Raising the bar for the best collector gun auctions. Setting the standard. Stretching the limits. With every new event at Rock Island Auction Company the benchmark for excellence is regularly set higher, and then set again. This is undoubtedly a huge part of why more and more significant collections and investment-worthy pieces find themselves headed to a Midwest gun auction house just off the banks of the mighty Mississippi. The September 8 – 10th Premiere Firearms Auction will play host to a drove of firearms treasures in a number of genres sure to garner the rapt attention of collectors around the world.
We do not exaggerate when we say we are honored to host the extraordinary collections in this auction. It is our duty to make sure these superb pieces of history find new stewards who can preserve them for the next generation. The new caretakers who take home pieces in this auction will certainly have some large shoes to fill, like those of Robert M. Lee, whose collection is by now no secret to frequent patrons of Rock Island Auction Company. Entering into its fourth appearance at RIAC, gun collectors now surely understand the breadth and depth of this prestigious assemblage. Also a familiar name, the Putnam Green/Sycamore Collection will lead the way in an incredible assortment of authentic World War II German militaria. Finally, we are proud to announce the second installment of the Landmark Collection of military arms and Class III weapons. Machine gun collectors of all eras are urged not to miss these rare and desirable pieces.
New at Rock Island Auction Company will be the life collection of the acclaimed dealer and collector Vernon J. Berning. His outstanding collection of immaculate condition firearms spans half a century, each one more important than the last and all fresh to market. Another welcome newcomer to RIAC is the Chad Gripp Collection of pre and post-war Smith & Wesson double action revolvers, outstanding in their high condition and rarity, as well as the Jim Thomas Collection of military arms, the Doug Twiddy Collection of Important 19th Century American Arms, and the Collection of Judge Leon Ford III.
As always, the selection of Winchesters is immense and the features available are the things collectors dream of. One remarkable rifle of note is a factory inscribed Winchester Model 1895 presented by Buffalo Bill Cody to his friend and New York State Senator Fred Kavanaugh. Other rare lever guns include an 1873 carbine with a mirror-like full nickel finish, a first Model 1894 with a rare and vibrant case hardened receiver, an outstanding deluxe Model 1873 in .22 short with a factory mounted Winchester A5 scope, and an elaborate, special order, deluxe, factory engraved, and gold inlaid Model 1894 takedown with a seldom seen birdseye maple stock. Not to mention a silver plated Henry rifle in the same serial number range as those given to President Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet! With over 400 Winchesters in the sale, these are truly just the beginning. All models will be represented handsomely and for every level of collecting.
Classic Colt revolvers, from both the percussion and cartridge eras, are in abundant supply in the September Premiere Auction. The sale is graced with over 500 arms from the legendary manufacturer, and much like the Winchester selection – it is rarity juxtaposed with beauty. Leading the way is an exceptional cased set of factory engraved Model 1851 squareback revolvers, followed closely by a jaw-dropping Colt Model 1860 Army with silver plated components, factory engraving, and a factory shoulder stock in a striking mahogany case – featured in numerous books, their provenance includes renowned collectors such as John Hegman Jr. and William M. Locke. Punctuated by a D Company Walker, this assemblage of Colts readily appeals to fans of both history and aesthetics.
Highlighted by items from the Dommarito Collection, one might assume the selection in this sale was transported directly from the nearest fine arts museum. Serving as head of this luxurious genre are an incredible pair of gold and silver Parisian flintlock dueling pistols crafted by master Nicolas Noel Boutet during the French Revolution. Returning to Rock Island Auction is an exquisite Gastinne Renette percussion hunting rifle. The engraving work on the lock plates and trigger guard are remarkable, and every bit its equal is the delicate and precise carving of the well-figured maple stock. To see this rifle is to know immediately that it is special. Also present will be numerous beautiful pistol sets, including a remarkable 17th century, Dutch Wender style set of antique ivory stocked flintlock dueling pistols.
While offering the world’s finest rare firearms is certainly a matter we take quite seriously, collecting is also supposed to be fun and to that end there is no better occasion than our September Preview Day. Held on Thursday, September 7th after the full day preview, we throw our much anticipated annual barbecue. Smoked meat permeates the air from local institution Jim’s Ribs and is served with all the trimmings, cold beer, great live music, and of course, plenty of gun talk with fellow collectors. We cordially invite you to attend not only this 6th Annual Bar-B-Que, but also the entire September 8, 9 , & 10 auction. Our goal is to provide a service for our consignors and an experience for our collectors. We take pride in presentation and promise that if you come to your first auction, it will not be your last.
Rock Island Auction Company is the global leader in firearms auctions, currently holding multiple records for our top-selling lots.