10 Most Expensive Firearms Sold in James D. Julia April 2017 Auction

James D. Julia auction is one of those places where most rare, unique and uncommon firearms appear. Their annual spring auction took place from April 11 to 13, during which they sold firearms worth of $16 million! So in this post, we’ll see what were the 10 most expensive lots sold during the auction. The guns are listed in the order of ascendancy of their price so that the least expensive is #10 and shown first.

#10 – $80,500

In this position, there is a 1911A1 Singer model pistol. What makes this gun desirable for the collectors is that it is one of few 1911s (little over 500 made) manufactured by Singer Manufacturing Company.

All images are from James D. Julia auction house’s website.

#9 – $92,000

This position is shared by two guns each sold at $92,000. Both are lever action rifles. One of them is a Henry model 1860 iron frame rifle chambered in .44 Henry rimfire. You can see that gun in the picture below:

And the second one is a Winchester model 1894 deluxe special order takedown rifle. The fact that it was engraved by a gentleman named John Ulrich possibly makes it even more valuable.


#8 – $103,500

This position is also shared by two guns. Each of these guns was sold at that price. One of them is a Winchester model 1873. It is also Ulrich engraved and one of two ever made. The gun is chambered in .44WCF. The metal parts of the gun are gold and nickel plated.

The second gun is an Italian 28 gauge over and under shotgun. It is made by Ivo Fabbri and engraved by Giacomo Fausti.


#7 – $115,000

Another rare Winchester lever action rifle. It is a model 1876.


#6 – $126,500

There were two rifles each separately sold at the price of $126,500. These are both Winchester model 1866 rifles and interestingly enough they are consecutive lots.

#5 – $149,500

This is where things start getting interesting (at least for me). #5 is an FG-42 rifle! It is the second model most easily distinguished by almost vertical pistol grip. From the standpoint of US legislation, it is a transferable machine gun. The gun is manufactured by Krieghoff in Suhl. This particular gun was once deactivated by cutting the receiver inside the stock. Later, it was restored to its original condition.

#4 – $195,500

So you thought the previous second model FG-42 was expensive? Behold the first model FG-42 at #4 of the most expensive guns sold in James D. Julia auction. You can see the distinctive angled pistol grip of the first model FG-42. This particular gun is also valuable because it has a very low serial number – 190. It is, however, a deactivated gun. It has a plugged chamber. If the chamber plug is carefully removed and if it appears that the chamber is still intact, then this gun can possibly be converted back to a fully functional firearm.

#3 – $253,000

Parker “A1 Special” 20 gauge side by side shotgun occupies number 3 position in our list.

#2 – $299,000

Sold at little less than $300K is a pair of Ivo Fabbri over and under 20 gauge shotguns. Technically, these are two guns, but they are one of those twin bespoke shotguns and they are sold as a single lot.

What is really impressive about these guns is the fine engraving on the metal parts. It is so detailed as if a photo was embedded into the metal.

#1 – $460,000

And finally, number one is a Colt SAA revolver. At first glance, it seems unbelievable how a beaten up Colt can be sold at whopping $460,000 price. However, if you read the history behind this gun, things start to get more understandable. This revolver is proven to have been used by one of George Armstrong Custer’s men during the battle of Little Bighorn. It is also the only documented Colt SAA revolver known today which was used during that battle. Now that makes it a true treasure of American history.


And that’s the list of 10 most expensive firearms sold in James D. Julia April 2017 auction. Since the list was about firearms, I didn’t include edged weapons. However, one of them worth mentioning. It is a sword sold at $270,250! It was given to Captain William George Rutherford (1764-1818), who was a hero of Battle of Trafalgar.

As you can see this was a list with a short description of each gun. If you want to learn more about each gun and know things like the history and unique features that collectors value (shape of different parts, the engraving details, serial numbers etc.) visit James D. Julia’s website.

Interesting to note that the value of these guns is mostly formed by the fact of who made them, whom they belonged to and in what historical event they took part. The significance of the gun in terms of its role in the history of firearms development is not that valued, which is strange to me. You can’t see none of those unique experimental or prototype mechanical gems making into the list. Instead of that, the list is dominated by fine shotguns and lever action rifles.

Besides those most expensive guns, there a number of interesting ones many of which are covered in videos made by Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons.

Here is a bonus one for you guys. This Colt M16A1 was used in the 1983  “Scarface” movie with Al Pacino. The grenade launcher is a DIY functional 37mm one. It is obviously made to resemble the M203 launcher. This gun was sold at $51,750.

“Say hello to my little friend!”

