Published: June 13, 2006
Greg Martin Auctions realized more than $7 million in sales at its auction of Part I of the Robert Howard collection and the collection of Bowie knives, and achieved its second-highest sale in the company’s history.
The Robert Howard collection of historic American firearms includes rare examples by Remington, Smith & Wesson and Sharps, plus muskets, pepperboxes 5- and 6-shots, pistols and revolvers, as well as Saturday Night Specials dating from the 1870s. Many of these examples are museum-quality, including a Dance Brothers .44 caliber pistol in outstanding condition, which was purchased from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York years ago and sold for $53,913.
Conducted simultaneously in Portsmouth, New York City and San Francisco, the auction featured more than 750 lots from the Howard collection and 77 rare Bowie knives. The spirited auction went nonstop from 11 am to 8 pm, with enthusiastic participation from attendees onsite, very heavy phone bidding (more than 140 participants) and numerous absentee bids.
Two Bowie knives established a new world record auction pricefor a San Francisco Bowie knife – a rare and fine Michael Pricedress Bowie knife and a rare and important McConnell, SanFrancisco, dress California Bowie knife tied at a price of$136,200.
Commenting on the sale, Greg Martin, the firm’s president, said the results for the Howard collection were right on target, exceeding the low estimate of $5.26 million by more than $250,000. “The Robert Howard collection combines an unprecedented level of quantity and quality in every aspect that is important to top-echelon collectors,” said Martin. “There has never before been a sale like this – and Part I only represents half of what is available. So serious collectors have much more to look forward to next year, when we will offer Part II.”
Martin noted that Howard was delighted with the results of the auction. Much to the pleasure of fellow collectors, Howard – a banker, lawyer, businessman and retired US Army major of Dallas and Hemphill, Texas – attended the Portsmouth auction and preview.
Auction highlights included $209,975 realized for a cased Colt No. 3 Paterson belt model revolver with accessories, serial no. 594, .34 caliber percussion. Tied at $90,800 were five firearms – a Colt Paterson Improved No. 2 or Fifth Model Ehlers belt model revolver; serial no. 243, .34 caliber percussion; a US martially marked Colt First Model Dragoon revolver; serial no. 5465, .44 caliber percussion cylinder; a cased and deluxe engraved Colt Model 1851 London Navy revolver, with accessories; a rand cased Colt Model 1860 Army revolver with fluted cylinder, Army-size grips, 7 1/2-inch barrel, low serial number and accessories; and an engraved and gold inlaid Winchester Model 1895 lever-action sporting rifle, with carved and checkered select walnut stocks
A rare Sharps Model 1874 long-range No. 1 Creedmoor rifle,serial no. 155152 with deluxe stock and factory letter ofprovenance, sold for a world-record price of $53,913.
Another key focus of the April auction was an exceptional selection of rare Bowie knives that included English, California, presentation and folding examples. The 77 lots came from a private collector in Oregon.
In addition to the record-setting San Francisco Bowie knives, highlights included $119,175 realized for a rare and richly decorated San Francisco dress Bowie knife by Will & Finck, with silver-mounted and incise carved walrus ivory handle. The silver scabbard engraving includes an American eagle and shield motif.
Prices reported include the 13 1/2 percent buyer’s premium.
Greg Martin Auctions’ next sale is scheduled for June 26-27 in San Francisco and New Hampshire. For information, 800-509-1988 or www.gregmartinauctions.com.
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