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Friday, November 28, 2014

Museum Quality

Rock Island Auction Company is always offering some rather stunning arms: mint condition antiques, rare variations, gorgeous special order arms, classic military arms, unusual prototypes, and all kinds of items tied to important figures from bank robbers to presidents.  This considered, perhaps the large number of "museum grade" pieces in this auction should come as no surprise.  While I would personally love to have written about each one individually, the December 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction draws nigh and so we're forced to cover several of these incredible items in one go.

The best part is that, unlike a museum, these items do not rest behind glass, inaccessible to the collecting community.  Each and every one of these pieces will be sold to collectors and investors.  The items are spectacular in their own right, but the fact that they have somehow evaded curators' grasps for sometimes hundreds of years makes them all the more remarkable.  Take some time to look and judge for yourself.

Peter Knecht Solingen Production Gold and Niter Blue Accented French Presentation Sword with Scabbard Inscribed from the National Guard of France to the Marquis de Lafayette, Hero of the American Revolution

For those unfamiliar, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, was a hero of the Revolutionary War.  He was not a man who led a single heroic charge or captured a single machine gun nest.  No, Lafayette fought in numerous battles, held many ranks, and even helped secure critical aid and troops from the French.  The United States has perhaps never had such a devoted and passionate ally since.  George Washington himself, upon the Marquis' departure for France at the end of the Revolution wrote him a letter stating,

"I owe it to your friendship and to my affectionate regard for you, my dear Marquis, not to let you leave this country without carrying with you fresh marks of my attachment to you, and new expressions of the high sense I entertain of your military conduct and other important services in the course of the last campaign, although the latter are too well known to need testimony of my approbation."

High praise indeed from the Father of Our Country.  Lafayette came from very wealthy roots, joined the military at 14, as was family tradition, and after the American Revolution held various roles helping to form the tumultuous French government.  The day after the Bastille was stormed, he would be made commander-in-chief of the National Guard of France - an order keeping force comprised of urban militia units throughout France.  Not long after he would propose the symbol of the French tricolor, essentially the French national flag of today.  He held numerous French military titles through those conflicts, would be taken as a prisoner of war by the Austrians and the Prussians for 5 years until 1897 when his release was secured by Napoleon Bonaparte.  The Emperor of France would go on to offer Lafayette several high-ranking positions, but he refused them all, stating that he might have accepted them had they come from a democratic government.

He would continue a long and close friendship with George Washington until Washington's death in 1800, even naming his son Georges-Washington Lafayette.  Eventually Lafayette would also form a solid friendship with Thomas Jefferson exchanging many letters and gifts over years of correspondence.  In 1824, Lafayette was invited by President Monroe and Congress to visit the United States in honor of its pending 50th birthday.  He was greeted like a modern rock star.  Revolutionary War veterans greeted him, citizens rightly recognized him as a national hero the likes of which might not be seen again in their lifetimes.  His initial arrival in new York was celebrated with four non-stop days and his trip to Boston was lined with well-wishers.  This set the tone for Lafayette's entire trip, with towns and cities bound and determined to show their respect, enthusiasm, and gratitude to a man who had been essential to their liberty.  It was on this trip that Lafayette of course visited his old friend George Washington's grave and took some soil from Bunker Hill so that when he died, as he would in 1834, it could be sprinkled on his Parisian grave.  A true American icon in his belief and commitment to representational government, this sword would have no problems finding a place of prominence in any museum.

Elaborate Cased Exhibition Grade Silver and Gold Inlaid LeFaucheux Pinfire Revolvers

Moving from the historic, to the aesthetic brings us to this incredible pair of exhibition grade LeFaucheux pinfire revolvers.  The craftsmanship and valuable materials used in its construction would easily place it in museums that appreciate such art, such as The Met in New York City.  This is truly high art with a revolver as the artist's medium.  They shine as if they were jeweled and not a single detail was spared in their creation by Parisian gunsmith LeFaucheux, whose notable contributions to firearms also include the pinfire cartridge in 1835, one of the first self-contained cartridges, which in turn assisted in the design of breech-loading firearms.

The pistols themselves are exquisite.  Perhaps most noticeable are the revolvers' high polish blue finish on the barrels, cylinders, frames, and butt caps.  Said finish provides a myriad of vibrant blue, aqua, indigo, purple, and royal blue shades that provide a striking backdrop for the ornate and superbly executed gold and silver inlays which cover a large percentage of the guns.  The delicate lines of precious metal intertwine to form geometric designs, floral scroll work, and elegant borders.  The two-piece grips are fine antique ivory and end in a lavish inlaid silver band and a high polish butt cap that also includes more gold and silver inlay.

