MOLINE, Ill. — Firearms enthusiasts from all over the world participated in Rock Island Auction Company’s Premiere Firearms Auction Sept. 11-13. Strong bidding participation drove sales to nearly $8 million as firearms collectors took the opportunity to bid on and own the many museum quality items in this sale. As the value of firearms continue to hold true not only are buyers adding to their collections but ultimately investing in their future. Once again strong prices were obtained for collectable firearms during a faltering economy with the high bid of $425,500 winning an extraordinary factory engraved, digital “1 of 1000” Winchester model 1873.
This 3-day sale proved highly successful with a 98 percent sell-through rate, pleasing both buyers and sellers.
Several pieces of history were offered, among them were a rare historic and deluxe Tiffany & Co. Smith & Wesson .32 double action 4th model revolver exhibited by the factory at the 1893 “World’s Columbian Exposition” in Chicago commanded a price of $103,500. Another centerpiece of this auction was a magnificent pair of highly embellished exhibition quality Adolph Frohn, Suhl Germany pistols that brought a high bid of $172,500. A magnificent presentation pair of exhibition grade, silver mounted, gold inlaid flintlock T. Dobson pistols made for the Sultan of Turkey sold for $69,000.
An American icon and investing favorite, over 500 Winchesters were offered in the September sell. Lot 1701, a very fine special order Winchester model 1876 deluxe lever action rifle sold for $23,000 while an outstanding Winchester model 1866 lever action rifle hammered above estimate at $25,875. A rare deluxe factory engraved New Haven Arms Co., Volcanic lever action no. 2 navy pistol with ivory grips earned $48,875.
Collectors with interest in the West and cowboy legend had a plethora of items to choose from. This auction offered firearms from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans museum. The cowboy star’s fame drove prices, most of the items reaching above the high estimate. Both of the factory engraved Winchester model 21’s presented to Roy Rogers sold within estimate at $46,000 and $43,125. Above estimate prices were attained on a Cole Agee engraved Colt SAA documented as being Roy Rogers "Holster Gun" ($23,000) and an elaborate custom relief engraved and gold-plated Colt SAA ($12,650). A documented historical Audie Murphy presentation to Roy Rogers Colt prewar/postwar single action army revolver with factory letter garnered a price of $19,550.
The rare and quality derringers was led by a highly embellished exhibition quality factory cased gold inlaid Gaulois palm pistol ($17,250) followed by a factory engraved Southerner Derringer with ivory grips ($13,800). Another amazing piece from this collection was a magnificent relief silver eagle hilted Tiffany made sword from famous Flayderman / Medicus collection realizing $23,000.
Always a collecting desire, the 300 plus Colts in this auction brought strong bids leading with an above estimate bid of $28,750 for a cased custom engraved gold and silver inlaid Colt deluxe SAA by master engravers R.J. Smith & Siegfried Rentzchke. An exceptional black powder Colt frontier six shooter single action etched barrel revolver brought $40,250 and an outstanding Hartley & Graham engraved black powder Colt SAA with factory letter sold for $23,000.
The September auction was a perfect time for many sporting enthusiasts to expand their collection before the hunting season. The sporting arms in this auction featured the E. Warner Bacon Collection. A successful bid of $25,875 took home a scarce engraved and gold inlaid Ithaca Flues model Sousa grade double barrel 16 gauge shotgun with extra barrel. A desirable Winchester model 12 28 gauge skeet grade takedown slide action shotgun garnered $9,200, almost twice the low estimate! An exceptional Holland & Holland .375 H&H Magnum bolt action sporting rifle with scope hammered at $12,650.
The collection of Winchester Model 70’s drew bidding interest to a total of over $300,000. Headlining was an exceptional Pre-64 Winchester transition model 70 bolt action carbine in rare and desirable .35 Remington caliber with factory box (sold $20,700) followed closely by an outstanding Pre-64 transition Winchester model 70 super grade bolt action rifle in rare 250-3000 Savage caliber with factory box (sold $14,950).
Of the over 500 military items in this auction the lugers did exceptionally well. Both a 1899 style Swiss test luger serial number "20" and an original DWM model 1902 luger carbine with matching stock sold above estimate for $48,875 & $34,500 respectively. Interest was also high in a rare Nazi presentation Walther PPK pistol with NSDAP shooting prize slide inscription, party leader grips and capture documents which secured a $28,750 bid.
Rock Island Auction ventured out of its normal arena of expertise and offered many Victorian era pieces including gambling items, slot machines, vintage advertising signs, ivory canes, spurs, back bar bottles and more. Of the slot machines a scarce character manufacturing company/ mills one arm bandit carved figure nickel slot machine stole the show selling for $7,475. A metal Oshkosh Brewing advertising sign reached $3,737.
As a whole the September auction was a success, with a high sell through rate and sales reaching nearly $8 million. This auction had something for every level of collecting with interested buyers setting the auction prices not a house reserve. The result was satisfied buyers and sellers alike, a valuable goal for any auction house.
Join RIAC for their upcoming auctions: the next Premiere Auction will be held Dec. 4-6. 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 September auction please visit www.rockislandauction.com.
Photos courtesy Rock Island Auction Co.