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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt’s Colt Automatic Pistol

26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt’s Colt Automatic Pistol to be Offered at Public Firearms Auction. December 2011

Rock Island, Illinois. One of the most interesting and important personal effects of the celebrated 26th Presidents of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, known for his animated and energetic personality, wide variety of interests, a love of the outdoors, will be auctioned off Saturday December 2nd  by the Rock Island Auction Company.

The item to be sold is a Fully Documented Colt Model 1902 Semi-Automatic Pistol Factory Gold Inlaid with initials “T.R.”. The pistol is one of a handful of firearms ever to have been presented to a standing U.S. President. The pistol is accompanied by a factory letter which confirms all features of this pistol. More importantly though are a pair of letters, the first of which was discovered in the Library of Congress dated March 4, 1903 and is a thank you letter from President Roosevelt to Colt President Franklin Julian Price in which he inquires about what cartridges the pistol fires. The second letter dated March 5, 1903 comes from the Colt President Mr. Price “I am glad you like the Colt Automatic. As to the cartridges, the weapon takes either the .38 caliber Automatic Colt or the .38 Caliber Rimless Smokeless. The pistol is expected to fetch upwards of $150,000.00

The President was an avid outdoorsmen, and hunter. And among many other things is considered the father of our National Park system. He was also known to be a fantastic marksman and from the documentation that accompanies this pistol it is clear the President had every intention of firing this pistol. The practice of presenting special firearms to diplomats, and other high ranking influential people, was originated by Samuel Colt in the early 1850’s as a means to secure large government contracts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

December 2011 Auction Lot Index

To Be Sold At Auction -

SESSION I - Friday, December 2nd

Commencing at 10 a.m. selling between Lots 1 and 860
SESSION II - Saturday, December 3rd
Commencing at 10 a.m. selling between Lots 1000 and 1991
SESSION III - Sunday, December 4th
Commencing at 10 a.m. selling between Lots 3000 and 3826

Search Catalog Now

Friday Lots  1 Thru 860
TYPE                                    LOTS

Winchester Lever Actions/Single Shots/ Slide Actions            1 - 87
Cannons/Bronzes/Single Shot Rifles                                      88 - 146
Antique Arms/Kentucky/Halfstock/Fullstock Rifles              148 - 230
Colt Woodsmans - Bill Neal Collection                                 231 - 289
Schwinn Whizzers                                                                 290 - 294
German Military/Lugers                                                        295 - 388
U.S. Military Arms and Items                                               389 - 480
Shotguns/Sporting Arms/Assault Rifles                                481 - 753
Winchester Items/ Commemoratives                                    754 - 791
Sporting Pistols/Revolvers                                                   792 - 860

Saturday Lots  1000  Thru  1991
TYPE                                LOTS       

Derringers/Antique Flintlock and Percussion Arms            1000 - 1035
U.S. Martial Arms/Early U.S. Military                               1036 - 1058
Civil War Arms/Volcanics/Henrys                                     1059 - 1184
Sharps/Single Shot Rifles                                                   1185 - 1214
Colt Percussion Revolvers                                                 1215 - 1262
Winchester Lever Actions/Henrys/Volcanics                    1263 - 1304
Colt Single Actions                                                           1305 - 1344
Antique Smith & Wessons                                                1345 - 1394
Colt Deringers/Longarms/ Early Autos/1911s                  1395 - 1450
Colt Woodsmans - Bill Neal Collection/ Colt D.As          1451 - 1507
German Military - Putnam Green Collection                     1508 - 1640          
Lugers/German Military                                                    1641 - 1681  
Shotguns/Sporting Arms/Assault Rifles                             1682 - 1838
Miniature Arms                                                                  1839 - 1848
Colt Single Actions/Modern Smith & Wesson                   1849 - 1891
Colt Autos/Snakes/Commemoratives/SAAs/DAs              1892 - 1991

