Rock Island Auction Company

June 15, 2021

RIAC's June S&C Firearms Auction realizes over $8 Million!

By Joe Engesser

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Nearly halfway through the year, and the momentum just keeps rolling. Rock Island Auction Company’s June Sporting & Collector Firearms Auction realized over $8 million in total, an outstanding figure that nearly doubled the low estimate for the event. Originally planned as a two-day sale, both the booming gun market and our ever-expanding audience of firearm enthusiasts demanded the addition of another day for this anticipated June event, as well as adding a third Sporting & Collector auction later this year, a first for Rock Island Auction Company.

June’s gun auction featured nearly 3,400 lots and over 5,500 firearms.

The summer spectacular kicked off with a Wednesday Preview Day, where guests were greeted to a preview hall filled with over 5,500 vintage firearms and collector guns and militaria from around the world. The June Sporting & Collector auction offered something for everyone at a time when interest in firearms is thriving and first-time gun ownership is at an all-time high, a sentiment reflected by the rich diversity of guests who joined us over the three days that followed. From the lively crowd of seasoned collectors to the thousands of sealed bids received to the hundreds of firearm fans who participated live over the phones and via online bidding, excitement for this auction was off the charts, and we can’t thank everyone enough for making this event such a staggering success.

Day One

It wouldn’t be a real summer gathering without grilled meats, cold drinks, and a great group of friends, and that’s exactly what June’s Sporting & Collector Firearms Auction delivered here at Rock Island Auction Company. The heat kicked in as summer hit full stride, and the excitement in the auction hall never let up either as our guests bid on more than 1,100 lots on day one alone.

Winchesters came blazing in early, with a Winchester Model 1886 lever action rifle taking in $5,463, a Winchester Model 1866 musket achieving $6,900, and a Winchester Model 1866 Saddle Ring carbine realizing an impressive $8,625. Next, a couple of rare volcanic ammo guns lived up to their name with a Volcanic Repeating Arms Company pistol-carbine landing an explosive $18,400, and a factory engraved Smith & Wesson No. 1 heating up the auction hall with an impressive $10,350.

Pieces from storied gun collections like Dr. Robert Azar were offered throughout this three-day sale summer spectacle.

Vintage revolvers were next to ignite the crowd, including an engraved silver and gold plated Colt 1849 Pocket revolver selling for $4,888, a Colt 1st Gen. SAA with stag grips garnering a notable $5,463, and a rare Le Mat percussion "grape shot" revolver raking in $9,200.

A bit of thunder rumbled outside as the auction sweltered, and the shotguns passing the podium roared in answer, with a Winchester Model 12 trench shotgun going for $12,650, and Remington Model 11 semi-automatic shotgun landing $6,325, each gun achieving over four times their estimated high.

The Whitney Wolverine was another hit, selling for an impressive $4,250.

Day Two

Day two was another summer scorcher, with an even greater abundance of firearms than day one’s ample offerings, and our guests were more eager than ever to get bidding. Rifles were an early hit, with an L. D. Nimschke engraved Winchester Model 1866 carbine hauling in $12,650, while a fine-condition Winchester Model 1866 lever action rifle found a new home for $9,200.

A Massachusetts Arms Co. Model 1882 Maynard sporting rifle and a Stevens Hunter's Pet No. 34 pocket rifle went for $7,475 and $6,900 respectively, each nearly tripling their high estimate.

The interest in antiques stayed white hot throughout the day, most receiving numerous bids between the phones and the computers and the floor. A Charleville 1763/66 flintlock musket went for $8,050. A Dumouthier double barrel knife pistol grabbed $6,325, and a Turbiaux Le Protector Palm Pistol achieved $3,738, a big impression for a tiny gun.

The ultimate in conceal carry, numerous Turbiaux Patent "Protector" Palm Pistols made a splash at June’s auction.

The big guns answered back in style, with a U.S. Irwin Pedersen M1 netting $6,900, a WWII Walther G43 taking $7,475, a Westley Richards Super Magnum Explora double gun going for a staggering $17,250, and a WWII German Panzerfaust 60 anti-tank launcher blowing past its high six times over for $8,050.

Colts showed that size isn’t everything though, with an unserialized U.S. Colt Model 1911 pistol taking in $4,888, a U.S. Manhattan Project site shipped Colt Commando revolver doubled its high estimate for $5,750, two Colt Sight Safety pistols that both more than tripled their highs, bringing in $8,625 and $9,200, and a factory inscribed Colt First Gen SAA absolutely shattered all expectations by achieving $28,750.


Day three opened with a few passing clouds and a 100% chance of fantastic firearms crossing the podium. Summer means classic music, classic cars, and at Rock Island Auction Company, classic guns. For many, summer is also associated with art museums, and RIAC’s June auction presented a gallery of artistic offerings on Saturday.

A factory engraved Smith & Wesson No. 2 Volcanic pistol rocketed past its high for $14,950. A Jeff Flannery engraved Colt Model 1903 Pocket hammerless pistol with pearl grips went for $4,888. A beautifully engraved pair of antique Colt SAAs found a new home at $10,925. And a gorgeous I.M.A. Double Rifle in .700 Nitro Express brought in a stunning $19,550. Even photos, statues, and posters got in on the action, with a framed Colt advertising print achieving a respectable $3,163.

RIAC sells a variety of historic and vintage artwork as well.

Military firearms are hot right now with collectors, especially historic U.S. military pieces. With the 4th of July around the corner, perhaps the most fitting finale to a summer firearms auction was watching an assortment of U.S. military offerings ignite the crowd as they crossed the podium.

Each era was well represented, with a Civil War Spencer repeating rifle selling for $7,475, a U.S. Cavalry Model Colt SAA achieving $8,050, two U.S. Springfield bolt action .22 scoped training rifles garnering $5,175, and a U.S. inland M1A1 semi-automatic paratrooper carbine bringing in $3,738.

Appropriately, the auctio's final lot was a collection of six WW1 and WW2 commemorative Colt 1911/1911A1 pistols, each commemorating a major battle in the most fearsome wars of the 20th century.

This gorgeous Colt commemorative collection sold for a worthy $13,800.

A True Summer Spectacular

Three-days, thousands of guns, one place: Rock Island Auction Company. To the guests who made the trip in person, to those who sent in sealed bids, and to our firearms friends who participated live via phone or online, we can’t thank you enough for making this auction such a successful event. The firearms collecting market is hotter than ever, and we’re grateful to be part of such a thriving and dedicated community. Your support means the world to us!

Rock Island Auction Company's Preview Days are open to the public and an absolute blast!

Our second Premier Firearms Auction of the year is coming up this September. The May event was nothing short of historic, and fall’s premier is shaping up to be another spectacle, so keep an eye out for the online catalog in the weeks ahead. The next Sporting & Collector auction is set for October, while there’s an Arms & Ammunition auction coming up June 30th, an exciting live format where bidders can place sealed bids and bid both online and over the phone. These auctions have skyrocketed in popularity and are being frequently added to our auction calendar. Thank you again, and we'll see you in September!

As always, if there are any questions regarding consignment, registration, or future auctions, please contact Rock Island Auction Company today. Our upcoming auction schedule is updated frequently on our website, so be sure to go through the listing and start making your plans to visit. All our events adhere to the latest COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. We can’t wait to see you here!

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