Auction Update March 2009


Upcoming auctions feature classic Colts, Winchesters, Civil War firearms

Several high-profile auctions in March and April will set the bar for high-quality collectible firearms.

Sales by Rock Island Auction Co., James D. Julia Co., J.C. Devine Co., Bryan Imes & Sons Co., and Coys of Great Britain each will feature high-profile rifles, handguns, and/or Civil War memorabilia from private collections.

Rock Island lists Colts, Winchesters, and More

Dates: April 25, 26 and 27, 2009

Location: Moline, Illinois

Contact: Visit for more information.

The Rock Island April auction will include a New Haven Arms Co. Volcanic Lever-Action Navy Pistol with detachable stock, estimated at $75,000 to $100,000.

An engraved Parker Bros. Model AH Double Barrel Boxlock Shotgun in 28 Gauge is estimated at $45,000 to $70,000 in the Rock Island April auction.

An engraved Butterfield self-priming Deringer pistol in the Rock Island April auction carries an estimate of $50,000 to $75,000.

Colts, Winchester, European military, and other firearms will be featured in Rock Island’s Spring Premiere Auction April 25-27.

The sale will feature the second part of the Will Hoffeld estate and firearms collection and the final installment of the Frank Sellers collection. (Sellers is the author of Sharps Rifles and more than 20 other books.)

Also listed are military firearms from the collection of Scott Meadows, author of U.S. Military Automatic Pistols. The collection includes a large group of Philadelphia Deringers, Henry Deringers, and a rare Butterfield Deringer. Other firearms include 19th century Smith & Wessons, Colts, Remingtons, and Custer battlefield relics.

Another highlight will include a large grouping of small-bore shotguns — more than 100 .410-bore, 100 20-gauge, 50 28-gauge and 30 16-gauge — and pre-64 Winchester Model 70s in rare calibers.

James Julia Auction to Showcase Dr. Joseph A. Murphy Colt Collection

Dates: March 16 and 17, 2009

Location: Fairfield, Maine

For details, call 207-453-7125 or visit

General U.S. Grant's Factry Engraved Colt 1860 Army (Serial No. 151718E), inscribed  “Union & Liberty,” carries an estimate of $350,000-$650,000. This piece is part of the James D. Julia “Doc” Murphy collection to be auctioned March 16-17.

A Volcanic Carbine in its original box will be featured in the James Julia March 16-17 auction.

This gold and engraved Colt 1878 DA with pearl grips was presented to Captain Jack Crawford by the Colt Patent Firearms Co. It will be offered in the James Julia March auction and has an estimate of $175,000-$225,000.

A cased Parker A-1 Special 20-gauge with 32 inch barrels (serial number 207xxx) carries an estimate of $120,000-$150,000 in the Julia auction.

A rare CIA Deer Gun Clandestine Single Shot Pistol from the Tom Clinton Collection will be available in the Julia auction. It was manufactured around 1964 as an updated version of the Liberator pistol which was dropped behind enemy lines in WWII; the “Deer” gun was designed to be dropped in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam war, but the guns never made it to Vietnam and the CIA denies their existence. It is rumored that the guns were destroyed and only a handful survived. The frame is one piece cast aluminum with raised checkering on the grip area which was hollow to house a few extra rounds of ammunition. A groove runs down a ramp on top for sighting. The barrel unscrews for loading and removing the empty casing. A cocking knob was pulled until cocked. The aluminum trigger featured no trigger guard. Included with the pistol are a set of original engineering drawings which may be original blueprints. Copies of the original instructions are also included, which show how to use the gun against enemy with a hammer and sickle on his sleeve. It has an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

This engraved Colt single action army revolver is the earliest known factory engraved single action. The 1876 Centennial Exhibition colt is part of the Doc Murphy collection to be auctioned in March by James Julia Co.

An engraved and gold inlaid Colt single action army revolver, the Sears & Roebuck “Cowboy” Special from the Doc Murphy collection.

A rare cased engraved inventor presentation Colt Charter Oak 1855 Root Model 2 percussion revolver from the Doc Murphy collection.