Even the case of the pistols is extraordinary!  Constructed of ebony and lined with striking red velvet, it has brass handles on its sides and its lid bears a brass inlay and monogram.  The compliment of tools was designed to match the set of pistols: the cap container has a blued, silver & gold inlaid insert, the oiler also wears the same high polish blue and has a silver and gold inlaid  applicator handle, and even the screw drivers are silver inlaid.   While one could dedicate several pages to adequately describe this stunning pieces, we'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Abraham Lincoln Hand Signed 1864 Presidential Appointment

Certainly, Abraham Lincoln is a man who needs no introduction to American readers.  Largely considered the greatest American President, his presence in American history is huge.  This document signed by Lincoln and his Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, appointed Henry S. Williams as an Additional paymaster for the volunteer forces on June 3, 1864. Our official description succinctly details the position:

"During the Civil War, the U.S. president had the power to appoint paymasters at a rate of one paymaster to every two regiments. Paymasters served under the command of a paymaster general, an officer with the rank of colonel. Under the colonel were two deputy paymasters with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Under the deputy paymasters were 25 deputies with the rank of major. Deputies or additional paymasters were appointed to temporary duty only."

Given Lincoln's steering of American history, anything authentic associated with the man is nearly guaranteed to take on new and important significance.  This genuine, original, hand signed document was not only graced by the man, but also has strong and undeniable ties to that bloodiest of American conflicts - the Civil War.  This is not only an extraordinary document of pure Americana, but also a museum-worthy piece of history of these United States.

Documented Historically Significant One of A Kind Charter Arms Undercover Revolver Used In the Attempted Assassination of Governor George Wallace of Alabama

Many people my age have seen the movie "Taxi Driver" starring Robert DeNiro and Jodie Foster, but few are aware of the effect it had on a pair of psychopaths in previous decades.  Most notably is the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981 by a man obsessed with Jodie Foster and determined to get her attention by shooting the leader of the free world.  Lesser known to later generations is the assassination attempt of Alabama Gov. George Wallace by loner Arthur Bremmer.

The aspiring assassin had also been motivated by the final scenes of "Taxi Driver" and was determined to gain an infamy for himself after feeling overwhelmingly lonely and anonymous.  His "story" has been well told thanks to a detailed, rambling, and horribly misspelled diary he began keeping nearly two months after his first relationship ended.  It was only three dates, but it would be hard to argue that the event did not add to his feelings of loneliness.

The journal begins, "Now I start my diary of my personal plot to kill by pistol either Richard Nixon or George Wallace." Feeling that killing Nixon would make him more famous, he began attending events where Nixon would be featured. Bremmer would often attend armed, but could not get close enough or when we could, was thwarted by tight security. Bremmer had delusions of grandeur and would write things in his diary like, "I'm as important as the start of WWI. I just need the little opening and a second of time."

Gov. George Wallace
Making an attempt on Reagan's life was proving impossible, so Brenner switched his attentions to divisive Gov. George Wallace.  Wallace was a segregationist/populist Democrat, known famously for his inaugural speech in 1963 that included the line,

"In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

Later that year, Wallace made headlines by personally blocking the doors at the University of Alabama to prevent the entry of black students, and again at four separate elementary schools in Huntsville, Alabama.  By the time of his assassination attempt, he was making his third run for the U.S. presidency.  He was a national figure and his would-be assassin was going to try to exploit that.  During the Democratic presidential primaries in May 1972, Wallace would be approached by Bremmer while shaking hands in a crowd.  He fired all five shots of .38 special ammunition, twice hitting the Governor in the chest and the abdomen, and wounding three bystanders: a state trooper, a Secret Service agent, and a campaign volunteer.  All shot would survive, but one of the bullets that struck Wallace would lodge in his spinal cord, permanently paralyzing him from the waist down.

Nobody won.  Wallace's presidential bid was all but over, even though he easily retained his place in the Governor's mansion.  The assassination attempt also cast doubts on his health during fourth and final run at the presidency in 1976.  Bremmer also gained nothing.  For one, it would forever be known as an "attempt,"  not a an actual assassination.  He did not get the infamy of Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wilkes Booth, or even Sirhan Sirhan.  In fact, it is doubtful he even became more well known than the movie character he so desperately tried to emulate.  Instead, he spent 35 years of his life in prison, though he has been out on parole since 2007.

