Rock Island Auction Company’s Regional Sale proves gun prices are on the rise

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Parker lever-action carbine.

After setting a new industry record for yearly sales in 2008, Rock Island Auction started the 2009 year with the Feb. 6-7 Regional Sale reaching an astounding $2.2 million – doubling any other previous regional sale. The huge success of this sale shows that not only are gun prices going up, but people are investing in what they know.

Over 2,100 lots were offered that contained over 4,300 firearms and lodge type furnishings from the Will Hoffeld Estate. Regional sales at RIAC contain more affordable antiques and beginning collector’s items that normally attract “regional” bidders (people within a five-hour radius). However, distance was not an issue as bids came in from all over the country; the number of bidders almost equaled the number of lots in the auction.

The gun market proved to be vibrant as Rock Island experienced a record number of sealed pre-auction bids for a regional sale, over 14,000 sealed bids–a minimum average of seven bids per item. Some lots had up to 25 pre-auction bids. Saturday started with standing room only and lasted throughout a good part of the day as bidding interest drove up the prices on many lots. Sunday continued the success of Saturday and also drew a large crowd; only two lots from the massive auction did not sell.

The top sellers include a frame of bullet molds from the Will Hoffeld estate, which sold for $3,450–over four times the high estimate. M1 Garands and M1 Carbines were in high demand from the bidders; an excellent late production Winchester M1 carbine brought $4,025. Nearly all Smith and Wessons sold at or above the low estimate including a Smith & Wesson number three second model American revolver, which realized $2,300–nearly twice the low estimate. Other notable items are two German hunting swords with sheaths that reached $5,462, and a lot of two lever-action carbines (a Colt burgess lever-action saddle ring carbine and a Whitney-Kennedy lever-action saddle ring carbine) brought $7,475.

Rock Island expects to build upon the success of the regional sale with its Spring Premiere Auction to be held April 25-27. This auction will offer firearms for every level of collecting including Colts, Winchesters, European military, over 100 1911s, Class III and hundreds of fine sporting arms. The sale will feature the second part of the Will Hoffeld estate and firearms collection – a massive old time collection, the type of which is rarely seen today–along with other notable firearms collections.

Another highlight of the Spring Premiere Auction will be the quality sporting rifles and shotguns in many rare calibers and small gauges, the largest grouping of small bore shotguns ever offered: over 100 .410 gauge, over 100 20 gauge, over 50 28 gauge and over 30 16 gauge. There are also many pre-64 Winchester Model 70s in rare calibers.

Visit www.rockislandauction.com for more information or to join their mailing list to stay updated on this and other Rock Island Auction events.

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Butterfield pistol.
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Volcanic rifle.

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