Rock Island Auction Company’s first Premiere Auction of 2015 is finally here and it will be well worth the wait. Contained in this exciting sale are over 2,700 firearms in nearly 3,000 lots! That’s over 500 Colts, 400+ Winchesters, in excess of 300 military arms, dozens of Class III collectibles, sporting arms galore, and more than 2,000 items classified as antique or Curio & Relic firearms. These impressive numbers also contain 4 spectacular collections, the results of decades, and even lifetimes, of dedication and passion.
Rock Island Auction Company has been extremely privileged during our last few Premiere auctions to host the Gene Smith Military Collection. Mr. Smith's massive, encyclopedic grouping of German military arms has been featured in our sales since mid-2014, bringing high condition, rare, historic, and significant German firearms to the collecting community who can't snatch them up quickly enough.
Regarding this astounding collection, we bring good news and bad news. The bad news is that our 2015 April Premiere Firearms Auction will mark the final installment of this landmark collection. It has truly been our pleasure to see, handle, and experience such an array of amazing guns, and with one final opportunity, that pleasure can be yours as well. The good news is that besides having one final opportunity to own an item from this outstanding collection, another convergence of extraordinary arms waits in the wings, waiting to be unleashed. We are referring to The Lifelong Collection of Icon Ralph Shattuck.
Mr. Shattuck's passion for firearms has resulted in a "dream collection" that many aspire to match and very few ever do. His assemblage of Lugers, Mausers, and Borchardts is unparalleled, and a multitude of other nations are represented as well. His early contributions to Luger collecting and his passion ensure his name will live on long after his collection has been dispersed. Rock Island Auction Company is honored to offer such a prestigious grouping from such a collecting icon and trailblazer.
Also making its presence felt in this sale is The Dr. Joel Glovsky Collection – the most complete and advanced array of 7.65mm pistols ever made available. The result of over 60 years of collecting, Dr. Glovsky’s Collection includes most of the 7.65mm pistols from the estate of Sid Aberman and is filled with rare prototypes, tool room samples, and test models.
Thankfully, not all previously appearing collections are in their final installment. Part II of the William Baird Collection, with its emphasis on Model 1877 Lightnings and Thunderers, is as meticulous as it is beautiful and will be a highlight of the sale. Superb condition and variety abound in this meticulous and accomplished collection.
Mr. Baird’s Collection is one of many contributors to the outstanding selection of incredible Colt firearms in this auction. Perhaps most notable are the three Paterson revolvers in lots 1098, 3131, and the flagship of the auction, the highly documented, cased, and factory engraved Colt Pocket Model Paterson Revolver No. 1 (Baby Paterson) with Accessories in lot 1093. It is the earliest known Colt factory engraved gun and features a special barrel length, silver bands, and pearl grips. It is a masterpiece sure to capture the attention of Colt collectors the world round. Other exceptional Colts include historical Colt Walkers from C Company & E Company in lots 1097 & 3134 respectively, as well as the finest known Colt Model 1921 Thompson Submachine Gun in lot 1589, another gorgeous Thompson 1928 Navy overstamp in lot 1594, a Model 1878 Gatling from Valley Engraving in lot 375, a rare, factory engraved Deluxe Colt Baby Carbine in lot 1340, stunning cased Colt percussion revolvers, and a host of Colt 1st Generation Single Actions in their original boxes in a variety of calibers. Over 500 Colts await you in this fantastic event.
Winchester collectors, regardless of their focus, will be more than pleased at the assortment from this legendary manufacturer. Per-Winchesters are plentiful with the embellished Volcanic pistols in lots 31, 45, & 3019, and of course with Henry rifles like the jaw-dropping deluxe, factory engraved, Henry in lot 42 that you have to see to believe! Moving forward chronologically brings us to the crown jewel of the Winchesters in this auction: a rare and brilliant, deluxe, gold plated, factory engraved, Winchester Model 1866 in lot 1017. Another example of the high quality lever guns comes in lot 3016 which houses a Second Model 1876 sporting rifle with its 28” octagon barrel, set trigger, checkered stock, pistol grip, case hardening, and $5.00 engraving.
