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June 28, 2022

June S&C Firearms Auction Realizes $7 Million

By Kurt Allemeier

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A Colt Paterson, rare in the first place but even rarer because its expected sale price would stay below six figures, led the lineup of terrific guns and militaria in Rock Island Auction Company’s recently completed three-day Sporting and Collector Auction that realized $7.059 million.

The No. 5 Squareback “Texas” Paterson Percussion revolver and its accessories sold for $38,188 on day two of the auction. RIAC has previously sold numerous Paterson revolvers including one that drew $805,000 (May 2014). The revolver’s features and accessories rivaled many of its higher valued cousins while its condition made it a steal for the winning collector.

Rock Island Auction has previously sold Colt Paterson revolvers for six figures. This gun realized $38,188 at the recent Sporting and Collector Auction.

The auction’s fine lineup of thousands of firearms across more than 3,500 lots had something for any collector whether it was cowboy guns, confederate arms, military guns as well as modern firearms, and militaria. All was on display in our spectacular Preview Hall that serves as a pop-up firearms museum ahead of the auction.

Day 1

The usual suspects of Colt and Winchester made for a rousing first day of the Rock Island Auction’s June 2022 Sporting and Collector Auction, but there still managed to be a few surprises sprinkled in.

A shotgun, horse (of sorts), and some Mausers along with the Colt pistols and Winchester long guns made for a competitive day.

Great values could be found on Winchester rifles with special features on the first day of the Sporting and Collector Auction.

Within the first 100 lots, a Winchester 1886 in .50 Express with a factory letter scored over its high estimate of $9,000, realizing $10,575 on the day. Only 20 lots later a scarce Winchester 1886 in .40-70 W.C.F. collected $5,288, more than its $3,750 high estimate.

This Winchester 1886 chambered in .50 Express with a factory letter achieved $10,575 in the June Sporting and Collector Auction.

A Winchester 1894 attributed to the Washington State Patrol made an impression early on the first day, drawing a final price of $3,525, more than a third over its $2,000 high estimate. Before the day was out, a Winchester Model 52B Sporting Bolt Action more than doubled its high estimate, gaveling for $3,819, and a Model 1897 trench shotgun drew $7,050, well above its high estimate of $5,500.

Speaking of shotguns, a Purdey 12 Bore double barrel Push-Forward Snap-Underlever Bar-In-Wood Hammer shotgun was the big mover in the first day of the auction, selling for $7,050, more than twice its high estimate of $3,000.

The shotgun, made in 1887, features 30 3/4-inch barrels with classic Purdey bouquet and scroll engraving throughout, and a walnut stock with checkered grip and forearm and serrated butt. A fine piece, it includes a oak and leather case lined with red baize.

A medium frame Colt Lightning also outperformed its high estimate of $1,500, clearing $2,350. However, when it came to Colt, the Single Action Army and M1911s led the way.

A scarce, cased, antique London Agency Colt Single Action Army brought $8,225 on the auction’s first day, outpacing its high estimate of $4,000, while a SAA manufactured in 1892 and chambered in .44 WCF achieved $7,050, topping its estimate by more than $3,000.

This London Agency Colt Single Action Army with a box and accessories brought in $.7,050 in RIAC's June Sporting and Collector Auction.

A Cavalry Model manufactured in 1875 and documented with a rare “J” inspection mark on the barrel and cylinder brought in $6,463, well ahead of a $4,500 high estimate. This revolver is listed by serial number as a "J" inspected SAA in Kopec and Fenn's "Cavalry & Artillery Revolvers…a Continuing Study" on page 43. Only 24 Johnson sub-inspected Cavalry revolvers within the 15191-19565 serial number range were recorded in the survey.

Nicely priced M1911s also shone on the auction’s first day. A 1912 production Colt M1911 with a five-digit serial number drew a price of $4,406, well above $2,750 high estimate, while back-to-back lots of a Republic of China marked Remington-Rand M1911 and a Remington-UMC M1911 with a three-digit serial number brought in $4,113 which was well ahead of their estimated prices.

Mauser mania hit on Day 1 as the guns overachieved. A World War II Mauser “Black Widow” Luger earned $4,113, while a C96 Broom Handle with capture documents achieved $3,231, both ahead of their estimates.

Oh, and the horse, of course. It is actually a life-sized display horse along with a mannequin outfitted as an American cavalry sergeant and his mount. Along with the two life-sized figures, the display, that realized $2,655, more than a $1,000 above its estimate, includes a CMC-brand 1911A1 and web gear, and the horse has the saddle, saddlebags, a signal flag set, bedroll, canteen, and a U.S. 1913 "Patton" sword with scabbard.

A horse is a horse, of course? Not this horse!

Day 2

While the Paterson specifically won the day and was the top seller in the auction, Colt and Winchester continued to perform well, but other genres did nicely, especially guns of the World Wars.

Lugers did nicely, especially Black Widow models from Mauser that out-performed their estimates. In particular, two lots earned more than double. A World War I luger also did nicely, nearly doubling its expected high price. C96 Broomhandles also performed well during the day as did World War II Walthers that hit their high estimates.

It wasn’t just German guns from the World Wars, M1911s continued to perform well, with a World War I Colt M1911 hitting $6,463, well above its high estimate of $3,500. It wasn’t just Colt M1911s, as Remington-Rand and Ithaca models also did well.