Wallace's assassination is reportedly at the root of his change of heart toward segregation. In the late 70's, he became a born-again Christian, apologizing to African-American civil rights leaders.  Of his "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door," in 1979 he recanted by saying, "I was wrong.  Those days are over, and they ought to be over."  In 1995, he even wrote to his would-be assassin offering forgiveness and seeking reconciliation.

An important political figure for decades in the 20th century, the assassination attempt rocked the nation and was an important event in the lives of many Americans.  The revolver for sale isn't just a link to the history that happened that day, it IS a part of that history.  This small, unassuming, 5-shot, blued, walnut gripped, snub nose changed U.S. history that day.  It is accompanied by small library of documentation, police reports, hospital records, a nine page Report of investigation by the Prince George County Police, and the original sales receipt when the gun was sold to Bremmer.  Any museum would love to have this behind glass in their collection, but we offer to the collecting public.

Honorable Mention

The following two guns are also significant, but have been already been discussed in previous articles.

Outstanding One-of-A-Kind Serial Number 1 Swiss Model 1908 Mexican Contract Mondragon Semi-Automatic Rifle

When the NRA Firearms Museum titles their video on this model of rifle, "A National Firearms Museum Treasure Gun," the item clearly has an important significance.  One of the earliest semi-automatic rifles ever made, it is largely accepted as being the first to see wide military use.  It was used by Mexico, Switzerland, and nearly a dozen other countries.  Particularly of note is its use by the Germans in their aircraft during the Great War.  Before the advent of machine guns in aviary use, the rear seated soldier or those in observation balloons would be armed with these rifles, then dubbed the "Flyers self loading carbine model of 1915."  We don't often associate rifles with aerial combat, but this gun has the unique honor of that distinction.  The NRA's 1st Vice President and avid tank collector Allan D. Cors puts it best in the above linked video when he says, "you're witnessing firearms history at its finest."

The best part is Mr. Cors is speaking of the rifle in the video, which is a fine specimen and appears to be serial number 2756.  The Mondragon to be sold by Rock Island Auction Company this December is in excellent condition and is serial number one.  The rifle itself in this condition would make any collector happy, but the possibility of owning the very first of these historic rifles should have the attention of collectors and investors from around the world.

Documented "National Treasure" Factory Engraved and Inscribed Savage Model 1907 Semi-Automatic Pistol Presented To Buffalo Bill Cody By The Factory

We spoke at length in last week's article about this once-in-a-lifetime pistol, so we won't beat a dead horse.  However, to speak of museum quality pieces and omit this historic and direct tie to the prairie, Westward Expansion, and the Old West would be borderline unforgivable.  To read last week's article on the Model 1907 Savage pistol presented to Buffalo Bill Cody by the Savage factory, please click here.

Each and every one of these guns could unquestionably placed be in a museum. They deserve it.  Their craftsmanship, innovation, history, and remarkable preservation have earned them that right.  While these are extraordinary examples of the quality in our December 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction, they are far from all-inclusive.  Give our online catalog a search today to see for yourselves.  Or, for more educational content on some incredible firearms, head over to our YouTube Channel and sit back while you hear all about them.

-written by Joel Kolander

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Guns Close to Buffalo Bill

Few names conjure up images of the Wild West quicker than that of Buffalo Bill Cody.  Born less than 30 miles from where I sit,  Buffalo Bill needs no introduction to those familiar with the history of the Old West.  The Union scout, Pony Express rider, Civil War soldier, Medal of Honor recipient, and buffalo hunter, turned showman in 1883, founding his "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" show and taking it on tour across the country and even into Britain and Europe on several occasions.  It is speculated by several historians that he was one of, if not the most, recognizable celebrity at the end of very end of the 1800s.

At his shows he brought all the romance and violence of the West to life.  There were horsemen from numerous cultures, shooters of incomparable skill such as Annie Oakley, riding roping, races, and reenactments of scenes depicting the Pony Express, stagecoach robberies, and Indian attacks on a pioneer's cabin.  Other big names helped draw the crowds too, such as Sitting Bull and around 20 of his braves.  All of these activities were performed by people with real skills and to audiences in urban environments, it must have seemed as if the West had come to life right before their eyes.  When it was all said and done, Buffalo Bill  owned a massive ranch in Nebraska with an 18-room mansion, had performed for royalty of several nations and in the Roman amphitheater, helped found the city of Cody, Wyoming, supported the rights of women and Native Americans, and eventually had a football team named after him.  Not too shabby.

