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Rock Island Auction Co. Premiere Firearms Auction—September 2014

Two Westley Richards .410 bore Droplock Shotguns

It’s hard to know what to focus on in Rock Island Auction Company’s Premiere Firearms Auction. Held September 12–14, the auction boasts remarkable selections in several categories. To help give adequate time to some very deserving firearms, RIAC has again published videos about the various genres, but for this auction it has also gotten some assistance from popular firearms website Forgotten Weapons. During three days, Forgotten Weapons (henceforth referred to as FW) filmed over one dozen videos showing some of the rare, valuable, unusual and fascinating collector firearms in the sale. Fortunately for gun enthusiasts, these videos are being released one per day on both the RIAC and FW social media pages and are worth viewing more than once. Below are some examples of the videos and specific firearms referenced in the videos.

German Military Arms

With Ian, the owner of FW, being an enthusiast of German military arms and RIAC having two phenomenal German collections in this auction, German military arms seem an easy choice to focus on for this auction. Rock Island’s singular video focuses on a wide variety of the guns including presentation PP/PPK pistols, Lugers, Borchardts, Mausers, and sniper rifles. FW, on the other hand, has several shorter videos focusing on some of the top pieces of the auction as well as a few intriguing finds such as the grandfather of the Stg-44 also known as the MKb-42(H), the rare curved Krummlauf barrel attachment for the Stg-44, and even a Nazi Belt Buckle pistol. Thanks to the accomplished Gene Smith Military Collection and Part II of the comprehensive Von Norden Collection, whether you collect German arms or not, you will still find something of interest and are near guaranteed to learn something new.

Cased Loewe Model 1893 Borchardt Pistol rig
Cased Loewe Model 1893 Borchardt Pistol rig
Buckle pistol
Buckle Pistol

Investment Grade Arms

It’s no secret that FW would rather see how a gun would perform in a 3-gun match than see it in a museum. The site regularly takes C&R and atypical weapons to matches and posts the resulting videos. How a gun functions and how reliably it performs are paramount. However, when it comes to an investment grade arm, it looks like both RIAC and FW have found one they can agree on: the German FG-42. Ian has dedicated a video to what is arguably the star of the auction and it is incredibly thorough. Meanwhile, RIAC’s video of investment grade arms focusses on the lavish, high quality sporting arms from America and Europe. The sporting arms selection features amazing long guns by such renowned names as Purdey, Holland & Holland, Perazzi, Fox, Westley Richards, Greener and more.


Two Westley Richards .410 bore Droplock Shotguns
Westley Richards .410 bore Droplock Shotguns

Antique European Pistols

This genre also benefits from each video’s distinct interests. The FW video focuses on two pistols that many would classify as curiosa, two harmonica pinfire pistols by French arms maker Jarre. In it, the loading and firing mechanisms are explained expertly—a real treat to see considering how unusual these pistols seem today. RIAC’s video on European pistols centers around 18th & 19th century pistol sets, many of which are at the apex where artistry meets firearms. The names manufacturing the European pistol sets may not sound as familiar to us today, but the craftsmanship is undeniable and transcends the centuries separating today’s collector from gunsmiths such as Boutet, Le Page, Salmon, and Gastinne Renette. If you enjoy a high level of craftsmanship in your firearms, these are guns you need to see.


Two Percussion pocket pistols by Nicolas Noel Boutet
Percussion pocket pistols by Nicolas Noel Boutet

U.S. Military Arms

In the videos for this ever popular genre, RIAC shows some of military arms used by the United States that are not as familiarly known. Sure, there are gorgeous first year production M1911 pistols as well as some stunning percussion Colt revolvers, but also shown is the first standard issue sidearm of the United States—the North & Cheney Model 1799 flintlock pistol, a Colt Walker, a “Rough Riders” Single Action Army, pistols made for the War of 1812, and even the Elgin Cutlass pistol shown in the screen shot below. As is his style, FW chooses a rare gun that was only made experimentally in 1875 for military trials: the Lee 1875 Vertical Action Carbine. Only 143 of these rifles were made in an attempt to design a more rapidly firing gun and the one shown is the only known carbine variant. It’s an interesting action and, as always, explained well for firearms novices and experts alike.

Wilkes Expedition U.S. Navy Elgin Cutlass Pistol
Wilkes Expedition U.S. Navy Elgin Cutlass Pistol

When it’s all said and done, RIAC has five videos highlighting a few genres from this auction and FW, in those few days of filming at the RIAC facility, has a total of 17 videos! Only 13 have been published so far (as of this writing), so be sure to check its YouTube Channels for the remaining videos. These videos, while providing tons of information, don’t touch on many of the other well-represented manufacturers in this auction. According to RIAC, there will be over 350 Winchesters, more than 550 Colts, 40+ Class III arms, and over 2,700 lots of collectibles. If you haven’t yet viewed their 16-page Preview Booklet or the Photo Preview for this auction, give them a look and you’ll quickly see the level of firearms presented several times a year by this high-profile auction house.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (2)

  1. Myself , in theory at least; am a shooter before a collector–that being said–I wouldn’t want to have too many guns that I can’t shoot because of collector value. On the other hand–for investment purposes only, the right ones make like a Great Portfolio and a hedge against inflation like Gold . if you can swing it, go for it. Rich people can sit on a stagnet investment until it ‘s walue goes up again . Most other people can’t, consider that too.

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