MATTHEWS, N.C. – An exceedingly rare group of three distinguished awards given to World War I German flying ace Adolf Ritter von Tutschek soared to $28,250 in an Internet and catalog auction that ended Jan. 24.
The group was the top earner of the more than 1,000 lots sold. Around 3,000 of the estimated 42,000 bidders in SoldUSA.com’s database registered to bid in the recent sale.
“Overall, this was a very positive auction and already great consignments are pouring in for our next sale,” said Chris Roberts of SoldUSA.com, which conducted the sale. “On the first day of the sale, we had 1.7 million hits and had to re-start the system twice. We’ll have to tweak the software to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
The von Tutschek lot consisted of his original named and engraved Pour Le Merit “Blue Max” award, a one-of-a-kind piece still in its original case and in excellent condition; his cased silver Iron Cross medal, boasting a nice silver age patina and with his name engraved on the reverse; and his engraved cut-out pilot’s badge, engraved with his name and in a leatherette box.
Von Tutschek was a soldier turned fighter pilot who began flying with Germany’s Jagstaffel 2 force in January 1917. He was later given command of the new Jagdeschwader 2 and began flying sorties in his new Fokker D-1 green tri-plane. The ace managed to rack up 27 confirmed kills before he himself was shot down and killed on Mar. 15, 1918, only 26 years old.
Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.
An H. E. Leman identified flintlock Pennsylvania rifle (circa 1835), rare and with a tin-type of the original owner holding the weapon, hit the mark for $8,661. The rifle is possibly a first-year production firearm by Leman. It had not been restored (and the original ramrod was missing). Measuring 62 inches long, it featured brass fittings, metal patch box and set triggers.
The rifle was made more remarkable by the fact that it has been in the same family – the Elliotts, who originally moved from Georgia to Oklahoma, prior to the “Trail of Tears.” It had been passed down through the Elliott family to the consignor, who can still remember the rifle hanging over the fireplace of her grandfather, Ben Elliott, who was born in 1881 and died 1945.
A Colt 3rd model shoulder stock provision Dragoon pistol (from 1858, serial #17482), marked with the rare “Col. Colt London” barrel address, only a handful of which are known to exist, scored a bull’s-eye for $7,770. The gun, one of the more highly sought after of all 3rd model Colt Dragoons made, had the Colt patented detachable stock hardware, including the two extra lug screws in the frame.
The pistol featured a 7 1/2-inch barrel with the correct two-leaf sight, which was added by Colt only for shoulder stock models. The cylinder retained over 50 percent of the original scene, with a rare cylinder markings (“Model U.S.M.R. 17482 Colt’s Patent”). Every screw and inch of this exceptional plum-finish gun was inspected and declared correct.
“Collectors like the fact that we guarantee the authenticity of every single item we put up for bid,” Roberts said.
A Winchester “Woman in Yellow Hunting Coat” calendar poster from 1912, painted circa 1910 specifically for Winchester by an unknown artist and exhibiting rich and vibrant colors, garnered $5,085. The posters from the original artwork were lithographed around 1911. This example measured 14 5/8 inches by 30 inches and featured both the top and bottom bands.
A beautiful World War II NSDAP (1923-1933) cased blood order serial numbered 938 first strike medal, made by J. Fuess Munchen and with rich coin strike quality detail, went to a determined bidder for $4,520. The medal was mounted to its original ribbon with buttonhole mounting in the ribbon center. It was housed in a leather-covered hinged case with locking front.
SoldUSA.com’s next big sale will go online in early March and conclude Mar. 20-21. Featured will be high-end ammo collectibles, advertising items, rare tin signs, die-cuts, posters, calendars and many other hunting and fishing collectibles, plus militaria. The auction after the March auction is slated for sometime in May.
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