Fairfield, ME ~ October 14-16, 2013. James D. Julia’s conducted their annual fall firearms auction, which was billed as one of historic proportions, and indeed it was. The gross of over $18 million makes it the largest grossing firearms auction in history. This sale was notable with the diversity of extraordinary collections, the quality of goods, the overall value and successful sales. The total low estimate of items sold was approximately $13.2 million and generated $18 million, approximately $5 million over low estimate. But equally as extraordinary was the number of high end expensive items successfully sold in this sale. Over 525 items generated $10,000 or more; this is an all-time high for expensive items that any firearms auction ever held. 167 of these items generated $25,000 or more; 50 items generated $50,000 or more; and 9 of the items were in excess of $100,000. Julia’s firearms auctions are not known for the massive number of lots being offered but for the large number of high end items successfully sold. They are currently and have been the leaders in the world for handling the greater number of high end expensive firearms at auction.
Monday morning began with the Woody & Betty Frey Collection of outstanding Winchester rifles. A lifetime dealer and collector, Woody Frey was a most discerning collector and most of the guns in the collection were in outstanding condition. A scarce engraved silver plated Henry rifle realized $63,250. Many of the items in the Frey Collection did extremely well; a Winchester Model 66 Saddle Ring Carbine in extremely fine plus condition estimated at $15,000-25,000 went out at $37,375. In addition to the Frey Collection of Winchesters, there were a great number of other rare Winchesters offered. A very rare iron frame Henry in fine condition was estimated at $40,000-60,000 and went out at $63,250. A recently discovered extremely rare Winchester 1873 “1 of 1,000” carried a presale estimate of $100,000-150,000 and went out at $109,250. A historic Winchester Model 86 in very good condition was estimated at $15,000-25,000; the gun had been carried by SJ Entrikin who accompanied Admiral Perry on his Arctic Expedition of 1893-94. The lot included his tack studded Winchester rifle together with a few other items used on this expedition, estimated at $15,000-25,000, it ultimately sold for over $20,000. The first day also included an extraordinary offering of high end sporting arms. Julia’s handles more high end quality sporting arms than any other auction firm in the world and this sale surely reflected that. An exceptional one of a kind, pre-war, Holland & Holland O/U Double rifle in cal. 375 was estimated at $60,000-90,000 and generated approximately $75,000. A “Golden Age” Boss 20 Bore Heavy Proof Rising Bite O/U Game gun in 20 ga. was estimated at $50,000-80,000 and generated just over the high estimate at $85,500. A 20 ga. James Purdey O/U Game gun estimated at $60,000-90,000 was highly competed for and went out at $77,625. One of the more beautiful sporting arms was the exceptional Exhibition Quality James Purdey O/U Game gun with relief engraving and gold inlay by Ken Hunt estimated at $80,000-120,000; this beautiful work of art rose to $97,750. Also consigned to this sale was a group of sporting and collecting arms from the family of J.P. Morgan. Specifically some of the guns were identified directly to J.P. Morgan, Jr. and were consigned to Julia’s by Alexandra McLean Morgan (sister of Senator John McCain) that had been in her late husband’s family. One set was a pair of Henry Atkins sidelock ejector guns, which the Morgan family was known to have regularly used. This set in its original leather case embossed with J.P.M. was estimated at $25,000-35,000 and went out to a determined winning bidder at $46,000. The high seller in the sporting arms was an Italian Thomasoni engraved Ivo Fabbri Small Game 3 Barrel cased set. It carried a presale estimate of $100,000-200,000 and went out at $126,500. Another Fabbri Small Bore estimated at $60,000-75,000 realized approximately $75,000. A fine pair of Beretta SO6EELO Game guns estimated at $30,000-50,000 realized $43,125. A truly exceptional investment quality 20 ga. Charles Daly Regent Diamond Game gun complete with its original hang tags carried a presale estimate of $20,000-30,000. With its exquisite engraving and gold inlay, it was hotly competed for and went out at $69,000. Also offered was an outstanding grouping of high grade American shotguns. A historically important L.C. Smith presentation Baker Patent 3 Barrel gun set from 1885 was estimated at $60,000-90,000 and sold for just over $63,000. A rare Lefevre $1000 Grade Style shotgun was embellished with some of the finest engraved designs one has ever seen on a Lefevre shotgun. The engraving also included exquisite gold inlays and while not a true $1,000 grade gun, it was very much in the style of this zenith of Lefevre creations. Because it was in the style of $1,000 grade, it was estimated at a conservative $40,000-60,000 but its sheer beauty and artistry drove the price to over $63,000. An exceptional one of a kind Ithaca NID Sousa $1,000 Grade 12 ga. magnum was the real deal and went out at $69,000 against a $65-95,000 estimate. A 20 ga. Parker A-1 Special realized $75,000 against a $75,000-125,000 estimate. An exceptional Parker GHE 410 complete with original shipping box estimated at $45,000-65,000 brought approximately $49,000.
