WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Motivated bidders and a fresh-to-market selection of rare and near-flawless firearms formed the winning recipe for a $1.5 million payday at Milestone’s June 19 Premier Antique & Modern Firearms Auction. The 777-lot sale attracted a throng of new international bidders online in addition to stalwarts of the hobby who attended in person or via remote-bidding methods. Absentee and live online bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.
Auction superstars: Colt 1911 .45 ACP shipped to USMC depot in 1913, Walther World War II German K43 semiautomatic rifle, Russian Izhmash Dragunov Tiger rifle, antique American rifles
“There were many overseas bidders competing in this sale,” said Milestone Auctions co-owner Miles King. “England, the Czech Republic, Australia, the Netherlands – those are just a few of the nations that were represented. The hobby is energized and thriving. Everyone’s excited to be out and about and buying.”
Asked which categories showed particular strength at the June 19 sale, King replied, “Militaria was very strong, and has been strong for some time, now. Colt ‘Snake’ revolvers – Cobras and Pythons – are collector favorites and brought a ton of money. In every category the rarest and finest merchandise had multiple bids lined up before the sale opened.”
The top lot of the day was a documented, high-condition Colt 1911 .45 ACP pistol (shown at top of page), one of only 1,250 of its type that were shipped directly to the US Marine Corps’ Philadelphia depot on July 9, 1913. Stamped UNITED STATES PROPERTY and MODEL OF 1911 U.S. ARMY, the highly sought-after gun sold for its predicted high estimate of $18,000. King remarked: “Any Marine Corps-shipped gun is scarce, and of those, most have little to no finish, so the premium price paid for the beautiful example in our sale, which retained about 85% of its original blue, did not come as a great surprise to us. It had everything going for it.”
A Walther World War II German K43 semiautomatic rifle manufactured in 1945 was described in Milestone’s catalog as being of “museum quality.” With matching numbers and more than 97% original finish remaining on the receiver, barrel, trigger assembly and bolt carrier assembly, most of the rifle’s parts also carried Inspected Eagle 359 marks. Offered with a ZF4 scope and accessories, it sold near the top of its high estimate, for $11,700.
An exotic entry, a little-known 1943 US FP-45 Liberator pistol was one of a group of such weapons produced in secrecy at GM’s guide lamp plant in Indianapolis. The arms were supplied to resistance forces fighting the Axis powers during World War II. It rose to a final auction price of $8,400.
A US Marine Corps 1903 Springfield rifle manufactured at the Springfield Arsenal and later reissued by the USMC in a 1903-A1 configuration came with documentation of its later ownership. A “USMC Supply Center Albany Georgia” receipt showed it was sold in 1955 to a Lt. Col. Alexander Elder. At Milestone’s sale, it realized $7,800, nearly four times the high estimate.
Hand-turned and assembled to perfection, a crisp 1934 National Match Colt Government Model .45-caliber pistol handily surpassed expectations to settle at $9,000; while a 1993 Russian Izhmash Dragunov “Tiger” rifle, 7.62X54 caliber, commanded nearly four times its high estimate, securing $9,600.
Smith & Wesson’s big-bore .44 Special triple-lock target model revolver, manufactured in 1911-1912, is noteworthy for its introduction of the company’s swing-out cylinder. An excellent example of this particular model found favor with bidders and sold above the high estimate for $6,300.
“Snakes” were welcome inside the auction gallery as long as they bore the prestigious “Colt” name. A two-gun set of Colt Cobras, manufactured in 1989 in a very limited issue of 250 (two-gun sets), came with matching-serial-numbered boxes and a Colt archival letter. The winning bidder paid an above-estimate $13,200 to own the extremely rare set of revolvers. Also finishing well in the money, a near-new 1968 1st-generation Colt .357 Magnum Python with full factory nickel and pre-letter prefix appeared never to have been fired. It garnered $7,500 against an estimate of $3,500-$4,500.
The competition for hand-built early American rifles has only increased, judging by the prices paid at Milestone’s June 19 event. An early and highly ornate .45-caliber flintlock long rifle signed “P SCHRAK” on the barrel was a recent discovery from central Ohio. In very fine condition, it was bid to $16,800 against an estimate of $5,000-$8,000. A rare pre-Civil War P.W. Porter (New York City) .44-caliber turret rifle, made in the 1850s, was a first model and one of the earliest of all lever-action percussion repeating rifles. Estimated at $6,000-$8,000, it sold for $14,400.
Milestone Auctions is currently accepting consignments for a major firearms sale to be held in October. Potential consignors are encouraged to call 440-527-8060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Online: www.milestoneauctions.com
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/