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rare firearms auction

Rock Island Auction Co. mounts rare firearms auction May 3-5

rare firearms auction
G. Young engraved Colt Millikin Dragoon revolver, 44 percussion, 1857. The revolver originally belonged to Union Army Col. John Minor Millikin, Jr. (1834-1862) of the 1st Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Estimate: $1.5 million-$2 million. Rock Island Auction Co. image

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Rock Island Auction Co. will conduct their first of three Premier Auctions of 2019 on May 3, 4 and 5. Each of RIAC’s Premier Auctions consists of approximately 2,700 antique and collectible gun lots. Each of these auctions is made up of rare, unusual, mint, historic and highly collectible guns. The collectible and antique, the high condition and historic, will all be available en masse in the May 3-5 Rock Island Auction Co. sale.

Such assemblages of fine arms are made possible by hundreds of individual collectors from across the county and by an exciting number of significant collections from well-studied, lifelong firearm enthusiasts. Leading the pack will be continued offerings from the prolific collections of Robert M. Lee, Larry Jones, Allan Cors and Robert E. Petersen, but also featured are fantastic collections from Dr. Richard Kobetz, Robert Ferro, Dick Salzer, G. Thomas Puett, the NRA Whittington Center, the Putnam Green/Sycamore Collection, and an anonymous collection presented as the Southwest Collection.


Over 650 Colt firearms will permeate the sale, and with numbers like that, it should come as no surprise that all areas of Colt collecting will be well represented. Serving as the flagship for the entire auction is an elegant revolver (above) that threatens to break the world record price for a single firearm ever sold at auction. Known as “The Millikin Dragoon,” this cased, Gustave Young engraved Third Model Dragoon has achieved celebrity status in the gun collecting community. It is a revolver with an unprecedented combination of historical pedigree and condition that exists only at the very pinnacle of collecting. It is, without question, the finest presentation grade Colt Dragoon RIAC have ever cataloged. Also available in this tremendous offering is the finest known factory-cased Colt Pocket Model Paterson No. 1, as well as a factory engraved, nickel-plated and acid-etched black powder frontier six-shooter.

rare firearms auction
Colt AR-15/XM16E1 ‘Forward Assist Prototype’ machine gun presented to U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Earle G. Wheeler (1908-1975). Estimate; $65,000-$110,000. Rock Island Auction Co. image



There are over 400 firearms from this beloved American gunmaker in Rock Island’s May Auction, and the highlights are spectacular. Leading the way is a stunning, factory-engraved Winchester Deluxe Model 1886, crowned with bright platinum bands. Numerous special-order lever actions in superb condition populate the sale, but other eras are represented as well. Collectors are sure to marvel at the magnificent, exhibition-grade Deluxe Model 1907 semi-automatic rifle, signed and engraved by Master Engraver Angelo Stokes. Also of note will be several U.S. military pieces such as an outstanding, all-original, near-new, U.S. Army contract Winchester Model 12 trench shotgun with its Winchester M1917 bayonet and scabbard.

rare firearms auction
Rare World War II Singer Manufacturing Co. U.S. Model 1911A1 semi-automatic pistol. Estimate; $65,000-$110,000. Rock Island Auction Co. image

U.S. Military

An excellent selection of early American military arms features some of collecting’s most desirable arms: a U.S. Model 1799 North & Cheney, the finest known Dance & Brothers Confederate revolver, a McCormick Model 1797/Horseman-type flintlock, a rare North Army Contract Model 1811 flintlock, as well as several stunning high-art presentation swords from the era’s finest artisans. Modern selections include remarkable rarities such as a Sedgley glove gun, a U.S. Air Force Colt Aircrewman revolver, a Singer M1911A1 and several experimental bayonets.

rare firearms auction
Factory engraved Winchester Deluxe Model 1886 lever action rifle with platinum barrel bands and factory letter. Estimate: $120,000-$180,000. Rock Island Auction Co. image

Sporting Arms

Offered are the high-art, wondrously embellished arms from revered manufacturers such as Savage and Marlin. Also noteworthy is the wide variety of high-end manufacturers well-known for producing fine, luxury firearms, such as Westley Richards, Holland & Holland, Rigby, and Parker Brothers. Exhibiting exceptional art and aesthetics, these guns provide a phenomenal opportunity for investment and pride of ownership.

rare firearms auction
Signed elephant scene engraved Express Holland & Holland rifle. Estimate: $120,000-$180,000. Rock Island Auction Co. image

One of the sources of massive interest in RIAC’s record-breaking 2018 was the fleet of military vehicles. Tanks, jeeps, motorcycles, troop transports, and more were large attractions in every sense of the word. This year RIAC is announcing the second offering of these powerful and impressive military vehicles. Taking point in the auction will be an M48 Patton battle tank, a Swiss Pz61 battle tank and a Soviet MiG-21 Fishbed fighter jet. These are sure to steal the show, and rightly so, since such vehicles are seldom offered publicly.

For details and updates on this remarkable sale, log on to the RIAC website, . It features the entire auction catalog online and is searchable by model, serial number, manufacturer, lot number and keyword.

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rare firearms auction