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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This just in....

Rock Island Auction Company Shatters Industry World Record with 
47 Million Dollars in Annual Sales and Is, Once Again, the
#1 Firearms Auction Company in the World for the Ninth Consecutive Year!

Rock Island Auction Company would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to both our consignors and buyers for once again making RIAC the top firearms auction company in the World. “It is with great pride and humility we, as an auction team, were able to achieve such monumental success in 2012,” said Patrick Hogan, President and CEO of Rock Island Auction Company. “The results we were able to achieve are nothing short of astonishing,” chimed Judy Voss, Vice President of RIAC who has been with the company since its conception. “In 2010 we thought we had done the impossible by posting an annual sales total of just over 32 million dollars. What we did this year is truly unprecedented; not only did we break our record, we decimated it and by over 15 million dollars, we truly rewrote the book,” said Voss. In an ever increasingly competitive marketplace, Rock Island Auction not only continues to grow but they continue to thrive. Hogan can point to a number of contributing factors that explain RIAC’s growth and continued success, but the common denominator falls back on the staff of RIAC.

“In a given year we will sell anywhere from 18,000-20,000 firearms which means our staff first must find the product, process the product, and find the market for the product,” said Hogan. The estimated 18,000-20,000 firearms all require individual descriptions while the RIAC photographers are challenged to take some 100,000 photographs per year. The end result is what many consider the finest auction catalog in the industry which is followed unequivocally by the strongest and most comprehensive marketing campaign in the business. “At the end of the day I am confident that I have the finest auction team in the world” said Hogan.

The success of RIAC in 2012 was not by mistake or chance, but rather was the result of a number of true lifetime collections RIAC was entrusted to sell which included: The Gateway Collection, The Michael Barrett Collection, The Howard “Doc” Janecek Collection, The William Ashby Collection, The Anthony Urbanowski Smith & Wesson Collection, and the estate of world class Colt Firearms dealer Bobby Smith, to name a few. “We consider ourselves to be extremely fortunate to be able to offer these collections back to the market place. It’s a tremendous success for us as a company to secure one of these collections in a given year let alone all of them” said Hogan. Notable sales for the year include an original 16 inch Colt “Buntline Special” estimated at $325,000-$475,000 which commanded a world record price of $546,250, an original Half Octagon Half Round Winchester “1 of 1000” estimated at $275,000-$450,000 realized $402,500,   Serial Number 1 Exhibition Engraved and Cased Colt Navy Cartridge Revolver Presented by Colt to Lewis Sheldon Colt Paymaster During the Civil War rang the bell at $368,000, and an Outstanding Factory Cased Gold Plated and Relief Engraved SA Viktor Lutze Presentation Walther Model PP Pistol estimated at $70,000-$120,000 realized a staggering $241,500.

As 2012 draws to a close RIAC promises to hit the ground running in 2013 with their first of three Premiere auctions scheduled for early May.  “This year we did the unthinkable,” said Hogan, “but don’t think my staff is content with these results for a single year-- who knows, next year we could shoot for 50!”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Single Shot Rifles in Quality, Diversity, Condition & Rarity!



Single Shot Rifles From Professional Bison Hunters of the Western Plains to the International Rifle Matches at Creedmoor will all be featured this November 30th, December 1st & 2nd at RIAC's Premiere Firearms Auction

Starting with rifles from the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company we have two impressive and unique rifles leading the way. First is Lot 1066 the ultra-rare heaviest known special order model 1874 bench rest target rifle with factory letter. The 34" barrel weighs in at 20lbs and is verified by a factory letter. The total weight of the rifle is just over 25lbs! The original records show this rifle listed in Order Book No. 7 as a Model 1874 Sporting Rifle and that it was invoiced at the Bridgeport factory on May 1, 1879 to N.B. Tyler of Warren, Ohio. Tyler was a bench rest match shooter. Second is Lot 1070 a special order heavy barrel scoped Sharps Model 1874 long range target rifle with factory letter and is illustrated in Frank Sellers book Sharps Firearms. This rifle was ordered by James Dodds January 25, 1879, to weigh 22 pounds with double set triggers, open sights and with oil finished wood. It was invoiced at the Bridgeport factory on March 24, 1879 to Dodds. Another important piece from Sharps includes Lot 1063 a scarce and highly desirable Sharps Model 1877 No. 1 Long Range one of only 99 model 1877's manufactured. Lot 3106 the finest conditioned Civil War Sharps New Model 1863 as well as several Sharps Borchardts including Lot 1067 a very rare Borchardt 1878 Hunters rifle.

The Sharps rifles are only the beginning of our stunning selection of single shot rifles. Lot 3059 serial number 41 Remington No. 3 Hepburn Long Range Creedmoor Target rifle. Also from Creedmoor are TWO Providence Tool Peabody-Martini "Creedmoor" long range target rifles Lot 3060 and Lot 3062Lot 3061 is a superb Remington Hepburn No. 3 Match B Quality target rifle. If you are looking for condition look no further than Lot 3070 which is a near mint Remington Model 2 Rolling Block Rifle that looks like it left the factory yesterday!

