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'Million Dollar Luger' sells for half estimate

Gun stills sets new record for Luger sold at auction
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The 'Million Dollar Luger' is worth half a million these days.

Irvine, California – The iconic “Million Dollar Luger” – estimated to bring $500,000 to $1,000,000 fell short of its low estimate, but still packed a punch when sold at auction March 14 by Greg Martin Auctions in Anaheim, Calif.

The rare 1907 semi-automatic pistol sold for $494,500 including buyer’s premium, but still set a new world record for a Luger sold at auction. Its pre-sale estimate was $500,000 - $1 million.

According to Greg Martin, president of the firm bearing his name, the sale answered the question of what the Million Dollar Luger would bring in today’s marketplace. “One of the rarest and most coveted firearms in the world, the 1907 pistol sold at the low end of its estimate, but still achieved a world record at auction for a Luger firearm,” said Mr. Martin. ” This pistol will always be known as the ‘Million Dollar Luger’ and is sure to be the centerpiece of any collection. Someone made an exceptional investment – no doubt the buyer is ecstatic.”

The coveted pistol received its moniker after it was purchased in 1989 by Indonesian billionaire Yani Haryanto for $1,000,000 before financial problems forced its sale. The firearm was also featured in the 1987 movie Wall Street – “The rarest gun in the world, Larry, the .45 Luger” – which earned Michael Douglas an Oscar for his role as the ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko. The character is still known today for his notorious line “Greed is good,” which entered into the public lexicon. The newest buyer, an entrepreneur and firearms collector who wants to remain anonymous, acquired the pistol through Paul Cole, president of Gun World in Burbank, California.

The room overflowed with buyers and other antique arms enthusiasts, according to a news release from the auction firm. Over 890 items were offered at the sale, which continued eight hours without a break. Total sales reached $2.6 million.

The event’s other highlight, the rare and historic Bowie knife made by Daniel Searles and Reese Fitzpatrick of Louisiana, circa 1830s, sold for $120,750.

The spring auction also included Part II of the Dale & Dolores Buller Collection, which featured of the highest-quality firearms offered in recent years, including exceptional Winchesters and Colts. Bidding for the Winchesters was particularly robust at the sale, with four items achieving $20,000 or more.

Other notable sales:
Lot 2062 – $494,500: Ultra-Rare and Desirable Georg Luger Model 1907 U.S. Test Trials .45 ACP Semi Automatic Pistol, Serial Number 2. (See photo, above)

Lot 1102 – $120,750: Exceedingly Rare, Important and Historic Bowie Knife made by Daniel Searles and Reese Fitzpatrick, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, c. 1830s. (See photo, right)

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Lot 2061 – $31,625: Fine Cased Model 1893 Borchardt Semi-Automatic Pistol, by Ludwig Loewe.

Lots 1171 and 1172: $28,750 each: Both lots were Deluxe Winchester Model 1886 Lever Action Rifles.

Lot 1173 – $20,700: Deluxe Winchester Model 1876 Lever Action Rifle.

Lot 1362 – $18,400:
Rare 20 Gauge A. H. Fox HE Grade Super-Fox Boxlock Ejector Double Barrel Shotgun.

Lot 1141 – $13,800: Fine and Rare Cased, Engraved and Silver-Plated Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver, with Relief Carved and Checkered American Eagle and Shield Grips. (See photo, below left)

Lot 1212 – $12,650: Beautiful Early Commercial Colt Single Action Army Revolver.

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Complete catalogs and auction results from the March Sale are available online at

Greg Martin Auctions’ next live sale is scheduled for June 2010 in Anaheim.

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

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