A pristine (possibly unfired) cased Purdey 16-bore rifle and shotgun offered in the March James Julia auction carries an estimate of $60,000-$90,000.

A Model 1898 Dutch test/acceptance pre-production prototype Borchardt- Luger semi-auto pistol with serial number 35 could go for $90,000-$130,000 in the James Julia March auction.

The first of three James D. Julia auctions featuring the Dr. Joseph “Doc” Murphy Colt collection will be held March 16-17, the company announced. The second segment will be held in October, and the third will take place in spring 2010. Murphy’s extensive Colt collection includes more than 100 pieces and is valued at around $26 million.

Among the Colt offerings are: A cased engraved Patterson belt model with eight silver bands in nearly new condition; it carries a presale estimate of $275,000 to $500,000. A Colt single-action Sears & Roebuck (gold inlaid, engraved and cased) SAA has an estimate of $450,000 to $800,000. A cased first-model Colt dragoon that was once presented to Franklin Pierce is estimated at $250,000 to $450,000. A deluxe factory-engraved Colt 1860 Army revolver with ebony grips inscribed “Union and Liberty” that was acquired from a descendent of Ulysses S. Grant will be presented autographed CDV of Grant; the package has an estimate of $350,000 to $650,000. A pair of cased 1861 Colt Navy revolvers presented to General Robert Anderson by Colt will be offered with Anderson’s sword and other Anderson memorabilia. The lot carries an estimate of $1,250,000 to $2,250,000.

Other items in the Julia action will cover shotguns and sporting rifles, including: A cased Parker A-1 Special 20-gauge with 32 inch barrels, SN 207xxx for $120,000 to $150,000; a Parker AAHE 20-gauge with 28-inch barrels and factory letter for $50,000 to $70,000; a Dossa Bertuzzi engraved side lock 16-gauge two-barrel set for $60,000 to $90,000; and a vintage pair of H&H 12-gauge game guns for $30,000 to $50,000.

The sporting rifles arena includes a J. Rigby Rising Bite .450NE with a presale estimate of $70,000 to $100,000 and a R.G. Owen, Kornbrath engraved bolt rifle for $27,500 to $37,500.

A high-quality Colt single-action revolver marketed by the Hart Gun Shop of Tombstone (next to the O.K. Corral), together with a Tombstone marked holster and other Tombstone artifacts, is estimated at $100,000 to $125,000. An engraved Colt 1878 DA with pearl grips presented to Capt. Jack Crawford (longtime friend of Buffalo Bill) carries an estimate of $175,000 to $225,000. A cased silver mount presentation Bowie with sheath for Colonel Thomas Stevenson made sometime during the Civil War has a presale estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. A 16-1/2 inch volcanic carbine and its rare cardboard box is estimated at at $18,000 to $22,000.

Civil War items include a gold standing Liberty figure hilt presentation sword presented to G.W. Harrison of the New Jersey Volunteers; it is estimated at $25,000 to $35,000. A Confederate Arkadelphia musket — one of two known to exist — carries a presale estimate of $50,000 to $85,000. A Tiffany sword presented to Medal of Honor winner Brig. Gen. R. Saxton by recently freed slaves in South Carolina in 1864 will be offered with an estimate of $85,000 to $125,000.

Among the Winchesters, a Civil War period engraved Henry with patriotic motifs carries a presale estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. Three rare Winchester cartridge boards, including an 1884 WRAC Bullet Board from a private collection, has a presale estimate of $15,000-$20,000.

A Luger .30-caliber pistol tested by the Dutch for its military with serial number 35 has an estimated for $90,000 to $130,000.

Civil War swords in J.C. Devine sale

Date: April 19, 2009

Location: Milford, New Hampshire

Contact: For more information on other items in the sale, call 877-454-4867 or visit

A Civil War Model 1850 Foot Officer’s Sword offered by J.C. Devine.

A Civil War Ames Model 1850 sword.

