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Milestone aims for million-dollar target with May 26 militaria sale

Ornate early 19th-century silver-mounted presentation flintlock musket made by W. Parker, gun make to H.M. King George III. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Milestone Auctions image

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – On Saturday, May 26, Milestone Auctions of Willoughby (suburban Cleveland), Ohio, will present a spectacular selection of 872 antique and vintage firearms and militaria with a timeline that runs from the Revolutionary War through Vietnam. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

“Everything in this auction is high quality,” said Milestone Auctions co-owner Chris Sammet. “There are some very unusual and rare guns by the most desirable makers, as well as many historically significant pieces. Collectors love bidding on things that are fresh to the market from private collections, as opposed to dealer stock, and that’s exactly what we are offering in this auction – fresh goods. There are many important items in the $20,000-$40,000 range, along with more-affordable guns estimated at $4,000 to $6,000. We have hopes that this will be our first million-dollar auction.”

A fascinating group of items from the American Revolutionary War era creates a revealing overview of what life was like in the Colonies. An American-made bayonet halberd, hand-forged and 14.75 inches long on a custom stand, comes with provenance from the Bill Guthman collection. In excellent condition, it is estimated at $2,500-$3,500.

A double-enlistment document for Col. John Chester’s Connecticut Regiment was signed by two enlistees in June 1776. A war hero, John Chester, of Wethersfield, Conn., was among the soldiers who fought at Bunker Hill. In 1776, he was commissioned to colonel and commanded the 6th Battalion Connecticut State Troops during the Trenton, New Jersey, campaign. The document signed by voluntary enlistees William Woodward and Oliver Joe (?) is expected to make $2,000-$3,000.

Other early American highlights include a wooden Revolutionary War-era flask/canteen and red rundlet-style canteen, each estimated at $400-$600. A naval boarding helmet from the Revolutionary War to the War of 1812 was found in Sackett’s Harbor, New York, the center of American naval and military activity for the upper St. Lawrence Valley and Lake Ontario during that period. It could reach $2,000-$4,000 at auction.

Naval boarding helmet, Revolutionary War to War of 1812 period, found in Sackett’s Harbor, New York. Estimate: $2,000-$4,000. Milestone Auctions image

With facial recognition and other forensic tests dating it to around 1899, an Annie Oakley original-photo cabinet card is unlike any others that collectors may have seen. “It shows Annie Oakley in what appears to be her house, holding her signature Marlin 1899 lever-action rifle. There are many other guns, bullets, a gun belt and knife positioned around her. This is almost certainly a unique image, as it was never reproduced as a souvenir,” said Sammet. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.

Original circa-1899 cabinet card with rare, never-reproduced image of Annie Oakley inside a house with firearms, bullets and a knife. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Milestone Auctions image

A prized lot is the ornate, early 19th-century George III-era silver-mounted presentation flintlock musket marked “W. Parker.” Parker was a gun maker to King George III and renowned for the technical and artistic perfection of his guns. Created for an emir in the Middle East, the musket displays the highest standard of gun design of its period. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000

Interest in the American Civil War, its firearms and relics have never waned. “There are more collectors with each passing year,” Sammet noted. For the May 26 auction, Milestone’s treasure trove includes a long list of Civil War firearm highlights, including an 1865 Spencer carbine, a Remington 1861 Old Model revolver, Remington Elliot four-barrel pistol, 1849 Colt pocket revolver, and two Smith carbines, one of them an artillery model. There are several Civil War swords, including a Confederate artillery sword, a cavalry sword, Union foot officer swords, and NCO, naval and musician swords. Additionally, there are numerous ambrotype and tintype images.

Rare Model 1819 J. Hall breech-loading flintlock rifle, second production type dated 1826, made by Harper’s Ferry Armory, identified to Captain E.D. French. Estimate $4,000-$6,000. Milestone Auctions image

The World War I category is well served with United States military uniforms, helmets, medals, bayonets and trench art. There is a 1918 Tank Corps discharge signed by Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower, estimate $2,500-$3,500; and a grouping of items pertaining to the celebrated wartime fighter pilot Eddie Rickenbacker. The lot includes his engraved pilot’s wings, a photograph of Rickenbacker in uniform, and other ephemera. Estimate: $3,000-$4,000

A tremendous array of World War II Nazi bayonets, swords and edged weapons, uniforms, helmets, medals, flags and ephemera comes directly from a long-held private collection. The variety is as broad as any offered in past Milestone sales. Topping the group is a Nazi German Knight’s Cross Certificate awarded to Helmut Naumann and dated June 2, 1941. Hand-lettered and illuminated on genuine parchment, it is signed by Adolf Hitler and held in its formal red leather presentation case embossed with a gold-leaf Reichs Eagle. Its estimate is $10,000-$12,000.

Leather-cased Nazi German Knight’s Cross Certificate awarded to Helmut Naumann, dated June 2, 1941, signed by Adolf Hitler. Estimate: $10,000-$12,000. Milestone Auctions image

A framed mini archive contains photographs, mementos and the autograph of Josef “Sepp” Dietrich, Hitler’s bodyguard and later commander of the 1st SS Panzer Corps in the Battle of Normandy and 6th Panzer Army during the Battle of the Bulge. The auction estimate is $4,500-$5,500.

WWII Nazi German framed archive with photos, autograph of Josef ‘Sepp’ Dietrich, Hitler’s bodyguard and Panzer division commander. Estimate: $4,500-$5,500. Milestone Auctions image

Alongside the Nazi German lots, there are many World War II Japanese items, such as Arisaka rifles, bayonets, katana (samurai) swords, yari poles, tsubas, wakizashi and uniforms. The Allied side of World War II is well represented with fine U.S. uniforms, helmets, medals knives, field gear, war bond posters and more.

Pre-World War II personal flag of Japanese Chief of Army Gen. Suzuki Soroku, who served in that capacity from 1926-1930. Estimate: $2,500-$4,500. Milestone Auctions image

Milestone’s Saturday, May 26, 2018, Premier Firearms & Military Auction will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. For additional information or condition reports, call 440-527-8060 or email

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