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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Top Guns: 2015 February Regional

What a sale!  Rock Island Auction Company's 2015 February Regional Auction set all kinds of fun records - most notably with over 20,000 sealed bids and the $5.6 million final figure.  That's a lot of participation, strong bids, interest, and exposure.  With all that activity surely, some interesting trends must have become apparent, right?  Let's take a look.

Read our full auction write-up by clicking here.

Most Popular Item

Lot 5598: Two AR-15 Style Semi-Automatic Long Guns with Scopes
Low Estimate: $900
Realized Price: $3,450

As we mentioned the last time we "awarded" this title, it can be tricky to calculate.  After all, how does one measure live bids (especially multiple live bidders all of whom may try bidding at the same dollar amount)?  That said, based largely on sealed bids (pre-auction bids of a fixed amount), the winner far and away was lot 5598 and its AR platform rifles chambered in .450 Bushmaster and 5.56 mm.  Before these modern sporters even hit the auction block, there were more than 50 bids placed on them, making for some fierce competition.  Other, classic guns also had over 40 bids a piece such as the two Lugers in lot 1844, the Vickers machine gun in lot 3998, the four Marlins in lot 128, and the Union Switch & Signal 1911A1 in lot 3895.  There was no shortage of participation in this massive auction!

Highest Performing Item Overall (Based on Highest Percentage Over Estimate)

Lot 1895:  Large Assortment of Nazi-Style Daggers, Accoutrements, and Artifacts
Low Estimate: $1,000
Realized Price: $8,625

First things first, this title is technically a tie.  Lot 1895 (shown above) and lot 3805 (Seven German Style Edged Weapons) both destroyed their low estimate by a whopping 650%.  However, since Lot 1895 had the higher of the two sale prices, I'm giving it the edge here.  Do you see anything in that lot we might have missed that made it such a sleeper?

Second, for this "highest performing" item, I would love to show you a beautiful antique firearm or some gun with a great story to tell.  We're primarily a firearms auction house after all, and we like to show those off to collectors.  However, the numbers do not lie.  This is what the data shows and you'll soon see it's no error, leading me to our second "award" of the article.

Highest Performing Genre (Based on Highest Percentage Over Estimate)

Lot 3805: Seven German Style Edged Weapons
Lead by strong performances in several lots, our genre of "swords," with its wide focus on a variety of edged weapons, takes the cake with an average of selling 159% OVER the low estimate.  To give an example, that's not a $100 item selling for $159.  That's a $100 hypothetical item selling for over $250!  You can imagine the multiplication that occurs at larger amounts.  Sword and dagger collectors have a lot to celebrate!  Publicizing results such as these, especially with so many German and Nazi related items involved, often treads a thin line with many who feel such detestable symbols ought not be "glamorized."  In that light, we're not publicizing these results to glorify National Socialism in any way, but instead as a tool for collectors and investors so that they may better understand and pursue their hobby.  Besides, if it makes anyone feel better, a large group of Soviet militaria also smashed its estimate by 494%.  While not containing any edged weapons, it goes even further to show the high level of interest in military, non-firearm collectibles.

Lot 1836: Large Grouping of Soviet and East Asian Militaria Including Various Badges and Medals, Two Field Radios, and Other Related Items

Highest Selling Colt

Lot 5658: Early Three Digit Serial Number 613 Colt Model of 1911 U.S. Navy Semi-Automatic Pistol

Low Estimate: $2,250
Realized Price: $7,475

This Colt M1911 is a very early specimen.  So early, in fact, that it bears the three digit serial number 613, was manufactured in 1912, and was part of the first batch of M1911 pistols sent to the U.S. Navy!  This resilient pistol blew past its high estimate of $3,500 and found a new home for $7,475.  It's another piece of evidence that supports the ever-growing popularity of World War II items, whether belonging to the Axis or the Allies.

Highest Selling Winchester

Lot 3003:  Desirable Ulrich Engraved Factory Documented Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter
Low Estimate: $20,000
Realized Price: $25,875

No surprises here.  This Winchester had the highest estimate of the entire auction and surpassed its low estimate to ring in at $25,875.  Manufactured in 1876, this Third Model 1866 Winchester letters to all the features seen on the gun: factory engraving, silver plating, and an octagon 24" barrel.  On the left side of the receiver (shown above) is even a nice panel scene of a bull elk.  It just goes to show that high end collectibles can always be found in our Regional Sales along with the scores of firearms that still have many years of service left in them.

Highest Selling German Arm

Lot 1589: Ludwig Loewe Model 1893 Borchardt Semi-Automatic Pistol with Stock and Case
Low Estimate: $5,000
Realized Price: $12,650

Important to both German firearm collectors as well as enthusiasts of early semi-automatic weapons, this M1893 Borchardt earned a more impressive sum that we expected thanks to its accompanying accessories, matching numbers on its frame, trigger, and rear toggle link, and of course two determined bidders.  One of the best parts about winning this firearm?  Getting to go home with it the same day because it's an antique!

Highest Selling Civil War Item

Lot 1000: Civil War New Haven Arms Henry Lever Action Rifle

Low Estimate: $18,000
Realized Price: $25,875

Again, this should come as no surprise as this item enjoyed the second-highest estimate in the entire auction, though it is always comforting to see accurate estimates on auction items.  As sort of an "honorable mention" in this category, I'd also like to include lot 3241 (shown below) which outperformed the Henry shown above.  It's a handsome Civil War Era Second Model Lemat revolver, arguably the pinnacle of handheld firepower at the time with its 9-shot cylinder and fearsome "grapeshot" underbarrel.

Lot 3241: Desirable Civil War Era Second model LeMat Percussion Revolver
Low Estimate: $7,500
Realized Price: $14,950

This has been an interesting exercise in data.  The items in this article aren't cherry-picked items we selected to make us look good.  These are items that are the results of collectors, dealers, and investors all fighting for the items and firearms that they want.  This is raw data showing some interesting trends in new areas such as militaria and edged weapons, as well as confirming some well-known information on old favorites such as Winchesters, Colts, and Civil War pieces.  If there's a genre you'd like to see us cover in future post auction round-ups, please leave a comment below.  It was a great February Regional and we can't wait to build on it with the spectacular items appearing in our April Premiere Firearms Auction.  Use either of the links below to see some high resolution, full color photos of the gorgeous, rare, and historical firearms in our upcoming sale.  Thank you again to everyone for your participation!  We couldn't do it without you.

-Written by Joel Kolander

1 comment:

  1. RIA achieved a number of remarkable prices in their Regional Sale. Their motto is "Presentation is important" and the results speak for themselves. National and international advertising together with powerful Internet presence and RIA professionalism in every aspect of the auction process makes each sale successful.