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Rock Island anticipates gun auction of decade Apr. 20-22

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 29 March 2012 14:39

Historic cased presentation Colt No. 3 belt model Paterson revolver with original and full complement of accessories. Estimate: $275,000-$450,000. Image courtesy Rock Island Auction.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – In nearly two decades of firearms auctions, Rock Island Auction Co. has set many world records and brought to auction some of the finest collections in the world, but none can surpass their spring sale. RIAC is presenting their April 20-22 event as not only their finest firearms auction ever, but as the first great firearms auction of the decade. From genre to genre this auction is filled with desirable pieces for every level of collector. will provide Internet live bidding.

Over 700 Colts will cross the auction block this spring with some of the most significant Colts ever assembled into one auction. A cased presentation Colt Model No. 3 Paterson with full complement of accessories takes the top estimate of $275,000-$450,000. The Colt Paterson was the first model produced by Samuel Colt, and because presentation Paterson pistols are of the rarest commodity known to firearms collectors this may be a once in a lifetime chance to own one.

RIAC is proud to present another first for Colt, serial no. 1 exhibition engraved and cased Colt Navy cartridge revolver. This revolver is the first true cartridge gun produced by Colt and is inscribed and presented to Colt employee Lewis Sheldon when he left Colt. It has remained in possession of the Sheldon family for 141 years until it was placed on consignment with the RIAC this spring. Call RIAC and ask for the specialists estimate on this truly historic piece.

Nearly 100 Colt percussions will cross the auction block with many cased, engraved and high conditioned examples. The finest production Colt Cavalry Model single action featured on the Discovery Channel pilot Ready, Aim, Sold leads the 100-plus spectacular Colt single actions in the auction with an estimate of $125,00-$175,000. The Colt single action is one of the most widely recognized firearms ever, and this April the highest condition example known to exist will be up for sale.

A U.S. inspected Model 1883 Gatling gun with field carriage and caisson is sure to turn some heads during the three-day sale and is expected to bring $200,000-$350,000.

Colts are far from the only noteworthy pieces in this auction. The auction features rare milestones in the evolution of Winchester. The first true Winchester, a Briggs Patent Henry Rifle is estimated to bring $180,000-$275,000. This rifle represents the first attempt of Oliver Winchester to improve upon the Henry rifle from the dissolved New Haven Arms Co., but was quickly outdated by the Kings patent improvement making the Briggs patent rifles obsolete. Less than 10 of these rare rifles are known to exist.

Another rare Winchester to be featured is the Model 1876 Centennial revolver ($90,000-$150,000). This is the only known example of this prototype and showcases some of the most advanced firearm designs of the time. Two examples of the highly collectible “1 of 1,000” are offered in this sale: a model 1873 with factory documentation has an estimate of $150,000-$275,000, and a documented Model 1876 with scarce 30- inch barrel is expected to bring $120,000-$180,000. More than 350 Winchesters are featured in this historic sale.

Many have come to know RIAC as the authority on military arms and this sale is no exception. RIAC is offering the finest collection of Lugers in their history featuring many presentation Lugers including a cased 1902 carbine presented by Georg Luger ($90,000-$140,000), an ultra rare “GL” prototype baby Luger ($65,000-$95,000), one of two known Hitler “Night Guard” pistols with flashlight attachment ($75,000-$150,000), and many other rare, high conditioned, presentation and historic Lugers.

Every primary issue Colt military side arm from 1851-1951 is represented featuring exceptionally rare examples including a cased “MS” marked Dragoon ($65,000-$95,000), an original Navy contract 1900 “Sight Safety” ($13,000-$19,000), and a 1907 “U.S. Army Test Trials” ($27,500-$45,000). Every manufacturer of M1911 and M1911A1’s from WWI and WWII is showcased in this auction including three variations of the rare Singer contract model from prototype, to presentation and production examples.

Some of the biggest names in history are also represented in this auction. A cased three-barrel percussion rifle/shotgun attributed to Abraham Lincoln is expected to bring $50,00-$100,000. Lincoln encouraged weapons development during the Civil War and even test fired arms himself on an open area south of the White House.

A Gastinne Renette breech-loading carbine attributed to Napoleon III has a unique history and is estimated at $22,500-$37,500. There are many other firearms inscribed, presented and attributed to historical figures in this auction including Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas Jefferson Brady, President of Peru Jose Balta, King George III and Henry Clinton.

Sporting arms make up a large portion of the 2700-lot sale featuring over 400 shotguns and over 900 modern firearms. The auction showcases a wide spectrum of high-grade Winchester Model 70’s including an ultra set of 11 consecutively numbered Model 70’s ($40,000-$60,000), 14 Model 21’s including Grand Americans, several excellent Parker Bros. shotguns, and many quality new-in-box Brownings. An engraved Parker Brothers AAHE Del Greco double-barrel shotgun is expected to bring $45,000-$55,000 and a magnificent six-barrel, special order Royal Grand American Model 21 is expected to bring $60,000-$90,000.

In addition to some of the most significant firearms ever assembled in one auction, RIAC will feature over 150 lots of 19th century antiques and Americana. The Americana is highlighted by a magnificent L.C. Tiffany Laburnam lamp, which is expected to bring $85,000-$175,000. A lifetime collection of barber bottles from every late 19th century glassmaker, Illinois River decoys, territorial stoneware, signed oil paintings and much more will be featured during the three-day sale.

View the full catalog online at or call 800-238-8022 to order your two-volume full-color catalog. See a sampling of the lots at the NRA National Convention in St. Louis, Mo., or preview the entire auction April 19 at the RIAC facilities.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to


Historic cased presentation Colt No. 3 belt model Paterson revolver with original and full complement of accessories. Estimate: $275,000-$450,000. Image courtesy Rock Island Auction.

Historic and important cased Model 1902 Georg Luger DWM semi-automatic carbine with gold inlaid Borchardt presentation. Estimate: $90,000-$140,000. Image courtesy Rock Island Auction.

Rare and historic serial No. 1, exhibition quality deluxe factory engraved, cased presentation, Colt Model 1861/72 Navy cartridge revolver. Estimate upon request; call 800-238-8022. Image courtesy Rock Island Auction.

Deluxe cased silver/gold Thuer conversion, L.D. Nimschke factory engraved Colt Model 1861 Navy revolver with battle scene Tiffany grips obtained from the son of President Pierola of Preu. Estimate: $120,000-$160,000. Image courtesy Rock Island Auction.

Extraordinarily rare and important, fully documented Briggs Patent Henry Rifle, formerly of the Winchester Museum Collection. Estimate: $180,000-$275,000. Image courtesy Rock Island Auction.

Excellent cased three-barrel set Maynard single-shot percussion rifle/shotgun attributed to President Abraham Lincoln, published in ‘One Hundred Great Guns.’ Estimate: $50,000-$100,000. Image courtesy Rock Island Auction.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 March 2012 16:05

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