Published: November 23, 2010
Had Teddy Roosevelt, 26th US president, been present at the Julia firearms auction on October 5 and 6, he surely would have used his favorite exclamation †”Bully!” †when his personal gold-inlaid Fox shotgun sold for a world record $862,500. The special F grade, gold inlaid, 12-gauge, double-barrel shotgun was inscribed, “Made especially for The Hon. Theodore Roosevelt.” It is the second highest price ever attained for any firearm at auction in history, according to Julia’s, and the most expensive American or European shotgun to be sold at auction.
The shotgun was not the only success story of this $10 million-plus auction. Its first session began with Class III weapons. Included in this offering was the collection of the late A. William Vallerand, and from this collection came a North Korean AK-47, which went out at $28,750.
A Singer Model 1911A1 semiautomatic military pistol consigned by a Maine family realized $80,500. A rare prototype/experimental semiautomatic military rifle, based loosely on the 1903 Springfield, realized $40,250.
Among shotguns and sporting rifles that were offered, a rare Lefever A-grade, 16-gauge. side-by-side shotgun with spare barrels attained $51,750. A cased R.D. Rodda double rifle in caliber 4-bore weighed nearly 22 pounds and was used for hunting elephants and other pachyderms. It went out at just under $110,000. Immediately afterward, a pair of R.D. Rodda Howdah pistols from the late David Crowley collection in caliber .577 sold to an absentee bidder for $57,500.
One of the most beautiful guns in the sale had to be the spectacular gold-encrusted Daniel Fraser sidelock ejector big game double rifle in caliber 600 Nitro. The gun was a work of art with sculptured game scenes on the barrels and breech. It was also embellished with gold inlays depicting various species of dangerous game. The gun saw considerable competition and went out at $132, 250.
Near the end of the first day, Marlin rifles were offered, all of which came from the collection of the late Richard Rohal, a passionate collector. Highlights were a trio of guns, each with #10 engraving and gold inlay. They included a Marlin Model 20 pump-action rifle from Mahon Marlin estate, a Model 38 pump-action and a Model 27S pump-action. The trio sold for $112,125.
One of the first lots of the second session was a rare Winchester 1st Model 1873 “One of One Hundred” lever-action rifle. The gun had been in private hands until it was placed on loan at the Cody Museum in the 1990s, and previously was essentially unknown. It is unlikely that one would ever find an example to rival this Model 73, which carried a presale estimate of $225/325,000. The original owner, now a widow, traveled a great distance to be present for the sale of the gun, and was ecstatic at the $373,750 it ultimately realized.
There were a number of Colts in this sale, including an engraved single-action Army example with Texas history. Estimated at $20/30,000, after a bidding battle, it sold at more than twice the high estimate for $66,000. A Henry Neddleton-inspected Colt single-action Army revolver sold for $92,000. The earliest Colts made were known as Patersons. Late in their production period, a gentleman named John Ehlers acquired the remnants of the Paterson Company and he continued assembling Patersons from the remaining parts. A holster Model No. 5 Texas Paterson went out at $168,000.
A rare and historic Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon with an exceedingly rare leather-bound case to Minnesota Governor Alex Ramsey sold for $92,000. One of the finest percussion Colts of the day was an engraved special order Model 1860 with rare ebony grips. Engraved by Gustave Young, its engraving was similar to the famous General Grant pistol and it brought $149,500.
An excellent selection of Civil War and Confederate items included a rare Tucker and Sherrard revolver that was retrieved at the battle of Gettysburg by a soldier in the 26th Maine Infantry. It sold for $86,250. A rare Springfield US Patent Model 1842 percussion musket became the subject of a heated bidding battle, finally ending at $20,700. A cased pair of John Manton flintlock dueling pistols sold well above the high estimate at just under $75,000.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, www.jamesdjulia.com or 207-453-7125.
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