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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lugers and other German Military in our July 2011 Auction

Those of you familiar with our regional sales know that we usually have a very large variety of firearms, books and firearms related items ranging from the seldom seen to the more well known items, such as Smith & Wesson handguns, Winchesters and a array of sporting arms generally geared for every type of  buyer or collector. This July regional sale features about 190 various Lugers and about 100 German 98 rifles. This is the first time in 7+ years of working here that we have offered such a large collection of a specific item. 

July 2011 Regional Auction - Winchester Levers

Regional Sale Article: Winchester Levers

Our annual summer regional sale is quickly approaching here at Rock Island Auction. The past couple of months have been an exciting and busy time for us. From the end of March until mid July we will have finished and mailed out two catalogs, conducted two auctions, moved over 10,000 guns, assorted inventory, and all of our offices from the old building in Moline to our new 85,000 square foot facility in Rock Island. For those of you who were unable to attend our May premier sale, we hope you will be pleasantly surprised with the new facility. You will find a larger, separate preview hall, dedicated and designed to provide ideal conditions for inspecting guns, with plenty of natural light. We also now have our own separate auction hall with a six foot projection TV screen and a permanent phone bank. Looking back to some of the first auctions we held in the garage of the original “old building” it’s amazing to see how far we have come. All thanks to you our loyal customers.

Identifying Ivory

RIAC June, 2011 Newsletter Article

At a recent gun show, there was a disagreement between two dealers as to whether a sword had a genuine ivory grip. While this was going on, one of our readers suggested that we put together a primer on identifying ivory...and as you know, the customer is always right, so here we go.

Elephant ivory is so attractive, so easy to work with, and so pure in its color that it has been a favorite of craftsmen for centuries. However, since elephants live in remote places and tend to resist radical dental work, ivory has always been expensive outside of India and Africa. And when trade routes were disrupted by war, the supply could become cut off. So there has long been a desire to find less expensive materials that have the same essential qualities of ivory without the inconvenience or cost. All kinds of tusks, teeth, bone, and even compounds formed from nuts and milk saw extensive use — with mixed success.

Did Rollin White Really Invent The Bored-Through Cylinder?

RIAC April, 2011 Newsletter Article

The answer is yes but whether he knew the significance of his idea at the time is highly unlikely.  If you have a look at his patents and read the claims, nowhere does he emphasize that feature.  The gun he invented and ideas he patented are for a totally impractical firearm, full of levers, racks and pinions and, oh yes, by the way, a bored-through cylinder.  The patent model shows a magazine hung on side with a plunger device for charging the cylinder from the front.  There is actually a surviving rifle version of that arm in the Carl Metzgar Collection at Texas A&M University.

It was Daniel Wesson who spotted the hidden detail and realized its golden potential.  He wrote the following letter to Rollin White:

“I notice in a patent granted to you under the date of Apr. 3, 1855 one claim =viz= extending the chambers of the rotating cylinder right through the rear end of said cylinder so as to enable the said chambers to be charged from the rear end either by hand or by means of a sliding charger operating substantially as described.  Which I would like make arrangements with you to use in the manufacture of firearms.  My object in this letter is to enquire if such an arrangement could be made and if so on what terms.  By replying to the above at your earliest convenience you note confirming at favor.

                                    I am sir yours respectfully,  D.B.Wesson”