With a man so associated with hunting, scouting, the plains, the Old West, Native Americans, sharp shots, and the Civil War, it should come as no surprise that there were more than few guns in the man's life and in the lives of those around him.  In fact, the book "The Peacemakers" by R.L. Wilson is dedicated to detailing Cody's collection.  Guns of Buffalo Bill and one of his performers are coming up for auction in Rock Island Auction Company's December 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction.  Here's a look at what will be crossing the auction block.

Documented "National Treasure" Factory Engraved and Inscribed Savage Model 1907 Semi-Automatic Pistol Presented To Buffalo Bill Cody By The Factory

Given to Cody in 1911, this Special Grade M1907 Savage in .32 caliber is certainly a switch from the high-use, rough and tumble revolver one may have pictured Buffalo Bill using.  However, much publicity was gained by Savage thanks to Cody's endorsement and praise of the little shooter.  In fact, Cody went on to purchase several more of the pistols engraved and gave them as gifts.  The pistol's provenance is well-known and can be impeccably traced all the way back to its 1911 Savage factory ledger.  It has been featured in numerous publications and was once on loan to the Buffalo Bill Museum inside the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.  Given Buffalo Bill's place in American history, one would expect to find any gun with his association to be on exhibit.  Finding one available for public sale, just may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The pistol, like most of Buffalo Bill's guns, shows some signs of wear and use, but they are minuscule compared to some of his other firearms which saw hard use.  It still wears 95% of its original factory blue finish and still shows signs of bright casehardening on the trigger.  The engraving, which Wilson calls, "superbly done," is crisp and sharp, as is the ever important inscription on the backstrap that reads, "COL. W.F. CODY."  Setting this gun even further apart are the mother-of-pearl grips that still glimmer with iridescence.

The historical significance of this pistol is difficult to overestimate.  First of all, Buffalo Bill Cody is a staple of American history and folk lore.  He introduced literally millions of Americans and Europeans to the adventure and hardships of the West through his showmanship, talent, and hard work.  Also, as mentioned earlier, most firearms owned by Buffalo Bill have found their way into museums and are not available on the private market.  Furthermore, even those pistols that are in museums, R.L. Wilson in his post-examination letter writes, "...Cody owned very few automatic pistols, and Savage no. 33177 is the only one known to the writer in any collection or museum."  Add to those rarities, its excellent condition, and you have a combination of traits that sends collectors scrambling: rarity, originality, historical significance, and high condition.

Two Sequentially Numbered Smith & Wesson Victory Model Double Action Revolvers with Ken Maynard Inscriptions, Belt, and Holsters 

One man that was featured in "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" show was Ken Maynard.  His career started as a young man working in circuses and carnivals training to become a horseman.  It wouldn't take long for his skill to receive notice.  Soon he was working in rodeos, becoming a rodeo champion, and eventually earning a spot performing horse riding tricks and feats that were a staple of the Buffalo Bill shows.  Horse riders from a vast array of cultures would often parade to start each show showing their uniforms and weapons, and giving audiences a taste of some "exotic" customs.  Trick riding and racing were also important parts of the show, so a man of Maynard's talents would have been a valuable addition.  Look at the following posters for Buffalo Bill's Wild West to whether or not horsemanship would have been critical to the show and to audiences.

Maynard's career would then take him to Hollywood to be a "singing cowboy," earn him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and return to him work at circuses, state fairs, and rodeos before alcoholism shortened his career and ruined his finances.

The revolvers are a pair of consecutively numbered Smith & Wesson Victory Model DA revolvers.  The Victory models are the 5-screw variety and they have been highly customized.  Perhaps most noticeably are the jeweled polish applied to the hammer and trigger.  Also distinct are the added raised ribs with their checkerboard engraving and blade front sights, the smooth grips, a small "P" stamped into the left side of the frame between the cylinder and the hammer, and of course the inscriptions of "KEN - MAYNARD" on each butt.

The pair of revolvers also come with an exceptional holster rig made by G.S. Garcia Company, one of most notable leather shops in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Guadalupe S. Garcia was a master saddler, leather carver, silversmith, and engraver.  His vision of quality involved him at all stages of the business and creative processes.  Even as a burgeoning business man at the age of 19, he quickly gained a reputation as a master craftsman, in part thanks to his previous apprenticeships.