The second day of the auction included rare Colts from the Estate of the late Michael Leff of Florida. A rare cased pair of engraved Colt Model 1849 pockets in outstanding condition was estimated at $70,000-80,000 and realized $80,500. A beautiful Colt from another collection was the ultra-rare and spectacular presentation Glahn engraved gold plated SA estimated at $100,000-150,000 that realized $115,000. A rare Helfricht engraved SA revolver estimated at $65,000-85,000 went out at $69,000.
The auction also included the historical Smith & Wesson Collection of Mr. Marlan Polhemus. Mr. Polhemus, an avid historian and scholar on Smith & Wessons, has written numerous articles as well as books on the subject. A beautiful cased and engraved Civil War Smith & Wesson #2 Army with ivory grips estimated at $5,000-8,000 realized just under $10,000. His exceptional Civil War cased and inscribed Smith & Wesson #2 Army revolver of Capt. Martin Lemon of the 77th New York Veterans was estimated at $7,000-10,000 and went out at just over $16,000. Julia’s auctions always include a healthy representation of rare Civil War items and this sale was no exception. A unique Confederate CH Rigdon 5 in. barrel revolver was estimated at $30,000-40,000 but after a protracted bidding battle, it realized just over $60,000. An outstanding “Death to Abolition” early Bowie knife with Indian bonnet pommel carried a presale estimate of $20,000-30,000 and realized $23,000. General George Crooks’ Civil War Gardiron realized $34,500. One of the standouts for historical arms was a Springfield carbine that had been used at the infamous Battle of Little Bighorn. This carbine used by a member of the Weir expedition was forensically documented to the battle site. All the other firearms that have been documented to the battle site have been connected by one or two spent casings. However, this gun was documented to the battle site by an extraordinary collection of 36 cartridge casings. Weir, with a small command, left the Reno defenses to go to Custer’s aid and was confronted by a vastly overwhelming force of Indians. Rather than turn tail and run, the cavalry unit maintained a sustained retreat by dismounting and positioning themselves. Each on one knee, as the Indians drew near, they fired multiple volleys, then would retreat 50 yards and once again repel the charging Indians. They continued this process until they reached the Reno defenses. The spent cartridge casings were found immediately adjacent to this exact route back to the defenses. It is a truly exciting and historic relic that went out at $126,500.
Later in the day, the extraordinary collection of Frank Sujansky came to the auction block. The Sujansky Collection of Kentucky pistols was the finest of its type to ever come to the auction block and this auction consisted of only one half of the collection. First up was a magnificent pair of American Renwick-Locke gold inlaid Flint dueling pistols by James Haslett of Baltimore, MD. Dating to about 1810, they were considered to be the finest set of American dueling pistols known. Estimated at $75,000-125,000, the bidding was ferocious and the results were stunning at $195,500. The overall offering of Kentucky pistols was quite stunning and while some sold at reasonable prices (much to the chagrin of many Kentucky aficionados who had not participated in the sale because they thought there would be no bargains). One such example was a historical important matched pair of Flintlock pistols signed by H. Albright that were later in life acquired by Col. Robert Peebles. They carried a presale estimate of $50,000-75,000 and sold for a very reasonable $37,375. Prior to acquiring these pistols, Peebles had been a colonel and fought in Washington’s army at Princeton.
