If you read The Firearm Blog on a regular basis, then you must remember that earlier we have published articles identical to this one. We’ve been looking at the ten most expensive firearms sold in main auctions of America’s largest firearm auction houses: James D. Julia and Rock Island Auction. This article is no different than those previous ones except it covers the top ten of highest priced guns of the latest September 2017 Rock Island premiere firearms auction. In our list, we have the prices realized, which include the hammer price plus 15% “buyer’s premium” which is the auction house’s fee. As always, the list goes in price ascendancy order with the least expensive being the number 10 and the most expensive being the number one. 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 – $63,250
As in the case of our previous lists, some of the positions are shared by several firearms each separately sold at the same price. Particularly, the tenth position is shared by two firearms.
One of them is a Model 1921 Thompson Submachine Gun. This particular one is an early Colt production Tommy gun. It is a fully functional and transferable Class III/NFA firearm.
Next one is another American firearm – Johnson M1941 Light Machine Gun. A rare American WW2 fully automatic .30-06 firearm in a great condition – isn’t this a dream gun description? This lot was consigned with two original 30 round magazines, five books about Johnson automatic firearms and a reproduction of the field manual.
#9 – $69,000
A Singer manufactured Colt 1911A1 pistol was sold at this price point. Singer Manufacturing Company made only 500 of 1911 pistols during the WW2, which makes them a rare and desirable item for collectors.
#8 – $74,750
A Colt Third Model Hartford London Dragoon percussion revolver is #8 on our list. It was auctioned with its case and loading accessories. This revolver immediately jumps out due to fine gold damascene decoration all over the metal parts.
If you want to learn more about Gold Damascene, watch the Forgotten Weapons’ video below.
Next pistol also sold for $74,750 is a Rappahannock Forge Flintlock Officers Pistol.
#7 – $80,500
A special order Winchester Model 1873 saddle ring lever action carbine is one of two firearms in number 7 position of our list. All the internal and external metal parts of this carbine are nickel plated.
The second $80,500 gun is an early production Colt “Texas Paterson” No. 5 revolver. It was sold with an original holster.
#6 – $86,250
U.S. Second Contract North & Cheney Model 1799 flintlock pistol. The age of this early pistol as well as the fact that only 2000 of them were made by North & Cheney probably make this gun such a desirable one.
The second pistol in this position is a Colt Single Action Army revolver. It is engraved by Cuno Helfricht’s shop. Note also the carved ox head on the pearl grips. This pistol is made in 1888. It is chambered in .44-40 Winchester and has a 5 1/2″ barrel.
#5 – $103,500
Factory engraved Winchester Model 1866 lever action rifle is one of two rifles sold for over $100K. The engraving was done by John Ulrich, whose engravings are nothing short of being a work of art. There are also many other features valued by the collectors which you can read about in the description of this rifle on Rock Island Auction’s website.
Next one is a gold Inlaid Winchester Model 1894 Takedown lever action rifle also engraved by John Ulrich. Just like the first one, this rifle has many rare and special order features.
#4 – $172,500
Number 4 is a factory engraved and gold-Inlaid exhibition grade Winchester Deluxe Model 1886 Takedown lever action rifle. It is chambered in .45-70 Government.
#3 – $253,000
Number 3 is not quite fair because it is a pair of firearms sold as a single lot. Anyhow, these are .36 caliber Colt 1851 Navy revolvers. Both are early production revolvers (manufactured in 1851) which you can identify by the distinctive early trigger guard shape called “Squareback”. These revolvers were sold with the rosewood case and the powder flask.
#2 – $276,000
This one is an early production (made in 1860, serial number 17) factory presentation grade engraved, silver plated Henry Deluxe Lever Action Rifle. It was manufactured by New Haven Arms Company and chambered in .44 Henry Rimfire.
#1 – $506,000
And finally, number one is a cased and factory engraved Colt Model 1860 Army revolver with its matching deluxe shoulder stock. Such a remarkably engraved 1860 Army model that also comes with a stock is a very rare item. Both the revolver and the shoulder stock feature Colt “Heavy Leaf” scroll engraving.
Note the gap of $230,000 between #1 and #2. This revolver was also sold way over its estimated high price of $280,000. It is as expensive as all the firearms of #10 to #5 positions on our list combined.
Here is a video where Kevin Hogan, the president of Rock Island Auction Company tells about this revolver as well as about the pair of Colt 1851s occupying number three position of our list.
That’s the list of 10 most expensive firearms sold in September 2017 Rock Island Premiere Firearms Auction. Because of the several lots sold at the same price we actually have 15 lots with 16 firearms (#3 is a single lot consisting of 2 revolvers). The combined value of the firearms in our list is $2,093,000 which is roughly the 14.5% of the total value of all the 3839 lots sold at over $14.5 million.
You can download (.pdf) the complete prices realized list by clicking here.
Don’t you wonder what the US flag shown on the top image has to do with the subject of this article? Well, it is obviously not a firearm, but it was one of the main lots of this auction, which was not sold though. It is the American flag flown on the USS LCI(L)-421 at the D-Day landing on Gold Beach on June 6, 1944. It is also probably the most historically significant non-firearm item auctioned.
My personal favorite of the list is the Johnson LMG. Which one do you like the most?