World Records Shattered in 2018 April Premiere
By Joel R. Kolander
When Rock Island Auction Company promises an exciting 2018, they certainly know how to deliver. The 2018 April Premiere Firearms Auction was the largest grossing in company history with a realized total of $17.7 million with an incredible SEVEN new world records! The most impressive of which was the new record set for a single firearm at auction at $1.84 million, the second time the company broken that record as well as the second occasion it has sold a single firearm over the $1 million mark in the last three years. Containing 17 named collections in a single sale and numerous collector firearms with “the finest known” or “the only known example” in their headlines, perhaps this performance should come as no surprise.
The auction started with a bang when inside the first hour of the sale came lot 60, the world’s only known cased civilian Colt Walker. Flagship of the entire auction, it spurred a lengthy and good-natured bidding battle between two bidders in the auction hall. Normally, the auction hall begins to buzz as the bids climb to exciting levels, but on Friday you could have heard a pin drop. The atmosphere was surreal and the audience in attendance was happy to burst into laughter as the two bidders shared a few amicable exchanges. At the end, the Walker would go home with a new steward for $1.84 million dollars – a world record price for a single firearm at auction. Numerous highlights came out of the Allan Cors Collection as well as the Robert Berryman Bowie Knife and Push Dagger Collection, such as the well-photographed Will & Finck push dagger and its silver sheath in lot 67 that sliced its $25,000 high estimate to ribbons for a $37,375 realized price.
Day 2 of auction opened to a packed house and featured excitement in numerous genres. Leading the way on Saturday was the fresh-to-market and finest known deluxe Winchester 1876 in lot 1017, which brought an enviable $747,500. A fine Singer M1911A1 pistol from the Allan Cors Collection in lot 1755 brought an outstanding $172,500, a total that would have smashed the old world record had RIAC not already broken it last December. It is another fine indicator of the rising market for not only Singer pistols, but also U.S. military arms as a whole. Also, of note from the Cors Collection was the extremely rare early prototype of the FN 49 semi-automatic rifle, a design which would later evolve into the ubiquitous FN FAL. Housed in lot 1633, this developmentally significant arm smashed its $30,000 high estimate for $74,750. Other highlights abounded in the Frank Pachmayr Collection of fine sporting arms, Colt semi-autos, machine guns, and U.S. military arms. Saturday also showcased the popularity of RIAC Live to all in attendance. Hopping with activity all weekend long, the auction house’s own live, online bidding software accounted for nearly 10% of all sales on the day, an impressive feat for launching only six short months ago. More and more bidders are discovering how easy it is to bid live online and enjoying numerous other features as well that interact with their account on www.rockislandauction.com.
The third day of auction brought concerns of incoming severe weather, but bidders braved the elements and made a fine final day of auction. The top item of the day was the earliest recorded, factory engraved Winchester 1873 in lot 3012, which surpassed its $140,000 high estimate for a $195,500 final price. Not far behind was a stunning, factory engraved Colt Super 38 pistol in lot 3256 that bewitched several bidders to nearly double its high estimate and sell for $149,500. Representing the success of high art antiques in the sale was the 1594-dated, engraved, and gilded wheellock holster pistol in lot 3123. Recognized for the museum worthy piece it is, it found a new home for $46,000, more than double its high estimate.
Rock Island Auction Company continues to set records year after year. Whether it’s industry records in annual sales, record high prices for certain models of firearm, or even setting new personal bests for sales in a single auction. The sale of the “Danish Sea Captain” Walker in this auction approximately doubles the previous record for a Colt Walker. Not only is the Walker the highest selling single firearm of all time at auction, it is the second highest selling firearm ever in any category at auction. As mentioned earlier, the price for the Singer would have been a new world record had RIAC not shattered the old on in December. The list of world records broken by RIAC in this sale are:
- World Record Price for a single firearm at auction
- World Record Price for a Colt
- World Record Price for a Winchester Model 1876
- World Record Price for a Colt Super 38
- World Record Price for a martial Henry rifle
- World Record Price for a Savage Navy pistol
- World Record Price for an Fabrique Nationale
- World Record Price for a Colt Police Positive
- World Record Price for a Winchester Model 42
- World Record Price for a Sauer 38H
Rock Island Auction Company is unique in setting these prices and drawing unprecedented levels of attention to the world of collector firearms. Other collecting genres such as collector cars, paintings, watches, and jewelry have long held respect for their history, craftsmanship, and aesthetic. Collector firearms remain underappreciated in the collector market providing a ripe opportunity for collectors seeking that same artistry and history.
For those seeking to join in RIAC’s success, they are accepting consignments for their two remaining 2018 Premiere Auctions. For more information you may email [email protected], call 1-800-238-8022, or visit www.rockislandauction.com/consignment.