Published: November 13, 2007
Rock Island Auction Company’s second premiere auction of 2007, held September 8‱0, realized nearly $8.2 million, making the diverse sale featuring six prominent collections its second highest grossing auction in the history of the company.
This sale also put the company on track to once again surpass the industry record of calendar year sales for a fourth consecutive year. This year’s sales are projected to exceed $23 million.
Leading the sale was the “Fantastic Four” set of Ulrich engraved and gold inlaid Winchester Model 70 rifles, which achieved $166,750.
The true star of the auction was Frank Sellers and his extensive collection that has been 40 years in the making. Sellers could be seen with his family in the front row of the auction hall with a huge smile on his face as many of his items soared over high estimate.
Highlights from his lifetime collection included a panel scene engraved Sharps Model 1874 Freund Armory Wyoming Territory marked conversion rifle bringing $109,250, and an L.D. Nimschke engraved exhibition grade Kellogg Sharps Model 1878 sporting rifle bringing $103,500.
Besides the top lot, sporting arms highlights included the Ralph Hagan Liberator collection. After the 12 individual lots were offered at the auction block, the tension mounted as the total was calculated. Individually, they totaled nearly $90,000, but the collection ended up selling as a collection and staying together with a final sale price of $109,250.
Owner Patrick Hogan said, “Both the ‘Fantastic Four’ set of Ulrich gold inlaid rifles and the Ralph Hagan display collection sold as collections and stayed together. I was very pleased to see that as they really should be together.”
This auction was one of the most highly attended in Rock Island’s history. The large crowd was no problem due to the recent expansion of the state-of-the-art facility †now 23,000 square feet †which allowed for almost double the space for the auction preview.
The sale featured a comprehensive Sharps collection, including unusual arms from various manufacturers, many serial #1’s, historical arms and patent and prototype models, all on consignment from the author of Sharps Firearms , Frank Sellers.
Sellers’ collection contained every model of Sharps, except one. His collection contained more than 50 serial #1 firearms as well as prototypes, patent models, rare and exotic variations. This was one of two installments of the Sellers collection. Part Two will be sold December 8‱0.
There were several lots in this auction attributed to historical figures, including an NRA museum displayed, documented personal John F. Kennedy M1 Garand National Match rifle that sold for $48,875; a Rollin White patent revolver made for Daniel B. Wesson of Smith & Wesson at $23,000; and a gold plated and engraved Walther Model PP pistol attributed to Adolph Hitler that sold for $34,500.
The antique arms category comprised some 1,900 items classified as antique or curio/relic. Standouts included a rare US contract Henry lever-action rifle that fetched $43,125, a factory engraved deluxe Starr percussion carbine at $37,375 and a cased Carlos Gove Remington Creedmoor under lever rifle at $34,500.
There were more than 350 Winchesters, including a rare exhibition grade custom Nick Kusmit engraved gold inlaid Royal Grand American grade Winchester model 21 double rifle at $51,750.
A grouping of more than 650 Colts was led by the first installment of the William Powell estate (Part Two to be sold in December) including percussions, single actions, antique derringers, new services, 1911s, early semi-automatics, Woodsmans and more. A US Colt single action Cavalry model revolver brought $115,000.
Other highlights included a rare Butterfield patent derringer that fetched $21,850, a custom engraved Walther Model PPK pistol with “HH” initials and “SS” markings on the slide at $28,750, a rare engraved Jeffery double barrel rifle in 600 Nitro Express caliber at $43,125 and a WWI US Army Browning automatic rifle with British proofs and accessories at $48,875.
All prices reported include a 15 percent buyer’s premium. Rock Island Auction Company’s next premiere auction will be December 8‱0.
Rock Island is at 4507 49th Avenue. For information, www.rockislandauction.com or 800-238-8022.
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