Business would grow and expand as demand for his beautiful and quality products increased.  Eventually Garcia would hire on only the most talented of craftsmen to help make his saddles, spurs, bridles, bits and mouthpieces, chaps, rope, and other assorted leather and horse hair goods.  In 1904 Garcia made a masterpiece saddle for the World's Fair in St. Louis.  It was unimaginable and hands down took the gold medal.  That same year, it was placed in the Lewis & Clark Exposition in Portland, OR, where it won its second gold medal - a feat never before accomplished or matched since.  It is best described in the words of Howard Hickson,

"He decided to craft a saddle to take to the World's Fair. He and his workers assembled the finest saddle ever made. Using flawless leather, they dyed it black, carved in American Beauty roses, and then adorned it with gold, silver, and diamonds. It was truly a leather throne.  Across the rear of the fork were several $20 gold pieces with likenesses of President Theodore Roosevelt and two governors of Nevada, John Sparks and William Nye. Other gold pieces were carved with the famous three fairy horses with diamonds set in their eyes. An engraved eagle was set into the back of the cantle. It was a leather masterpiece and it lived up to its creator's expectation by winning two gold medals. It was the best in world."

Does his quality, craftsmanship, skill, and artistic touch need any further endorsement?  The man was a master and this holster rig is no exception to his work.

The rig has space for twelve cartridges and carries two highly decorated "Mexican loop" holsters.  Also bearing Maynard's name, "KEN" has been tooled into the leather on the belt above each of one of the holsters.  This is some beautiful leatherwork that is just begging to be worn again.

There you have it friends. Each item is an exciting collectible in its own right and associated to someone considered "the best of the best" at what they do.  Both also have ties to William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, one of the most recognizable figures of the Old West and a international symbol of the era.  If items like this get your heart pumping be sure to search the rest of our catalog for all sorts of fascinating, historic, beautiful, and expertly created firearms, bladed weapons, and much more.  It can be found at

-Written by Joel Kolander


Thursday, November 13, 2014

The History of Merwin Hulbert

Surprise!  This week we didn't write a blog, but we did make a video for you.  Not only is it a nice change of pace, but it's also going to be much easier to see how these revolvers function than to imagine it while reading.

Enjoy some firearms history and several really neat features of a high quality gun that didn't quite make it.

-Video & blog by Joel Kolander

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Cutting Edge Collection

Rock Island Auction Company is fortunate enough to be entrusted with prized firearms collections at each and every auction.  The December 2014 Premiere Firearms auction being no exception, there are no fewer than five outstanding and accomplished collections containing Volcanic rifles, Lugers, experimental and prototype Colts, Lightning & Thunderer revolvers, and one additional collection.  In an exciting twist, this collection is not about firearms at all, but about swords.  It is the Collection of Major General Theodore Paulson and it is spectacular.

Centering around both U.S. military and German military swords from various eras, the collection is staggering in its breadth and the craftsmanship of its items.  There are extravagant presentation pieces, naval swords, gilded sabers, high quality daggers, boot knives, gravity knives, officer's swords, and several lots containing historical documentation, medals, research, and other militaria on specific servicemen.  Here are just a few of the highlights.

Lot 1454: Extraordinary Documented Eickhorn Second Model Luftwaffe General Officer's Sword, with Attribution and Documents to Luftwaffe Generalleutnant Erich Stein

This stunning sword was discovered  by American combat engineer PVT Cecil Brown in a freshly-vacated Nazi officers quarters.  Brown took the sword as a trophy along with many other documents belonging to Luftwaffe Generalluetnant Erich Stein - the top commander of the German Air Force!  Some of the documents accompanying this stately sword are rather day-to-day, even a 'late notice' from Stein's insurance provider, but the documents, along with the photos also recovered, provide a strong link to the German officer.

The text above reads "In dankbarer Anerkennung" which translates to "In Grateful Appreciation"

The left side of the blade reads "Der Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe" (The Supreme Commander of the Luftwaffe) followed by a facsimile of Herman Goering's signature.

