Firearms investment strong: RIA September sale realizes $9.4M

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MOLINE, Ill. — Rare and high quality firearms from the A.I. McCroskie collection were sold at Rock Island Auction Company Sept. 10-12, 2010. 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 World War II 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 audience’s attention when a rare and historic Nazi diplomatic sword of war criminal Dr. Artur Syess-Inquart achieved $43,125, well above the $6,500 to $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 to $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 World War II; he recovered the pistol from a crash site of a B24 on May 11, 1943, and it has been in the family ever since.

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. An exceptional WWII Inland "T3" Carbine and a scarce Remington Model M40A1 Marine Corps sniper rifle, both sold 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 more than 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.

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.

A remarkable collection of high-grade custom knives 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.

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 percent 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.

With a strong September sale and a great turnout 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 their dedication to the future of firearms has never been stronger.

Join RIAC for their upcoming December Premiere Auction. This auction will feature Part II of the William Ashby Military Collection, impressive Colts and more. Rock Island Auction Company is currently seeking consignments for their December auction; for more information on consigning, contact Pat Hogan or Judy Voss at 800-238-8022.

For more information about the December auction visit


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