This World War I Colt M1911 brought in $6,463 in Rock Island Auction Company's June Sporting and Collector's Auction, just one example of the value of military-related firearms.

Not to be left out, long guns from the wars did well, too. A German Mauser Model 98 brought $2,644, well over its $1,900 high estimate. Many long gun lots had multiple rifles in them but ones that stood alone include a U.S. Johnston Automatics Model 1941 semi-automatic that achieved $7,050 and a U.S. Springfield Armory M1 Garand that drew $2,938, outpacing its $1,800 high estimate.

Military long guns did well in the June Sporting and Collector Auction, like this Johnston Automatics Model 1941 semi-automatic that drew $7,050.

Remington and Smith & Wesson joined the fun on the auction’s second day. A pair of Remington Rolling Block rifles did well as did a Remington 1903A4 bolt action sniper rifle that brought $5,288, ahead of its $3,000 high estimate.

While Colt Single Action Army revolvers are always nice sellers, other wheelguns drew interest on the second day of auction. A rare Remington Model 1890 Single Action revolver brought $3,819, besting its high estimate of $3,000, while a Merwin & Hulbert Pocket Army Single Action realized $3,525, well above its high estimate of $1,700.

Wheelguns are always popular at auction and whether it is Colt, Remington, or Smith & Wesson, they Show their value. This Remington Model 1890 Single Action revolver outperformed its high estimate, bringing in $3,819.

Speaking of revolvers, Smith & Wessons did nicely on Day 2, with a .44 Double Action Frontier revolver and a New Model No. 3 Target Single Action outpacing their estimates. A very scarce U.S. Air Force marked Lightweight M-13 Double Action led the way, snaring $3,525, ahead of its $2,250 top estimate, while a .22/32 Kit Gun Pre-Model 34 Double Action returned a price of $2,644, besting its top estimate of $1,500.

The king of the Colt snake guns, the Python, offered nice returns for four lots on Day 2, with an early four-digit serial number model with a box led the charge by realizing $5,875, well over its best estimate of $3,750.

Turning away from revolvers, shotguns did nicely on the auction’s middle day. An Abercrombie & Fitch Marked Francotte 20 gauge realized $3,819, well above its $1,600 high estimate and rare factory engraved Parker Brothers 16 gauge GHE Grade double barrel brought in $4,994, more than doubling its high estimate.

Day 3

A U.S. Ainsworth inspected Colt Cavalry Single Action Army took top honors on the final day of the Sporting and Collector Auction, returning $10,575, doubling its high estimate and leading a charge for Single Action Army revolvers.

This Colt Single Action Army led the way on the third day of the Sporting and Collector Auction, returning $10,575 as the day's top seller.

A pre-World War 2 Winchester 28-gauge Model 12 shotgun realized $9,988, more than tripling its high estimate of $3,000. A World War II Model 12 sold for $5,288, topping its $4,500 high estimate, while a U.S. marked Stevens 520-30 slide action riot shotgun brought $9,400, hitting double its high estimate of $4,500.

Like the shotguns, martial guns did well all during the auction whether they were American, German, or Japanese.

An engraved pre-World War II Walther PP with SS markings sold for $7,638, outpacing its high estimate of $5,500 and leading several Walther pistols the did well on the final day of auction.

A Tokyo Gas and Electric marked Papa Nambu hammered at $4,994, more than its high estimate of $2,750 and leading a number of Japanese pistols in the three-day auction.

German World War II-era firearms are a value to collectors like this pre-World War II Walther PP with SS markings on it that realized $7,638 on the third day of the June Sporting and Collector Auction.

Bolt action rifles proved popular and profitable on the auction’s final day as a Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 with a USMC marked sniper scope brought in $9,988, tripling its high estimate. Two other Pre-64 Model 70s also did well, going over their high estimates on the day.

A Mauser “43” dated Model 98 bolt action sniper rifle with scope continued to show bolt action rifles and martial weapons were strong on the final day of auction. The Mauser drew $8,813, well past its high estimate of $2,500. A Weatherby Custom Mark V rifle with scope did well, realizing $4,406, double its high estimate, and showing that Weatherby rifles were modestly popular during the week.

While the trench shotguns excelled on Day 3, other shotguns brought strong prices, too. An A.H. Fox Model B Hammerless Ejector 20 gauge realized $7,638, significantly outpacing its high estimate of $1,200, while a scarce factory engraved Parker Brothers 28 gauge VH Grade double barrel shotgun hammered for $7,050, outpacing its high estimate of $5,500.

Trench shotguns did well in the June Sporting and Collector Auction, like this U.S. marked Stevens 520-30 slide action riot shotgun that brought $9,400.

Over three days of vigorous bidding from in-person bidders, sealed bids, and online bidding, Colt pistols and Winchester rifles continued to show their value to collectors, while military weapons, especially World War II-era firearms, showed they are increasingly more valuable. Thank you to collectors and consigners for making this event, and all our auctions, so successful.

Our next Premier Firearms Auction is Aug. 26-28 and has a great lineup featuring Han Solo’s blaster from “Star Wars: A New Hope” as well as Wild Bill Hickok’s revolver he carried the night he was shot. Check out our online mailer for all of the highlights and watch for the online auction, the online catalog, and updates as well as catalogs for Arms and Accessories auctions in the days ahead.

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