October 11, 2022

October S&C Firearms Auction Realizes $9.2 Million

By Joe Engesser

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Rock Island Auction Company's October 4 - 7 Sporting & Collector Auction realized $9.2 million, a phenomenal sum achieved by an event that was expanded into a four-day auction to accommodate a surging interest in collectible firearms. That enthusiasm was reflected in the auction’s Preview Day turnout as well.

Preview Day offered a chance to examine the sheer volume and quality firsthand.

On Monday, October 3rd, Rock Island Auction Company’s guests were greeted to a preview hall filled with over 7,200 guns in one place, a staggering abundance of rare firearms and militaria rivaling Tulsa and the NRA Show in terms of volume and variety. October’s auction covered every genre and price point imaginable, from antique muzzleloaders, Old West wheel guns, military arms of all eras, and so much more.

October’s greatest gun show saw an enthusiastic turnout, where guests were invited to view, handle, and shoulder every item firsthand.

Between the thousands of sealed bids, a lively in-person crowd, and the persistent enthusiasm from the hundreds who joined the event via the phones and online consoles, the four-day spectacular was a remarkable success from start to finish.

Auction Day One

As day one of the auction opened cool and clear, the Rock Island weather began to warm and reflect a hot day of spirited bidding inside. More than 4,600 lots over four days meant thousands of opportunities for bidders to add to their gun collections, and the unmatched variety offered was evident from the start.

A special order Atlanta Police Department factory inscribed Winchester Model 1873 started the day off with a bang.

Lever-action guns came firing right out of the gates, with an Atlanta Police Department Winchester 1873 rifle realizing $5,581. A Winchester Russian Contract Model 1895 musket also got the day off on the right foot, recording $5,875 and topping its high estimate of $3,750, and an engraved and gold inlaid Winchester 1886 rifle continued the momentum with $8,813.

Ten consecutively serial numbered Yugoslavian Zastava Model 59/66 SKS rifles with shipping crate and accessories, one of the highlights leading into October’s auction event.

It was a fine day for sporting arms as well, with a Silver Seitz single barrel trap shotgun netting $10,575, while a Belgian Browning Grade I Superposed skeet shotgun drew $5,875, more than doubling its high, while a Beretta Model 471 Silver Hawk side-by-side scored $4,113.

Other long guns showed great returns on Tuesday. A Scrimshaw decorated short flintlock rifle collected $5,581, while a crate of 10 consecutive Zastava 59/66 SKS rifles found an impressive $7,050 payday. Modern rifles couldn’t be left out. A U.S. marked Colt Model GAU.-5/A/A rifle shot past its high estimate and brought in $4,113, and a Norinco Type 86S semi-automatic Bullpup rifle realized $4,700.

A cased factory engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket percussion manufactured in 1855.

Rock Island Auction couldn’t let a day go by without Colt wheelguns coming out to play. An engraved Colt Third Model Dragoon percussion revolver realized $11,750, leaping over its high estimate of $8,000, and a Colt Model 1849 Pocket percussion revolver brought $6,463. Colt Single Action Army revolvers are always a draw and Tuesday was no exception, with an engraved Colt SAA revolver bringing in $7,050 and an 1883 manufactured Colt SAA with pearl grips collecting $5,875.

Tuesday’s expansive variety ranged from a French boarding axe flintlock pistol to a Norden M9-B bombsight.

Auction Day Two

Wednesday offered an even greater abundance of firearms than day one’s ample offerings and the sheer volume on hand was evident from the start. Antique guns stepped up, with a Merwin, Hulbert & Co. Large Frame Army Single Action revolver hammering for $8,225, while a cased pair of Durs Egg flintlock officers' pistols obtained $7,050.

A cased pair of Durs Egg flintlock officers pistols, one of over 300 antique lots up for bid on Wednesday.

European military enthusiasts had plenty of opportunities to expand their collection and the competition was fast and fierce. A Kreighoff Rework DWM Luger brought in $5,581, topping its high estimate by more than $2,000. A lot of two German dress daggers and a dress bayonet realized a price of $4,994, while a Soviet Izhevsk Model 1940 SVT Tokarev semi-automatic rifle got over the top with $3,819.

Vintage ammunition and rare militaria found good prices as Wednesday hit its halfway point, with a large grouping of 7.92mm Kurz and 9mm parabellum ammunition collecting $4,993.75.

Though popular manufacturers tend to steal the show, Rock Island Auction Company's October 4 - 7 Sporting & Collector Auction event presented all manner of desirable rarities, including a “CS” marked brass Coehorn style mortar and small cannon barrel that more than doubled its high estimate and drew $5,288.

An engraved Smith & Wesson Registered Magnum DA revolver, one of only 363 Registered Magnum revolvers manufactured in the 3 1/2 inch barrel length, earned the attention of an eager crowd as it garnered $6,463.

In sporting arms, a Beretta Model 692 over/under shotgun collected $6,462.50 while a Parker Brothers 20 gauge VH Grade double barrel shotgun drew $4994, and one of the final lots of the auction ended the day in style as two Remington Custom Shop Model 547 sporting rifles tripled their high estimate with $10, 575 after an exciting bout of bidding.

On a strong day for sporting arms, this engraved and gold inlaid Winchester Model 21 16 gauge shotgun pulled in an impressive $14,100.