From the Winchester Repeating Arms Company this sale will offer a stellar grouping of the famous 1885 High and Low wall target rifles. Of interest is Lot 1007 Winchester Model 1885 International Match High Wall Target which is one of only 30 manufactured! Lot 1021 offers both condition and rarity; it is without doubt the finest 1 of 5 special order Winchester Model 1885 Low Wall Winder takedown muskets with factory letter.


We haven't even scratched the surface! Discussed here are only a FEW highlights of the incredible selection of single shot rifles that we will be offering in our upcoming November 30th, December 1st & 2nd Premiere Firearms Auction and the single shots are only the beginning. From Japanese matchlocks to some of the finest class III firearms this sale has it all. We hope this sampling entices you to visit our online catalog to see the complete collection. This collection will surely meet the needs of collectors at all levels. Our catalog is available online for free, or we can ship you one today, just complete the online order form, call 1-800-238-8022, fax 1-309-797-1655, or e-mail info@rockislandauction.com. We look forward to any inquiries, and hope to see you at the sale!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Outstanding Selection of Springfield Trapdoors!


Rock Island Auction Company is proud to end the year with an outstanding selection of U.S. Springfield trapdoors. This November 30th, December 1st & 2nd Premiere Firearms Auction offers early U.S. martial arms collectors the opportunity to obtain high condition and extremely rare firearms.
   
Late 18th century American-Indian Wars are represented by a spectacular collection of nearly 20 trapdoor rifles and carbines. The Springfield trapdoor was the first breech-loading rifle of the United States Army and this collection represents the many variations of a weapon that for 20 years was the army's primary long arm. After the Civil War the U.S. government experimented with metallic cartridge rifles and developed a cost effective method of converting left over muzzle loaders into single shot 50-70 metallic breech loaders. The Allin conversion was the primary conversion method. Lot 3243 is a Springfield 1866 Second Model Allin Conversion Rifle in excellent plus condition as issued and is the finest example we have offered for auction. Several 50-70 trapdoor variations were developed before the final variation, the Model 1870, was manufactured. Lot 3240 and lot 3248 are rare examples of a Model 1870 carbine. Only 341 Model 1870 carbines were manufactured and given the fact that the U.S. was entering into a period of wars with the Native Americans out West it is amazing that any survived at all. Pay special attention to Lot 3240 as this carbine is in extremely fine condition, making this highly desirable carbine a must have for the advanced trapdoor collector.

The 50-70 caliber trapdoor eventually evolved into a successful series of 45-70 caliber trapdoors which are also represented in this sale. Lot 3261 is a highly desirable pre-Custer battle Springfield Model 1873 Trapdoor Carbine. Manufactured circa 1874, these early pre-battle of The Little Big Horn 1873 carbines are scarce in today's collector market and represent the first 45-70 caliber U.S. trapdoor. For a Custer-era Model 1873 check out Lot 3263, a carbine showing true period field use. Lot 3260 is an outstanding example of an experimental Model 1888 "Positive Cam" Trapdoor Rifle. The "Positive Cam" is part of the breech locking device and was a Springfield Armory modification to eliminate the occasional failure of the locking cam mechanism. Only 100 were manufactured and issued to the San Antonio Arsenal for testing with most of these rifles subsequently issued to U.S. units in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona where they saw active service. Be sure to check out the bluing and case colors on Lot 3260! Retaining over 98% of the original blue finish and vivid case colors, with sharp stock cartouches, Lot 3260 would make for a premier piece in the most advanced early U.S. martial arms collection! Trapdoor Officer's Rifles are also represented. Lot 3239 and lot 3259 are fine examples of Model 1875 Trapdoor Officer's Rifles that would make great additions to a martial arms collection. Only 477 of these rifles were manufactured from 1875 to 1885 by Springfield and were a quality sporting rifle in the standard 45-70 service cartridge sold to U.S. Army officers. Both rifles represent different variations of the Model 1875. Lot 3259 is a Type III and Lot 3239 is a Transitional Type I/Type II.

These trapdoor rifles and carbines are a small sampling of the exceptional collection we are offering during our November 30th, December 1st & 2nd Premiere Firearms Auction. We hope this sampling entices you to visit our online catalog to see the complete collection. This collection will surely meet the needs of collectors at all levels. Our sale contains something for virtually everyone and covers the entire spectrum from antique black powder arms to Class III Items. Our catalog is available online for free, or we can ship you one today, just complete the online order form, call 1-800-238-8022, fax 1-309-797-1655, or e-mail info@rockislandauction.com. We look forward to any inquiries, and hope to see you at the sale!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Large Selection of U.S. Related Military Rifles & Pistols


Once again Rock Island Auction Company has outdone itself by assembling one of the finest groupings of over 80 U.S. Army contract and original Colt Commercial M1911 and M1911A1 semi-automatic pistols.
   
