Bidding Fierce in RIAC’s May Gun Auction

The star of the show from lot 1147, a magnificent cased and silver banded Colt No. 5 Texas Paterson with shell carved ivory grips and accessories, lived up to its lofty expectations and brought $805,000.
The star of the show from lot 1147, a magnificent cased and silver banded Colt No. 5 Texas Paterson with shell carved ivory grips and accessories, lived up to its lofty expectations and brought $805,000. Photo Courtesy Rock Island Auction Company.

Big crowds and intense bidding battles made for an action-filled weekend at Rock Island Auction Company’s latest event, which surpassed $14.7 million in sales.

The mood was electric and the imminent sale of numerous items well known to the collector community kept the energy high all weekend long at the May 2-4 Premiere Firearms Auction held  May 2-4, at the Rock Island Auction Company.  More than a dozen fierce bidding battles broke out during the 3-day event.

This Winchester Model 1890 rifle, deluxe, casehardened, and factory engraved realized an impressive $80,500.

This Winchester Model 1890 rifle, deluxe, casehardened, and factory engraved realized an impressive $80,500. Photo courtesy Rock Island Auction Company.

Some items were expected to be contested, like the highly desirable Winchester Model 1890 rifles.  One deluxe, casehardened and factory engraved example of the beloved boys’ rifle realized an impressive $80,500 and yet another similar specimen in near mint condition commanded a staggering $46,000.

The star of the show may have been a magnificent cased and silver banded Colt No. 5 Texas Paterson with shell carved ivory grips and accessories, which more than lived up to its lofty expectations and brought $805,000.

This Colt Civilian Walker brought $546,250. Photo Courtesy Rock Island Auction Company.

This Colt Civilian Walker brought $546,250. Photo Courtesy Rock Island Auction Company.

Its counterpart, the iconic Colt Civilian Walker, had collectors shouting bids before the auctioneer could even finish describing this remarkable item!  It rang the bell at $546,250.

The “Holland Triplets,” three consecutively serial numbered Holland & Holland Royal double barreled Express Rifles, stayed together as a set and sold to a very discerning collector for $310,500.

An elaborately ornate exhibition quality Le Page double barrel percussion shotgun was a show favorite for many collectors who had the chance to see it at gun shows across the country. It was once given as an international gift between presidents, but at auction it drew a princely sum of $253,000.

Two of the biggest names in early American firearms were combined when a Henry rifle owned by Samuel Colt crossed the auction block. Gun collectors’ shared love of history and high condition was on full display as the one-of-a-kind rifle found a new home for $184,000.

Speaking of high condition, collectors took strong notice of the fabulous and documented special order 1885 Winchester with gold inlays, panel scenes, and relief carved stock performed by Master Engraver J. Ulrich.  This impressive and prestigious piece, featured in several prominent books on the subject of Winchester engraving, would achieve $149,500 on the final day of the auction.

This sale may have also given strength to the position that 1911 pistols are an up and coming hot genre in the firearms collecting and investing fields.

Any auction would be pleased to offer one of the “Holy Grail” of 1911 collectors, the Singer, but RIAC had two of the coveted handguns that sold for $40,250 and $25,875.  There was also one of the scare M1911 pistols made by North American Arms that blew past its estimate on its way to sell for $34,500.

This Singer 1911 sold for $40,250. Photo courtesy Rock Island Auction Company.

This Singer 1911 sold for $40,250. Photo courtesy Rock Island Auction Company.

Even predecessors of the 1911 performed better than their estimates. A scarce, three digit serial number, Colt Model 1900 Sight Safety was taken home for $37,375 and a gorgeous U.S. Army contract Colt Model 1902 pistol with its documents and accessories more than doubled its high estimate to bring $34,500.

Other guns that exceeded estimate prices came from several genres such as the Civil War Sharps Model 1859 Berdan’s Sharpshooter rifle, estimated to bring between $9,500 – $13,000, that knocked down a realized price of $31,625.

Colts were also no exception, like the nickel plated, pearl gripped, factory documented and engraved Single Action Army which was estimated for $18,000 – $27,500, but sold for $37,375. Or the superb condition, nickel plated Colt Banker’s Special 22 double action that was predicted to bring between $2,250-$3,500, but one lucky collector finally won for $12,650.

With the buzzing auction and preview halls, lengthy bidding wars, excited RIAC phone bidders, last second bids, legendary firearms, items selling well into six figures, plus a very engaged crowd, this was easily one of the most entertaining auctions that RIAC has held in recent memory.

Their next sale is the July 11, 12, & 13 Regional Firearms Auction.  All spots in that sale have already been filled, but they are still accepting consignments for their September and December 2014 Premiere Auctions.  For more information on consigning with Rock Island Auction Company, please call 1-800-238-8022 or send an email to guns@rockislandauction.com.

For more information, please visit www.rockislandauction.com or call 1-800-238-8022.


Recommended Resources for Gun Collectors:

Standard-Catalog-20142014 Standard Catalog of Firearms, 24th Edition

Standard Catalog of Military Firearms 7th Edition

Gun Digest 2014, 68th Edition

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