Two California auctioneers team up on massive antique gun auction

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ORANGE, Calif. – Southern California auctioneer Don Presley will christen his new 18,000-sq.-ft. gallery addition with a Jan. 28, 2012 auction of antique, vintage and contemporary firearms produced in association with Gunslinger Auctions.

The auction of approximately 500 lots runs the gamut from 17th-century long flintlock rifles to new firearms still in their factory boxes. Auctioneer Don Presley, who will preside over the event, said he and Jeff Taverner, owner of Gunslinger Auctions, decided to collaborate on the auction because their businesses are “a good fit.”

“Jeff has the knowledge and gun-collector following, and we have the type of full-service auction facility that can handle a large crowd. Together, we have the makings of a first-class firearms auction,” said Presley.


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Since November of 2008 – the start of the ongoing bear market – sales of collector guns have increased by 200 to 300 percent, Presley said. “It’s not the first time in history that has happened. During the Great Depression, about the only thing besides silver and gold that didn’t go down in value was guns,” he said.

California antique guns auction 2012August Schuler SXS high-grade 16 gauge shotgun, pre-World War II. Est. $9,000-$12,000.

Taverner, a collectible and contemporary firearms expert who owns Gunslinger’s Gun Shop in Glendora, Calif., inspected and cataloged the contents of the Jan. 28 auction. The earliest items are flintlock pistols and rifles from the 17th and 18th centuries, and an English pre-Revolutionary War rifle known as a “Brown Bess.”

“The Brown Bess is a 6ft. tall rifle with a smooth-bore musket which the British used for hundreds of years. It came from a single-owner consignment of 15 to 20 early rifles and is in very good condition,” Taverner said. “There are lots of collectors looking for these types of guns. They sell for $2,000 to $3,000, and they’re better than stocks or bonds.”

Several 19th-century Civil War-era firearms will be offered, among them Enfield muskets of the type used by both sides in the Civil War. A Triplett & Scott repeater rifle is also an auction highlight. “They were made in Massachusetts for Sherman’s troops,” said Taverner. “Only 5,000 were produced, so they’re rare.”

California antique guns auction 2012Brown Bess flintlock musket, 3rd model, untouched condition. Est. $2,500-$4,000.

Other mid-19th-century guns in the sale include cap and ball pistols, a Wesley Richards (English) Civil War-era rifle and a pair of Winchester 1876 rifles. Many Colts will be auctioned, as well, with a timeline that parallels the history of the company’s production up to modern day.

Taverner predicts there will be strong interest in an August Schuler side-by-side (double-barrel) shotgun. “August Schuler was a German Jewish gunmaker who disappeared during World War II. His productions are rare and collectible,” Taverner said.

The auction inventory also features Remington long guns, a Rizzini .28 gauge shotgun, and several Barettas and Smith & Wessons.

The Jan. 28 Antique, Vintage & Contemporary Firearms Auction will take place at Don Presley’s auction gallery.

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