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December 12, 2023

December Premier Realizes $26.7 Million in Inaugural Texas Event

By Kurt Allemeier

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Rock Island Auction Company celebrated the opening of its Bedford, Texas location with a three-day Premier Auction that realized $26.7 million led by the Winchester Model 1873 One of One Thousand of Thomas Stuart that launched a galaxy of firearms stars on the first day.

It was a festive event as RIAC welcomed new and familiar faces to its Dallas-area facility to take in the new sales venue and bid on a stellar lineup of high-conditioned and historic firearms on offer across 2,252 lots. The auction offered the opportunity for collectors to acquire pieces from truly legendary collections and firearms across an array of genres from flintlocks to modern machine guns.

The week leading up to auction was filled with a number of milestones for the Bedford location, from our largest catalog and the biggest gun auction in Texas. The company held a ribbon-cutting featuring three generations of the Hogan Family that own RIAC as well as welcoming in a handful of groups for sneak peeks of the preview hall and the facility as well.

New and returning clients visited our new preview hall at our Bedford, Texas location ahead of the recently completed December Premier Auction.

Preview day on Thursday ahead of the auction was truly memorable. We welcomed numerous clients to our new facility for the first time excited to show old friends our new building and welcome new friends who we hope to see for years to come. The preview hall was busy all day as visitors could get up-close looks at some of the high conditioned and historic firearms that would cross the podium over the weekend.

Day 1

Winchesters and Colts are blue chip offerings at Rock Island Auction Company, and it was a big day for both. Thomas Stuart’s One of One Thousand Winchester Model 1873 lit up the auction hall in the first hour Friday, hammering for $528,750. A C Company No. 12 Colt Model 1847 Walker revolver left bidders breathless as it drew an impressive $470,000. An extraordinary, near new Winchester Deluxe “Centennial” Model 1876 gave the auction an early thrill, selling for $235,000 just a few lots ahead of the One of One Thousand.

When he ordered this Winchester Model 1873 One of One Thousand in 1875, Granville Stuart demanded several extras for the gun he gave his brother, Thomas Stuart. Thomas Stuart's One of One Thousand sold for $528,750 in the December Premier Auction.

Rock Island Auction loves selling Colt firearms, and not just the Single Action Army. A factory engraved and gold inlaid Police Positive Special by Wilbur Glahn collected $29,375. Not a revolver, but a Colt Model 1883 Gatling gun rattled off $352,000, more than doubling its high estimate.

Class III firearms burst out of a stacked Day 1 lineup to make their mark on the auction. An FN U.S. M240B earned $381, 875 as the top Class III firearm of the auction Following right behind it was another phenomenal machine gun, the KAC Stoner 63A that raked in $141,000. A U.S. Johnson M1941 light machine gun matched the Stoner, while a Colt Thompson 1921 submachine attributed to Folsom State Prison collected $88,125.

A pre-World War 2 Japanese Pedersen experimental rifle pulled in $94,000, while a World War 2 war trophy presentation cased and engraved Walther PPK pistol soared to $141,000, nearly tripling its high estimate.

This presentation engraved Walther PPK, a war trophy from World War 2, roared past its high estimate for $94,000.

Bidders had plenty of interest in guns from the Norman R. Blank Collection. A cased pair of John Manton over/under flintlock pistols more than doubled their high estimate for $47,000, while a cased John Manton & Son double barrel flintlock shotgun earned $38,187, more than four times its high estimate. A flintlock sporting gun of King Frederick I topped its high estimate, too, going for $23,500. From the Dr. Robert D. Beeman Collection, an Austrian military model 1780 Girardoni repeating air rifle realized $55,812.

Holland & Holland led the sporting arms on Day 1, collecting $176,250 for a pair of Deluxe Model shotguns, while an exceptional engraved Fratelli Rizzini 28 gauge Model R-1E sidelock double barrel ejector shotgun with case, engraved by Albino Contessa hammered $94,000. An exhibition grade H. Faure-Le Page side-by-side shotgun that powered to $111,625.

This John Manton & Son double barrel flintlock shotgun earned $38,187 in the December Premier Auction, more than four times its high estimate.

