Rock Island Auction Company’s latest event had no trouble getting collector to break out their cash. In all, the Illinois company had $4.5 million in sales at its June Regional Auction.
The numbers the world’s largest firearms auction house generated were of little surprise. The firearms that tallied up the numbers, however, did raise some eyebrows.
Classic blue chip rifles, shotguns and handguns had bidders reaching for their wallets at the June 26-28 event. But there was a fair share of more contemporary guns that had collectors attempting to best each other.
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For the most part, these newer firearms all had one thing in common — military service. Along these lines, one of the top draws were actually two of the 20th Century’s most heralded battle rifles that had been modified for sporting purposes.
A lot containing a customized Springfield Armory M1903 and a Mauser Model 98 was sold for a whopping $5,462. This far exceeded what RIAC expected the .30-06 and 7x57mm to draw with the company estimating they would move for a humble $1,100.
A multi-gun collection of AK- and SKS-style rifles also vastly outperformed expectations. The five guns had been anticipated to move for a mere $1,300, but went out the door for $4,312 instead. This particular lot was so sought after there was activity from 26 bidders before the auction even began.
While some younger upstarts muscled into the spotlight of the auction, old standbys still drew top dollar.
As would be expected, a Civil War era Henry rifle recorded one of the highest prices of the auction. The rifle drew a winning bid of $20,700; adding to its desirability were markings indicating it was government inspected, thus had potentially seen action in the conflict.
The auction not only moved guns of national historic significance, but also those that had made a mark in entertainment.
A Pietta reproduction of a Colt 1851 Navy drew a winning bid of $17,250, given it was used in the Clint Eastwood film The Outlaw Josie Wales. The unique item came with a framed certificate of authenticity.