Sunday Lots  3000  Thru  3826
TYPE                                    LOTS

Antique Flintlock/Percussion Arms                                    3000 - 3040
Civil War Arms                                                                  3041 - 3164
Colt Percussion Revolvers                                                  3165 - 3207
Colt Single Actions/DAs/Deringers/Longarms                  3208 - 3287
Winchester Lever Actions/Henrys/Volcanics                     3288 - 3345
Single Shot Rifles                                                               3346 - 3376
Lugers/German Military Arms                                           3377 - 3503
Shotguns/Sporting Arms                                                    3504 - 3627
Japanese Military/U.S. Military- Putnam Green Collection  3628 - 3762
Sporting Arms/Colt Commemoratives/Autos/Snakes          3763 - 3826

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Civil War Collector

A Lifetime Collection of Everything Civil War - November Newsletter

by Kevin Hogan, Auctioneer
November 11, 2011
If you are a collector of anything Civil War then Rock Island Auction Company’s December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Premiere firearms auction is a must participate. This December’s sale will feature the most comprehensive antique American arms to be offered at auction this year and will be spearheaded by the following incredible Civil War collection. This grouping comes from 40+ years of collecting. It has been a true pleasure working and learning from this consignor/collector whose knowledge and passion literally jump off the pages of our auction catalog. It is not only the finest collection of Civil War carbines but also the most complete with the rarest and most desirable configurations, variations as well as incredible high condition.

When we had the privilege of stepping into his “gun room”, and I will use that term loosely because of the tremendous memorabilia and accessories that were also present (more on that later), we were awe-struck by the history the room held. It would be an understatement so say that this collector had an “eye”; as he told us “I bought what I loved, and I bought the best that I could find”.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Merkel Shotguns in the December Auction.


Rock Island Auction Company's December 2nd, 3rd and 4th Premiere Firearms Auction will feature one of the largest and most diverse grouping of Merkel shotguns and rifles we have ever offered. Touted as some of the most beautiful and intricate engraving on firearms today this auction features over 30 Merkel factory engraved rifles and shotguns. Among the most prolific of the bunch is a Signed Doreen Grill Master Engraved Merkel Model 140-2 Safari Series Double Barrel Rifle with Box in the desirable 375 H&H Magnum. Shotguns include: an Engraved Merkel Model 147SL Double Barrel Side by Side Shotgun in 12 gauge with Box, Signed Master Engraved Merkel Model 1620 SL Two Barrel Set Double Barrel Shotgun in 20 and 16 gauge with original box, Signed Mathis Koch Master Engraved Merkel Model 280EL Two Barrel Set 28/410 Gauge Double Barrel Shotgun with Box. As with many other genres in this auction the list goes on and includes over 10 new in the box Merkel sporting rifles. Also included in this auction is a tremendous amount of Browning's, grade I-III, safari grades, Olympians, and many new in the box rifles, shotguns and pistols. Anyone on the market for any new sporting arm, a high grade investment piece, or a new hunting rifle should be in attendance at this December sale!

Smith & Wessons in December 2011 Auction

Rock Island Auction Company is proud to offer over 100 Smith & Wesson pistols and revolvers in its upcoming Premiere Firearms Auction December 2nd, 3rd and 4th! This grouping of Smith & Wesson's spans the companies entire 150 plus year history of operation and manufacture. From the very first Smith & Wesson's produced to some of the most recently manufactured models. Starting with the first lever action magazine pistols originally developed by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson this auction has two examples of both the large frame .38 caliber and the small frame .31 caliber Smith & Wesson Lever Action Magazine pistols. The finest of the group is Lot number 1276 an Outstanding Large Frame Smith & Wesson Lever Action Magazine Pistol which retains a strong 80% original brown finish on the barrel! Moving to the tip-ups we have an Outstanding Cased Factory Engraved Smith & Wesson Model 1-1/2 New Model Revolver with Relief Carved Ivory Grips. This gun is really the whole package; it's masterfully engraved, factory cased, and has the most beautifully carved ivory grips that we at Rock Island Auction have seen on a Smith & Wesson! If you like the large frame models then this may be one sale to attend in person. Headlined by a truly one-of-a-kind Only Known New York Engraved U.S. Contract Smith & Wesson 1st Model Schofield Single Action Revolver with Kelton Safety, Ivory Grips and Factory Letter.  If you are missing a Second model Schofield from your collection then lot number 1346 is a must have. It is with out a doubt the finest of either Schofield model we have ever offered! Also of interest is a Unique and Rare Unserialized Smith & Wesson Second Model Russian Single Action Revolver with possible Russian Contract Markings. Lastly our pre and post war collection of Double Actions is simply magnificent and includes: a Custom Engraved Gold Inlaid Pre-War Smith & Wesson Registered 357 Magnum Revolver with Holster, Carved Ivory Grips and Factory Letter, Custom Arnold Griebel Engraved Gold Inlaid Smith & Wesson Pre-Model 27 357 Magnum Double Action Revolver with Factory Letter and Pearl Grips, and also a Very Rare Factory Class A+ Engraved Smith & Wesson Model 45-2 Double Action Revolver with Box. As is always the case the list goes on and on! Be sure to check the website for additional photos! We hope to see you in December so you can see for yourself what a fantastic group of Smith & Wesson's we have!  

