Revolver with ties to General Custer could muster $4,000 in Pa. gun auction

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Cordier Auctions will hold their Fall Firearms and Militaria Auction in Harrisburg, Pa., Dec. 2, 2012. Highlights of the gun auction include a 150-piece collection of engraved and other firearms from the estate of a private dealer as well as two owner inscribed Civil War era revolvers, one with ties to General George Custer.

Inscribed Remington New Army Conversion (est $2,500-$4,000)

Antique and modern handguns, long guns, edged weapons and military collectibles will also be offered. The auction will be held in the company’s new auction house located at 1500 Paxton Street in Harrisburg.

Two owner inscribed revolvers will be the key lots of antique firearms. The first is a Remington New Model Army Conversion with ties to General George Custer. The revolver, estimated at $2,500 to $4,000, is inscribed “S.E. Stilwell” and “Ft. Sill I.T.” for Simpson Everett “Jack” Stilwell.

Stilwell was born in 1850 and lived in Kansas until he ran away at age 14. He worked the wagon trains and participated in buffalo hunts until he joined the United States Army in 1867. He served as a post guide for troops at Fort Dodge, Kansas and later headed to the Indian Territories with General George Custer’s expedition, including service as a post guide at Fort Sill, as inscribed on the gun.

Colt Engraved Revolvers

Stilwell continued working as a government scout for many years. His brother Frank was involved in the murder of Wyatt Earp’s brother, Morgan, in 1872 and was later killed by Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and others in the rail yard in Tucson, Arizona. Stilwell went west in hopes of avenging his brother’s death, but returned unsuccessful. In 1898, he accepted the invitation of an old friend, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, to move to his ranch near Cody, Wyoming, where Stilwell looked after Cody’s interests while he was away with the Wild West show. He died in 1903.

The second revolver is a Colt 1851 Navy inscribed “T.H. BISCOE 5th LA. VOL.”. Biscoe was a soldier in the 5th Louisiana Infantry Regiment which completed its organization at New Orleans, Louisiana in May 1861 with men from New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. It is estimated at $1,000 to $1,500.

Colt Double Diamond Set (est $2,000-$2,500)

Modern handguns in the sale include an array of shooters, new guns and collectibles. Of note is a 150 piece collection of firearms from the estate of a private gun dealer that includes many examples new in the box as well as an impressive selection of engraved handguns. An engraved blued Colt Diamondback is offered with an estimate of $1,600 to $1,800 while another with a nickel plated finish is estimated at $2,000 to $2,500.

A special edition Colt Diamondback with decorative gold engraving (one of five hundred made) comes with a presentation case and is estimated at $1,800 to $2,000 while an engraved nickel plated Smith & Wesson Model 29 carries an estimate of $1,000 to $1,500. Another highlight is a Browning Hi-Power Renaissance in its presentation case with synthetic pearl grip panels (estimate $2,000 to $3,000). Other selections in this group include a Colt 1976 US Bicentennial Set with display case and a 1986 Double Diamond Set with its own case, both with conservative estimates of $2,000 to $2,500 each.

From this same collection are several fine examples of Browning shotguns. Highlighting a half dozen BSS shotguns is the side lock version in 12 gauge with engraving and an estimate of $2,500 to $3,500 while its 20 gauge counterpart is estimated at $3,000 to $4,000. A beautifully engraved Auto-5 Classic will be offered with an estimate of $1,500 to $2,000. One of the key lots of the Browning lineup is the Centennial set, which includes the Centennial over/under rifle/shotgun, the 9mm Hi-Power, B92 in .44 Magnum, .50 caliber Mountain Rifle and a set of 3 knives, all in presentation cases (estimate $6,500 to $8,500).

WWII Uniforms on Mannequins

Military collectibles will also be a large part of the sale covering the Civil War through World War II. Civil War items include carte de visite photographs of soldiers, letters and lithographs. A highlight is a large wooden travel trunk named to the Lieutenant Colonel of the 10th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment (estimate $400 to $600). The sale includes flags from both the World War I and World War II eras, including a large 16’ by 9’ World War I Imperial German Battle flag (estimate $600 to $800).

A key lot in military collectibles is a 65 mission decorated World War II A-2 flight jacket belonging to Joseph W. Gould, who served as a Captain in the Air Force from 1942 to 1945. He was a native of Hershey, Pennsylvania and served in the 447th Squadron/321st Bombing Group as a bombardier based in Corsica, Italy during World War II. He flew in 65 successful missions over northern Italy and southern Germany. Due to a head cold he was grounded on the 66th mission, one from which his comrades never returned. The jacket carries an estimate of $800 to $1,200.

A full online catalog of the collectibles and gun auction is available. Questions can be directed to Cordier Auctions & Appraisals at or by calling 717-731-8662.

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