Auction Day Three

Day three opened with a bit of fog and drizzle, but the momentum inside kept on rolling as over 1,200 lots went up for bid. Rock Island Auction Company is known for its great-looking guns, and the quality showcased on Thursday was a treat for all collectors, with desirable pieces from popular manufacturers and some truly scarce and curious collectibles you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

A Civil War Era New Haven Arms Co. Henry rifle made an early splash with $18,800.

Fine engraving was featured in force on Thursday, with artistic standouts like a Winchester Model 1866 and a Colt SAA each garnering $11,750. Numerous lots from some great names in the gun collecting community crossed the podium, including high-condition collectibles from the esteemed collection of Tulsa Arms Show founder Joe Wanenmacher Jr., which offered an ample selection of fine antiques such as a Victorian-era Wheellock Pistol that hammered at $6,463.

A cased pair of engraved, carved, and silver-plated French percussion 19th-century dueling pistols drew $4,993.75.

The full breadth of military history was on display Thursday as well, with WW2 relics like a Japanese Roakuoh-Sha Type 89 aerial gunnery trainer and a U.S. Navy M85 heavy machine gun cutaway mockup going up for bid. Historic military firearms are a booming genre, and that interest translated into some fantastic results, with an engraved Astra Model 200 pistol tripling its high estimate, two German dress daggers going for $4,700, and a pre-WWII Krieghoff "S" date Luger from the Art Buchanan Collection also realizing a notable $4,700.

Russian rifles like the Soviet Tula Arsenal SVT-40 excelled on Thursday, including lot 4402 going for $4,112.50.

From the vintage to the modern, from the novelty to the collecting mainstays, the hits kept coming Thursday. A Civil War U.S. Contract Gibbs breech-loading carbine netted $7,638, two R.W. Loveless knives more than quadrupled their high for $8,225, and a Colt "Super Match" .38 Super pistol made a big impression as it took home $9,988.

American military arms came firing back with examples like this U.S. Johnson Model 1941 rifle earning $7,050.

The quality continued throughout the afternoon, and the third day of the auction went out in style as a Winchester Model 12 28 gauge slide action skeet shotgun took in $7,050 and a Parker Brothers 20 gauge VHE grade side-by-side scored big with $8,813.

Auction Day Four

Mingling with hundreds of fellow arms enthusiasts is part of the fun at every Rock Island Auction event, and so is a little friendly competition once the auction starts. If you've ever bid in a Rock Island auction before, you know that your heart can get going pretty fast when the items you want come up for auction.

Bidding on Friday was fast and furious, but each of our guests saw numerous opportunities to expand their collections and experience the thrill of a hard-earned victory.

A four-barrel duckfoot pistol fought off a mob of bidders and stood tall at $5,581.25 once the smoke cleared.

Early bidding wars on the lever action front included a Deluxe Style Winchester Model 1886 that raked in $6,4623 and a custom engraved Winchester Model 1866 landing $11,163. The battle next spilled onto the frontier streets with a Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver reaching $4,700 and a Colt First Generation SAA taking home $4,994.

A pre-World War II Colt "Super Match" Style .38 Super Semi-Automatic Pistol with pearl grips more than doubled its high to pull in $8,225.

The anticipation of watching the item you’ve been waiting for hit the podium is suspenseful to say the least, and the spirited bidding that often follows can get one’s blood pumping. That competitive energy and excitement was felt throughout every genre on Friday, with a signed Japanese sword with Shin Gunto fittings slashing through its high to bring $4,113, a U.S. Remington Model 1903A4 sniper rifle hitting its mark with $5,875, and a Heckler & Koch MR762A1 LRP riflefinding a lucky buyer at $7,050.

A Blaser R8 Professional in 7mm Remington Magnum found the bullseye Friday with a $4,700 haul.

The energy continued throughout the auction’s final afternoon, with frequent contests between the phones, the computer consoles, and an enthusiastic in-house audience. A Belgian Browning Grade I 28 gauge Superposed shotgun rallied for $8,225 and a Colt/Talo Dragon Limited Edition Government Model pistol, one of the last lots in an absolutely jam-packed auction catalog, hammered at $5,288.

From modern pistols to Wild West shotguns, October's Sporting & Collectors Firearms Auction was a celebration of gun collecting.

October's Greatest Gunshow

October's four-day Sporting & Collector Firearms auction offered something for everyone at a time when interest in every genre of firearms is at an all-time high. From the lively crowd who attended the auction in person, the thousands of sealed bids received, and the hundreds of firearm fans who participated live over the phones and via online bidding, we can’t thank everyone enough for making this event such a staggering success. The world of arms collecting is a thriving and dedicated community, and we’re grateful for your support!

A gun show to remember.

Subscribe to the weekly Rock Island Auction newsletter to receive new gun blogs and gun videos covering upcoming auctions like December’s 9-11 Premier Firearms Auction event, our fantastic slate of Arms & Accessory Auctions, and news on our next Sporting & Collector Auction set for February, 2023. Thank you again, and we'll see you in December!

December’s lineup features some of the finest gun collections around, including selections from the Jim Supica and Joe Wanenmacher Collections, so keep an eye out for the online catalog in the days ahead and take a look at the Highlight Portfolio.

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