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Las Vegas antique arms auction attracts overflow crowd

January auction achieves $3M in sales
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Reflecting the popularity of antique arms and armor, Greg Martin Auctions’ first sale of 2010 was a major success, realizing over $3 million in sales.

Held on January 17, the event was timed to coincide with the Las Vegas Antique Arms Show at Las Vegas’ Riviera Hotel.

The California based auction house reported that bidding was enthusiastic throughout the sale. Onsite attendees filled the auction room to standing-room-only capacity, and numerous bidders participated by phone, absentee bids and online in real time through Proxibid.

Over 700 fine antique, collectible and military arms came up for sale during the Sunday event. The auction featured two noteworthy collections, including the Stephen D’Arrigo, Jr. Collection of U.S. Military Firearms & Eaglehead Swords, with over 200 items from before the Revolutionary War through the Civil War. The other grouping, the Dale & Delores Buller Collection, offered several hundred exceptional Colts, Winchesters and high-grade semi-automatics.

Commenting on the auction, Greg Martin, principal of the firm bearing his name, said turnout was exceptional and bidding was brisk. “The Las Vegas venue proved again for the second year to be a winner,” he said. “Visitors to the show could easily attend and participate in the auction – and they did. The robust results are testimony to the fact that antique arms & armor is a separate economy to what the country’s experiencing overall.”

Highlights of the January auction included:

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Lot 1068 – $126,500: Historic presentation engraved and chased sterling silver overlaid Colt Single Action Army Revolver with silver grips of Vincente Oropeza, world-champion roper and star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Oropeza taught Will Rogers how to rope. (see photo above)

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Lot 1042 – $120,750:  Exceptional deluxe engraved, cased, silver & gold plated Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver, with exquisite and rare relief-carved Mexican eagle ivory grips. (see photo above)
Lot 1043 – $97,750:  Cased Colt Civilian Model 1860 Army revolver in exceptional condition, with accessories.

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Lot 1065 – $86,250: Factory Exhibition Winchester Model 1894 lever action rifle, Pan American Exhibition, ca. 1901. (see photo above)
Lot 1050 – $80,500: Conrad Ulrich engraved Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle.

Lot 564 – $34,500:  Fine U.S. Model 1813 Flintlock Army Pistol, by Simeon North, Middletown, Connecticut. Total manufacture in this model is only 626 delivered to the Army and 1,000 to the Navy. This specimen, with fine condition and exceptional markings, is believed to be one of only three known examples. It far exceeded its auction estimate of $15,000 – 20,000. (see photo, at left)
Lot 616 – $13,800: Rare U.S.-Marked Early First Model Colt Dragoon Revolver, .44 caliber, 6-shot cylinder with Texas Rangers and Comanche Indian roll scene with "MODEL U.S.M.R." Serial no. 1421 was manufactured in 1848, at the beginning of the First Model range which began at approximately 1341. This revolver was in the first batch produced of the First Model Dragoons, which totaled approximately 8,000.
Lot 1067 – $11,500: Rare and historic inscribed Colt Single Action Army Revolver, presentation from Buffalo Bill Cody to a member of The Wild Bunch, Lem Hunter.
Complete catalogs and auction results from the January Sale are available online at by individual lot, including full descriptions, estimates and photographs.

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Greg Martin Auctions’ next live sale is scheduled for March 2010 in Anaheim, California.

(Note that, unless otherwise noted, all sales figures mentioned here reflect aggregate sales; that is, hammer price plus 15% buyer’s premium.)

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