Published: April 8, 2003
Consistency Means Success and Big Money for Confederate Flag at Julia Firearms Sale
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – “Last year was one of our best years ever in the history of our firm,” Jim Julia, president and auctioneer of James D. Julia, Inc, declared recently. “We have worked harder, more efficiently and we have recently employed a number of new innovations to maximize participation. This has resulted in a stronger bottom line for our sellers.”
On March 10-11, the firm conducted a $2.1 million firearms auction, grossing more than $470,000 above the anticipated low estimate.
“Our goal has been to work on a consistency of return rather than to focus on only a few key lots,” Julia remarked.
The two-day sale, which offered nearly 1,150 lots, presented collections from across North American comprising Smith & Wesson firearms, swords, Confederate and other Civil War rdf_Descriptions, Colts and other early pistols, Winchester and high grade shotguns.
One of the highlights was a grouping of more than 450 Smith & Wesson firearms from the Mike Anderson collection of Oak Ridge, Tenn. Anderson’s collection was assembled throughout most of his life and included the subcollection of fellow Smith & Wesson collector R.B. Wayman, which Anderson purchased a few years ago. Included was one of the first Smith & Wessons ever produced, the Model 1, first issue, first type revolver (ser. #21). Estimated at $8/15,000, it sold for $18,550. Anderson’s collection ranged from this early model to examples from the mid-Twentieth Century, like a rare, circa 1960, premodel 44, single-action, semiautomatic 9-millimeter pistol, which brought $18,975 against a $5/10,000 estimate.
Bids for a cased M. 320 revolving rifle quickly shot up to achieve $9,200, more than doubling the $4/7,000 assessment. Expected to sell in the $4/6,000 range, a Nashville Police #3 American first model 44 brought $17,825. An engraved third model Ladysmith double-action and an engraved second model, martially marked Schofield, 45 caliber, with carved pearl grips, sold for $6,000 and $6,200 respectively, tripling their estimates.
A hand-stitched rear admiral’s flag from Admiral Dewey’s flagship Olympia, despite its delicate condition, flew at $10,062.
What Julia billed as the “finest Confederate battle flag ever offered at public auction” achieved a final price of $126,500, selling to a determined collector in attendance who beat out five phone participants. This large square flag, in the design of the Army of the Northern Virginia, was found recently in an eastern Texas estate. It retained its braided fringe, which is similar, if not identical, to the braided fringe on sword sashes of two known Confederate Western Theater officers, one of who served under Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Among other historical Civil War relics, a crushed blue velvet, 18th Georgia Confederate officer’s kepi topped out at $20,125. Effects of another Georgian officer, a sword belt and buckle, sold for $8,300, while an oval brass belt buckle marked “6th Inf./NC S.T.” sold for $6,900.
Discovered packed away in a trunk in southern New England before they were consigned, the accessories of William L. Scott of the 30th and 38th Regular New Jersey volunteers included hats, a cape and a light blue partial uniform together with various personal effects. This grouping saw tremendous competition and brought $21,850, far exceeding the $8/12,000 estimate.
A handful of rdf_Descriptions did not sell. A rare Morse first model carbine in original condition and a set of Morse cartridge boxes on their original canvas belt failed to find buyers.
Colts were well represented by a rare first model Colt square back Navy revolver, the rarest of all martially marked Colts, with only three examples known to exist. It left the block with a $13,800 price tag.
Early pistols included a rare cased pair of sequentially numbered Purdey percussion double barrel pistols, which brought $10,900, exceeding its valuation.
Most significant among Winchester offerings was a rare, historic M. 66 saddle ring carbine once belonging to Oliver Winchester, the founder of the Winchester firm.
Neither an avid sportsman nor firearms collector, guns once owned by Winchester are precious few. Accompanied by a factory letter of authenticity, the carbine fetched $34,500. A scarce martially marked Henry rifle, one of only about 1,900 such rifles purchased by the Union Army during the Civil War, also brought $34,500. A deluxe takedown Winchester model 1886, caliber 45-70, sold for $22,425, exceeding its estimate of $12,5/17,500. Another M. 1886, a 50 caliber Express in outstanding condition, also brought $22,425. An engraved silver plate Samuel J. Hoggson Henry rifle did not sell.
The auction included a grouping of swords from the collection of Richard Lowry of Chambersburg, Penn. Of the more than 100 swords offered, none was more prominent than a jeweled, inscribed Model 1850 presentation staff and field officer’s sword. Presented to Wallace M. Spear of the First Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, this gold and silver sword was intricately decorated with eagles and with acorn and oak leaf patterns. Although the large jewel on its hilt was chipped and cracked, it cut through its $10/15,000 presale estimate to achieve $17,800. Other highlights in this category included a silver eagle hilt sabre with ivory grip, signed “E.T. Weaver,” which sold for $14,375.
Among high-grade shotguns, an L.C. Smith Deluxe with elaborate gold floral and faunal inlay and ornate engraving brought $23,000. A Berrretta deluxe sporting over and under shotgun with raised inlaid game scenes on the lockplates sold for $17,800.
A scarce 1902 Luger carbine with matching numbered detachable buttstock brought $10,925.
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