Henry Rifle Blasts Price Record at Auction

Henry Rifle Blasts Price Record at Auction
Iron frame Henry Rifle.
Iron frame Henry Rifle realized a world-record price for a standard 19th century made American rifle at $603,750.

Blue steel proved to be pure gold at a Sept. 13-15 auction in Rock Island, Ill. The three-day event at the Rock Island Auction Company grossed $13.1 million in sales, taking bids from all 50 states and 25 countries. And in the hustle and bustle of the company’s preview hall a handful of firearms stole the show in the 2,700-piece sale.

The two most anticipated firearms were from the renowned Mac McCroskie Winchester collection, the highest grossing lot of the weekend. An iron frame Henry Rifle realized a world-record price for a standard 19th-century made American rifle at $603,750. And a gold plated factory relief Winchester Model 1866, engraved and signed by Conrad F. Ulrich, was equally as sought after, demanding $437,000 for ownership.

Winchester Model 1866 lever action rifle.
Conrad F. Ulrich masterpiece gold plated factory exhibition quality relief engraved and signed Winchester Model 1866 lever action rifle sold for $437,000 at the Rock Island Auction Company's sale.

Winchester turned out to be one of the hottest manufacturers at the auction, accounting for the top three sales. Rounding out the Winchester run was a factory engraved Model 1876 .50 Express Deluxe short rifle, which commanded the princely sum of $230,000.

Samuel Colt's merchandise had its moments in the sun, also demanding some of the weekend's highest prices. An A Company No. 182 Walker revolver – Samuel's first commercially successful revolver as well as his first military contract revolver – was the premium Colt at the sale. The revolver fetched a jaw-dropping $155,250, But it was not the only Colt to bring top dollar. A British proofed Colt Model 1860 Army revolver with matching canteen shoulder stock went out the door at $80,500; A No. 2 Paterson with extra cylinder achieved $46,000; And an exceptional factory “A” engraved Wilbur A. Glahn first generation Colt Single Action Army revolver with ivory grips sold for $40,250.

Engraved and gold inlaid Smith & Wesson 44 Double Action.
Gustave Young's 1893 Chicago World's Fair Exposition engraved and gold inlaid Smith & Wesson 44 Double Action Frontier Model Revolver with Nevada gold mining lawmen history which brought $155,250.

Smith & Wesson was not left out in the cold when it came to top-end collectable firearms. Perhaps one of the auction's finest examples of 19th-century craftsmanship was an engraved and gold inlaid Smith & Wesson 44 double action Frontier Model. The revolver was ornamented by famed Colt and Smith & Wesson engraver Gustave Young. The delicate design was enough to command top dollar, but drew an impressive $155,250 due its documented history as a Nevada lawman's gun.

Other notable sales at the auction included a Singer Tool Room/Prototype M1911A1 semi-automatic pistol. The World War II artifact drew a winning bid of $43,125. A top-notch U.S. contract New Haven Arms Co. Henry Rifle rang the bell at an impressive $80,500. And an outstanding presentation Winchester Second Model 1866 carbine with Henry Patent barrel address went out the door for $46,000.


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