* LOT 1345 - Only Known New York Engraved U.S. Contract Smith & Wesson 1st ModelSchofield Single Action Revolver with Kelton Safety, Ivory Grips and Factory Letter

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Magnificent and Extremely Rare Anna Pottery's Cornwall Kirkpatrick's Fair Jug Commemorating the Southern Illinois Anna Fair of 1884

Rock Island, IL. September 12, 2011 Over 300 Pieces of Stoneware.
The largest pieces to exists from Anna Pottery are also referred to as "Fair Jugs" these large cylindrical vessels commemorate the social highlight of the year. This jug commemorates the Southern Illinois Fair held at the fairground in Anna Illinois on August 26, 27 & 28, 1884. Aside from the imposing size the most distinctive feature of these jugs is that they have overall incised tubular design consisting chiefly of row after row, column after column, list after list of names. Fairs were the most important social and cultural events of the season in Southern Illinois. For most rural people the coming of their local fair was "the big event of the year". The Union County Fair was held annually in Jonesboro beginning in 1855. The annual Southern Illinois Fair began in Anna in 1880. From the start of the Anna fairs, Cornwall served as secretary for their association's board of trustees. Wallace frequently served as superintendent of amusements for the Anna fairs. He was in charge of the midway, Eight of these fair directories are known to exist, six made for local fairs, one for a Carbondale, Illinois fair plus the one made in 1879 for the Inter-State Industrial Exposition in Chicago. The core lists of incised names on the local fair directories consist of the names and titles of the officers, the names of members of the executive committee for the particular association sponsoring the fair, the superintendents and titles for each of the one to two dozen premium categories, and the names of each member of each superintendent's committee of fellow judges for each category.

View in Catalog Lot # 3506 will be auctioned off September 12, 2011.

September 2011 Firearms Auction Lot Index

Search Catalog Now

SESSION I - Friday, September 9th
Commencing at 10 a.m. selling between Lots 1 and 932
SESSION II - Saturday, September 10th
Commencing at 10 a.m. selling between Lots 1000 and 2011
SESSION III - Sunday, September 11th
Commencing at 10 a.m. selling between Lots 3000 and 3770
The Pottery will be sold at approximately 1 pm after the morning firearms session (Lots 3500 - 3770).

Friday Lots 1 Thru 932
Smith & Wesson Revolvers 1-29
Antique Long Arms/Kentucky Rifles 30-64
Antique Derringers 65-131
Antique European/Pinfires/Swords 132-232
Baby Hammerless Revolvers 233-245
Cannons/Winchester Rifles/Bronzes 246-335
Webley & Scott Revolvers 336-349
German/European Military 350-540
Sporting Arms/Bronzes/Randall Knives 541-712
U.S. Military 713-827
Sporting Pistols 828-932

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Calling All Luger Collectors!

