October 14, 2020
By Mike Burns
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Rock Island Auction Company celebrated the end of summer with the October Sporting & Collector Auction held this past weekend. The weather was absolutely beautiful and a mural of leaves painted the sidewalks leading up to the entrance of auction hall. Inside, racks of guns stretched further than the eye could see with every square inch of the preview hall seemingly filled with every kind of firearm imaginable along with so much more. In total, the weekend realized an incredible $7,877,759 during an amazing weekend that warmly welcomed the fall season!
Leading the auction was a Colt D Company Walker revolver that sold for $51,750, exceeding its low estimate by $30,000. Extremely rare, and in good condition considering its age, use, and history, this specific revolver was one of only 1,000 military contract Walker Revolvers manufactured by Samuel Colt at Eli Whitney’s factory in Whitneyville, Connecticut and only about 100 are estimated to survive to this day. Playing a major role during the 19th century, Walker Revolvers saw use during the gold rush, the Mexican War, and the settlement of Texas.
Following closely behind the Walker Revolver was the U.S. Singer M1911A1 Pistol that sold for $31,625. While most people associate the brand with sewing machines, Singer actually produced pistols for a brief period of time during World War II. An interesting example of a business drastically pivoting their production capabilities to aid in the war effort, the Singer pistol is exceedingly hard to find not only because of its extremely low production number, but also because of the high casualty rates of pilots they were issued to. Singer would eventually pivot again to produce bombsights and gyroscopes for the military instead.
Henry rifles always generate a sense of excitement around the auction hall. Dependable, sleek, and dangerously effective, Henry rifles were the weapon of choice for many soldiers throughout the American Civil War. Less accessible for Confederate troops because of the Southern production and industry disadvantages, the Henry rifle became increasingly popular for Union troops, many of whom would purchase these rifles with their own personal funds. This particular New Haven Arms Henry rifle is very desirable as it is an early production model with a three-digit serial number and sold for $20,700 at auction. "That damned Yankee rifle that can be loaded on Sunday and fired all week" was one of the most advanced firearms of the war.
Besides these, there were also an impressive number of volcanic lever actions that made an appearance during the auction. An engraved Smith & Wesson No. 2 “Volcanic” lever action pistol sold for $17,250 and a Volcanic Repeating Arms Company Pistol-Carbine sold for $14,950. Lot 4012, a New Haven Arms Company Lever Action No. 2 pistol featuring an incredibly scarce 6 inch barrel, sold for $14,950. However, these were not the only lever action firearms that found their way into the October Sporting & Collector Auction.
A Winchester Model 1866 saddle ring lever action carbine sold for a smooth $14,950. Featuring an engraved, gold plated receiver featuring a matador and bull by Conrad F. Ulrich, this rifle is not only a deadly tool, but a beautiful work of art as well. A similar Winchester 1866 Lever Action Rifle sold for $10,350. What makes this example different from others is the desirable Henry’s patent address that is marked on the barrel of the gun. Featuring all its original parts, this Winchester is certainly a tangible link to the Old West.
Besides Winchesters, a Whitney-Kennedy Lever Action carbine sold for $4,888, a New Haven Arms Henry Rifle sold for $18,400, and a similar Henry Rifle sold for $21,850 that blew past even its high estimate of $16,000.
If there was one type of firearms that absolutely dominated the October Sporting & Collector Auction, it was the repeated appearance of pistols, each more valuable, rare, and desirable than the last. A three-digit serial Colt 1911 U.S. Navy Pistol sold for $8,050, an early 1912 Colt Navy 1911 pistol sold for $6,900, and an exceptionally rare Colt Russian Government Model sold for $5,175.
Lot 1127, a U.S. Marine Corps Colt M1911 pistol, sold for $8,050, almost quadruple its high estimate. A desirable “Polish Eagle” VIS-wz35 pistol sold for $6,900, a beautifully engraved and gold inlaid Fabrique Nationale Hi-Power pistol sold for $3,450, and a Colt 1908 pocket hammerless pistol sold for $4,025. An interesting looking U.S. Springfield Armory M1911 pistol featuring a cloth lanyard sold for $4,025 while a unique U.S. Union Switch & Signal 1911A1 pistol sold for $5,463. Packing some serious heat were the two RPB Industries M10 semi-automatic pistols complete with spare magazines that sold for $3,450.
There were also a wide array of antique revolvers and flintlock pistols as well. A “U.S.” marked “Black Powder Frame” Colt Single Action Army revolver manufactured in 1875, sold for $4,025. A cased Smith & Wesson single shot first model pistol sold for $4,600. Howdah style pistols were favored by British officials while hunting dangerous game in places like India and Africa. Named after the seat-like device found on elephants used while hunting, Howdah pistols are a magnificent piece of history and technology that hails from the legendary Malcolm King Collection. This specific item sold for $4,888, almost $1,000 over its high estimate. A cased pair of engraved John Harcourt flintlock pistols sold for $4,313, an incredible price considering the age, condition, and case that accompany the pistols.