Day 2

It was the one-two punch of Winchester and Colt again on Day 2 as Ulrich factory engraved exhibition Winchester Model 1886 soared to $440,625 and a cased Colt No. 5 Holster Model Texas Paterson returned $352,500. Adding to the excitement was a Colt U.S. Navy Mark II Model 1900 Gatling Gun that realized $176,250. From the Greg Lampe Collection, a presentation cased Colt 1861 Navy and a sword cane of Parson Brownlow gleaned $129,250. A Winchester Deluxe Model 1886 takedown in .50 Express brought in $105,750, while a factory engraved Marlin Deluxe Model 1881 from the Tom Selleck Collection realized $99,875.

This Winchester Model 1886 is beautifully engraved and gold inlaid, and realized $440,625 on Day 2 of the Premier Auction.

An exquisitely embellished cased pair of 1855 dated Gastinne-Renette dueling pistols was a top earner on Day 2 with $411,250, while a Merwin Hulbert revolver presented by Theodore Roosevelt to a lifelong friend and business partner brought in $164,500. A movie star also proved to be a big mover on the auction’s second day as a trio of Tom Selleck’s cased and engraved Colt Magnum, P.I., pistols zoomed to $82,250. Another gun from Selleck’s collection, a Springfield Armory FBI prefix Bureau Model pistol booked in $31,150.

This 1855 dated Gastinne-Renette pair of dueling pistols realized $411,250 in the December Premier Auction.

The incredible depth of the Class III offerings in the auction continued to shine, as a Marlin-Rockwell M1918 BAR emerged for $82,250. Among other interesting and atypical weapons, a CIA Deer Gun spied a price of $38,187.50, Serial Number 2 C.B. Allen Cochran Patent Turret revolver rounded to $35,240, and a scrimshaw inlaid wheellock hand mortar/grenade launcher powered to $29,375, more than doubling its high estimate.

This cased presentation 1902 DWM Luger Carbine to Hugo Borchardt achieved $411,250 in the December Premier Auction.

In the field of European arms, a cased presentation 1902 DWM Luger Carbine to Hugo Borchardt crossed the podium at $411,250 and an engraved J. Purdey & Sons .410 bore sidelock shotgun returned $235,000. A Ludwig Loewe 1893 Borchardt pistol achieved $47,000. A German Hunting Spear from the William Randolph Hearst Collection eased to $19,975, more than doubling its high estimate.

Day 3

Long guns led the offerings on the auction’s final day, especially a fantastic assemblage of lever guns that included a One of One Thousand Winchester Model 1876 that landed $141,000, as did an iron frame Henry rifle. A Civil War production New Haven Arms Company Henry rifle that reeled in $105,750 and a Winchester Deluxe Model 1886 takedown chambered in .38-70 WCF that brought $58,750.

A beautiful presentation engraved Colt Single Action Army that was presented at the Fort Worth Rodeo to bronc riding champion Burel Mulkey busted its way to $176,250, while a Civil War Confederate Leech & Rigdon revolver brought $32,312. An inscribed Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver achieved $38,187.50. Another rare pistol was a three-digit serial number Ludwig Loewe 1893 Borchardt that doubled its high estimate for $58,750.

This Colt Single Action Army presented to bronco busting champion Burel Mulkey at the 1937 Fort Worth Rodeo earned $176,250 in the December Premier Auction.

A precursor to the machine gun also drew interest on the auction’s final day as a Colt U.S. Model 1897 Gatling Gun with an iron carriage brought $188,000. Among Class III firearms, a Colt Navy 1921/1928 Thompson eased to $70,500, while a U.S. Winchester 1918 BAR earned $58,750, and a U.S. Kelsey-Hayes M2 fired past its high estimate to $47,000.

Flintlock fans flocked to worthy offerings on the last day as a Pierre Greverath double barrel shotgun from the Norman R. Blank Collection returned $117,500 and a James & William Clark double signed Golden Age long rifle hunted down $35,250.

This Pierre Greverath double barrel shotgun from the Norman R. Blank Collection crossed the podium for $117,500 in the December Premier Auction.

Sporting arms on the auction’s final day were highlighted by a set of three Tomasoni engraved Ivo Fabbri sidelock shotguns realized $141,000 while a pair of master engraved C.S.MC./Galazan 28 gauge shotguns hammered for $99,875.

What an Auction!

The excitement of opening our new location in Bedford still hasn’t worn off, especially after realizing $26.7 million from the three-day Premier Auction. Thank you to everyone who visited us for the first time and those long-time friends who followed us to our new location, making the weekend such a fun and special event. Thank you to our consignors and bidders whose passion is unmatched. We look forward to seeing you again in February!

This KAC Stoner 63A light machine gun landed at $141,000 in the December Premier Auction.

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