Just a quick sampling of the extensive nature of this grouping is that it spans some of the earliest M1911, U.S. Army contract pistols such as the super rare 1912 Colt U.S. Navy contract pistol (lot 1856), the unique and equally rare Remington-UMC contract M1911 (lot 1865), we then have several all original mid and late WWI all blued U.S. Army contract pistols. Then there is a post- WWI 1924 dated Colt M1911 transitional pistol (lot 1853). The grouping then shifts to an early pre-WWII Colt M1911A1 "CSR" inspected M1911A1 (lot 3650), numerous examples of standard, WWII M1911A1 U.S. Army contract pistols as manufactured by the Remington-Rand, Ithaca and US&S companies. Which also include two super rare WWII M1911A1 "Presentation" pistols; one is a Union Switch and Signal (US&S) serial number "XP#11" (lot 1855) that is accompanied by a letter from the noted author and M1911A1 authority Charles Clawson. The second one an equally rare Ithaca Manufactured M1911A1 pistol, also a WWII Presentation pistol, that was specifically presented to Captain Sheldon Smith that carries serial number "XP#1", (lot 1852). Next we transition into a large grouping of all original Colt Commercial M1911 and M1911A1 pistols, both pre and post-war versions with many boxed examples. Next we have ten of probably the best pre and post WWII Colt "38 Super" automatic pistols, we have ever had the opportunity to offer for sale. This being two "First Year" Colt 38 Supers, one (lot 3612) still in its original Colt factory box, several late pre-war standard Colt 38 Supers with several post WWII Colt 38 Super automatics, with some still in their original Colt factory boxes. This large grouping also includes one of the rarest and best contraction, all original, documented WWII U.S. Army contract M1911A1 boxed "38 Super" automatic pistols. This specific pistol is noted as being the "Lost" 38 Super , as it was one of "3" pistols documented in the new book on Colt 38 Super automatics as being unknown to the collecting community until just recently discovered. We also have several original boxed Colt M1903 General Officers pistols, as issued from WWII and later.

Rock Island Auction Company has also assembled one of the largest selections of U.S. related Military rifles and pistols to include, two early M1907 Savage 45 ACP "Test" pistols, (lot 1863 and lot 3631) that were specifically developed and tested for the early U.S. Ordnance board 1909/1910 pistol trials, that later resulted in the Colt M1911 being adopted by the U.S. Army. This December auction also includes two extremely rare all original, early Vickers & Armstrong Pederson rifles, (lot 1801 & lot 3657) chambered in the scarce .276 Pederson cartridge, which was one of only 200 rifles actually produced and tested against the early M1 Garand rifle in 1927. Lot 1803 is an ultra-rare original WWI era 1918 mark I Remington-Pederson device for the Model 1903 Springfield rifle. Also included in this auction is a fantastic all original, unaltered, early Springfield Model 1903 "Rod Bayonet" rifle serial number "24". This beautiful rifle has all the original early features and still retains its original parts, never having been messed with or altered, truly an extremely rare rifle to find today as it is estimated that way less than 100 even exist today with most examples of this quality being in private collections or museums. This auction also features a grouping of original 1903 Springfield NM type service rifles. This includes two beautiful, early NM examples (lot 1811 and lot 363) produced in 1936 and 1937, that include their original DCM (not CMP) supporting documentation, original Springfield Armory test targets and star-gauge cards. We also have in this auction a beautiful example of a M1903 NM/USMC, M1942 Sniper rifle (lot 3655) that has been fitted with an original WWII Issue USMC marked Unertl Sniper scope. We also have several original M1903 NRA Sales rifles and M1903 NRA Sporting rifles.

We cannot encourage you enough to come and see this spectacular collection and many more this November 30th, December 1st and 2nd.  Our sale contains something for virtually everyone and covers the entire spectrum from antique black powder arms to Class III Items. Our catalog is available online for free, or we can ship you one today, just complete the online order form, call 1-800-238-8022, fax 1-309-797-1655, or e-mail info@rockislandauction.com. We look forward to any inquiries, and hope to see you at the sale!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Preview of Fine Winchester Sporting Arms in Upcoming Premiere


Rock Island Auction Company will be ending another record setting year with a spectacular year ending premiere auction this November 30th, December 1st and 2nd which in part will feature another array of fine Winchester sporting arms including the always desirable, work horse hunting rifle, the Model 70 rifle and the Model 21 Shotgun, which has been the favorite of many for generations.
   
