Gun Digest

Historic and Rare Guns Offered at Rock Island’s September Auction

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This is just about the largest and most powerful double rifle made any where in the world. Skillfully hand crafted by master gunsmith Ken Owen of Memphis Tennessee in the early 1990's, this is an exceptional and truly rare 4 bore double rifle. Estimated Price: $85,000 - $140,000

Gun Auction Snapshot

Rock Island Auction Company announces their premiere collector’s firearms auction to be held September 9, 10, & 11 at their new facility Rock Island, IL.

One of only 50 produced, all in the 22401-22450 serial number range, this specimen, is a superb example of an extremely rare 1902 DWM Luger that has been fitted with the unique "Powell Indicating Device", commonly called a "Cartridge Counter" on the left side of the grip. Estimated Price: $50,000 - $90,000

The Putnam Green Collection was the finest U.S. & European Military collection ever offered at auction. This September RIAC is proud to feature The Putnam Green Collection Part II: An outstanding collection of rare, historic, and high condition U.S. & German Military Arms. This collection features over 100 of the most unique firearms, uniforms and holsters. Highlights of this historic collection include: The finest known historical U.S. DWM Model 1902 American Eagle cartridge counter Luger pistol serial number 22430 with holster ($50,000-$90,000 ), a magnificent Mauser Model 1912/14 experimental pistol in 9mm, with matching shoulder stock ($45,000.00-$80,000.00) and a rare early production U.S. Colt Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol serial number 33 ($40,000-$80,000). The quality military arms in this collection also include prototype P-38’s, DWM Model 1900 Test Luger, multiple presentation pistols, exceptional German military longarms and sniper rifles, and the finest known Springfield 1903 with shipping case as well as many posters, uniforms and military memorabilia. This incredible collection is only the beginning of the outstanding military arms being featured this September at RIAC.

In addition to incredible quality, this September auction offers quantity with over 400 U.S. Military arms brought to auction. Over 25 trench shotguns from WWI and WWII, more than 130 1911’s and Part 1 of the finest M1 Carbine Collection, featuring every serial number block for each contractor of M1 Carbines during WWII. Top U.S. Military lots include an excellent WWI production Winchester Model 1897 trench gun ($5,000-$7,500) and a desirable WWII inland M1 carbine with M3 infrared sniper scope and accessories (4,500-$6,500). Also many uniforms and memorabilia identified to historic Generals such as Douglas MacArthur, David McCampbell, and George S. Patton.

The impressive military is not limited to U.S., German military arms are also well represented. Once again RIAC has assembled an astonishing collection of over 350 Lugers with highlights including: an outstanding cased Model 1893 Borchardt pistol rig complete with matching walnut shoulder stock, four matching magazines and accessories ($25,000-$45,000), a WWII Nazi “1943” Dated Krieghoff luger rig with Luftwaffe/Krieghoff proofed holster and matching magazine ($8,500-$13,000), and an excellent DWM Model 1900 American Eagle Luger semi-automatic pistol with rare ideal stock ($4,500-$6,500). Other notable German arms include two WWII Cased J.P. Sauer & Sohns Luftwaffe M30 Survival Drillings, nearly 50 P-38s including prototypes and zero series, and sniper rifles many of which are rare and in high condition.

Going back further into military arms, RIAC is offering some of the rarest and historical Martial arms to ever come to auction. Of the 75+ Martial arms none are more impressive than the extremely rare John Miles 1798 U.S. Philadelphia contract blunderbuss with “Aetolian Waterloo” inscription ($50,000-$150,000) This is one of the few examples of a brass barreled shoulder blunderbuss made by John Miles Sr., circa 1798-1799 in existence. Going back even further is an extremely rare Revolutionary War, Thomas Ewing inspected, Maryland Council of Safety Gunlock Manufactory flintlock pistol ($50,000-$250,000). This pistol is 1 of 2 known to exist, and is in exceptional condition for a Revolutionary War pistol. Over 40 additional martial flintlocks make this a must participate for any early American arms collection.

This is an important example of an exhibition quality, factory engraved silver finished Henry rifle that was manufactured by the New Haven Arms company in the months of 1865 and is attributed to factory engraver Samuel Hoggson. Estimated Price: $90,000 - $160,000

Fast forward to the Civil War and take note of three incredible Henry rifles. A magnificent deluxe factory engraved, New Haven Arms Henry lever action rifle with silver plated frame ($90,000-$160,000), a historical presentation Henry Lever Action Rifle, inscribed to Andersonville Prison survivor Frank W. Smith from famed Ohio philanthropist Stillman Witt with extensive documentation ($50,000-$100,000), and a U.S. Contract Henry Rifle ($45,000-80,000). In addition are many rare Civil War handguns and longarms.

