Rock Island Auction Company

December 11, 2019

RIAC Sets New World Record with $77 Million in 2019

By Joel R Kolander

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The December 2019 Premier Firearms Auction was a perfect storm of sorts. There were world-class collector firearms that had never before been offered to the collecting public. Collections were offered from names that ring like royalty to gun collectors: Robert M. lee, Mac McCroskie, Dr. Gerald Klaz, Larry Jones, Alvin White, and others. Historic arms were offered with direct ties to well-known figures in American history such as Annie Oakley, President Andrew Jackson, and Civil War General George McClellan. Several firearms offered were presented by Samuel Colt himself. All this on top of the always spectacular selection of high condition, rare, high art, desirable and beautiful arms that shooters, collectors, investors, and hunters have come to expect from Rock Island Auction Company.

To what did this perfect storm amount? At the end of the three days and after all 2,700+ lots had been sold, the realized total had reached over $16 million dollars. This is an admirable result, but when added to the rest of the 2019 totals, it reveals an annual total of $77 million, beating our world record last year for a firearms auction house and setting it yet again even higher. We are proud to announce yet again that we remain the #1 firearms auction house in the world. Period.

Panel scene engraved Colt SAA

Day 1 put its foot on the gas, and wouldn’t let up until Sunday evening. Already in Lot 31 we were offering rare, superb condition, and high art pieces that had never before been publicly sold. Within the first half hour of auction a seldom seen panel scene engraved Colt Single Action Army was crossing the podium. After much spirited bidding in the auction hall and from the phones, this significant revolver found a new home for $299,000. Another exciting offering came in lot 374 when Colt M1911, serial number 81 crossed the podium. High condition, dripping with history, and straight out of the original owner’s family, this military marvel brought $195,500.

Saturday brought its own share of outstanding items, perhaps most notably that of Western Legend Annie Oakley. The fully gold plated Marlin Model 1897 rifle presented to “Little Sure Shot” created a huge buzz leading up to its sale. In the end, this was yet ANOTHER item never before publicly offered that finally made its big splash. Annie’s Marlin powdered its $350,000 high estimate and sold for $575,000. Seven lots later in Lot 1096, was a nearly pristine Colt Root Sidehammer revolver also never before publicly offered and with a significant place in American history. It was presented by Samuel Colt to “America’s Greatest Orator” Secretary of State Edward Everett. The man is a grocery list of accomplishments and even spoke prior to Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. The privilege for owning this 3-digit time capsule was had by one fortunate collector for $149,500.

General George McClellan's Colt Model 1860 Army

The third and final day seemed in no mood to live in the shadow of the previous two, and so began strong in the fifth lot of the day, lot 3005, by offering a silver inlaid Winchester Model 1886 exhibition engraved by John Ulrich for display at the 1889 Exhibition Universelle in Paris. Resting in its stately French fitted case, this Winchester made for the world to see achieved a healthy $126,500. The overachiever of the day came in lot 3271 when a martial Colt Cavalry Model with its 1881 pattern holster came up for bid. Sub-inspected by David F. Clark, this time capsule of condition had also never been offered at a public sale. Its first impression was a good one and it rang the bell for $80,500.

With so many “Fresh-to-market” offerings at such a high level of quality, it should come as no surprise that collectors were excited for this highly anticipated year-end firearms bonanza. Such enthusiasm and passion was evident in the sale’s success, as it has been throughout 2019. Rock Island Auction Company offers our sincere thanks to their consignors, bidders, buyers, and fans for making 2019 the most successful in our 26 year history. The only way to follow up such a feat is by hosting the largest firearms auction in history. Stay tuned collector friends.  Big things are coming.

The Last Marlin 1889 takedwn rifle

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