This auction features 44 Pre-64 Model 70 rifles and 15 Model 21 shotguns. The Model 70s being offered range in caliber from the 22 Hornet to the powerful 458 Winchester Magnum. Highlighting the Model 21s is an early Pre-War Skeet/Trap Grade (Lot 1744), with an extra set of barrels and a factory letter, an engraved Trap Grade, (Lot 3468), with a Cody letter, a scarce Deluxe Trap and Skeet marked, (Lot 3477), and a rare and exceptional Deluxe Skeet Grade, (Lot 1664), with a Cody letter. If your collecting pleasure is the ever popular Winchester Model 70 rifle we will be offering 48 Model 70s of which 44 are the desirable Pre-64 models. Highlighting the grouping of Pre-64 rifles is a magnificent rare special order Super Grade in 300 H&H Magnum caliber with the original box, (Lot 4439). This rifle features full checkering, no forearm screw provision and a fish tail shape on the wrist checkering, all special order features. There is a fantastic rare special order Super Grade Featherweight with the original factory box, (Lot 3440). These two are the finest special order Model 70 Super Grade rifles in existence and the finest RIAC has ever offered for public sale. Also an excellent and scarce Featherweight in .264 Winchester Magnum caliber, (Lot 3449), an outstanding and scarce Featherweight, (Lot 3502), again in the .264 Winchester Magnum caliber, an exceptional and rare Featherweight, (Lot 3483) in .358 Winchester Caliber, Lot 3448 in the rare and desirable .35 Remington caliber, a desirable heavy barrel Bull Gun, (Lot 3494), in 300 H&H Magnum , Lot 3442 a mint Alaskan in .375 H&H Magnum, a scoped Super Grade, (Lot 3495), in .375 H&H Magnum caliber and a very attractive and finely engraved Super Grade, (Lot 3482), in .458 Winchester Magnum. Among the Post-64s is a signed factory engraved gold inlaid Ultra Grade Featherweight 1 of 1,000, (Lot 3447), which includes its original box and "coffin" case still sealed in the original box.

The Model 70s and Model 21s listed above are just a portion of what is being offered for public sale in our upcoming - December auction and as you can see Rock Island Auction Company is once again offering a spectacular selection of some of the most popular Winchester sporting arms for every collector's budget. We cannot encourage you enough to come and see this spectacular collection and many more this November 30th, December 1st and 2nd.  Our sale contains something for virtually everyone and covers the entire spectrum from antique black powder arms to Class III Items. Our catalog is available online for free, or we can ship you one today, just complete the online order form, call 1-800-238-8022, fax 1-309-797-1655, or e-mail info@rockislandauction.com. We look forward to any inquiries, and hope to see you at the sale!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Highly Desirable & Highly Collectable Luger Pistols




Rock Island Auction Company is proud to offer one of the largest selections of highly desirable and highly collectable investment grade Luger pistols that we have ever offered.
   
This massive grouping spans all production years from 1900 up through 1942 and covers almost all the unique and rare variations. The following is just a small sampling of the fabulous Lugers we have to offer in this December sale. To start off we have probably one of the most highly sought after Lugers, which is an extremely rare 1902/06 "Georg Luger" Pistol Carbine, (lot 1466). These are extremely rare Lugers as only a handful were actually marked with his intertwined "GL" monogram. This marking was reserved only for Lugers produced under his specific authorization and supervision, clearly indicating this was probably a "One of a Kind" Luger Carbine. Then we have another extremely rare Luger, a 1902 American Eagle "Cartridge Counter" Luger pistol (lot 3512). This series of pistol was ordered by the U.S. Ordnance Dept. for testing and evaluation by the U.S. Army. There were only "50" total of this model produced with many seeing heavy test use with only the later production models surviving in extremely nice condition like the one we have to offer for sale. Next up we have a beautiful, all original first model 1906 Navy Luger rig (lot 1495) that is complete with the original Imperial Navy board stock, holster and accessories. These Imperial Navy Luger rigs are also some of the most sought after and most difficult WWI Lugers to obtain as they were produced in very low numbers and saw heavy use in a salt water environment with most being reworked and shortened after WWI, making their survival rate in original condition, extremely low. Next we have a huge listing of standard WWI Luger pistols and Luger pistol rigs that are in just beautiful condition, such as lot 1471 and lot 3566 being two all-time favorites. These are two original, WWI "First Year" 1914 dated, matching Artillery Luger pistol rigs; one made by the DWM factory and the other by the Erfurt factory. Both are extremely rare and highly collectable, with both examples having original issue Artillery board stocks, holster and magazines. We also have a huge sampling of post WWI Lugers produced during the early Weimar era, pre-Nazi era and then throughout WWII under the Nazi regime.

These include several Weimar police Luger rigs, as well as several of the extremely rare Simson & Company Luger rigs, several with two matching magazines and holsters. These are featured in lot 1472lot 1486 and lot 3513 as well as other lots. These were all produced in Suhl only in the 1922-1926 time-frame, prior to the Nazi's taking over and confiscating the Simson factory in late 1927-28. Next we have several lots of the Pre-Nazi sneak Military and Police Luger rigs produced in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Next we transitioned into all the various "S/42" Luger rigs produced during WWII to include the Rare early 1934 "K" date Luger rig (lot 1505), several 1935, 1936, 1937 through 1942, all matching Police Luger rigs (including all three Police Proof variations). Then we have all the same years 1933-1942 Military issue Lugers and Luger rigs, as well as several Krieghoff Luger rigs (lots 1469148115453520 and 3580) as issued and used by the Luftwaffe.
Rock Island Auction Company is also proud to offer one of the rarest and best condition, late WWII Nazi "People's rifle" that has even been offered for sale anywhere (lot 1498). Brian, a RIAC firearm specialist, says "I have been collecting military weapons memorability for over 40 years and every once in a while something comes into the company that just shocks me, and this is one of those guns. However it still instills the "hunt" in me when I see this stuff and the reason being is that this "Volkssturmgewehr or "Peoples Assault Rifle", has literally been sitting in the veteran's attic since 1945 when he sent it home after WWII. It was a pleasure for me to handle and write up this rifle, just read the description and you will know why." 

