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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Early Winchester Rifles in Our Regional Auction

Our December Premiere Auction has just finished and while we'd love to bask in its results for a little while there are way too many fantastic items in our 2014 February Regional Sale to allow that!  If you've been watching or participating in our auctions, you know that we traditionally have had 3 Premiere Firearms Auctions and 2 Regional Firearms Auctions every year.  Recently, we've also added our Online Only Auctions.  The Premiere Auctions are our crème de la crème.  It is comprised of the rarest, most valuable, artistic, historic, and high condition firearms.  The items in these auctions are sought after by experienced collectors and savvy investors around the globe.  Regional Auctions are more designed for the beginning collector.  Unquestionably, there are some excellent collectables in our Regional sales, but the selection largely remains usable weapons, beginner collector arms, and the fantastic selection of bladed weapons, military artifacts, and firearms accessories that people have come to expect from Rock Island Auction Company.

When looking through the items to appear in this February's Regional Firearms Auction, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of higher end guns appearing in the sale.  It's a testimony to the ever rising number of quality firearms that are entrusted to RIAC and we couldn't be more thrilled!  The high end firearms spanned several different genres, but in today's article we'll focus on the early lever actions, namely Winchester and Henry rifles.  It was especially pleasing to find so many nice lever actions because we know that they, along with Colts, are what a lot of gun aficionados love to see and collect more than any other genre.  Take a look at some of these great collector firearms!

Lot 2: Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Saddle Ring Carbine
Manufactured in 1869 and subsequently rechambered to 44 CF.  The contrast between that dark wood and the patina covered brass is striking.  For the price, this is a realistic and easy way to get a good looking, early model Winchester.  In fact, it's the first rifle under the Winchester name.

Estimated at $4,500 - $7,000

Lot 1: New Haven Arms Henry Lever Action Rifle
This particular rifle was manufactured in 1865 and has a pair of sling loop/swivel on the left hand side.  The brass buttplate on this rifle is of an earlier pattern with its rounded heel.  The honey colors in both the receiver and the wood were clearly made for each other.  It would make a handsome addition to any collection.

Estimated at $10,000 - $20,000

Lot 6: Engraved Winchester Second Model 1873 Saddle Ring Carbine
Engraved guns are an instant attractant to collectors and this gun should prove no exception.  The supremely dark wood with a receiver that seems to define the color "gun metal gray" gives a rather ominously dark countenance to the rifle.  Some nice scroll work engraving adorns the receiver as well as some punch dot sections, and a scene involving a buck.  This particular rifle was manufactured in 1875.

Estimated at $1,700 - $3,000

Lot 3000: New Haven Arms Henry Lever Action Rifle
Manufactured in 1863.  Every collector in their right mind would give up quite a bit to own a Henry rifle with a high percentage of original finish.  However, there is something to be said about rifles like this that maintain earthier colors throughout.  The colors of the steel, brass, and oil finished walnut, are so complementary you could design a room in your house around them.

Estimated at $12,000 - $18,000

Lot 4: New Haven Arms Henry Lever Action Rifle
Manufactured in 1864. Even Henry rifles with some replacement parts still command premiums.  The example below has had its cleaning rod trapdoor replaced as well as its stock, but collectors and investors still can't wait to get their hands on that original brass receiver, octagon barrel, and integral 15-shot magazine.  This is a piece of American history and a few replacement parts don't even come close to diminishing the significance of this firearm.

Estimated at $8,000 - $15,000

Lot 5; Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Special Order 26 Inch Barrel
Manufactured in 1892 with a special order 26" barrel, this 1873 Winchester is an American classic and looks the part.  For this price, especially for a special order, it can be your American classic.  As more and more Winchesters get socked away in private collections, the special order guns become rarer and rarer, let alone those with multiple or unusual special order features.  Trying to take this gun home is an easy decision to make.

Estimated at $2,000 - $3,000

Lot 1000: New Haven Arms Henry Lever Action Rifle with Samuel Hoggson Attributed Factory Engraved Brass Frame
You may have seen the condition of this gun and been surprised when you spotted the estimate underneath the last photo.  However, it should come as little surprise since original Henry rifles are supremely collectable in and of themselves.  Plus, true factory engraved Henry rifles are among the most rarest and highly sought after firearms thanks to their broad appeal, limited production, and place in American history.  This particular rifle features the special order engraving with scroll work, flowers, punch dots, and a scene of a resting lion.  Combine a classic American arm with a rare feature attributed to a notable Master Engraver (Samuel Hoggson) and you've got yourself a rifle with strong demand from collectors everywhere.

Estimated at $15,000 - $25,000

As these guns illustrate, classic, early Winchester and Henry rifles can be added to a collection with relatively little financial commitment and great ease.  In ever better news to collectors, special order features are also available at varying price points.  This February's Regional Auction should be garnering the attention of collectors everywhere who have sought attractive prices on guns that typically command the attention of top collectors.

To pre-order your catalog for $35 (that prices includes shipping), please visit  When they are printed, you will receive a RIAC Regional catalog in the mail contianing over 2,700 lots including around 6,500 items.  That's a lot of guns, accessories, bladed weapons, and military artifacts to view!  Plus, when you find items you like, you can head right over to our website to view full color, high resolution photos as well as place your sealed bids.  Remember, in the event of a tie between two sealed bids, the first bid placed wins!  It's a huge advantage to have those bids in early.  So go get that catalog ordered and maybe you'll get to take home a Winchester or two!

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