New bidders battle Milestone’s regulars at $750K militaria sale

Archive of uniforms, jackets, accessories, medals and career memorabilia of World War II Army Air Force P-39 pilot Joseph Scherer of Cleveland, Ohio. Sold for $12,000 against an estimate of $3,000-$4,000. Milestone Auctions image

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – A motivated crowd and relentless Internet bidding drove the total to $750,000 at Milestone’s Jan. 27 Historic Military & Firearms Auction held at the company’s suburban-Cleveland gallery. The 668-lot sale included many World War II and Nazi rarities with extraordinary provenance, as well as Civil War uniforms and paraphernalia; Native-American relics, and a virtual armory of antique weaponry. Absentee and Internet bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

“This sale set a record for the most bidder sign-ups we’ve ever had,” said Miles King, co-owner of Milestone Auctions. “A lot of gun collectors came to the preview and really enjoyed handling the old guns and studying how they were put together. There were many new customers who had never bid in our sales before and more bidders than usual participating at the high end. We were very pleased.”

Antique and vintage firearms were led by a Springfield M1-D Garand DCM .30-caliber sniper rifle (below) in original sealed packaging with all accessories present. In untouched condition and accompanied by the paperwork documenting its original sale, it finished near the top of its estimate range for $7,200. All prices quoted in this report include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.

Springfield M1-D Garand DCM .30-caliber sniper rifle in original sealed packaging with all accessories intact. Sold for $7,200. Milestone Auctions image

An Enfield P53 .577 three-band Civil War rifle from 1862 was identified as the gun of Ransom Tifft of the 18th Massachusetts Infantry. It came with a letter of provenance from renowned historical military artist Don Troiani, who acquired the gun directly from Tifft’s descendants. In all-original condition, the gun soared past its $1,200-$1,500 estimate to settle at $6,300.

All-original 1862 Enfield P53 .577 three-band Civil War rifle, identified as the property of Ransom Tifft of 18th Massachusetts Infantry, thence by descent. Sold for $6,300 against estimate of $1,200-$1,500. Milestone Auctions image

Another premier rifle, a Winchester .22-caliber pump Model 1906 with original box and packaging retired at $3,720.

Winchester .22-caliber pump Model 1906 with original box and packaging retired at $3,720. Milestone Auctions image

The top lot of the sale was a1936 Mercedes-Benz 170V two-door coupe that originally belonged to Nazi SA physician Dr. Rudolf Beuring. One of only two of its type registered in the United States, the early-production 170V had been inspected by several qualified mechanics who noted that it was roadworthy and contained many hard-to-find new parts. The car was accompanied by a copy of its original bill of sale, as well as Beuring’s Nazi military profile with swastika stamps and a copy of his personal evaluation prepared for Adolf Hitler. The vehicle sold within estimate for $42,000.

1936 Mercedes-Benz 170V two-door coupe owned by Nazi SA physician Dr. Rudolf Beuring, early production, excellent running order, papers include Beuring’s Nazi profile and evaluation for Hitler. Sold for $42,000. Milestone Auctions image

World War II material in general, and Nazi memorabilia in particular, put in a strong performance. A 50-inch-square Nazi infantry battalion standarte with a large Iron Cross and eagle-and-swastika motif had been captured by U.S. soldiers in 1945. It changed hands for $16,200.

German Nazi infantry battalion standarte captured by GIs soldiers in 1945, 50 x 50in. Provenance: Hermann Historica 2003. Sold for $16,200. Milestone Auctions image

The most extensive array of World War II uniforms ever offered by Milestone included a Nazi German Army lieutenant general’s tunic. It was identified on the interior pocket as the property of Theodor Busse, who joined the Imperial German Army in 1915 as a cadet. He was a career officer who rose to Chief of Operations of the General Staff (1942-43) under General Erich von Manstein. The tunic sold above estimate for $8,400.

Nazi German Army tunic worn by Lt. Gen. Theodor Busse, who served from 1940-1942 as chief of Operations to Gen. (later Field Marshal) Eric von Manstein. Sold above estimate for $8,400. Milestone Auctions image

The most sought-after uniforms, however, were those of U.S. Army Air Force P-39 pilot Joseph Scherer of Cleveland. The exceptionally complete archive (top image) consisted of Scherer’s painted A-2 jacket, embroidered white silk scarf with embroidered 97th Fighter Squadron patch, mission logbook, dress uniform jacket and two additional jackets; shirts, officer’s cap and other military memorabilia. A visual time capsule of a distinguished pilot’s career, it sold for $12,000 against an estimate of $3,000-$4,000. Asked why he thought the grouping had tripled its high estimate, Miles King replied, “Two bidders really wanted it.”

Among the edged weapons, a rare Nazi National Hunting Association dagger with a triple-engraved blade stamped with an Eickhorn insignia fared best, reaching $3,700.

Nazi National Hunting Association dagger, triple-engraved blade with Eickhorn insignia. Sold for $3,700. Milestone Auctions image

Analogous to the Nazi opposition to “degenerate art,” a 1938 anti-Semitic poster titled Entartete Musik or “Degenerate Music,” with the image of a black saxophonist with a Star of David on his lapel, was bid to $7,500 against an estimate of $4,000-$6,000.

1938 World War II anti-Semitic poster criticizing ‘Degenerate Music’ with image of black saxophonist wearing Star of David on his lapel. Sold for $7,500. Milestone Auctions image

A grouping of Native American artifacts dug up in the 1890s in Lake County, Ohio, came with impeccable provenance from the digger’s family. The centerpiece of the lot, a large 8½-inch pop-eyed birdstone, was the exact match to the one seen in a cabinet photo taken 125-130 years ago by the original collector. It sold for $18,600 against an estimate of $16,000-$24,000.

Grouping of Native American artifacts from Lake County, Ohio, in the 1890s with impeccable provenance from the digger’s family. Includes large 8½-inch pop-eyed birdstone. Sold for $18,600. Milestone Auctions image

On March 3, Milestone Auctions will conduct an auction of World’s Fair memorabilia including World’s Fair gold watches. The company is also currently accepting consignments for a March 24 militaria auction. To contact them, call 440-527-8060 or email info@milestoneauctions.com.