Hrachya H

Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at TFBHrachyaH@gmail.com


  • Spooky skeleton

    Is that Singer of sewing machine fame?

    • Major Tom


    • ExMachina1

      Seams sew

      • Marc

        You have me in stitches

        • GaryOlson

          If you keep pulling on this thread, the joke fabric will unravel.

          • LGonDISQUS

            Keep it up and the mods are going to hem this discussion swiftly.

          • Lyman Hall

            I can’t resist needling you a bit more.

          • CountryBoy

            Sure, just keep bobbin’ along.

        • CountryBoy

          He was hemming and hawing over that one, I’ll bet.

          • Lonesome Whistle

            Need to treadle lightly here…

          • CountryBoy

            Yes, I’m knot one to upset him lest he call me a baster.

    • oldman


  • Mmmtacos

    Fun/infuriating fact: not too long ago (weeks ago) there was a Singer 1911 someone posted for $25k on Armslist that was “professionally reblued”

    If/when ever I become a rich man I will have a Singer 1911

  • Major Tom

    Aww the FG-42s are the unscoped versions. Needs more ZF-4.

  • Lee Attiny

    Holy shit. The engraving on those 20 gauges is insane

    • CountryBoy

      It does almost seem like the photoetching process often done on fine models. I have several Le Mans race cars that have photoetched radiators and such. They’re so detailed it appears you can fill them with coolant!

  • ExMachina1

    These are awesome but that last one reminds me that valuing weapons for (mostly) historical associations seems risky. Like, what if another SAA someday comes to light that can also be directly linked to the Little Big Horn?–not saying it would make the present gun worthless but does the market really have room for 2, half-million dollar guns? (rhetorical question as I have no idea)

    • codfilet

      There are more than a few Springfield carbines, and various Indian firearms that also have known Little Big Horn battle provenance. There will always be collector interest, and high prices for anything associated with this moment in history.

      • ExMachina1

        Good point about the Springfields

    • ostiariusalpha

      I think it would depend on the condition of the new find, if another Little Bighorn SAA came to light. Should the hypothetical handgun be a worn, pitted mess, then it wouldn’t hurt the value of this one. If it is somehow in miraculously pristine shape though, the value of the first revolver would almost certainly take a substantial drop.

    • CountryBoy

      There could possibly be some undiscovered weapon someone has handed down through generations that was never authenticated this way.

      That’ll have all the SAA collectors scrounging through their gun safes!

  • 22winmag

    I’d say *10 Highest Valued* but I try not to be the usage and grammar police.

    • Blake

      We shall cut Hrachya multiple breaks as his English is excellent for a non-native speaker.

  • Raptor Fred
    • MarkVShaney

      That’s just the grenade launcher- mate it with the gun and you’d have a nice, complete prop.

  • Sianmink

    I’d like to think those Fabbri over-unders were commissioned by a gentleman who wished to remember a pair of Very Good Dogs and would spare no expense in the process.

    • Calavera

      Of that I have no doubt…

      “Si tibi terra levis” (May the earth lie lightly on you).
 – Sir Walter Scott in memory of Maida, his Scottish Deerhound.

    • Max Kohnke

      If ya got it, flaunt it!

  • The profits generated from auction fees are the neatest part. Somebody at James D. Julia had one hell of a bonus.

  • QuadGMoto

    There were three other guns that I’m really curious about that were in that auction. But it requires an account to see what they sold for. Can someone look them up?

    They are:

    American Arms American 180

    Trejo Model 1

    BSA-Howell M1915 Self-Loading Conversion

    • QuadGMoto


      • Bursar

        Ian generally does a follow up on what the guns he showcases sell for during the auction. Not sure when he will have it up though.

  • Whatever

    The last FG42 that I saw at Rock Island Auction went for $340,000. Whomever bought these got a great deal.

  • Vince

    And to think that forty years ago I had the chance to buy a Singer 1911 in that condition for three hundred dollars and turned it down because I wanted something newer!!! That goes to show how good I am at predicting the firearms market.

  • phuzz

    I’ve never seen one of those first generation FG-42s before. How on earth could a normal person’s hand fit around that pistol grip and still reach the trigger?

  • Pete Sheppard

    No shooters in that list.

  • codfilet

    Of all the collectible firearms I might possibly want, a proven Custer Battlefield weapon ranks right up almost at the top. The “Holy Grail” of American historical firearms would have to be one of the rifles issued to the Lewis and Clark expedition-as far as I know, none have ever been identified as such, although undoubtedly one or more may survive, unrecognized and likely converted to percussion.

  • Max Kohnke

    Say hello to my expensive little friend!