A Colt single-action Sheriff’s Model revolver sold for $92,000 and highlighted Cowan’s Auctions May 2007 Historic Firearms and Early Militaria sale. The auction, which attracted more than 1,400 absentee bids, generated total sales of $1.52 million from 1,256 lots.
The Sheriff’s Model is a .45 caliber, with a 3.5-inch barrel, serial No. 172734, with the two-line address on top. The left side of the barrel bears caliber markings in a banner, and the left side of the frame carries the two-line patent dates. The frame is a black-powder version with the ejector-release screw in the front under the cylinder pin. The revolver is factory-engraved, with a silver finish and carved bull’s-head pearl grips. The backstrap was marked with the factory inscription “Johnnie Johnson.” An inscription on the bottom of the butt reads “Mrs. Roberto.” The original factory letter accompanied the revolver, which was shipped to H. Woodhaus & Son on Sept. 15, 1897.
In addition to the Colt, the sale focused on some great Winchester items, including lever-action rifles and memorabilia.
“It was the best collection of Winchester-made items to come to light in many years,” said Jack Lewis Jr., head of Cowan’s Historic Firearms and Early Militaria Department.
Highlighting the first day of the sale was the Hunter Winchester collection, an assortment of accouterments sold from the estate of Clarence R. Hunter. The collection brought more than $375,000. The Hunter lots included two Winchester baseball bats and a fielder’s glove that sold for a total of $1,035. Four- and six-lot Winchester gun-oil cans brought $977.50 each, and Winchester gun grease tubes sold for $862.50. A Winchester lawnmower sold for $747.50.
Winchester advertising from the Hunter collection was also auctioned. A Winchester window two-sided display panel sold for $2,300. Two lots of three Winchester display signs sold for $1,092.50 and $1,840, respectively. A Winchester .22-caliber cartridge smokeless-powder sign brought $1,150, and two sets of Winchester display cards sold for $2,530and $3,450.
Cartridge boxes were in demand, reflecting the increasing popularity of these items, especially from the 1920s and 1930s. Proving that nostalgia in its original state provokes any collector, a group of 13 .22-caliber cartridge boxes advertised as Copperhead sold for $1,495. Further, 11 Peter’s cartridge boxes sold for $977.50, and 10 Savage cartridge boxes sold for $632.50.
Local Cincinnati items were also featured, including a Peter’s league paper shotshell empty box that sold for $2,185. Peter’s Cartridge Co. was located in King Mills, Ohio, and made ammunition for years. Peter’s Cartridge was eventually bought by Remington Arms in 1934.
Surprises included a leather hunting pouch from the 1800s. The item, in great condition and accompanied by the original accouterments (a measure and powder horn), sold for $12,650. Four Winchester paint cans brought $1,150. Also, a Revolutionary War-era saber made by Louis Prahl sold for $4,312.50.
Cowan’s next Historic Firearms and Early Militaria auction is slated for November 2007. For information, contact Jack Lewis Jr. at (513) 871-1670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.