But the selection of Winchesters extends far beyond the quintessential lever guns. Also available in this sale will be a scarce factory engraved Model 1907 in lot 1756, an antique, case hardened Second Model 1890 in lot 3219, a prototype Winchester bolt action pistol waiting in lot 3215 with its Madis authentication letter, over 50 Model 70 sporting rifles, and FIFTEEN Model 21 shotguns. These shotguns were essentially made-to-order with loads of special features and were intended to go head-to-head with high-end manufacturers such as A.H. Fox, Parker, & Ithaca. From the earliest pieces of Winchester history to their more recent rifles and shotguns, and all the successes in between, Rock Island’s April Premiere Auction will have them all.
As you may have guessed from earlier mentions in this article, the quantity of quality foreign military items in this sale is simply flabbergasting. That’s what happens when three massive, comprehensive collections all come together to create a perfect storm for collectors and investors. Highlights from this genre include: an exceptional and early Gabbet Fairfax MARS pistol in lot 1438, the historic WWII presentation, gold plated Walther in lot 1451 that was a gift to King Carol II of Romania, lot 3345’s instantly recognizable “Cartridge Counter” Luger, an exceptionally rare Model 1900 Transitional Luger Carbine in lot 1439, and a presentation shotgun in lot 3321 with its Heinrich Himmler inscription. However, more than just German pieces are going to attract collectors! An 1894 Mondragon straight pull, bolt-action rifle is waiting in lot 709, a rare Czechoslovakian ZH-29 rifle is in lot 3461, an exceptionally scarce Mauser 1912-14 prototype, serial number 166, in lot 1533, and a gorgeous, cased DWM Model 1893 Borchardt is housed in lot 1422 with numerous accessories. Whether you collect German, Japanese, or European this auction has the rare, experimental, high condition, and historic firearms you want.
The selection of U.S military arms is as rare as Rock Island Auction Company has seen in some time. For starters, not only is there a rare Pederson self-loading rifle in lot 1627, but also a supremely scarce G-Y Model Pedersen self-loading rifle in lot 3485. With only 12 of these prototype gas trap versions ever produced, and possibly three thought to still exist, it is an important part of history for U.S. military and early semi-auto collectors. Early weapons are well represented in lots such as number 3108 and its Elgin Cutlass Pistol and the highly desirable Springfield Model 1817 Type I flintlock pistol in lot 1120. The Civil War collectibles are excellently accounted for with a wide range of gorgeous Trapdoor rifles and muskets, such as lot 1121, and two lots of LeMat revolvers in 1071 and 1085. More recent options include numerous Class III items, and an outstanding assortment of M1 Garand variations, prototypes, and experimental designs, including shop model serial number SEVEN in lot 1631. The rarity and condition of the many collectible firearms in this genre is sure to impress.
Seeing so many fine sporting arms in this sale, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Should we talk about the grouping of amazing Parker Bros shotguns, like the fantastic and rare AHE double barrel 20 ga. in lot 1746? The 10 Browning Olympian Grade rifles, like that found in lot 431? The gilded revolvers like the Angelo Bee Master Engraved Colt Pythons in lot 1931 and 1932, or the cased exhibition set of Francolini engraved Smith & Wesson Registered Mangum revolvers in lot 1708? Perhaps the numerous stately cased sporting pieces from renowned manufacturers such as Purdey in lot 3248, Holland & Holland in lot 621, Westley Richards in lot 622, or John Rigby in lot 1390? With more than 700 sporting arms to be sold, deciding which ones to highlight is a real dilemma.
Of course there is more to this auction that just the aforementioned genres. In fact, this sale is perhaps the most balanced sale Rock Island Auction Company has ever amassed. Besides the three world class foreign military collections that highlight the event, there are also over 2,000 items classified as antiques and Curio & Relic, outstanding Kentucky rifles, more than 100 unique Deringers and curio weapons, and items with ties to the Old West, Theodore Roosevelt, Omar Bradley, and many other colorful characters from history.
For more information, visit www.rockislandauction.com or call 1-800-238-8022.