Continuing our series of articles telling about most expensive firearms sold in the major US auction houses, today we’ll take a look at the five most expensive firearms sold in September 2018 Rock Island Premiere Firearms Auction. This auction set a world record of the largest single firearms auction in the history with combined sales worth over $20 million.
As in the case of our previous installments, the prices of the lots are the “prices realized” which include the hammer price plus 15% buyer’s premium. The latter is basically the auction house’s fee. The list goes in price ascendancy order with the least expensive being the number five and shown first and the most expensive being the number one and shown at the end of the article. The firearm names also link to corresponding RIAC pages where you can read more detailed descriptions and see more and higher resolution images of the guns. In case if several firearms are sold at the same price, you’ll see them combined in a single position. Without further ado, let’s see what we have this time.
#5 – $276,000
This 16 gauge Colt Model 1893 revolving shotgun is one of estimated 225 guns manufactured in the late 19th century in Colt’s factory located in Paterson, New Jersey. Besides being such a rare firearm, this shotgun is also preserved in a very good condition. The rarity and condition are the factors that make collectors pay over a quarter of a million dollars for adding this gun to their collection.
This shotgun has an engraved round cylinder of six round capacity, Damascus steel barrel, color case hardened hammer, frame, trigger guard and buttplate.
#4 – $287,500
During one of our previous articles, we reported about this one of a kind firearm that was consigned to the September 2018 Rock Island Auction. This M1 Garand is the serial number 1,000,000 and it was presented to John Cantius Garand on April 30, 1953, during his retirement ceremony. The rifle was consigned with the case, silver plated en-bloc clip, eight gold-plated dummy .30-06 Springfield cartridges, and many other items related to the life and career of the legendary arms designer.
One of the most iconic US WW2 rifles in excellent condition that has a unique serial number, belonged to the designer and comes with a lot of accompanying collectible items – all these features combined make this gun a collector’s dream. There is no doubt that this rifle is one of the most desirable items for a US small arms collector and probably THE most desirable one for an M1 Garand collector. In fact, this rifle set a world record for an M1 Garand rifle ever sold at an auction house.
John Garand’s rifle shares the #4 position with another American WW2 machine – the M5A1 Stuart light tank. About 9,000 Stuart tanks were manufactured many of which continued their service in various nations all over the world after the end of WW2. This particular tank was manufactured in 1943. It was brought to the USA from Portugal in the ’80s.
#3 – $402,500
This pair of .36 caliber Colt 1861 Navy percussion revolvers belonged to William Mathewson who was the first to be nicknamed “Buffalo Bill”. Although he is less known than Buffalo Bill Cody, his life is no less fascinating. He was an explorer, hunter, scout, and fur trader. He was nicknamed Buffalo Bill in Kansas in the winter of 1860. That was a year of drought and Mathewson saved many lives of settlers by hunting buffaloes for them.
William “Buffalo Bill” Mathewson was presented this set of revolvers by a fellow fur trader Elias Hicks Durfee in 1866. The revolvers were consigned in the original case with the reloading tools and accessories. These guns are silver plated by Tiffany Co. and have carved ivory grips. For a more detailed description of these revolvers and to learn more about William “Buffalo Bill” Mathewson watch the Rock Island Auction Company’s video which you can find embedded below.
#2 – $891,250
Another gun that is valued because of its rarity and condition. This is a Winchester One of One Thousand Model 1876 “Centennial Rifle” chambered in .45-60 WCF. What makes it rare is that there were only 54 Model 1876 One of One Thousand rifles made from which only about ten are known to collectors.
You can learn more about this rifle by watching the RIAC video where Kevin Hogan, the president of Rock Island Auction Company, showcases the rifle and talks about its features.
#1 – $1,178,750
And finally, THE most expensive gun sold at the Rock Island September 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction is this incredible Winchester Model 1886 Express Rifle. The final price that this gun was sold at way exceeds the estimated high price of $750,000 that it was predicted to be sold at. When talking about this rifle in my article about the rare and unusual guns seen in the Rock Island Auction Company’s catalog, I said that this rifle could be sold at a higher price than the two tanks consigned to the auction. Well, I was underestimating its value because it was sold at a price more than twice exceeding the prices of both tanks combined.
Virtually every single visible part of this Winchester lever action rifle is engraved, inlaid with gold or platinum, carved or has a fancy finish. The engraving was executed by the famous master engraver John Ulrich. The engraving includes detailed gold plated animal scenes which are surrounded by arabesque scrolls bordered by gold and platinum lines. The fancy grade wood is also carved.
And that was the list of top five most expensive firearms sold at the Rock Island September 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction. I hope you enjoyed this article! Stay tuned for the coverage of the upcoming December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction.
Images by Rock Island Auction Company