A small select grouping of Derringer pistols from the Dave Stewart Collection included the magnificent presentation cased pair of John Kreider pistols estimated at $30,000-50,000 that realized $37,375. Also included was the first session of the extraordinary Dr. Douglas Sirkin Collection. Dr. Sirkin’s collection of Kentucky rifles is perhaps in total, the best offering of raise carved Kentucky’s to come to auction. His collection of high art European wheel locks was definitely the finest to ever come to auction in the past 20 to 30 years. Other offerings from the collection will be presented in future Julia auctions. The first lot up was an important outstanding relief carved Kentucky rifle by John Armstrong, considered to be one of the finest examples known. It, at one time, had been part of the Locke Collection and carried a presale estimate of $75,000-125,000. It sold for $120,750. One of the finest Lehigh relief carved rifles made by Jacob Kunz was also part of this previously unknown collection and it sold at $51,750. Immediately after the offering of the Kentucky rifles, Dr. Sirkin’s extraordinary collection of high art European wheel locks came to the block. A magnificent and unique pair of wheel locks by Meister der Tierkopfranke signed “MSH” and dated 1631 were at one time in the collection of his majesty King Leopold of Belgium. They realized $51,750. Treasure after treasure was offered. Another notable example was an extremely rare Alsatian Double Barrel O/U wheel lock pistol sedan circa 1600. Estimated at $50,000-75,000, it went out at just under $55,000. The highlight of course was the very fine matched pair of Saxon Electra Guard wheel lock pistols dated 1588. Carrying a presale estimate of $40,000-60,000, these pistols attained a final selling price of $103,500. An exquisite pair of silver mounted gold decorated Ottoman flint pistols circa 1790 carried an estimate of $8,000-16,000 and realized $25,875. There were many other high art European arms from the Sirkin collection but there were also outstanding examples from other collections. An extremely rare high art gold inlaid Russian pinfire revolver of presentation quality by Johann Norman in Tula carried a presale estimate of $20,000-30,000 and attained a final selling price of $57,500.
The third day included three major collections and generated impressive results. The first collection was that of Carl “Bill” Morrison of Bradford, Maine. An active gunsmith at the age of 92, he is the oldest licensed gun dealer in the State of Maine. Most of his life, he collected automatic weapons and his entire collection was offered here with impressive results. Chicom type 56/M22 (AK 47) estimated at $12,500-17,500 attained a remarkable $48,875. A U.S. Property marked Colt AR 15 estimated at $15,000-25,000 went out at $39,100. And his Springfield M3 50 cal. BMG on ground tripod which carried an estimate of $15,000-25,000 went out at $33,000. Numerous other automatic weapons were offered from other estates and collections. Included were a number of Colt Thomson Machine guns. Many thought this would be the opportunity for a bargain with so many offered but the demand remained consistent until the very last run. The high mark was a superb Colt 1921AC Thompson sub-machine gun estimated at $25,000-35,000; it went out at $43,700. There were other military items from various collections. One notable and interesting lot was an original 1941 type 82 Volkswagen Kubelwagen. This very transport vehicle had been captured from Rommel’s Afrika Core during WWII and shipped home to a university where it was completely disassembled then reassembled. Once disassembled, a U.S. manual was produced to be used by U.S. troops later in the war as they captured these desirable transport vehicles. This was truly an exciting offering estimated at $50,000-100,000 and sold for just under $75,000. A rare and spectacular set of named Algemeine SS officer visor caps including an extraordinarily rare white one were both acquired from an estate sale and both identified to the original SS officer. The final price was an outstanding $57,500.
