This Is Who We Are And What We Do

From a small family run local auction house, Rock Island Auction Company has grown into a world renowned, industry dominating, international auction firm. Here are some of the key difference makers in our success.

Marketing - We reach MILLIONS of buyers before each auction.

Print Advertising

We routinely place over 210 ads in top publications from around the world focusing on firearms, hunting, and collecting. In 2019, we published 4 print ads per week across 48 individual publications. Through our print advertising, we have created over 4 million impressions.

Digital Advertising

Our digital marketing presence isn’t just growing, it’s exploding! Using a flexible approach to find what works best, we are not only reaching new, relevant audiences, but also discovering the best ways to engage them. Our social media channels are booming in a way our competitors cannot touch. This massive amount of exposure not only helps RIAC grow its list of consignors every single day, but also exposes those consignors items to an ever expanding group of collectors, shooters, hunters, and investors. Our powerful online presence means your guns get unprecendented exposure they simply cannot find anywhere else.

Acquisitions & Consignments

“What are my firearms worth?” The best way to determine that is with a pre-auction evaluation. Sometimes this can be done with a simple phone call, while other items may require a visual review. If you are located near us, you can always set up an appointment to bring in your items. If you are not within driving distance, we can often begin the review with a few photos and should your collection consist of many items, we can review from a detailed inventory or arrange a visit. There is not obligation or cost for us to evaluate your items. As we evaluate what your item(s) may be worth, we will also discuss the seller’s commision and prepare the consignor agreement.

Our People - The moving parts that make each auction happen.

Pick Up & Shipping

We have several options available to make transporting your items to our facility as painless as possible. Shipping will be the most efficient method when dealing with a small number of firearms. When shipping, it is important to remember that you do not need an FFL (Federal Firearms License). By law, the shipper is not required to have a license. Just securely pack the item and take it to a shipping service of your choice. We are happy to walk you step-by-step through this process. If you have a large collection of items to transport, we will be able to pick up your items with our D.O.T. certified drivers. In many cases, even for smaller collections, we can arrange a pickup next time we are in your area.


First, all items are verified and logged into our inventory database. From here it is decided which auction venue will be the best possible fit for your item. Next, it will be described, photographed, and cataloged.


Each firearm that comes into RIAC is evaluated and described by one of our in-house specialists. Each description is comprehensive and honest. The high level of scholarship in each description translates to trusting, informed, and confident potential buyers who are ready to bid more agressively. Each firearm description is built on two major components: historical significance and a condition statement. We give as much history and background on each and every item as possible. When a piece comes with well documented history, we go above and beyond to tell the story. The other component that we include is a condition statement where the describer examines the piece from top to bottom and evaluates the condition of the item.


With the combination of our outstanding graphic design team and our industry leading photography, we are able to make the firearms come to life on the pages of our catalog. This is achieved by our renewed effort to invest and reinvest in the latest and greatest photography equipment and design software. Our photography station set up alone is a trade secret that allows us to get more detail in each and every picture. Our in-depth descriptions and page designs are complimented by beautiful close-ups and detail shots that make the items come to life.

Catalog Production

Catalog Production is responsible for the physical movement of consigned items and collections. We operate with many departments of the company to best present and market items going into auction. This includes the setup and presentation of items at the various gun shows RIAC attends, having the necessary photographs and descriptions, as well as placement and content of items in our catalogs. Our goal is to create the best possible catalog in our industry that exceeds the expectations of our consignors and clients.

Graphic Design

The RIAC graphic design department is in charge of taking our industry-leading photography and descriptions and putting them together in our award-winning catalog. The pages of our catalog offer a beautiful and accurate representation of each gun to make buyers feel confident in what they are bidding on. We know the guns are the stars, our job is to show them in the best light possible. In addition to the catalogs, the graphics department creates over 300 print ads a year, promotional materials for online advertising, gun shows, direct mail, and in house signage for our preview hall.

Advertising & Marketing

Our marketing and advertising are second-to-none in the industry and are one of the reasons that RIAC sells 2-3 times more guns than our closest competitor! We also utilize an active internet presence not only in print advertising but with original content on our blog, social media accounts, weekly emails, and professionally produced YouTube videos.

Information Technology

It all starts with an excellent I.T. department and the good people we have. The ten members of the I.T. team take pride in keeping things running smoothly during the auctions with all the technology that is integrated into a large scale operation like RIAC. We all care about giving our customers a good experience. We are constantly working and finding new ways to get our consignors firearms in front of buyers around the world. We integrate our websites, images, blogs, videos, and we structure our website catalog so that it optimizes with Google.

Customer Service

The largest asset of our in-house marketing campaign is without a doubt our telemarketing division. Our brand new 150,000 square foot facility has allowed us luxuries that other auction houses can only dream about. One of these luxuries is a large customer service team whose one and only job is assist our clients. Due to our state-of-the-art auction software, we are able to track the purchasing habits of our customers and keep them informed of items to be sold at auction that hold particular interest for them.

Our Facility - Comfortable. Spacious. Friendly.

RIAC Campus

Since 2011 we have been at our current home: an 86,000 square foot facility that houses the over 40,000 arms we sell every year. Additionally in 2018 we added 64,000 square feet of warehouse and production space by acquiring the building on the south side of the street. At our campus we do not just have auctions... We build them. Anyone can have an auction but to strategically build and curate a sale is how we get the most for your collection. We apply two basic philosophies here. 1) When you make something rare look common you are not doing your job. 2) The items should never compete with each other in an auction, they should complement one another. It takes time, knowledge, and trust. Our facillity also offers the unique advantage of having departments specifically designed and constructed with the idea of moving people not the items.

Preview Hall

Our preview hall was designed for one purpose: to provide potential buyers the most comfortable friendly and ideal conditions for viewing your collectible firearms. The 18,000 square foot preview space is equipped with state-of-the-art LED lighting along with plenty of natural light coming through multiple windows. Our preview is set up chronologically so items are easy to find and they are presented in attractive and methodically planned displays. Additionally every item is scanned into a custom designed location finder, so we can tell exactly where each item is displayed.

Production Hall

The catalog production grid consists of various departments: Incoming, Descriptions, Photography, and Catalog Paging. The structure of our grid allows us to move people not the guns. Other auction firms with smaller space require constant movement of the inventory to various departments and staging areas. The problem is that the more the firearms are handled the more likely an “incident” is to occur. Not only is our production grid organized, it is extremely efficient and allows us to catalog, describe, photograph, market, and sell 40,000 plus guns per year. All of our racks and shelves are custom built and padded for safe and secure storage.

Auction Hall

Our auction hall, much like our preview hall, was specifically designed for one purpose: to sell firearms. It features beautifully hand-built rosewood auctioneer’s podium and phone bank. The phone bank is designed to seat 30 phone bidders representing buyers from all over the world. Often, we will set up another 8 phone bidders on the opposite side of the room in order to accommodate phone bids being submitted in real time. The space is designed to comfortably seat 360 buyers with standing room in the rear. It is not uncommon to be at full capacity including standing room only to the tune of 400+ buyers in the auction hall at any given time. Additional features are the padded chairs and roomy aisle ways providing our buyers with the most comfortable buying atmosphere possible. Each lot is individually displayed on one of five large, high definition, flat screen television monitors along with a 90” Sharp Aquos HD Series LED Smart TV next to the podium. We provide lunch free of charge and all we ask for in return is a donation to a charity. In the summer we take advantage of our outside pavilion for barbeques where buyers gather for a bite and some gun talk.

The Consignment Process

We are the best place to sell your guns! As a firearms auction house, we have one common goal with our consignors: achieve the highest possible price.

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