Showdown over historic firearm at Kaminski auction

BEVERLY, Mass. – Kaminski Auctions’ Early Summer Estates Auction, which took place Aug. 22-23, 2009, attracted bidders both locally in Massachusetts and internationally via phone and live online bidding. The auction featured general antiques and fine art alongside a large selection of nautical collectibles. Consignments hailed from estates spanning Massachusetts to Kaminski’s second location in California. (All prices reflect a 15 percent buyer’s premium.)

Highlighting the sale was a historic rifle originally owned by White Man Runs Him, General George A. Custer’s famous Crow scout at the Battle of Little Big Horn (June 25, 1876). Custer’s scout adorned the rifle with cultural symbols and regarded it as sacred, often using it in tribal ceremonies. This unique firearm measures 47 inches in length. Rapid-fire bidding for the rifle shot the final price up to an impressive $21,850 at the auction.

Maritime antiques and memorabilia were also in demand at this two-day auction. Among a fleet of antique model ships, a cased model of the U.S.S. Constitution was most coveted. The highly detailed model features a copper-sheathed hull, a full suit of sails with intricate rigging, carriage-mounted cannons, a long boat and powder casks. The 46-inch model is mounted in a freestanding mahogany display case with marquetry inlay. Bidders were eager to own this faithful tribute to the famed vessel, driving its final price to $6,325.

The auction also offered a diverse array of early American furniture, including an 18th century Queen Anne highboy. The piece boasts fine brass hardware, walnut construction and cabriole legs on pad feet. Towering at 81 1/2 inches, the highboy sold at an equally prodigious $9,200.

Fine art offerings included a painting by American artist Antonio Pietro Martino (1902-1988). Martino’s illustrious career included awards from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the American Watercolor Society and the National Arts Club. Pennsylvania Country Road, a signed and dated oil-on-canvas, brought $9,200.

“Prices realized were strong across a spectrum of fine art, decorative arts, furniture and collectibles. Many great pieces came in through our Tuesday free appraisal days," commented Frank Kaminski, owner of Kaminski Auctions. “Bidders were eager to take home their very own piece of this region’s rich maritime history.”

For information about this and other Kaminski auctions, visit or call 978-927-2223.

Photos courtesy Kaminski Auctions.