The highlight of this session was unquestionably the collection of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess of Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Sturgess’ Collection of auto loading weapons is the finest most comprehensive of its type to ever come to auction and currently the finest of its type to exist in private hands. It was his collection that was the basis of a marvelous three volume treatise recently compiled about the evolution and development of the auto loading pistol. The collection is massive in numbers and features an extraordinary number of rare, high condition, experimental and prototype arms. A unique SID 7.5 mm prototype long Mondragon Model 1907 SL rifle estimated at $25,000-35,000 was highly competed for and realized $57,500. An exceptional Mauser 6 mm C98 Selbstladegewehr SN 3 realized just under $75,000. This was the first of several sessions of Sturgess’ collection to be offered over the next two years. An extraordinary Mauser C77 Single shot pistol estimated at $15,000-30,000 sold for just over $43,000. An ultra-rare Model Mauser Zig Zag revolver estimated at $20,000-30,000 generated $43,700. A highlight of this session was the extraordinary rare and important cased prototype Model 1893 Borchardt pistol in extremely fine plus condition. The gun carried a presale estimate of $125,000-250,000 and went out at $161,000. Another exquisite Borchardt pistol in extremely fine plus condition sold immediately afterwards. It came in its original presentation case and had at one time been presented to Don Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico. It sold for approximately $150,000. A superb factory engraved Mauser C96 estimated at $25,000-35,000 sold for $75,900. An exquisite, magnificent historically significant Mauser C96, fully engraved with gold inlay and carved stock was estimated at $35,000-70,000 but blew through its estimate to sell for $89,125. A Chilean prototype 100 Luger with matching push button stock rig sold for $52,000 and a spectacular E prefix Swiss Luger with experimental holster, stock and round magazine estimated at $25,000-40,000 ended up at $40,250. An ultra-rare Turkish Air Force Luger estimated at $20,000-30,000 realized $43,000. An outstanding Walther PP prototype was estimated at $25,000-40,000 and realized just under $52,000. Also an extremely rare Anti-tank Strumpistole with insert barrel folding stock and folding site was estimated at $10,000-20,000 and generated nearly $30,000. The first Sturgess offering was truly impressive but Julia’s explained that it only gets better from here. The Sturgess Collection arrived from Zurich a little later than anticipated and a much smaller offering was presented in this sale. The next auction will include an even far more impressive offering.
One other collection offered in this final session was from the estate of the affable Joe Schroeder. Mr. Schroeder was a great scholar and author of German military weapons and highly regarded in the collecting fraternity. An extremely rare Mauser Model 1909 experimental in caliber 9 mm was estimated at $32,500-45,500 and went well beyond its estimate to $57,000. An extremely rare and highly desirable system Mauser stripped barrel cutaway pistol was estimated at $18,000-25,000 and sold for $23,000.
More details on this sale can be seen on Julia’s website at www.jamesdjulia.com. Julia’s next sale will take place in March of 2014 and according to Julia’s it is expected to surpass the extraordinary October 2013 sale. In addition to the second session of the many collections offered here will be the estate collection of the late Norm Flayderman. Mr. Flayderman was unquestionably the most iconic figure in the world of firearms in the 20th century and this elite offering of spectacular Colt firearms will certainly be much anticipated. Also featured in this spring auction will be the collection of the late Tommy Rholes of Texas who was a noted collector and dealer and will include extremely rare Winchesters and Colts. The Julia Firearms Auction was preceded by a 3-day auction conducted by the Poulin Auction Company (located only 100 yards from the Julia complex). Their sale of moderate priced antique, collectable, and shooting arms was their highest grossing to date at nearly $3 million. The total gross for the 6-day event with the Poulin Auction Company and the Julia Auction House combined was in excess of $21 million, which was the largest auction of firearms ever in history.
