Gun Digest

Gun Collecting: Firearm Auction Realizes $12.5 Million

U.S. Colt Walker Model 1847 revolver. This lot commanded not only the highest price of the weekend, at $138,000
U.S. Colt Walker Model 1847 revolver. This lot commanded not only the highest price of the weekend, at $138,000

ROCK ISLAND, IL — Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC) set the firearms market ablaze at their inaugural 2013 Premiere Firearms auction held April 19, 20 & 21, realizing over $12.5 million in sales.

In addition to those who made the trip to bid live, nearly 15,000 sealed, telephone and internet bids were placed with RIAC over the course of the three days. “The response from the collecting community and those savvy investment buyers was spectacular. This auction set a record for us not only as the most absentee bids placed in a Premiere auction but we had 930 successful bidders” said Hogan.

The highest grossing item of the week was Lot number 3069, which was the scarce and desirable documented U.S. Colt Walker Model 1847 revolver. This lot commanded not only the highest price of the weekend, at $138,000, but also one of the most intense bidding wars as bidder cards seemed to shoot up almost simultaneously around the room.

Winchester Pre-64 carbine in 7.92 mm caliber, which brought $31,626.

“It was a classic war of attrition as bidders bowed out at $100,000, and it was between two determined phone bidders” said Kevin Hogan, Patrick’s son and fellow auctioneer.

Other Colt firearms also commanded large sums – Lot 1091, the finest pair of U.S. Martially Inspected Colt 2nd Model Dragoon Revolvers brought $115,000, Lot 1412, the rare Bertrand Couch factory engraved and gold inlaid revolver brought $109,250, while a Patterson No. 3 Belt Model Pistol, which was estimated from $30,000-40,000 realized $54,000.

Winchester firearms were also in high demand. A beautiful collection of Winchester Model 1887 Shotguns experienced quite a bit of interest as Lot 1025, a Special Order 20 inch Winchester Model 1887 shotgun in phenomenal condition estimated $25,000-$37,500 brought $54,625, while Lot 1026, one of only five factory engraved Winchester Model 1887 shotguns, rang the bell at $97,750.

Yet shotguns were only the beginning, as the world famous Winchester Model 70 experienced a banner weekend. In total 12 different Model 70 rifle and carbine variations all brought over $15,000 apiece. Most notably were Lot 1739, the only known Pre-64 carbine in 7.92 mm caliber, which brought $31,626 while a factory engraved and gold inlaid Model 70 Super Grade commanded $28,750. Other notable sales in the Winchester collecting genre include two different Henry Rifle variations — Lot 3017, an exceptionally rare, iron frame Henry, which brought $109,250, while an equally rare documented Civil War engraved Henry achieved $74,750.

This beautiful American eagle Artillery Luger sold for $51,750.

Military Gun Collecting Hotter Than Ever

Military arms from around the world drew record-breaking interest.

Experimental Japanese Pedersen rifle, serial number 5, realized $31,625.

U.S. arms were represented with early Civil War guns, Lot 1098, with the finest Civil War Spencer Rifle RIAC has ever cataloged. It was estimated at $20,000-$30,000 and achieved an impressive $48,875 as a determined floor bidder eventually conceded defeat and saw the item sell to a phone bidder.

Lot number 1848, which was a magnificent and early U.S. Navy Marked Colt Model 1911 estimated $18,000-$27,500 brought $51,750, while an equally rare 1903 Mark I Rifle with original Pederson device brought $69,000.

Likewise other military arms from abroad saw similar results. Lot 1463, a historically significant Swiss Model 1894 Mondragon reached $37,375, while a pair of experimental Japanese Pedersen rifle and carbine both serial number 5 each realized $31,625.

German military arms made a strong showing with a beautiful American eagle Artillery Luger that brought $51,750.  A unique full crate of thirty P38 pistols brought $25,875, and a rare pair of consecutively property marked Kreigsmarine Mauser Lugers realized $37,375.  For more information regarding this sale or interest in selling with Rock Island Auction Company call 800-238-8022 or visit

Resources for Military Gun Collectors

The Standard Catalog of Military Firearms

The Greatest Guns of Gun Digest

Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values

Gun Digest 1944 – 2013 3-Disc Set

Gun Digest the Magazine

Gun Digest 2013

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