Published: October 19, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos by Ben Smith, Additional Photos Courtesy James D. Julia, Inc.
FAIRFIELD, MAINE — Jim Julia’s Extraordinary Firearms Auction concluded on October 7 after three combustible days of auction action. The sale was jam-packed with rare and historically significant firearms. It featured such rarities as Annie Oakley’s personal 12-gauge shotgun, property belonging to General George Armstrong Custer and the personal revolver of Jean Alexandre Francois LeMat (1824–1895), father of the percussion cap LeMat revolver. The 2,000-plus-lot sale grossed an impressive $15 million.
Session one got underway the morning of October 4. It featured some extraordinary examples of Browning shotguns, including a very rare first year of production Midas grade superposed shotgun that realized $12,650. A couple of Diana and Pointer grade superposed shotguns brought $8,625 and $13,800. The session continued with a fantastic Kreighoff K-80 crown grade shotgun six-barrel set, knocked down within estimate for $13,325.
Several Mausers then hit the block. An extraordinary Mauser C96 Transitional 1930 Commercial with matching stock, estimated at $4,5/$6,500, proved popular, selling for $10,350. Estimated at $2,5/$3,500, an outstanding Mauser Red 9 Broomhandle Rig with stock achieved $5,175.
Session one concluded with some outstanding service pistols. A General Officer’s Model M-15 45 pistol by Rock Island Arsenal, estimated at $4/$6,000, was a hit, selling for $11,500. With the same estimate, a museum-quality Colt Service Model Ace with box saw serious competition before closing at $27,600.
Session two started with a bang. The ultimate Schuetzen rifle, one of the most ornate of its kind ever made and exemplifying the highest standards of craftsmanship, sold within estimate for $37,375. Several lots later, another Schuetzen rifle was expected to bring $3/6,000. After a bidding war, it topped out at $22,425.
Also included in session two was a fabulous collection of Reid Knuckledusters. An exceedingly rare piece, one of only 150, the important 41 caliber Knuckleduster surpassed estimate to realize $13,325.
Session three moved forward with some very rare special Class 3 items. A “Square Slot” Colt 1921A Thompson machine gun was estimated at $30/$50,000 but achieved $57,500. The following three Thompsons sold within their expected range for $40,250, $43,125 and $33,350, respectively.
A midday surprise was a Vietnam War trophy Chinese type 56 machine gun estimated at $20/$40,000. It attracted serious attention and bidding topped out at $132,250.
Also sold were some excellent Model 1911s, including a Singer Manufacturing Co. 1911A1 that brought $57,500 ($40/$60,000). Later in the day, a 4-bore Holland & Holland double rifle shot past high estimate to bring $103,500.
The final day featured some incredibly rare finds. An Ehlers Baby Paterson sold within estimate for $150,000. A very rare Colt 1883 US Navy Gatling gun on its original tripod made low estimate, $175,000. An exceedingly rare Colt Single Action revolver engraved by Cuno Helfricht fetched $57,500. Believed to have been made for King Charles XI of Sweden or King Christian V of Denmark, a Royal Wheelock sporting rifle by Samuel Kluge of Landshut realized $115,000.
Some of the day’s most exciting lots were of the Confederate variety. A Krider LeMat revolver serial number 2 estimated at $60/$80,000 soared to $120,750. The weapon is believed to have been one of the personal firearms of Colonel LeMat himself.
Taken from the ironclad CSS Tennessee, a Leech & Rigdon revolver captured at the Battle of Mobile Bay made $57,500.
Among rare Bowie knives, an early American Gravely & Wreaks guardless coffin hand Bowie knife closed within estimate for $40,250.
Later in the afternoon, a lot containing General Custer’s personal items — including his map of the Indian Territories, a camp chair, various images and a lock of hair — realized $45,000.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this sale and are also looking forward to our spring 2017 auction, which already includes a spectacular array of quality goods,” commented the firm’s president, James D. Julia.
Prices include buyer’s premium.
James D. Julia Auctioneers is at 203 US-201. For additional information, 207-453-7125 or www.jamesdjulia.com.
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