|Scarce Engraved Silver Plated Henry Model 1860 in very fine condition. This is from the renowned Woody and Betty Frey Collection of Winchesters. Sold for $63,250.|
|Extremely Rare Winchester Model 1873, 1 of 1,000. Recently discovered and offered for public sale for the first time, had a presale estimate of $100,000-150,000 and sold for $109,250.|
|Winchester Model 1886 carried by Samuel J. Entrikin on the Arctic Explorations with Admiral Perry. Presale estimated was $15,000-25,000 and it sold for $20,125.|
|Exceptional one of kind Pre-War Holland & Holland O/U rifle cal. 375hh. This gun carried a presale estimate of $60,000-90,000 and went out at just under $75,000.|
|“Golden Age” Boss 20 bore heavy proof single trigger rising bite o/u 20. Ga. estimated at $50,000-80,000; it sold just over the high estimate at $80,500.|
|28 ga. James Purdey O/U in excellent condition. Estimated at $60-90,000, it realized $77,625.|
|Exhibition Quality James Purdey O/U with gold engraved and gold inlay by Ken Hunt 12 ga. cal; estimate $80-120,000, it sold for $97,750.|
|A Pair of Henry Atkin Single Trigger Heavy Game Guns 12 ga. was once the property of J.P. Morgan Jr. and were complete with a leather case embossed J.P.M. The guns were consigned by the widow of Morgan’s great grandson who was the sister of Sen. John McCain. The guns carried a presale estimate of $25-35,000 and after a serious bidding battle; they went out at $51,750.|
|Marvelous Tomasoni engraved Ivo Fabbri three barrel set with extra stock and case estimated at $100-120,000 which finally sold for $126,500.|
|Truly exceptional, investment quality, 20 gauge Charles Daly “Regent Diamond” game gun with original hang tags was estimated at $20-30,000; this was subject to a serious bidding battle and finally went out at $69,000.|
|Historically important L. C. Smith presentation Baker patent three hammer barrel gun was estimated at $60-90,000. It sold for $63,250.|
|Rare Lefever thousand dollar grade (style|
|Truly exceptional, one-of-a-kind, Ithaca NID Sousa/ $1000 grade 12 gauge magnum. This was a genuine $1000 grade and estimated at $65-95,000 and it went out at $69,000.|
|20 gauge Parker A 1 special with case. In excellent restored condition, it carried a presale estimate of $75-125,000 and it realized just a tad under $75,000.|
|Rare & spectacular presentation Glahn engraved gold plated single action army revolver which carried a presale estimate of $100-150,000 and realized $115,000.|
|Superb Helfricht engraved Colt single action army revolver with wonderful AZ history was estimated at $65-85,000. It went out at $69,000.|
|Extraordinarily rare cased pairing of engraved Colt London model 1851 Navy & model 1849 pocket percussion revolvers. From the Estate of Michael Leff. Carried a presale estimate of $45-60,000, they went out at $63,250.|
|Exceptional Civil War cased and inscribed Smith & Wesson #2 army revolver of Captain Martin Lennon, 77th NYV. From the well known Marlan Polhemus Collection. The presale estimate was $7-10,000. It brought $16,100.|
|Unique Confederate C.H. Rigdon 5″ barreled revolver. Estimated at $30-40,000, it brought just under $60,000 at $59,800.|
|Extraordinarily rare, forensically documented Custer battlefield Springfield trap door carbine matching 36 cartridges from Weir Hill to the Reno defenses. This historic gun is currently the only gun documented to the Custer Battlefield range to match so many cartridge casings. Presale estimate was $100-150,000 and finally went out at $126,500.|
|Magnificent Renwick-Locke American gold inlaid flintlock dueling pistols by James Haslett, Baltimore, circa 1810. Formally within the Renwick-Locke Collections. From the outstanding Frank Sujansky Collection. They are in superb condition and considered to be the finest American dueling pistols known. Estimated at $75-125,000 and realized $195,000.|
|Outstanding & important relief carved percussion rifle by John Armstrong Kentucky. One of the finest known to exist and at one time in the Locke Collection, it carried an estimate of $75-125,000 and sold for just under the high estimate at $120,750. This is part of the offering from the previously unknown, Dr. Douglas Sirkin Collection of Rare Kentucky rifles.|
|One of the finest Lehigh County relief carved rifles made by Jacob Kunz. From the previously unknown Collection of Dr. Douglas Sirkin. It carried a presale estimate of $50-70,000 and sold for $51,750.|
