27 February 2017
The 2017 February Regional Firearms Auction held by Rock Island Auction Company was the largest firearms auction in history. Over 10,000 collector firearms were sold in four short days.
Over 23,000 sealed bids were placed before the auction even began, and 28,000 had been placed by the time the final gavel fell, another RIAC record. When the massive four-day event was finished, RIAC would have a new record total to accompany the record number of items and sealed bids – over $8 million.
Day one of the auction began on Thursday after a busy and boisterous Preview Day. As the auctioneers sold item after item, they relayed the popular items to the attendees and those watching the live online video, frequently stating, “This item has over 24 sealed bidders and you can see the six live phone bidders, so set your sights a little higher.” The day released a great deal of pent-up excitement and it showed in the bids. Lot 437 was one such example. Containing a Gustloff-Werke ‘bcd/4’ Code Model 98 sniper rifle, the winning bidder paid $13,800 for the rifle. Also popular was a collection of military rifles in lot 387. With one Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle, a Martini action, and two SVT rifles, it drew 43 sealed bidders and half a dozen live phone bidders, driving the realised price to $6,325 from an estimate of $2,000.
Friday was even busier in the auction hall, as more and more people took an extended weekend to attend the auction in-person. It resulted in more exceeded estimates and more surprising bids in both familiar and unexpected places. Antique pistols are always popular items, but whether it was a derringer, palm pistol, or any number of pocket pistols, the bidding was relentless. Colt M1911 pistols and U.S. military rifles also brought prices that exceeded recent market values. The top seller of the day was a Henry rifle in lot 2040 excellently engraved with floral scroll and punch dots that achieved $23,000.
The third day of auction saw the ever popular Colts and Winchesters again resume center stage, with the exception of a S&W Model 320 revolving rifle and a Ford GPW Jeep that made their way into the day’s top sellers at $9,775 and $10,925, respectively. German World War II memorabilia enjoyed some protracted bidding battles, as did the derringers who continued their success from previous days.
On day four, a fun grouping of European military rifles in lot 6369 had 35 bids before it came to the block, eventually selling for $3,162. An AMC Auto Mag pistol with a 10in round barrel in lot 6803 started a bidding war of its own, skating far past its $1,500 estimate en route to an $8,050 payday.
For news of upcoming auction go to www.rockislandauction.com.