In addition to this, Rock Island Auction Company always seems to have a huge selection of WWII k98 sniper rifles, P38 pistols, as well as all the other German military pistols used during WWII.  We cannot encourage you enough to come and see these and many more this November 30th, December 1st and 2nd.  We hope this sampling entices you to visit our online catalog to see the complete collection. This collection will surely meet the needs of collectors at all levels. Our catalog is available online for free, or we can ship you one today, just complete the online order form, call 1-800-238-8022, fax 1-309-797-1655, or e-mail info@rockislandauction.com. We look forward to any inquiries, and hope to see you at the sale!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Top Rate Colt Woodsman Semi-Automatic & Camp Perry Single Shot Pistols



This December, Rock Island Auction Company will bring the 2012 auction season to a fitting close with our Premiere Sale, which will include an assortment of top rate Colt Woodsman semi-automatic pistols as well as some excellent Camp Perry single shot pistols.
   
Among the Camp Perry Pistols, one in particular stands out above the rest, Lot #1594, the Kornbrath Engraved, Factory Documented, Presentation Serial Number One Camp Perry Pistol. Part of Colt's long company tradition of supplying top rate arms to political, military and corporate figures as gifts this pistol was personally given by Samuel Stone, then-President of Colt, to John H. Trumbull, Governor of Colt's home state of Connecticut, in December of 1926. Before the presentation, the arm was sent to the work bench of Rudolph Kornbrath, noted Colt Master Engraver, who executed a subtle and elegant scroll inscription banner to the left sideplate. The Camp Perry was designed as a shooter's gun first and foremost, and #1 is no exception, as demonstrated by a pair of original factory test targets. The first, representing the first 25 rounds fired by any Camp Perry pistol is all in the black, with 8 outliers and the remainder cutting a single, significant hole into the center ring, and the second, showing a 10-shot grouping delivered through a single ½ inch hole in the bottom of the center ring, both impressive displays of marksmanship, even by modern standards. As for documentation, the only valid word is "extensive", in the form of an original factory letter which confirms the presentation, a mention in Volume Two of Wilson's Colt Engraving Book that verifies the Kornbrath inscription, original blueprints, advertising sheets and excerpts from factory ledgers. At the time of release, when the 22 caliber revolver was king of small bore target shooting, the Camp Perry was a revelation. By eliminating the cylinder in favor of a one piece barrel, the shooter no longer suffered the effects of the long jump from cylinder to rifling, the interference of the gas gap, or minute timing issues that could interfere with alignment, as well as having a longer barrel in the same sized package. To the casual shooter, the difference could be imperceptible, but at the competitive level, where a fraction of an inch could make the difference between the champion and the also-ran, these advantages were highly desirable.

Also present are a number of high grade Woodsman pistols, including boxed examples of the First Model Match Target, two of which (Lot 1597 and 1605) are first year production featuring the original "elephant ear" pattern grips. One of the most distinctive features of the Match Target, the extensions beyond the frame were highly vulnerable to drops and strikes, cutting down on the number of original, excellent examples on the market. Also an interesting grouping of three factory engraved Colt target pistols (Lot 15931603 and 1604) being two Woodsman and a Targetsman, all formerly of the Larry Mayle collection, reportedly on special order, including such features as gold finish and inlay, and ivory grips. Woodsman and Targetsman pistols are rarely seen in so fancy a style; both were regarded as a "shooter" during their day, with the Targetsman in particular being regarded as an "entry-level" arm, as such very few customers were willing to pay out to have one with elaborate appointments, making them scarce and desirable on the market today.

Without even scratching the surface it is easy to see the importance and depth of this S&W collection.  We cannot encourage you enough to come and see this spectacular collection and many more this November 30th, December 1st and 2nd.  Our sale contains something for virtually everyone and covers the entire spectrum from antique black powder arms to Class III Items. Our catalog is available online for free, or we can ship you one today, just complete the online order form, call 1-800-238-8022, fax 1-309-797-1655, or e-mail of info@rockislandauction.com. We look forward to any inquiries, and hope to see you in at the sale!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Urbanowski Antique Smith & Wesson Collection in Upcoming Auction


Rock Island Auction Company is Proud and Excited to Offer the Finest Antique Smith & Wesson Collection to Cross the Auction Block in Nearly a Decade this November 30th, December 1st & 2nd.