Flintlock pistol that was manufactured in 1776-1777 and stamped with the mark of Captain Thomas Ewing, inspector for the Maryland Council of Safety. Estimated Price: $50,000 - $250,000

Rare antique presentation pistols will be up for auction. Of the over 750 antiques, a documented magnificent pair of exhibition quality engraved, gold-inlaid and silver-mounted J.H. Krider Percussion Pocket Pistols ($65,000-$95,000), magnificent Sultan of Turkey presentation exhibition grade Mannlicher semi-automatic pistol with deluxe hand tooled leather bound, French fitted display case ($50,000-$100,000), and magnificent royal presentation cased engraved gold inlaid Mangeot percussion pistol with elaborately carved stock and accessories ($30,000-$50,000) are a few of the top lots to be offered. Other antique firearms include: a very fine collection of 175 antique pinfires, the largest such collection we have ever offered, 90 antique derringers, and over 20 Kentucky Rifles.

Over 450 sporting arms spanning the highest quality presentation to the high condition and rare modern day arms are represented in this auction. An extraordinary exhibition quality, engraved, massive “Owen-Rewa” 4-Bore elephant double rifle ($85,000-$140,000) is one of the most beautiful and most powerful sporting arms to ever be offered by RIAC. Owen made only six of these enormous double rifles and spent approximately “1000 hours” modeling each gun after the only known 4-bore rifle made by Holland & Holland for the Maharajah of Rewa, India in the early 20th century. Other incredible double rifles to be offered include a factory engraved Merkel Model 140 “Three Gun Set” safari series ($35,000-$55,000), an engraved gold inlaid Johann Fanzoj Ferlach side lock over / under with scope and case ($25,000-$40,000), and an engraved John Rigby & Co. (Paso Robles CA.) marked third quality double express rifle ($8,000-$14,000).

The underside of receiver of the Ken Owen double rifle features one of the most outstanding, and detail rich engraved scenes this writer has ever seen, a large bull elephant walking through the middle of a watering hole.

Exceptional sporting arms are not limited to double rifles. This auction will feature Remington shotguns from the pristine collection of James Tipton. Over 40 of the rarest and most beautiful factory engraved Remington shotguns ever to come to auction. The highlight of this collection is an exceptional consecutively numbered four-gun set of Remington custom shop R.P. Runge master engraved Model 1100SF skeet Premier Grade semi-automatic shotguns ($25,000-$50,000). An outstanding grouping of Winchester Model 21s (16 total), Model 70s (24 total), and over 90 Browning rifles and shotguns, and for the modern day sportsman there are over 50 “black” rifles that will be offered this September. If that is still not enough, there will be over 35 Class III arms from WWII to modern day including a desirable Ramo Manufacture full automatic M2 50 Cal BMG Rig with Tripod, T&E and Pintle ($15,000-$25,000).

Perennial powerhouses Colt and Winchester are well represented each with quality and quantity. An exceptional and rare Colt Model 1855 revolving carbine ($40,000-$60,000) and a unique lot of Colt percussion revolvers of the specific type used by Commodore Perry in his expedition to Japan of 1852-1853 ($25,000-$75,000) lead the way for the over 500 Colts this September. The over 250 Winchesters are lead by an exceptional special order deluxe Winchester Model 1873 lever action rifle with Cody letter ($30,000-$40,000).

For the first time ever Rock Island Auction has acquired a special collection of over 300 pieces of American stoneware. Of the 300+ pieces over 75 are from the historic Anna Pottery which is the most Anna Pottery ever offered at auction (previous record being only 16). True American Folk Art made from 1859-1893 by the Kirkpatrick brothers, Cornwall and Wallace, were well known for vocalizing their opinions on politics, social issues, and the temperance movement during the last half of the nineteenth century. The highlight of this unique collection is a Fair Jug from Southern Illinois Fair in 1884 which is estimated to bring $75,000-$150,000. Fair Jugs commemorated the local social events of the year by documenting the winners of various categories, who organized the event as well as who were the distinguished members of society. Only three fair jugs are known to exist in private hands, and two of these will be offered at this auction. Also two snake jugs and over 25 Anna Pottery railroad and river guide presentation pig flasks to be offered. These are fantastic examples of political presentations, liquor advertising and railroad presentations.

This auction truly has something for every level of collecting whether it is your first firearm or looking to add an incredible centerpiece to your collection. In its entirety, over 2700 quality lots will be offered September 9, 10, & 11 by Rock Island Auction Company. Call 800-238-8022 now to order your two-volume full-color catalog with the supplemental pottery catalog or view it online at

Recommended books for gun collectors:

2011 Standard Catalog of Firearms, 21st Edition.

Gun Digest 2012, 66th Edition

The Official Gun Digest Book of Guns & Prices 2011

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