fancy deluxe checkered walnut stock with horn fore-end tip and blue steel buttplate. Extremely rare, with only about 6000 1st Model Hotchkisses manufactured, and very few in the Deluxe Sporting Rifle configuration. This example dates from 1880.  (Estimate: $12,000 – 15,000)

Pair of English Flintlock Pistols, by Henry Nock. .63 cal., 10-1/8" octagonal damascus barrels with post-type front sights, open rear sights and steel under-rib. Top flats marked: London. Gold bands and dentate borders at breech, engraved tangs and screws, locks marked: H. Nock. (Estimate: $10,000 – 15,000)

Fine Pair Historic of Bronze British Three-Pound Naval Cannons. 2-½” bores, the tubes measuring 40-3/4” overall, 2 trunnions, one example marked: P/No. 28/166 [anchor]; the other numbered: 167. The tops of the tubes each bear a baronial crest measuring 4¼”x4-¾” featuring a demi-fox issuing from a crown and surmounted with the legend: Bodelwyddan, all surrounded by the Order of the Garter with the date of manufacture [1815] below. According to the previous owner, these cannons were purchased by him in 1910 and have been in his family since then. The Bodelwyddan castle, located near the village of Bodelwyddan in Wales, was built as a manor house around 1460 by the Humphreys family of Anglesley. The Williams-Wynn family, whose ownership dates from 1690, has been the primary owner. With a varied history, the Bodelwyddan castle has been a recuperation hospital for wounded veterans in WWI, the site of warfare training and eventually as Lowther College, a private school for girls.  (Estimate: $10,000 – 14,000)

Rare and Historic Teddy Roosevelt Rough Rider Uniform Ensemble Belonging to Private Lyman E. Whited, Troop G, First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. 
Comprising: 1) Spanish American War era khaki drill Rough Rider uniform with four-pocket tunic trimmed in yellow with standard issue brass eagle buttons. Based on U.S. Army regulations, this type of uniform existed only for 75 days, after which the branch of service facings was eliminated. 2) Cotton shirt. 3) Khaki drill trousers with Whited's name written in inner waistband. 4) Pair of Khaki web leggings, also named to Whited. 5) Nut brown beaver fur felt service hat. 6) Rare original First Annual Reunion souvenir ribbon with a legend reading: "First Annual Reunion/Roosevelt's/Rough Riders/Las Vegas/New Mexico/June 24th, 25th, & 26th/1899". This is a rare and seldom seen historical American service uniform ensemble from one of T. R.'s Rough Riders. Whited joined the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry on June 27 at Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was born in 1874 in Osage City, Kansas. By the time of his enlistment at age 24, he lived in Raton, New Mexico. (Estimate: $7,500 – 8,500)

All items in the September auction are illustrated in two catalogs, now available from Greg Martin Auctions. Complete catalogs -- including full descriptions, estimates and photographs by individual lot -- will be available online at

Greg Martin Auctions bidders can participate in the events in various ways: onsite at the Doubletree Hotel in Anaheim, via phone bidding and absentee bids. In addition, real-time, Internet bidding through Proxibid allows potential buyers online to view a photo of each item as it goes up for sale and to place a bid as selling is underway.

Greg Martin Auctions’ next sale is scheduled for December 6 & 7 in Irvine, California.

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