Procurers of Antique Smith & Wesson's will be extremely delighted to get their hands on Rock Island Auction Company's most recent Premiere Firearms catalog as for the first time in 20 years a RIAC catalog cover features nothing but antique Smith & Wesson firearms! It is our great pleasure to offer for sale the collection of Mr. Anthony Urbanowski an encyclopedic study of antique Smith & Wesson firearms. It was Mr. Urbanowski's calling to put together a collection of every production model and variation of antique Smith & Wesson revolvers which he achieved albeit one or two. The collection of nearly 200 Smith & Wesson's encompasses quantity, quality, condition and rarity, as Mr. Urbanowki was able to obtain some of the most scarce and high condition examples known to collectors which include several only known specimens of their kind.

Beginning with Horace Smith and D.B. Wesson's first joint firearms endeavor is Lot 1378 a highly desirable large frame of Type I Lever Action magazine Pistol. Rare in any condition this 8" pistol serial number 147 is one of approximately 500 manufactured and is fine to very fine overall condition, a must own for any serious S&W collector. Moving on to the so called "first firsts" we begin with Lot 268 a scarce Smith & Wesson 1st Model 1st Issue 2nd Variation serial number 623 with the distinctive bayonet latch. The bayonet latch can only be observed on the 1st and 2nd variations and of which there are only 1,100 between the two. The collection includes all variations except the 1st. Also of note is Lot 258 which is just an exceptional 1st Model 1st Issue 5th Variation in its original Gutta Percha case, truly an example that would be difficult to improve upon.

Continuing with "tip-up" models is a magnificent and diverse array of the S&W No. 2 Army revolvers starting with Lot 1425 a superb cased "two-tone" Smith & Wesson No. 2 Army shipped April 29, 1865 to B. Kittredge & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio and remains in excellent overall condition. Lot 284 is the finest standard commercial blue finish 6" No. 2 Army that we at Rock Island Auction have had the pleasure to catalog and remains excellent plus! Moving on to some of the rarer variations: Lot 1426 serial number 327 with scarce two pin frame and 5" barrel, Lot 1411 is a scarce full silver plated No. 2, Lot 1410 is one of the most desirable of No.2 variations a rare 4" with factory letter confirming barrel length. Lot 1403 is the rarest of all, 1 of 35 original No. 2 Armies marked "2nd Quality" which remains un-serialized and in the white.

Moving from "tip-ups" to "top breaks" we start right off the bat with two of the most prized pieces in the entire collection Lot 256 and Lot 1384 both excellent and original "Mexican Models". Next Lot 1414 is the finest blue finished Baby Russian extant still accompanied by its original factory picture box! Moving on to the large frame DA's we start with Lot 1387 a truly stunning exhibition factory engraved and gold plated S&W 44 DA. Smith & Wesson's of this quality are very rarely observed outside of books let alone up for sale! Lot 266 is a true "1 of 1": the only known blued Smith & Wesson .44 Favorite. Only 1000 Favorites were manufactured from 1882-1883. This is the only one known with original factory blue! A true once in a life-time opportunity! Next is an equally impressive and rare 1 of only 10 Smith & Wesson 44 DA manufactured in .38 military!

The core of Mr. Urbanowski's collection is the grouping of large frame No. 3: Americans, Sheffield's, Russians, and New Models. This auction is truly an unprecedented opportunity to observe and own some of the most rare and high condition examples of these highly sought after large frames and here are the highlights; Lot 1394 serial number 874 American with rare "oil hole" in excellent condition, the finest we have ever offered. Lot 246 Experimental serial number 14 American in 44-100 rimfire, Lot 264 1 of 32 factory documented Nashville police Americans, Lot 245 documented 1 of 1000 U.S. cavalry Americans. Also included in the sale is every variation of the No. 3 Russian including a near new, stocked, experimental 3rd Model Russian Lot 1398. Lot 272 is an incredibly rare U.S. state of Maryland Henry Nettleton inspected New Model No. 3.

Without even scratching the surface it is easy to see the importance and depth of this S&W collection.  We cannot encourage you enough to come and see this spectacular collection and many more this November 30th, December 1st and 2nd.  Our sale contains something for virtually everyone and covers the entire spectrum from antique black powder arms to Class III Items. Our catalog is available online for free, or we can ship you one today, just complete the online order form, call 1-800-238-8022, fax 1-309-797-1655, or e-mail of info@rockislandauction.com. We look forward to any inquiries, and hope to see you in at the sale!


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  • Monday, November 12, 2012

    Upcoming Premiere Features Finest Assembly of Colt Single Action Army Revolvers!


    Thank You Veterans!!!

    Rock Island Auction Company would like to take this opportunity to Thank all members of the Armed Services. It is because of your sacrifices that we are able to enjoy our freedom.

    This December, Rock Island Auction Company will bring the 2012 auction season to a fitting close with our Premiere Firearms Auction, which will include one of the finest assemblies of Colt Single Action Army Revolvers, featuring the final installment of the Gateway Collection.

    Though this collection is fantastic overall, a few pieces stand out even within this distinguished grouping, including one of the rarest Single Action Army Revolvers known to collectors, the 1873 Pinched Frame (Lot #1303), one of the first 200 SAAs to come off Colt's production line during the introductory year for the revolver. So named for the sight arrangement, which has the rear sight notch cut into a "pinched" section of the top sight groove slightly ahead of the rear of the frame, this style was discontinued shortly after introduction in favor of the notch set at the rear of the top strap which remains the standard sight for both Colt and their imitators. One of these revolvers, in any condition, is a scarce and unusual piece which could serve to be a top item even in a very sophisticated collection, but this example, showing 95% of a period nickel finish, could be a "crown jewel" of nearly any grouping.