I'd say finding this sword, its scabbard, and its felt lined case made for a pretty good day for Private Brown.  The sword is beautifully etched in a geometric scroll pattern on both sides of the blade and a foot long vine along its spine, interrupted only by the fire blued portion of the blade.  Gold highlighted text stands out brilliantly against its royal blue backdrop and complements the gilt brass hilt wonderfully.  Shown below, it has been finely engraved with scrolls, floral vines, checkerboards, punch dots, and a silver Luftwaffe eagle on the guard.  Gilt wire even binds the cream-colored celluloid grip.  Usually, one can only speculate as to whom a sword belonged, and if high quality, postulate that it belonged to someone important.  With this sword, no such guess work is required.  It was made for someone important and the accompanying documents paint a pretty clear picture for whom.

Lot 1242: Gold Accented American Naval Officer's Sword with 1841 Regulation Hilt and Scabbard

This sword, while containing designs from different Navy sword regulations, certainly did not suffer its craftsmanship for it.  Our catalog description states,

"Produced by an unknown smith, the hilt and scabbard conform to the 1841 regulations, the first U.S. Navy sword design to come with an illustration of what the sword was supposed to look like, while the blade appears to be an item from the looser 1813 regulations, which merely called for a vaguely defined "cut and thrust sword, yellow mounted"; possibly from a veteran officer who chose to have his original sword remounted in the 1840's instead of discarding the weapon."

And with a sword as finely designed as this, one could hardly blame him! Nearly a yard in length, 17 1/2 inches of the blade are niter blued with golden washed vines, fouled anchor on one side, and American eagle on the other.  It is a gilt brass hilt decorated with oak leaves, floral themes, and the feathers from the eagle's head that serves as the pommel.  The grip is antique ivory as has been carved in a similar feather pattern as the rest of the grip, some of the "feathers" on the ivory even finishing those that began in metal.  Such attention to detail!

The black leather scabbard was also carefully crafted with brass hardware that has been engraved with themes similar to that on the sword.  Twelve stars surround the frog stud, another fouled anchor appears next to the lower hook, and the scabbard tip enjoys more of the acorns and leaves.

Together, they are a piece that makes quite a striking impression and would be an excellent addition to any accomplished edged weapons collection.

Lot 3348: Attractive Nazi-Era E. & F. Hoerster "Grosse Degen" Style Shooting Prize Honor Sword with Damascus Pattern Blade, Gilt Accented Presentation Etching with Name, Date and Unit, Engraved Hilt and Included Research

Similar in design to the German "gross degen" (great sword), this presentation sword is inscribed to one "Hptm. Friedrich Wupper" as an "Eherenpreis/fur hervorragende Schiessleistungen 1937" (Honor Prize for excellent shooting performance 1937).  It is quite the prize!  A hilt of gilt brass, gilt wire wrapping a black celluoid grip, extensive acorn and oak leaf engraving, and a dove's head pommel are only the beginning.  The blade itself is a beautiful, flowing shape, the first 13 1/2 inches of which have been covered with a Damascus pattern, gold accented etching, flowering vines, and ornate text that lists Hptm. Wupper's name, unit, and the date of the presentation.

More about Wupper is known thanks to tireless work on the part of a previous owner, who corresponded at length with numerous sources in American and Germany.  Hauptmann Friedrich Wupper of Rifle Regiment 2 is one Friedrich Carl Wupper born on July 30, 1897.  Our official description notes,

"Conflicting records of his date of death are due to destruction of Wehrmacht records towards the end of the war, but records point to the Eastern Front, either June 29, 1941, during Operation Barbarossa or December 6, 1942, during the Battle of Stalingrad."

This is a beautiful presentation pre-War Nazi sword to be prized among edged weapon and German military collectors alike!

Other notable swords

This auction has many edged weapons and they're not all just from one collection.  While they do not belong to the Collection of Major General Theodore Paulson, the following swords are certainly worthy of an "honorable mention" in this article on high quality, wonderfully aesthetic swords.

Yes, it is inscribed from the National Guard of France to the Marquis de Lafayette,
Hero of the American Revolution.

Lot 1149: :Presentation Quality Engraved Blue and Gold Washed Blade 1824-Dated Russian 1809 Pattern Cavalry Officer's Sword with Maker Markings

An absolutely beautiful sword!

Lot 1196: Fine American Silver Plated Hilted Eagle Head Infantry Officer Sword with Scabbard

Classic European style with distinctly American themes.

As you can see, there is no shortage of stunning, artistic, superb condition blades in the December 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction.  The collections that have come to Rock Island Auction Company are impressive for the quality of their contents as well as their breadth and sheer size.  If you would like to see more of these extraordinary edged weapons, please click on either of the links below and prepare to be impressed.

-Written by Joel Kolander