Published: September 26, 2018
ROCK ISLAND, ILL. — The September 7–9 Premiere Firearms Auction conducted by Rock Island Auction Company was one of the largest firearms auctions in industry history. Realizing a total of $20,011,092, the sale set in place the momentum for a strong December sale and another record-breaking year for the Midwest auction house. At the end of the sale, more than 2800 lots had crossed the block for bidders from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and 27 foreign countries, and the online catalog was viewed more than 2.8 million times.
The clamor around the auction had been growing for months. The presence of several military vehicles, including several tanks and armored vehicles, captured the attention of even casual enthusiasts, and the anticipation continued to grow as more and more pieces were announced. A Winchester 1886, John Garand’s M1 Garand, a Singer M1911A1 that threatened the current world record, a Colt Single-Action Army serial number 2 and a seldom seen Winchester Model 1876 One of One Thousand all contributed to the buzz, which resulted in bidders from.
On the first day of auction, one didn’t have to wait long for the fireworks to begin. The seventh lot of the sale was a No. 1 engraved Winchester Model 1886 Express Rifle, a John Ulrich masterpiece in excellent condition with the most embellishments offered by Winchester at that time. Bidding opened at $300,000, and within five minutes, the gun had realized $1.18 million, just shy of the $1.265 million that was achieved in May 2016 for a similar gun with ties to Geronimo and which was RIAC’s third firearm in two years to exceed $1 million. Other successes of the day include a documented Henry Nettleton sub-inspected Colt Single-Action Army cavalry model revolver that found $109,250.
It’s not easy to follow a day that contained a $1 million gun, but Saturday was up for the challenge. It featured a Winchester Model 1876 One of One Thousand ($891,250), a beautiful cased pair of Colt 1861 Navy revolvers silver plated by Tiffany & Co ($402,500), John Garand’s M1 Garand ($287,500), an M41A1 Walker Bulldog tank that the audience could hear running outside the auction hall ($230,000), an M5A1 Stuart Light tank ($287,500), a Colt Paterson Model 1839 shotgun ($276,000) and a Singer M1911A1 that, at $253,000, fell short of the world record of $141,00 set by RIAC in December 2017.
The third day started strong with a deluxe Winchester Model 1873 in immaculate condition, from the Mac McCroskie Collection. Just four lots into the sale, the gun remains one of the finest 1873 rifles known and went for $184,000 to a happy collector. Another testament to the desirability of high condition firearms was the Winchester 1866 that was offered four lots later. Exceptionally well kept, inscribed and with the Henry patent barrel, it brought $97,750 and exceed its high estimate. Antiques of an earlier era also made their presence felt in several prolonged bidding battles. A 1743-dated Brown Bess musket more than doubled its high estimate for $54,625, a Revolutionary War era Charleville Model 1763 flintlock quadrupled its high estimate when it found $34,500, and a stunning Solingen French sword that had been presented to the Marquis de Lafayette doubled its high estimate to finish at $43,125.
Prices, with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For additional information, 309-797-1500 or www.rockislandauction.com.
January 31, 2023
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January 31, 2023
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