    Embellished SAAs are also present in the sale, with an exceptional example in Lot #1283, a Frontier Six Shooter with factory documented engraving, silver finish, and steer head ivory grips. While fine scroll and punch dot engraving, special finishes, and raised carved ivory steer head grips are not unknown on the collector's market, typically such arms received their decoration from the retailer before sale, or had the work done later in life. This example is fully documented; every ounce of this top notch revolver is factory work verified from Colt's own records, no "Not Listed" fields on this one. Though not stated explicitly in the letter, from the 18 October, 1926 shipping date we can reasonably assume the grips are the work of noted Master Engraver Wilbur A. Glahn.

    The scarce and desirable variants of the Single Action are also well represented. Lot #3359, a London Agency Bisley Flattop, is factory documented as shipped to the Pall Mall office on 21 June, 1897, and has multiple desirable features. First, the caliber of 455 Eley, with only 196 Flattop Bisley Revolvers chambered in it, due to the overall preference for smaller, lighter rounds among the target shooters the arm was meant for. Second, the front sight, documented in the letter as a special order feature, is equipped with a detachable extension, which serves as both a protector for the installed sight, and also doubles as a taller, more visible front sight. Additionally, the hardwood grips are documented to the gun.

    Out of the variety of top notch collector's arms in the December Premiere Sale, the items mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg. Starting November 30th, and running through December 1st and 2nd, our sale contains something for virtually everyone and covers the entire spectrum from antique black powder arms to Class III Items. Our catalog is available online for free, or we can ship you one today, just complete the online order form, call 1-800-238-8022, fax 1-309-797-1655, or e-mail info@rockislandauction.com. We look forward to any inquiries, and hope to see you in at the sale!


    View the collection of Colt Single Action Army Revolver's in our online catalog today!!

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    Rock Island Auction Company Proudly Offers a Magnificent and Unprecedented Assemblage of Factory Engraved Firearms For their November 30th, December 1st and 2nd Premiere Firearms Auction:


    From Samuel Colt Presentations to Signed Master Engraved Exhibition Arms
    This Sale has just shy of 100 Factory Engraved Firearms:

    Factory engraved firearms of any manufacturer or model remain the most prized and highly sought after pieces in antique and modern firearms collecting and this November 30th, December 1st and 2nd collectors will be given the opportunity to own some of the most important and magnificent engraved firearms RIAC has had the privilege to offer. The most prolific of these arms are the three Winchesters rifles and one carbine engraved by two brothers, John and Conrad F. Ulrich. It has been said that the Ulrich family was the “greatest dynasty” of engravers and stock makers of the 19th century and the four pieces offered for sale were done in the hands of the most well-known and famous of the Ulrich clan, Conrad and John. Lot number 3001 is the only one of the four that is not signed but was undoubtedly done by the hand of Conrad F. Ulrich. Each side of the frame exhibits a wonderful relief engraved panel scene of a single animal as well as two brilliantly executed hunting scenes. Of particular importance is the Indian scene on the left side of the frame. The detail which can be observed here is simply magnificent; the shooter clutches an 1866 Winchester rifle and puffs of smoke can be seen coming from the barrel. Lot 1012 and 3020, which are only eight serial numbers apart, are both stamped “C.F. Ulrich”, and both feature exhibition panel scenes unique to only these two rifles. Of particular interest is lot 1012 which is stamped with “C.F. Ulrich” twice on the face of the frame under the magazine tube, four times on the upper tang under the stock, and twice on the lower tang behind the trigger and behind the serial number - AMAZING! The crown jewel, however, is lot 1001 which is a John Ulrich signed, factory panel scene engraved, gold inlaid, Winchester Model 1894 Takedown with Factory Relief “D” carved deluxe stock. 

    These four Winchesters are only the beginning of a stunning and diverse array of factory engraved firearms. From Colt Firearms Manufacturing comes the largest selection of factory engraved Colt’s RIAC has ever offered (over 50) and includes:  Lot 1232 which is one of two Colt Factory three gun garniture presentation sets and is the only one of the two in which all three guns are factory engraved. The set is a presentation “Compliments of Col. Colt to a Mr. Hugh Rose Esq”. Lot 1220, a mate to another Colt presentation previously sold by RIAC, is the Rare and Historic Cased Factory Deluxe Engraved Samuel Colt Presentation Model 1849 Pocket Revolver presented to J.J. Comstock, Captain of the U.S. Ship Baltic. Lot 1221 is a Historic Presentation Cased Factory Engraved Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver with Civil War Philadelphia National Guard Officer's Inscription. All three of these magnificent pieces are attributed to none other than the master himself, Gustave Young. Once again these are only the beginning to a historic and unsurpassed offering of factory engraved Colts. Other highlights include lot 1594, Factory Engraved Serial Number #1 Camp Perry presented to Connecticut Governor John Trumbull; lot 1283 which is one of the most deluxe factory documented single actions a collector could ever hope to acquire - factory engraved, factory silver plated, and with factory relief carved ivory steer head grips.