Rock Island IL, September 9, 10 & 11, 2011

Rock Island Auction Company is pleased to present a fantastic and large grouping of Luger pistols as well as many more German and European firearms and Militaria. How many Lugers you may ask? How about over 350! Nearly every manufacturer and every possible date is represented in this auction. From the beginning Luger collector to the most advanced German Military collector this auction WILL have something for you! Over the past several years we in the firearms collecting fraternity have seen a tremendous boost in WWII interest which makes this auction a must attend for anyone looking to enhance their collection or for investors looking for a secure place to put their money!

This auction will feature:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Putnam Green Collection

Yes, Rock Island Auction Company is proud and privileged to welcome back the outstanding PUTNAM GREEN Collection of rare and important German and U.S. Military Firearms and Militaria. Many will remember the truly remarkable PUTNAM GREEN collection which embodies everything a collector desires: UNIQUENESS, CONDTION, and RARITY. Once again you have to opportunity to own a piece from arguably the greatest military collection in private hands. If you are looking to own the best in U.S. and German Military this is the auction you can not afford to miss!

Select Highlights include:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Museum Quality Remingtons from the James Tipton Collection

Hang on to your hats Remington shotgun collectors because RIA has the finest collection of factory master engraved gold inlaid Remington shotguns ever offered at public sale. I have worked here almost 7 ½ years and have never seen the likes of these spectacular shotguns. The collection includes a One-of-a-kind consecutively serial numbered four gun set of R.P. Runge Master Engraved Model 1100SF Premier Grade semi automatic shotguns in 12, 20, 28 and 410 gauges Lot 1594. The shotguns are “F” Grade which was the exclusive product of the Remington custom Shop and are made with masterfully hand fitted components, superbly embellished and signed, and dated by the engraver. All are mounted with extra fancy high grade checkered walnut forearms and stocks. There is a unique sequential set of four Remington Custom Shop Model 1100-SD Skeet Tournament Grade semi automatic shotguns in 12, 20, 28 and 410 gauge. The Model 1100s continue with Model 1100S skeet Premier F Grade custom Shop factory engraved by Master engraver Don Talbot Lot 1603. Talbot is a master of the American style of game scene engraving as well as a practitioner of the Italian “Bulino” school which uses near microscopic line and dot work to produce shading and depth rarely seen on American arms. And yet another Model 1100 Premier F Grade factory Custom Shop engraved Lot 1595, gold inlaid and signed by

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

September 9, 10 and 11 2011 Premiere Firearms Auction Categories

Guns & Firearms, Antiques, Edged Weapons, & Military Artifacts in our Upcoming Auction

With over 2,700 lots in the upcoming auction we have broken most of the items into easily searchable categories. 

Click any category link below to go directly to those items on our online catalog.

Reflections on the Putnam Green Collection: The World War 1 Collectables

This September Rock Island Auction Company is proud to offer museum quality military collectables from the Putnam Green Collection. This fantastic collection spans two world wars and features some of the best American and German military collectables Rock Island Auction has ever offered. This article will focus on the U.S. World War I collectables of the Putnam Green collection. Writing for the Military Trader and Military Vehicles Magazine blog the JAG File on February 23,2011, the magazine editor John Adam-Graf notes a rise in the popularity of World War I collecting (See article here). A renewal in World War I collecting has turned to robbing French military museums. At the Verdun Memorial 40 of the museum’s most valuable objects were stolen and there were other robberies at Fort Vauz and Fort de la Falouse. The director of the Verdun Memorial referred to the robberies as “stealing to order”, believing that collectors had become thieves or collectors had hired others to steal for them. While the French have possibly tuned to theft to meet collecting demands, here in the United States the renewal of World War I collecting is less dramatic, but are on the rise. As the 95th anniversary of America’s entry into the war approaches, “collecting has surged—both in the numbers who collect and the prices being paid.” Material that has taken the lead in desirability have included aviation, Tank Corps, uniform groupings, weapons and helmets, and examples from each category are featured in the Putnam Green collection this September.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stopping Power, Staying Power: The 1911/ Government Model Pistol

Developed at the start of the 20th Century, the Colt Government Model Pistol has entered into the public mindset as one of the quintessential icons of history, as much an icon as the covered wagons of the westward expansion, the sailing ships that brought the first colonists to the shore of the New World, the castles and knights of Medieval Europe, or the Samurai of Japan. Of those examples, most were undone by progress; the castle, knight and samurai were all forced to change beyond recognition or be eliminated by the development of gunpowder, sail gave way to steam and the wagons soon had the railroads to compete with. In 100 years, what has changed for the Colt?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Buy something you know - Firearms

Greetings Firearms Collectors, Dealers, Shooters!

