Million dollar Luger sells for half its estimate, still sets new world record

IRVINE, Calif. – Presenting fine collectible arms and militaria to a packed house in Southern California on March 14, Greg Martin Auctions achieved strong sale results of $2.6 million at its second live event in 2010. The iconic “Million Dollar Luger” – estimated to bring $500,000 to $1,000,000 – attracted wide interest prior to the sale. The rare 1907 semi-automatic pistol sold below the low end of its estimate at $494,500 including buyer’s premium, but still set a new world record for a Luger sold at auction. 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.

Unless otherwise noted, all sales figures mentioned reflect hammer price plus 15 percent buyer’s premium.

Bidding was strong at the event, and the room overflowed with buyers and other antique arms enthusiasts. Over 890 items were offered at the sale, which continued for eight hours without a break. The spring auction also included Part II of the Dale & Dolores Buller collection, which featured exceptional Winchesters and Colts, among other fine firearms. Bidding for the Winchesters was particularly robust at the sale, with four items achieving $20,000 or more.

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 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 million 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, Calif.

Other highlights of the March auction include, but are not limited to:

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 1212 – $12,650: Beautiful early commercial Colt Single Action Army revolver.

Complete catalogs and auction results from the March Sale are available online at by individual lot, including full descriptions, estimates and photographs.

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

Photos courtesy of Greg Martin Auctions.


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