A S&W .44 with 8” barrel single action revolver used in the Civil War and offered by J.C. Devine Co.

Two swords and a revolver used in the Civil War are among the highlights of an April 19 auction by J.C. Devine. All three items are from the Hodges collection of personal artifacts used during the war

One sword is an 1850 Foot Officer’s pattern model with a 30 3/4” blade. The sword has the trademark knight logo of W./ CLAUBERG SOLINGEN.” The other is a standard pattern Ames Co. U.S. Model 1850 Foot Officer’s sword with a 30” blade.

The Hodges collection also includes a .44 American caliber S&W 8″ barrel (serial number 1032) model single action revolver bearing the inscription “F.S. Hodges of the A & P Railroad.”

Dave Florance collection part of Imes & Sons auction

Dates: March 20, 2009

Location: Port Royal, Pennsylvania

Contact: For details, visit or call 717-527-2449

The collection of big game hunter, Dave Florance (Mossy Oak Hunting the Country, American Hunter) will be offered in the March 20 auction by Bryan Imes & Sons Co. The sale will feature pre-1964 Winchesters, including Model 70s, Model 88s, Model 94s, Model 1894s, Ted Williams guns made by Winchester, ammo boxes, reloading tools, and scopes.
Remingtons, Brownings, Ithacas, Mausers, Mossbergs, Rugers, and other collectible firearms will also be included.

U.K. Gun Auction Held by Coys

Dates: April 25 to 27, 2009

Location: Moline, Illinois

Contact: For more information, visit

A rare over & under, round action (circa 1994) from Scottish gunmaker David Mackay-Brown features a walnut stock with a semi pistol grip and a gold oval engraved with a mythical tiger. This gun will be offered in the Coys March auction.

Patrick Keen will hold a Sporting Gun Auction with Coys Classic Cars on March 12 at the Royal Horticultural Halls, London.

Among the guns offered is a David Mackay-Brown over & under 12-bore in its leather case (estimate £22,000 to £26,000), a Boss over & under, a Holland & Holland Royal, a John Dickson 12-bore round action, a Purdey 12-bore sidelock, and a pair of 12-bore Beesley sidelocks in their original case.

For more information, visit or

To report auction news, e-mail editor Don Butler at

Rock Island post auction records

The top seller of the Rpock Island December auction was a rare Colt Texas Paterson revolver with seven German silver bands and ivory grips — one of the eight Patersons offered at no reserve. It sold for $103,500.

A cased pair of consecutively serial numbered Winchester-built Model 21 three barrel set shotguns brought $80,500, within estimate price.

An engraved Henry lever-action rifle realized $74,750.

The December Rock Island Auction Co. (RIAC) auction realized strong and record-setting results, the company announced. The Dec. 6-8 auction had more than 2,700 lots featuring firearms, edged weapons, and military artifacts.

Key items include a selection of rare and high-end Colts from the Will Hoffeld estate (proceeds from the sale will benefit the NRA foundation, to which RIAC announced a matching pledge).

A rare Hotchkiss revolving naval cannon with carriage mount and accessories brought $92,000.

RIAC offered over 300 Winchesters in the December sale. The high seller was a Winchester factory presentation 1866 lever action rifle that had an Ulrich pattern engraving with nickel finish; it sold for $23,000. An engraved Winchester model 1873 lever action rifle with patriotic motif rose above the estimate to realize $13,800.

Sporting arms collectors bid more than $819,000 on shotguns and more than $405,000 on rifles and pistols. A set of three Browning Renaissance semi-automatic pistols in a wood case sold for $7,475. The top seller for sporting rifles was a master-engraved B. Ludwig Merkel model K2 Vintagers series single shot stalking rifle with scope ($12,650). An exceptional quality engraved and gold inlaid Hoffman Arms English proofed side by side box lock shotgun with ejectors brought an above-estimate price of $23,000. An engraved L. Ernst gold inlaid Belgium Browning P2Q water fowl edition superposed shotgun (with box) doubled its high estimate and sold at $20,700.