In today's world, with the volatility of the stock market, hard assets such as firearms are holding their value. Collectable firearm prices have held up well despite a volatile economy. There are firearms in this auction for everyone; beginning collectors, shooters, hunters, dealers and more....firearms lots from $500 - $20,000

The best part: over 5000 pieces, 97% are UNRESERVED!

What does this mean for you as a buyer?      

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lugers and other German Military in our July 2011 Auction

Those of you familiar with our regional sales know that we usually have a very large variety of firearms, books and firearms related items ranging from the seldom seen to the more well known items, such as Smith & Wesson handguns, Winchesters and a array of sporting arms generally geared for every type of  buyer or collector. This July regional sale features about 190 various Lugers and about 100 German 98 rifles. This is the first time in 7+ years of working here that we have offered such a large collection of a specific item. 

July 2011 Regional Auction - Winchester Levers

Regional Sale Article: Winchester Levers

Our annual summer regional sale is quickly approaching here at Rock Island Auction. The past couple of months have been an exciting and busy time for us. From the end of March until mid July we will have finished and mailed out two catalogs, conducted two auctions, moved over 10,000 guns, assorted inventory, and all of our offices from the old building in Moline to our new 85,000 square foot facility in Rock Island. For those of you who were unable to attend our May premier sale, we hope you will be pleasantly surprised with the new facility. You will find a larger, separate preview hall, dedicated and designed to provide ideal conditions for inspecting guns, with plenty of natural light. We also now have our own separate auction hall with a six foot projection TV screen and a permanent phone bank. Looking back to some of the first auctions we held in the garage of the original “old building” it’s amazing to see how far we have come. All thanks to you our loyal customers.

Identifying Ivory

RIAC June, 2011 Newsletter Article

At a recent gun show, there was a disagreement between two dealers as to whether a sword had a genuine ivory grip. While this was going on, one of our readers suggested that we put together a primer on identifying ivory...and as you know, the customer is always right, so here we go.

Elephant ivory is so attractive, so easy to work with, and so pure in its color that it has been a favorite of craftsmen for centuries. However, since elephants live in remote places and tend to resist radical dental work, ivory has always been expensive outside of India and Africa. And when trade routes were disrupted by war, the supply could become cut off. So there has long been a desire to find less expensive materials that have the same essential qualities of ivory without the inconvenience or cost. All kinds of tusks, teeth, bone, and even compounds formed from nuts and milk saw extensive use — with mixed success.

Did Rollin White Really Invent The Bored-Through Cylinder?

RIAC April, 2011 Newsletter Article

The answer is yes but whether he knew the significance of his idea at the time is highly unlikely.  If you have a look at his patents and read the claims, nowhere does he emphasize that feature.  The gun he invented and ideas he patented are for a totally impractical firearm, full of levers, racks and pinions and, oh yes, by the way, a bored-through cylinder.  The patent model shows a magazine hung on side with a plunger device for charging the cylinder from the front.  There is actually a surviving rifle version of that arm in the Carl Metzgar Collection at Texas A&M University.

It was Daniel Wesson who spotted the hidden detail and realized its golden potential.  He wrote the following letter to Rollin White:

“I notice in a patent granted to you under the date of Apr. 3, 1855 one claim =viz= extending the chambers of the rotating cylinder right through the rear end of said cylinder so as to enable the said chambers to be charged from the rear end either by hand or by means of a sliding charger operating substantially as described.  Which I would like make arrangements with you to use in the manufacture of firearms.  My object in this letter is to enquire if such an arrangement could be made and if so on what terms.  By replying to the above at your earliest convenience you note confirming at favor.

                                    I am sir yours respectfully,  D.B.Wesson”