Gun Digest

Firearm Auction News: The Biggest One of the Decade

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The folks at Rock Island Auction Company have been busy. Based in Rock Island, Illinois, they will be hosting their best firearms auction ever in their two-decade history on April 20th, 21st and 22nd. They claim this will be their biggest of the decade so far.

The auction will be heavily populated by Colts with over 700 up for sale. A cased presentation Colt Model No. 3 Paterson with full accessories is currently the top ranked item with a pre-auction estimate of $275,000-$450,000. This firearm was the first model produced by Samuel Colt. It is considered one of the rarest firearms to acquire.

Another Colt for sale is a Colt Navy cartridge revolver with a number one serial number. It is the first true catridge gun made by Colt and it is inscribed to Lewis Sheldon, a Colt employee. It's been in the Sheldon family ever since–almost a 150 years.

Extremely Rare and Historic Serial Number, 1, Exhibition Quality Deluxe Factory Engraved, Cased Presentation, Colt Model 1861/72 Navy Cartridge Revolver

And then there are over a 100 Colt percussion guns up for bids, one of which, is a Colt Calvary Model single action that was on the Discovery Channel's Ready, Aim, Sold program.  There is much more:  a U.S. inspected Model 1883 Gatling gun, the first “true” Winchester, a Briggs Patent Henry Rifle; a rare prototype Winchester Model 1876 “Centennial” revolver, a huge collection of Lugers; numerous makes and models of M1911 and M1911A1’s from WWI and WWII, and overover 400 shotguns and over 900 modern firearms. And more and more. The catalog for this auction can be viewed at

A huge variety of firearms will be crossing the auction block but what about the popularity of the Colt revolvers?

It is an American icon. It is the gun that won the West. It made men more equal. They are dependable, tough, and accurate. It is elegant in a simple way and the form follows the function so well the Colt Single Action revolver should be enshrined in a museum of design.

It's no wonder that the Colt Single Action was included in the book the Greatest Guns of Gun Digest edited by the late firearms expert Dan Shideler. In the chapter on the Colt Single Action, author James M. Triggs wrote in the opening paragraph:

“Ounce for ounce there is probably;y has been more unadulterated baloney written, published, and otherwise disseminated about the Single Action Colt revolver than any other handgun ever manufactured. The reason for all of this ballyhoo is simple: the old “thumb-buster” was — and still is — one of the finest handguns ever made. It's few disadvantages are often outweighed by its pure romantic appeal alone.”

Triggs then goes into a highly detailed history of Colt revolvers and covers every technical aspect in the handgun's design and manufacture. In the last sentence he wrote: ” . . . Single Action Colt, the more you shoot it the more you will appreciate its rugged dependibility. It is truly one gun that is here to stay.”

So perhaps that explains why Colt revolvers will always be in demand whether at an auction or at a gun shop. It's a classic built to last.


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