A price of $97,750 was brought for a double-cased set of presentation inscribed Civil War Colt Model 1851 navy revolvers with ivory grips. Over 80 Brevetes were offered, including a N. Gilon Liege engraved Brevete Colt Walker model revolver that sold for $34,500. A cased Smith & Wesson Model 320 Revolving Rifle with Stock sold above estimate ($11,000 – 18,000) at $25,875.

This auction’s rich history was seen in both the Civil War and WWII firearms and items. A rare Confederate Rigdon, Ansley & Co., percussion revolver sold for $31,625. A model 1860 Cavalry Officer's Saber with post Civil War militia presentation inscription brought a price of $6,325. Bidding interest could also bee seen in WWII firearms, an exceptional WWII J.P. Sauer Luftwaffe M30 Survival Drilling realizing a price of $31,625.

Here’s a list of some of the top sellers (estimates in paretheses):

Colt Texas Paterson Revolver with Seven Silver Bands and Ivory Grip, $103,500 ($125,000-$225,000)

Double Cased Set of Presentation Inscribed Civil War Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolvers with Ivory Grips and Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver, $97,750 ($100,000-$125,000)

Hotchkiss Revolving Naval Cannon with Carriage Mount and Accessories, $92,000 ($50,000-$75,000)

Cased Pair of Consecutively Serial Numbered Winchester Built Model 21 Three Barrel Set Shotguns and Engraved Gold Inlay Winchester Model 21 Three Barrel Set Shotgun, $80,500 ($65,000-$85,000)

Colt Double Barrel Rifle, $80,500 ($85,000-$130,000)

Deluxe Engraved Silver-Plated Henry Lever-Action Rifle, $74,750 ($75,000-$125,000)

Civil War Production Henry Lever Action Rifle, $69,000 ($65,000-$90,000)

Colt A Company No. 182 Walker Model Revolver, $63,250 ($75,000-$150,000)

Colt Paterson No. 3 Belt Model Revolver with Flared Grip, $48,875 ($40,000-$60,000)

U.S. Contract New Haven Arms Company Henry Rifle, $37,375 ($35,000-$45,000)

N. Gilon Liege Engraved Brevete Colt Walker Model Revolver, $34,500 ($15,000-$30,000)

Original Cased Luftwaffe Model 30 Drilling with Case and Accessories, $31,625 ($22,500-$37,500)

Colt 3rd Model Dragoon Revolver with Four-Screw Frame, $31,625 ($32,500-$40,000)
Colt Paterson Pocket Model Revolver No. 1 (Fourth Model Ehlers), $31,625 ($30,000-$50,000)

WWII J.P. Sauer Luftwaffe M30 Survival Drilling with the Aluminum Storage Case and Accessories, $31,625 ($25,000-$35,000)

Confederate Rigdon, Ansley & Co., Percussion Revolver, $31,625 ($25,000-$50,000)
Cased Deluxe Presentation Savage Revolving Fire-Arms Co. Navy Model Revolver, $31,625 ($35,000-$55,000)

Rock Island February Regional Sale Surpasses $2.2 Million

After setting a company record for annual sales in 2008, Rock Island Auction started 2009 year its Feb. 6-7 Regional Sale reaching $2.2 million, doubling any other previous regional sale.

More than 2,100 lots were offered that contained 4,300 firearms from the Will Hoffeld Estate. More than 14,000 sealed bids were received for the sale, and some lots had up to 25 pre-auction bids. After the auction, only two lots didn’t sell.

The top sellers include a frame of bullet molds from the Hoffeld estate that sold for $3,450, more than four times the high estimate. M1 Grands and M1 Carbines were in high demand from the bidders — an excellent late production Winchester M1 carbine brought $4,025. Nearly all Smith and Wessons sold at or above the low estimate including a Smith & Wesson number three second model American revolver which realized $2,300. Other notable items are two German hunting swords with sheaths that reached $5,462 and a lot of two lever action carbines (a Colt burgess lever action saddle ring carbine and a Whitney-Kennedy lever action saddle ring carbine) brought $7,475.


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