Rock Island Auction Company’s May 2017 Premiere Auction started on May 5 and ended on May 7. Among the main and iconic lots of this auction were Elvis Presley’s revolvers. The King’s guns were sold at world record prices both for the Colt Python and S&W Model 19-2 revolvers.
So in this article, we’ll take a look at the most expensive firearms sold during this auction. The listed prices are so-called “prices realized”, which include the hammer price plus 15% “buyer’s premium”. The latter is basically the auction’s fee. The realized price reflects the actual final price paid for any particular lot. The list goes in price ascendancy order where the # 10 is the least expensive and is listed first. The firearm names also link to the corresponding RIA page, where you can read more detailed descriptions and see more and higher resolution images of the guns.
#10 – $86,250
The tenth position is shared by three firearms including a special order Winchester Deluxe Model 1886 takedown lever action rifle, a First Model Henry lever action rifle made by New Haven Arms Co. and a U.S. Contract Colt Model 1851 Navy percussion revolver. The guns are shown below in the same order as described. Each of these guns was sold at $86,250.
#9 – $92,000
Number 9 is a Winchester Model 1910 self-loading rifle. It is factory gold inlaid and engraved by John Ulrich. This rifle was manufactured in 1912 and it is chambered in .401WSL.
#8 – $103,500
A pair of flintlock pistols made it to the list. These are John Manton Dueling Pistols. These pistols are made in 1797 by a famous London gunsmith – John Manton. The pistols have beautiful silver elements and overall they are in excellent condition for their age.
#7 – $172,500
This position is shared by two firearms each separately sold at the price of $172,500. One of them is Elvis Presley’s Colt Python! There are beautiful engravings all over the gun and gold inlaid animal figures. It is sold at a world record price for a Colt Python. Elvis presented this revolver to Richard Grob, the director of security and operations of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
The second firearm sold at this price point in RIA is a Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon .31 caliber percussion revolver. It is engraved and was sold with a matching serialized extra barrel. One of the barrels is 6″ long and the second one has a length of 4″. The gun is also sold with its case and loading tools.
#6 – $195,500
Number five is another revolver once owned by The King. It is Elvis Presley’s Smith & Wesson Model 19-2 double action revolver. This revolver is exhibition grade engraved and carved with a number of gold inlaid elements. Elvis presented this revolver to Vice President Spiro Agnew as a gift. However, the Vice President had to send it back, because he was being investigated on a corruption matter. Later, Elvis gifted the revolver to Shelby County Sheriff Gene Barksdale. Sheriff Barksdale gave the revolver to his nephew and a member of Shelby County Sheriff’s department Thomas Morgan Jr. who eventually consigned the revolver to the auction. This handgun also was sold at world record price for a Smith and Wesson Model 19-2 revolver.
Here is a video by RIA describing both Elvis revolvers:
#5 – $241,500
Sold at little less than quarter million dollars is a WW2 German FG-42 rifle. It is a late, second model rifle manufactured by Krieghoff. This gun is a select fire fully functional firearm chambered in 7.92x57mm Mauser. The late model guns are easily distinguished by an almost vertical pistol grip and the distinctive muzzle device.
#4 – $322,000
A pair of matching Colt Model 1860 Army percussion revolvers were sold at this price. These revolvers are factory engraved and gold plated. They also bear the crest of the initial owner on the ebony grips. The revolvers are sold with the case and a number of accessories including a rosewood canteen stock.
#3 – $414,000
This beautiful lever action rifle is a Winchester “1 of 1000” Deluxe Model 1873 rifle. It is 1 of 3 documented rifles of its type. The rifle is factory engraved, John Ulrich signed and gold plated. This rifle was auctioned first time in over 25 years. A truly iconic rifle for lever action rifle collectors.
#2 – $575,000
At this position, there is a Colt Texas Paterson a.k.a “Number 5 Holster” .36 caliber percussion revolver. This revolver is one of about 1,000 Texas Paterson revolvers manufactured by Samuel Colt’s Patent Arms Manufacturing Company from 1838-40. This revolver has silver bands at various locations which make it more valuable. It is also sold with its original case and loading and maintenance tools.
In the RIA video below you can see the description of percussion revolvers, which occupy #2, #4 and #7 positions on our list.
#1 – $598,000
Finally, THE most expensive firearm sold during the auction was a Winchester Model 1866 lever action rifle. This gun has a number of features valued by firearms collectors. The brass receiver, butt plate, and forearm tip are gold plated. The side panels house an engraved scene called “On the Rocky Mountains”. It is also in a remarkably good condition. Another factor that makes this gun so valuable is that it is the only factory made Winchester 1866 with a maple stock. And last but not least, this rifle comes in a factory case.
The rifle is manufactured in 1871 and it is chambered in .44 Rimfire.
Here is how Kevin Hogan, the president of Rock Island Auction Company describes this firearm:
That’s the list of 10 most expensive firearms sold in RIA May 2017 Premiere Auction. By combining the lots sold at the same price, we actually have 13 lots on our list. The combined price for these 13 lots is $3,145,250, which is about the 20% of the total prices realized of over 3800 lots of the auction.
If you are curious about the Elvis Presley’s sheriff’s badge shown on the top image of this article, it was sold at $40,250.
As you can see, in this RIA auction the list of most expensive firearms is dominated by lever action rifles and percussion revolvers. The FG-42 is my personal favorite on the list, but the coolest ones are definitely Elvis Presley’s revolvers.
Many thanks to Joel Kolander of RIA for the support and provided information.