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October 10, 2023

October Sporting & Collector Auction Realizes $5.9 Million

By Kurt Allemeier

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Rock Island Auction Company recently hosted its last multi-day auction in Illinois before opening its new facility in Bedford, Texas in December, realizing $5.9 million in the company’s October Sporting & Collector Auction.

The quality and quantity of lots on offer – highlighted by a Volcanic Carbine and a factory engraved Henry Rifle that crossed the podium for $22,325 and $21,150, respectively -- provided a bit of a preview of what should be a spectacular Premier Auction Dec. 8-10 with amazing historic pieces, beautifully adorned fine arms, and truly special weapons from a wide variety of eras and genres.

Preview Day

Firearms aficionados should take the opportunity to visit any Rock Island Auction’s preview day events to truly experience the spectrum of arms on offer. October’s greatest gun show gives visitors a chance to handle and examine all of the firearms that will be up for auction. The preview hall never disappoints with what seems like endless rows of longguns and cabinets filled with handguns.

Day One

The first day of the auction seemed like it was going to be “Wheel Gun Wednesday” as a number of Colt revolvers got off to a good start, but then World War 2 memorabilia and military weapons roared to the forefront of the bidding action.

A Johnson Model 1941 shot past its high estimate to $7,638, and a British BSA Shirley M47C No. 4 Mk I (T) sniper rifle with a scope shed its high estimate for $5,288, and a Winchester Model 1897 trench shotgun with a bayonet cruised past its high estimate for $4,700. A Galbrath line-throwing cannon attributed to the U.S.S. Mansfield, a destroyer that served in World War 2, Korea and Vietnam brought a booming $6,462 to surpass its high estimate.

Allied weapons weren't the only high performers, though. A German World War 2-era grouping of uniform patches and political items returned $21,150, obliterated its high estimate, while a lot of six pairs of German World War 2-era boots and shoes stomped its high estimate on the way to $12,925.

This British BSA Shirley M47C No. 4 Mk I (T) sniper rifle with a scope realized $5,288 to top its high estimate.

An engraved Colt Model 1862 Police revolver realized $9,988 to lead the Colt parade and triple its high estimate. Colt Single Action Army revolvers did what these perennial "blue chip" arms always do – perform well at auction. An antique engraved SAA with a factory letter doubled its high estimate for $8,813, while a silver-plated and engraved Bisley eased to $3,819 to pass its high estimate, as did a David F. Clark-inspected SAA that drew $4,700. A cased second generation SAA nearly doubled its high estimate, collecting $3,525.

Among lever guns, a Colt-Burgess rifle edged its high estimate for $7,050 and a Winchester gold- and nickel-plated Model 1876 shed its loftiest estimate to earn $7,638, while a Model 1866 collected $6,463 to outdo its high estimate.

There were a handful of Class III items in the auction, and a MAC M11 submachine gun achieved $11,163, passing its high water mark.

This MAC M11 submachine gun realized $11,163 to surpass its high estimate on Day One.

Day Two

The auction’s second day launched with strong performances by lever guns as a Civil War-era Henry rifle soared past its high estimate to earn $22,325, tying for the highest priced lot in the auction, while an engraved Winchester Model 1866 saddle ring carbine drew $9,400, all within the day’s first five offerings.

This Civil War-era New Haven Arms Henry Rifle tied for high honors in the Sporting & Collector Auction, realizing $22,325 on Day Two.

Multiple genres enjoyed good days on the podium. An Amtech International M79 grenade launcher scored $11,163 to go over its high estimate, while a Galbrath brass line throwing cannon topped its high for the second straight day, selling on Wednesday for $6,463. A Revolutionary War-era French Charleville 1766 flintlock musket returned $4,113, easily surpassing its high estimate. A Tokyo Arsenal “Baby” Nambu pistol eased past its high estimate for $4,113, while a scarce Beretta AR70 Sport semi-automatic rifle collected $6,463 to out-earn its high estimate.

Sporting arms also saw fine returns with a Winchester Model 21 double barrel trap style shotgun and a factory game scene engraved J.P. Sauer & Sohn drilling each drawing $4,112 to exceed their respective high estimates, while a engraved Darne Model 1892 swivel breech double barrel shotgun brought $4,406, more than doubling its expectations.

Revolvers did well on Thursday, and though Colts shined, they weren’t alone. A Georgia-shipped Civil War Colt Model 1860 Army brought $7,638, nearly doubling its high estimate. Smith & Wesson had some brag-worthy performances in the auction, as a cased Model 29-1 double action more than doubled its high estimate at $5,582, while a cased Australian New Model No. 3 brought $4,994 to slip past its high estimate. An engraved Colt first generation SAA brought $5,875 to exceed its high, while an engraved and U.S.-marked Third Model Dragoon outclassed its high estimate for $4,112.

This Amtech International M79 grenade launcher realized $11,163 on Day Two of the Sporting & Collector Auction.

Sniper rifles shot down their estimates on Thursday, with a Soviet Tula Arsenal SVT-40 rifle with scope collecting $7,637 to overpower its high estimate, while a BSA No. 4 MKI (T) bolt action rifle drew $5,288 also outdistancing its high estimate. A Czech Vz.54 bolt action rifle with scope realized $5,875 to land over its high estimate, and a Walther "ac" Code G43 rifle with scope earned $4,407 to surpass its high estimate.

Day Three

The Winchester predecessors, the Henry and the Volcanic both offered highlights early on the auction’s third day. The factory engraved New Haven Arms Henry rifle attained its $21,150 sale price within the first 10 lots only to be toppled by the Volcanic Carbine and its $22,325 hammer price before the first hour ended.

This New Haven Arms Co. "Volcanic Carbine with a 25-inch barrel returned $22,325 to tie for high honors, realizing $22,325 on the Sporting & Collector Auction's Day Three.

A cased pair of engraved Colt first generation Colt Single Action Army revolvers drew $9,400, more than doubling its high estimate and led the day’s pony guns. An engraved black powder frame SAA returned $7,638 to surpass its high estimate, as did a first generation Frontier SAA’s $6,463. Not to be left out, a cased engraved and gold-plated Remington New Model Army revolver hammered for $4,112 to overtop its high estimate.

This cased pair of engraved Colt first generation Colt Single Action Army revolvers realized $9,400, more than doubling its high estimate on Day Three.

Among long guns, a pre-World War 2 Winchester 20 gauge Model 21 double barrel shotgun hammered for $7,638, followed by a French Model 1717 flintlock musket that overshot its high estimate for $7,050, and an antique Winchester Model 1886 that collected $6,463 to beat its high estimate. Sniper rifles again offered good returns as a Czech Vz.54/91 bolt action rifle with a scope leaped over its high estimate for $4,700, and a U.S. Remington Model 1903A4 with a scope collected $4,113 to slide past its high estimate.

Thank You

The success of our auctions, like this Sporting & Collector that realized $5.9 million, is because of the consigners and bidders who put their trust in us. Thank you so much for being a valuable part of our business and RIAC looks forward to its clients joining us as we take next step with the Dec. 8-10 Premier Auction at our new state-of-the-art facility at 3600 Harwood Road in Bedford, Texas!

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