RIAC’s First Ever Four-Day Auction Delivers Fun & Results
When you mix a fun atmosphere with a lot of behind-the-scenes hard work, you end up with the type of success that accompanied Rock Island Auction Company’s 2015 February Regional Firearms Auction. Throughout the weekend, everybody was having a good time. To the crowd’s delight, the auctioneers alternated between giving each other a hard time and teasing some loyal customers. Add to that fast-paced and lighthearted atmosphere a packed and buzzing phone bank, live internet bids of surprising amounts, beautiful collector firearms, and frequent bidding battles, and you’ve got the recipe for one entertaining and rewarding weekend! Of course, all that makes a successful auction doesn’t take place the weekend of the event. A lot of effort took place before the auction and those endeavors bore fruit during the first ever 4-day sale in RIAC’s 20+ year history.
First and foremost, hosting a four-day sale takes a lot of elbow grease. Cataloging the guns, photographing, describing, etc, is a lot of work for over 7,000 items! Then came the job of making sure the collectors of the world knew about this massive event. Here are a few numbers that should prove that RIAC was more than up to the task.
Over 20,000 sealed bids were received for this auction. A new RIAC record!
That figure does not include the 3,700 phone bids we also received.
From when the online catalog went live to the final day of auction (60 days) it saw over 2.6 MILLION catalog page views. That’s more than 43,333 views EACH DAY.
Bidders hailed from 23 different countries.
Dozens of lots had more than 20 active bidders. Some had as many as 50!
Figures such as these resulted in ecstatic consignors, lots of happy new owners, and a realized total of over $5.6 MILLION in sales. It’s a great way to start 2015! Not only was the final sales total impressive, but each day had its own little surprises as well.
To make the four-day sale, RIAC’s standard weekend schedule added extra time on the Thursday before the event. The Preview Hall would open early that day and the auction would officially start at 2:00 p.m. Before the auction, assumptions were made that attendance would be good based solely on the number of bids that were received. But did anyone really know for sure? How many people would show up on a weekday to attend a preview and half a day’s worth of a firearms auction? Take a look for yourself.
The issue of attendance on Thursday was a moot one as collectors turned out in droves. It resulted in a bustling preview hall and a packed auction hall of collectors ready for action. The late start may have made Thursday the shortest day of the auction, but it was able to squeeze in its share bidding battles. Surprising everyone was the back-and-forth that took place for the gold finished Auto Ordnance Corp Thompson Model 1927 A1 semi-automatic rifle that came with its own drum mag and “violin” case. A phone bidder and internet bidder each had to have the glitzy Tommy Gun in lot 396, but an online bidder from Invaluable would have their prize for a final price of $5,175. A bit more expected was the price drawn for a pair of popular Colt Diamondback revolvers. It wouldn’t take long for these snake guns in lot 70 to exceed their high estimate and sell for $4,025.
Day 2 was also full of high sales prices, both expected and unexpected. Sure, we anticipated classics like the Civil War Henry Rifle in lot 1000, which began the day, to ring in numbers like its $25,875 realized price, or the scarce Smith & Wesson model 320 Revolving Rifle in lot 1376 to achieve its $12,650 figure. What was not expected was the large group of Nazi-style daggers, accoutrements, & artifacts in lot 1895 to demolish its humble $1,600 high estimate to sell for $8,625 , or the six European military long guns in lot 1636, that blew past their $1,700 estimate and found a new home for $5,462! It was only the second day of auction and collectors were aggressively pursuing the items they needed for their collections. The following day, Saturday, is typically the busiest, most exciting day of the auction, but it was hard to imagine much better participation.
Little did we know that Saturday was to defy logic. Sure, Saturdays are typically hopping with activity during our auctions, but this auction had already been going on for two days. Would Saturday’s traditionally high energy win out? Two words: you bet. The third day of auction did not disappoint in its energy or its participation. Things started off strong with the third lot of the day, an Ulrich engraved, silver plated, Winchester 1866 rifle accompanied by its factory letter that would cross the block for $25,875. All sorts of items received their due attention! From World War I helmets, to German daggers, a wide variety of items would see attractive bids. One of the more unusual of these non-firearm items to do so was an antique flintlock pistol axe combination gun in lot 3221. Given a high estimate of $1,200 the whole hall was talking as the gun climbed bid by bid to its eventual price of $5,462! The day even finished strong when lot 3998 and its U.S. Ordnance Semi-automatic copy of a Vickers Machine gun with its tripod and accessories, went over the top of its $2,500 estimate to realize $7,475. The bids on Saturday were only part of the action! The pace was quick, the auctioneers were bantering comically with each other (and sometimes the crowd), the action was intense, the bids were flowing and the commotion in the hall was fun for everyone in attendance.
In our first ever four-day sale, the boisterous activity refused to die down even on its very last day. Much like Day 2, big bids began to rain in almost immediately as a grouping of Winchesters and pre-Winchesters crossed the block. Lot 5004 was a handsome engraved Winchester 1866, with some very attractive walnut furniture, that couldn’t be had for less than $8,625. The middle of the day held its own in lot 5311 with an early 1893 Borchardt pistol bearing a three-digit serial number, besting its estimate of $7,500 by realizing $10,925. Another bonanza of German dagger and sword accoutrements in lot 5337, estimated at $2,000, sparked a strong bidding battle that finally came to rest after achieving $8,625.
Hopefully by now you realize that not only is Rock Island Auction Company the best in the world at auctioning collectible firearms, we have a pretty good time doing it too. If you haven’t seen one of these auctions for yourself, we cordially invite you to our facility to attend one. Lunch is a free-will donation that goes to charity and you’re guaranteed to see some firearms that will impress even the most experienced collector. Also, if you’re considering consigning a firearm, edged weapon, or military item with Rock Island Auction Company, please call us and it would be our pleasure to answer any questions you might have. No one works harder for their consignors and we’d like to show you how. We’ve been #1 in the world for 11 straight years for a reason. Stay tuned to our webpage and social media channels for updates, photos, news, and information on our next auction, the 2015 April Premiere Firearms Auction to be held April 24, 25, & 26. The photos are starting to roll in and you won’t believe your eyes!