Premier Gun Auction #79

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A quick glance into the top items of the April 2020 Premier Firearms Auction reveals a splendid variety that expands far beyond the Colts and Winchesters that have come to take center stage in the collecting hobby. In fact, as of this writing, only one manufacturer has more than one item in the top 10 highest estimates of the sale. The auction promises to be a bonanza of historic, fine art, high condition, rare, and unusual arms from the world’s top arms makers. Over 2,500 lots in total will be offered from April 24-26.


Sporting Arms

A bounty of fine sporting arms populates the April Premier with names well-known to even casual enthusiasts of the hobby: Holland & Holland, Fabbri, Westley Richards, John Dickson, Connecticut Shotgun, Rodda, and more. Powerful dangerous game double rifles appear alongside first-rate shotguns wrapped in expert embellishments of precious metal inlay, engraving, and carving. Leading the way in this amply represented genre will be an extraordinary selection from the Malcolm King Collection. Not only an accomplished purveyor of fine arms, King has been an ardent conservationist and hunter, holding numerous SCI records. Of particular note of the King Collection will be a magnificent, engraved R. B. Rodda 4-bore hammered double barrel rifle, the quintessential dangerous game rifle for the well-to-do Victorian hunter.

Rodda 4-bore double rifle

High Art

Also intersecting the worlds of art and firearms will be a remarkable selection of high art pieces from world class artisans through the centuries. Highlighting these luxurious offerings will be not one, but two pairs of pistol crafted by Nicholas-Noël Boutet, Parisian gunsmith to the king and eventually Napoleon. One of these pairs is a stately and handsome cased set of dueling pistols, and the other is an extravagant masterpiece set of French Empire officer’s flintlock pistols absolutely dripping with bright gold and originally presented to Counter Admiral Cesar-Joseph Bourayne, Baron of the Empire. Incredible works from North America also abound with three exquisite swords from Tiffany & Co. as well as several Smith & Wesson revolvers embellished by the renowned New York firm. Such revolvers are perhaps most well-known for several examples currently housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.



Colt Firearms

It wouldn’t be a Rock Island Auction Company event without a stunning grouping of Colt firearms. The selection for this perennial favorite knows no bounds, extending from early, high condition percussion pieces to rare, experimental military arms of the 20th century. While a selection of superb pre-war Single Action Army revolvers is certainly worth mention, so are several of the early Colts. A stunning cased pair or Model 1851 squareback revolvers with their accoutrements will be available, as will a rare and impressive Paterson revolving shotgun. Though the Colt-Burgess deluxe saddle ring carbine featuring gold plating and exhibition quality engraving from Master Engraver Louis D. Nimschke threatens to steal the limelight from even these giants of collecting.

cased pair Colt 1851 Navy squareback



U.S. Military

As hinted in the last section, the Colts also make their presence felt in the area of U.S. military firearms. A nearly unbelievable collection is being offered that houses some of the rarest Colt firearms ever made including a Model 1909 trials pistol, and a Model 1910 prototype – serial number 2. Other exciting items include a high condition DWM Model 1902 U.S. Army “Cartridge Counter” Luger, a rare Singer M1911A1 pistol, a seldom-seen North American M1911, and a Springfield Armory Model 1901 experimental bolt action rifle – the predecessor to the iconic M1903.

Colt Model 1910 prototype


Don’t miss the sale that begins what could be yet another record-breaking year at Rock Island Auction Company. Catalogs for this promising event are already available for pre-order and will begin shipping in March. Until then keep a keen eye on our social media accounts and emails for more updates and photos of the April 2020 Premier Firearms Auction.

Premier Gun Auction #79 Highlights