    From the Remington Arms Company this sale will feature TWO documented Louis D. Nimschke engraved rolling block pistols.  Lots 3065 and 3074, one signed, and both featured in his famous pattern book, L.D. Nimschke Firearms Engraver by Wilson.  But that is not all for Remingtons, also featured is lot 1079, a factory engraved and etched, silver plated ring trigger derringer still with its original box as well as its companion piece, a factory engraved silver plated No.1 vest pocket pistol, also with its original box.

    If it’s high art firearms you are seeking, look no further than lot 1714 which is one of the most ornate and beautiful double barrel shotguns we at RIAC have ever cataloged. Made by the famous European master gunsmith Heinrich Barella, this shotgun is engraved in deep relief and accented by gold inlays with a stunning relief carved stock. Also of interest is lot 1077, a magnificent exhibition quality matching pair of Silver Mounted Gold Inlaid Cased Engraved Henry Derringer Percussion Pocket Pistols.

    The examples discussed here are only a small sample of the exceptional pieces we have in our upcoming November 30th, December 1st & 2nd Premiere Firearms Auction. In fact, the entire auction is stunning, from Winchesters, Remingtons, Colts, and Lugers to European and American 18th & 19th century arms - this sale has it all.  Please be sure to view the online catalog by visiting www.rockislandauction.com.   

    Please call 1-800-238-8022, fax 309-737-1655 or email any questions you may have. We look forward to your inquiries and hope to see you at the end of the month!

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    September Premiere Collectors Firearms Auction



    Rock Island Auction Company is proud to continue the 2012 auction season with our September Premier Sale, a superb assembly of arms featuring the 3rd installment of the William Ashby Collection, the noted Gateway Collection which includes a number of ultra-rare Colts, and an assortment of rare and high condition Civil War arms.

    Among the Civil War rifles in our upcoming sale are two New Haven Arms Henry Repeating Rifles. Revolutionary at the time, they easily loaded 15-round magazine and lever action operation provided a level of individual firepower which was unmatched on the field of battle. The first, lot 1014 was produced on a commercial basis circa 1863-1864, a time period where virtually the entire run of Henry Rifles was consumed by soldiers willing to pay the price in order to have the best of the best, and by well-to-do officers looking to equip an entire unit of men with these deadly arms. The second lot 3001 is even rarer, a military contract Henry purchased to equip the 3rd United States Veteran Volunteer Infantry circa 1864-1865, with patriotic engraving and inscription to a member of that unit, one Corporal Streibig. Every man recruited for the 3rd was already a hardened survivor of the War Between the States, having served a minimum of one enlistment period, and among other incentives were given their weapons as a discharge bonus upon completion of their tour. Streibig was no exception to this rule, originally enlisting in 1861 and mustering out in 1864, just in time for the unit’s formation. This example is extensively documented, being pictured in both Les Quick’s "THE HENRY RIFLE" and Wiley Sword’s "THE HISTORIC HENRY RIFLE", in addition to a long letter from noted authority R.L. Wilson, where he notes that “Corporal Streibig's rifle is considered among the very best of this genre”.

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    Auction Catalog is Online



    Rock Island Auction’s Premiere Collector’s Firearms Auction Catalog is now online.


    Absentee bids are being accepted now. In the event of a tie absentee bid, the first bid received will win the item.


    Search Entire Catalog Now


    Item Categories

    British Bearskins
    British Death Or Glory Head Gear & Items
    British Dragoon Helmets
    British Lancer Caps
    British Military Drums
    British Military Medals-Africa, WWI, WWII, More…
    Military Swords

    Premiere Collector’s Firearms Auction: September 7, 8 & 9, 2012

    Do you have questions about a lot or an auction? Ask us at: ask@rockislandauction.com

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    17th Duke of Cambridge's Own Lancers Officer's Czapka

    17th Duke of Cambridge's Own Lancers Officer's Czapka
    17th Duke of Cambridge's Own Lancers Officer's Czapka
     
    Seen here is a 17th Lancers Officer’s czapka.  In 1822 the 17th Light Dragoons became the 17th Lancers at the request of the Duke of York who wanted regiments modeled after the successful Polish Lancers at the Battle of Waterloo.  Over the next 30 years the 17th performed garrison duties in England and Ireland.  It was during this time that the 17th gained the title Duke of Cambridge’s Own after the Duke became colonel of the regiment in 1842.  During the Crimean War the 17th participated in the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava.  The overall commander Lord Raglan had ordered the brigade to retake guns captured by the Russians from the Causeway Heights.  However the order was vague and confusion resulted in the brigade charging a Russian battery at the end of the valley.  Heavy casualties were inflicted in a battle that ended with no decisive gains.  The Russians inflicted heavy losses on the 17th