|Magnificent and unique pair of wheel lock rifles by the Meister der Tierkopfranke signed “MSH”, dated 1631 ex collection of His Majesty King Leopold of Belgium. The pair carried a presale estimate of $50-150,000 and sold for $51,750.|
|Extremely rare Alsatian double barreled o/u wheel lock pistol, Sedan, circa 1600. Estimated at $50-75,000. They sold for $54,650. From the previously unknown Dr. Douglas Sirkin Collection.|
|Very fine matched pair of Saxon elector guard wheel lock pistols, each dated 1588. These were estimated at $40-60,000 and realized $103,500.|
|Rare early hall breech loading flintlock pistol. This pistol had been converted from percussion to flint and carried a presale estimate of $15-20,000. From the Frank Sujansky Collection. It was part of a serious bidding battle that resulted in a final sale price of $29,325.|
|Chicom type 56/M22 (AK47|
|U.S. property marked Colt AR-15, veteran bring back automatic. From the Carl “Bill” Morrison Collection of Automatic Weapons. Mr. Morrison at the age of 92 is the oldest active Maine gunsmith/gun dealer. Estimated at $15-25,000 and realized $$39,100.|
|Superb Colt 1921AC Thompson sub-machine gun. One of many Thompson machine guns in this auction, it carried a presale estimate of $25-35,000 and went out far above the high estimate at $43,700.|
|Exceptionally rare and outstanding Colt model 639/XM177 carbine. It carried a presale estimate of $25-40,000; it went out well above high estimate at $46,000.|
|Original, 1941 type 82 Volkswagen “Kubelwagen”. This exact vehicle was captured by Rommel’s Afrika Corps and shipped back to the U.S. where it was entirely dismantled and used to create a user’s manual for future captured vehicles during the war. It carried a presale estimate of $50-100,000 and went out at just about $75,000.|
|Rare and spectacular set of named and researched Allgemeine SS officer’s visor caps. These were purchased together at an estate sale many years ago. These extremely rare SS hats carried a presale estimate of $50-70,000 and went out at $57,500.|
|Unique SIG 7.5 mm prototype Mondragon M1907 SL rifle. Estimated at $25-35,000. It blew way past the high estimate at $57,500. From the Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess Collection of Zurich, Switzerland.|
|Exceptional Mauser 6MM C98 Selbstladegewehr. Serial #3. It carried a presale estimate of $75-100,000. This sold for $74750 from the Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess Collection of Zurich, Switzerland.|
|Extraordinary Mauser C77 single shot pistol. Estimated at $15-30,000. It sold far above the high estimate at $43,125. It was from the renowned Collection of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess of Zurich, Switzerland.|
|Ultra rare last model Mauser zigzag revolver. This carried a presale estimate of $20-35,000 and went out far above high estimate at $43,700. It was from the renowned Collection of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess of Zurich, Switzerland.|
|Extraordinarily rare and important cased one of two surviving first prototype model 1893 Borchardt semi-auto pistol. The presale estimate was $125-250,000. This went out at $161,000.|
|Extremely rare, cased presentation Loewe model 1893 Borchardt to Don Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico semi-auto pistol. The presale estimate was $150-300,000 and it sold for $149,500. From the renowned Collection of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess of Zurich, Switzerland.|
|Magnificent and historically significant Mauser C96 six shot, fully engraved, with carved bolo stock. Estimated at $35-75,000; it blew through the high estimate to $89,125. From the renowned Collection of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess of Zurich, Switzerland.|
|Ultra Rare Turkish Air Force Luger. Estimated at $20-30,000; it flew past the high estimate at $43,125.|
|Outstanding Walther PP Prototype. This was estimated at $25-40,000 and soared above the high estimate at $51,750. From the Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess Collection.|
|Extremely rare Mauser model 1909 experimental in caliber 9MM. Estimated at $32,500-45,000; it blew past the high estimate at just under $57,000. From the Collection of Joseph Schroeder.|