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Rock Island premiere firearms auction realizes $9.4M

Investing in firearms proves strong at September sale
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Extraordinary Singer Manufacturing Co. Model 1911A1 Semi-Automatic Pistol with History, $166,750.

During the weekend of Sept. 10-12, rare and high quality firearms from the famous A.I. McCroskie collection were sold at Rock Island Auction Co. Clearly the two highlights of this collection and the auction were the catalog cover guns, a "One of One Thousand" Winchester first Model 1876 lever action rifle which after spirited bidding achieved $402,500 followed closely behind by the Magnificent Winchester, Deluxe, J Ulrich Signed Factory Engraved, First Model 1873 "One of One Thousand" Centennial Rifle used as a display piece for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, commanding $276,000.

A headline collection of the auction was the stunning William Ashby military collection that drew bids from across the globe. This collection included over 85 sniper rifles in every variation, experimental rifles, rare handguns and a German Africa Corps BMW motorcycle. A rare WWII K98 Mauser double claw SS sniper rifle fetched $19,550, a rare late WWII Nazi VG1.5 Volkssturmgewehr semi-automatic rifle brought $57,500 and an exceptional experimental Nazi Steyr serial number 2 G42 ST bolt action sheet metal carbine realized $51,750. The fascinating German Africa Corps BMW motorcycle sold within the estimate at $37,375. The German WWII collection had held the audiences attention when a rare and historic Nazi diplomatic sword of war criminal Dr. Artur Syess-Inquart achieved $43,125, well above the $6,500 – 12,000 estimate.

When the hammer fell and the auctioneer said “sold” to the new owner of the mint Singer Model 1911A1 Pistol so did tears of joy fall from the consignor. This lot, estimated at $37,500 – 55,000, caused an exciting bidding battle until it finally sold for $166,750 setting a new world record (replacing a previous record for a Singer set by Rock Island Auction of $80,500). This pistol was owned by 1st Lt. Charles H. Clark, a pilot in the U.S. Air Corps during WWII. He recovered the pistol from a crash site of a B24 on May 11, 1943 and it has been in the family ever since.

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Matched Pair of Relief Engraved, Silver-Mounted, 18th Century Italian Flintlock Pistols, $16,100.

U.S. and European Military always a strong genre at Rock Island Auction brought out the collectors as an exceptional Borchardt Model 1893 semi-automatic pistol with case and accessories photographed in “Luger The Multi National Pistol” sold at $54,625. A rare DWM Model 1902 Cartridge Counter American Eagle Test Luger brought $40,250. A very rare and exceptional WWII Inland "T3" Carbine and a scarce Remington Model M40A1 Marine Corps sniper rifle, both selling above estimate at $25,875 and $19,550 respectively. An extremely rare un-modified Colt Army Contract of 1907 semi-automatic pistol brought $34,500. Class III rounded out this selection headlined by a fully automatic Colt Model 1921 Thompson submachine gun with FBI carrying case, drum and stick magazines and accessories selling at $57,500.

There were over 500 sporting arms in this auction spanning the spectrum of extremely high quality to the high conditioned everyday field guns. Some highlights included a Cased Exhibition Quality Special Order Factory Engraved Gold Inlaid Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing A.H. Fox double .22 rifle coming in at $46,000 and a Cased Engraved Gold Inlaid Hatfield Uplander Woodcock Grade V two barrel set double barrel Shotgun intended for President George H. W. Bush selling at $28,750.

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Exceptional Borchardt Model 1893 Semi-Automatic Pistol with Case and Accessories Photographed in "Luger The Multi National Pistol", $54,625.

The antiques in this auction represented some of the earliest known firearms including a matched pair of relief engraved, silver-mounted, 18th century Italian flintlock pistols realized $16,100 and an elaborate late 16th century Wheellock "Petronel" style weapon sold for $13,800. The antique selection of this sale also brought many edged weapons, a large Pesh-Kabz Dagger with Gold Inlay and Sheath went well above estimate for $10,950. A bid of $8,625 won a gold and silver damascened 17th century English swept hilt Rapier, as documented in Blair's "European & American Arms" book.

Top lots for the Colts were a rare factory engraved silver and gold plated Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver with checkered ivory grips brought $25,875 and a Cole Agee signed cattle brand engraved gold and silver plated Colt single action army revolver fetched $12,650.

Rare and Historic Nazi Diplomatic Sword of War Criminal Dr. Artur Syess-Inquart, $43,125.

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A remarkable collection of high grade custom knives were sold on Sunday. Standouts include an extremely rare Randall miniature model 12 Bowie knife with whale tooth handle which sold for $6,325, a W.F. "Bill" Moran Bowie knife with sheath brought $4,600 and an engraved Jimmy Lile folding knife with scrimshaw ivory inlays also reached $4,600.

The excitement leading up to the September auction carried through. Promoted as being the premiere firearms auction of the year, this auction performed up to expectations with a new record set, strong prices realized and several lots achieving unexpected results. An impressive 96% plus sell through rate brought sales to $9.4 million. With very few items reserved market value was obtained by bidders bidding not against auction house reserves but against fellow collectors satisfying both buyers and sellers, a goal for any auction house.

Exceptional Experimental Nazi Steyr Serial Number 2 G42 ST Bolt Action Sheet Metal Carbine, $51,750.

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With a strong September sale and a great turn out of buyers in attendance Rock Island Auction feels confident in their decision to invest in the future of firearms. With a new 73,000 sq. ft. facility currently under renovation our dedication to the future of firearms has never been stronger. Commenting on the auction and RIAC, Pat Hogan, President and owner of RIAC said, “Those who know me know that I am nervous up to the last minute before an auction. However this auction felt different, for many reasons, the collections, the consignor’s confidence in us, and my staff’s hard work. Truly, I look forward to making the firearms auction experience an enjoyable one. This new facility I’m investing in shows our dedication to the future of firearms collecting.”

Join RIAC for their upcoming December Premiere Auction. This auction will feature Part II of the William Ashby Military Collection, impressive Colts led by the finest conditioned original Colt Buntline Special Single Action Army Revolver Extant, a Winchester Model 1873 1 of 1000 as Featured in R.L. Wilson's Book, impressive sporting arms and much more! Rock Island Auction Company is currently seeking consignments. Consign one piece or an entire collection and know that you are consigning with the best. For more information on selling at auction contact Pat Hogan or Judy Voss at 800-238-8022.

For more information about the December auction, please visit

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