Besides these impressive collection of pistols and revolvers, two brands stood tall amongst the others, Walther and Mauser. Two Walther semi-automatic pistols sold for $6,900 while a similar lot consisting of two cased semi-automatic pistols sold for $5,750. A pair of Walther P5 semi-automatic pistols sold for $4,600 that came complete with factory cases, extra barrels, and spare magazines. A beautifully engraved and gold washed Walther PPK pistol sold for $3,738, and a military marked Walther PP pistol with an accompanying holster also sold for $1,380. Two Mauser broomhandle pistols sold for $4,313, a Mauser “Red 9” Broomhandle pistol sold for $3,163, and a collector’s lot of three cased Mauser pistols sold for $4,313. While on the subject of German pistols, a Rock Island Auction Company event just would not be totally complete without some Lugers thrown into the mix. More specifically, two engraved and gold inlaid Luger pistols sold for $9,200.
There was some serious fire power packed into this auction. Take lot 3047, for example; this Barrett 82A1 semi-automatic rifle is huge, black, and packs a powerful punch. With adjustable folding steel bipod legs, a Leupold Mark 4 4.5-14x50 scope, and three spare magazines, this rifle is certainly not something to mess with. The cased Barrett 82A1 sold for a smooth $14,950 at auction.
Equally as intimidating, a Knight’s Manufacturing SR25 semi-automatic rifle sold for $5,175, a Romanian PSL-54C FPK Dragunov Sniper rifle sold for $3,450, and an extremely desirable pre-ban Valmet M62S rifle sold for $6,325. Lot 2659 contained a Walther “ac-44” Code K43 rifle and scope that sold for $4,025. W.J. Jeffert & Co.’s Mauser Action bolt action rifle sold for $5,463, further adding to the amazing collection of Mausers already present. Two AR-15 style semi-automatics sold for $4,025 and came complete with their own attachable bayonets. A Johnson Automatics Model 1941 rifle (that sold for $6,900) and a similar Johnson Model 1941 rifle (that also sold for $6,900) remained stark reminders of the bravery and heroism exemplified by those who served during World War II. Also found in the October Sporting & Collector Auction was a fine M1 Garand rifle from World War II that sold for an impressive $3,163.
An assortment of beautiful shotguns also found their way into this behemoth of an auction. An engraved antique 8 bore Parker Brothers shotgun sold for $6,900, nearly twice its high estimated value. An engraved A.H. Fox Sterlingworth side by side shotgun sold for $4,025, a Winchester Model 12 Trench style slide action shotgun manufactured in 1942 sold for $4,888, and a pre-World War II Winchester Model 21 side by side shotgun sold for $4,600.
An interesting Winchester Wingo “Ice Palace” single shot shotgun complete with ammunition was present during the first half of day one. Wingo was an experimental indoor wing shooting sport invented by Winchester in the early 1970s that consisted of shooting spherical targets made of ice. The shotgun would be tethered to the bench and microphones were attached to the gun to record when shots were taken. This interesting example of how creative competitive shooting can get sold at auction for $4,313. But this was not the only sports shooting items that were featured in the auction. An incredible Anschutz match model 1913 bolt action rifle sold for $4,025. Words simply do not do this rifle justice, getting lost in the intricate features and small details can take up an entire afternoon.
Besides firearms, this auction boasted some other, very impressive, items. The U.S. M9 flamethrower tank rig and M2 wand sold for $4,313. While deactivated, it is an excellent example of human engineering and the shifting tides of warfare throughout the 20th century. A rocket launcher training device and one inert rocket launcher sold for $4,600, an impressive reminder of how practice makes perfect and the importance of preparedness. A signed Japanese sword sold for $2,875. An absolutely massive retractable Civil War pike, measuring at nearly 7 feet long, sold for $5,463.
Thank you to everyone who was able to make their way to this spectacular event. Rock Island Auction Company is truly blessed to have such an incredible group of loyal attendees, bidders, consignors, collectors who continue to help make the company successful. This excitement, loyalty, and love for the hobby shone brightly all weekend long. One never knows what will show up at an event like this, but the only way to find out is to attend one for yourself.
Rock Island Auction Company is committed to helping preserve the rights guaranteed to every American under the Second Amendment, and with such an important election coming up this November, it is critical to cast your vote to help protect these rights. Please remember to cast your ballots come November 3rd. Thank you for all the support displayed thus far in 2020 and throughout this auction. Rock Island Auction Company looks forward to hosting another exciting Premier Firearms Auction December 4th-6th as well as more Online Auctions on October 30th and November 18th.
As always, if there are any questions regarding bidding, consigning, or future auctions, please contact the helpful people at Rock Island Auction Company. Thank you for celebrating the end of summer at Rock Island Auction Company!
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