WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Over the weekend of March 12-13, Milestone Auctions in suburban Cleveland will conduct its first-ever two-day Premier Collectible Firearms sale, with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers. The expanded format answers the call from an ever-growing contingent of collectors who enjoy the historical and design aspects of antique, vintage and modern-era weapons. Day one focuses on higher-end firearms, while day two features a diverse selection of arms that are affordable to most.
Featured: 60 Winchesters, 80+ sought-after Colts, 16 Brownings, 30+ Smith & Wesson pistols and revolvers; exceptional array of militaria, and coveted 1865 Martial Henry rifle
“It’s our goal to allow collectors at all levels to participate in our sales by including all genres and price points,” said Milestone Auctions’ co-owner Miles King. “We try to keep it interesting for everybody, whether they’re advanced collectors of elite guns or beginners who are just starting a collection and want to do it the right way. They can learn a lot just by reading our catalog descriptions, which are second to none, and by getting to know our team. We’re always happy to share our knowledge with newcomers and make them feel welcome in the hobby.”
In preparation for their first two-day Premier Firearms sale, additional custom gun racks are being installed in the gallery’s public display area. A survey of the 1,374-lot Premier Firearms lineup reveals the best selection of Winchesters (60) ever to cross the auction block at Milestone, including carbines, rifles and shotguns; 80+ sought-after Colts (some engraved), 16 Brownings, 30+ Smith & Wesson pistols and revolvers; an exceptional array of militaria, and the jewel in the auction’s crown: an 1865 Martial Henry rifle – the first such longarm ever to be offered by the Ohio auction house.
An especially fine example, the 2nd Model Martial Henry rifle (shown at top of page), manufactured in .44 rimfire caliber, represents what many scholars consider the most advanced US-issue shoulder arm of the Civil War. The auction entry has a large two-line barrel address with the serial number “9718” stamped behind the rear sight. Although it is not specifically listed in the Springfield Research database, another rifle of its exact type does appear there with the notation that it was issued to a trooper in Union Company B, 3rd Veteran Volunteers. A top prize for any collection, this historical American rifle is estimated at $35,000-$45,000.
Another Civil War-era standout is a Maynard .50 caliber carbine manufactured in 1865 by the Mass. Arms Co., Chicopee Falls, Mass. This outstanding firearm boasts profuse period engraving, including two masterfully executed battle-scene vignettes. “It’s likely that it was commissioned by one of the notable retailers of military goods and equipage for presentation to an officer who was well connected, politically or financially,” said Milestone Auctions firearms specialist Tony Wilcox. The pre-sale estimate is $15,000-$25,000.
One of the earliest antique firearms in the sale is a rare, cased revolving rifle manufactured circa 1820 in London by Elisha Collier, the gunsmith who inspired Samuel Colt to produce his fabled Colt Paterson revolver. The rifle to be auctioned was crafted in .58 rifled caliber with a five-shot manually rotated cylinder, a full ribbed barrel and percussion ignition. It is soon to be documented in a Frank Graves treatise on Collier firearms. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000
The highlights continue with a stunning Winchester .44 rimfire Model 1866 saddle ring carbine in very fine condition with a full magazine and two barrel bands. “It is a great rarity,” Wilcox noted. “Most of these guns were heavily used, but this one is an exception. It is in superb original condition.” Estimate: $18,500-$22,500. Another dazzling Winchester, a Model 1876 .45-.75 WCF Centennial rifle, was manufactured in 1882, at the height of the Indian Wars on the Western frontier. Its barrel is well marked with manufacturer information, the model number and patent dates. It will convey with important documentation: a 1973 factory letter signed by T.E. Hall, Curator of the Winchester Gun Museum confirming the gun’s 1882 shipment date. Its line of provenance includes the esteemed Larry Jones collection. Estimate: $17,500-$22,500
Smith & Wesson fans are not likely to miss the opportunity to bid on a rare 320 revolving carbine manufactured 1879-1887. Bearing the serial number 336, it comes from a documented total production run of only 977 examples. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000
From the last decade of the 19th century, a very fine .38-.40 WCF Marlin Model 94 musket is reportedly one of 80 that were shipped to Bureau County, Illinois, for prison or jail security and, in some cases, emergency use by deputized county residents. It comes with a 1960 factory letter confirming it to be a musket made in 1894. The auction estimate is $8,000-$12,500.
The auction covers the World War II era with flying colors. One of the most interesting lots is a handgun that saw combat and was captured from the Nazis. The eagle-marked Red Hungarian M37 Femaru Third Reich pistol was manufactured under German occupation and redesigned with a manual safety. It is a model that was issued primarily to the Luftwaffe. Never before offered at public sale, the pistol in Milestone’s sale is in near-pristine condition. It retains its original box and comes with crisp, legible “capture” paperwork dated October 2, 1945 and made out to Lt. Col. Richard C. Dickinson. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000
A very fine Singer Model 1911A2 presentation pistol, .45 ACP, is from the original 500 that were manufactured in 1940 under an “educational contract” to enable the company’s Elizabethtown, New Jersey, factory personnel to familiarize themselves with the pistol’s manufacture. Hence, it has no serial number or military acceptance proofs, however the expectation was that there would eventually be government orders of this model for use by the US military. Estimate $20,000-$30,000
The list of notable military firearms also includes a US Model 1903 1924 Olympic Rifle, a US Model 1903 National Match 1939 presentation rifle, a US Springfield Sporter with paperwork, US M1 Garand rifles and carbines; a Stevens trench shotgun, more than 10 German Lugers, Mauser “broom-handle” pistols, and many more. There is also a large selection of rare ammunition, including many full boxes.
The name Wolf & Klar is inextricably tied to the gangster era of the 1920s/’30s, since the famed Fort Worth, Texas, distributor was the source of firearms that ended up in the hands of not only prominent lawmen of the period, but also criminals like John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Machine Gun Kelly. The auction includes two Colts that were retailed by Wolf & Klar: a 1922 revolver with genuine pearl grips, $7,000-$8,500; and a 1936 .38 Special “Detective.” The latter gun displays the highest-quality decoration available for its time, including genuine ruby eyes embedded into the steer head which embellishes the pearl grips. Estimate: $5,500-$8,500
There may not be a more iconic American gun than Smith & Wesson’s .357 Magnum. A registered example with the number 3320 and serial number 54926 comes with its original blue, two-piece picture box bearing a sticker that has matching registration and serial numbers. The auction estimate on this enduring revolver is $10,000-$15,000.
Milestone’s Saturday/Sunday March 12-13, 2022 Premier Collectible Firearms Auction will start at 10 a.m. ET on Day 1 and 11 a.m. ET on Day 2. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information on any item in the auction, please call 440-527-8060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.