Fairfield, Maine. Once again Fairfield, Maine proved to be the epicenter of the most significant firearms auction offering in the world. On October 2, 3, & 4, the Poulin Auction Company (a separate company immediately adjacent to the Julia Auction Company) generated $4 million dollars in firearms sales. Immediately thereafter, the Julia Auction Company conducted a sale on October 5, 6, & 7, which generated approximately $15 million dollars for a total of $19 million dollars in sales of firearms in Fairfield, Maine.
As in the past, the analytics of the Julia sale continue to show them as the leading firearms auction house in the world for high end, expensive guns. Over 412 lots in this auction realized $10,000 or more; 175 lots realized $20,000 or more; 7 lots generated over $100,000; another important and consistent fact is the overwhelming number of old time collectors which go to Julia’s. This sale includes over 17 different important collections; a new record!
October 5, the first day of the auction, unveiled the initial offering of Julia’s new Sporting & Collector Firearms session; a special division of Julia’s which features moderately priced firearms (generally speaking in the $2,000-8,000 range). This first day sale was responsible for nearly $2.3 million dollars and produced lots of winners. A rare Colt 1911 A1 Military 1938 was estimated at $3,000-4,000 but soared to 12 times its high estimate at $51,750. A Winchester Model 1894 Deluxe estimated at $7,000-11,000 brought $10,350. A nearly new Colt Clover Leaf House Pistol 41 cal. estimated at $1,500-2,500 from the Phil Bleakney Collection realized a strong $5,175. Many of the guns from the Bleakney Collection were in outstanding condition as was the fine Savage Navy Revolver estimated at $2,500-4,500 and sold for $6,900. A beautiful selection of high quality Civil War long arms were also offered from the Bleakney Estate Collection; his great model 1865 Spencer Carbine estimated at $3,000-5,000 generated a $6,900 selling price. The 3 day auction featured a number of fine antique fighting knives. This session included a massive IXL Bowie with reclining lion pommel; this great knife estimated at $2,000-4,000 generated a lot of interest up to $6,325. A rarely seen Texas Ranger Folding knife estimated at $3,000-4,000 went out at $6,900. Many other special collections were included in this first session. Selected examples from the Robert Burg Collection included a Remington Model 1100 SD Grade F 4 gun skeet set estimated at $8,000-12,000 which shot to $13,800.
Session 2 began on Tuesday, Oct. 6 and was highly anticipated by high end Sporting Arms collectors from all over the world. Some questioned whether the sporting arm collector fraternity could absorb the extraordinary offering that Julia’s was about sell. Prior to the sale, Jim Julia confidently stated that he felt the superb selection about to be sold would do extremely well. There were a tremendous amount of fabulous Brownings, in fact, the largest ever sold at auction. Many came from the noted collection of the late Rod Fuller, who had amassed a truly extraordinary collection of Brownings. Early on in the sale, it was very clear that Julia’s confidence was justified. Fuller’s 410 ga. Diana Grade Browning engraved by Watrin was estimated at $7500-12,500. It garnered a number of absentee bids, numerous phone bidders and live in-house bidders which all drove it to $14,950. His Collection of Browning Olympian rifles was the largest and finest ever offered at auction. A big game rifle with long extractor engraved by Dewil carried a presale of $7,000-10,000. Again, generating a flurry of bids that drove the price to $14,375. Another of the many Olympian grades was a high powered long extractor medium game rifle engraved by Marechal and Cargnel. It was estimated at $7500-12,500 but a plethora of bids drove it to $16,100. A finely engraved FN Browning side plate Super Post 3 barrel small gauge set was estimated at $23,000-33,000 but ended out at $40,250.
One of the highest prices of the day was for a humongous Holland & Holland 4 bore double elephant rifle. It was wonderfully engraved and in superb condition and came from a noted old time collector bearing a $60,000-90,000 estimate. The final price was far above the high estimate to $149,500. The sale however included not only one Holland & Holland but a great number of fine Holland & Hollands including a golden age Royal Deluxe Hammerless Ejector Double Rifle 577 nitro which had been made for his highness Sir Rana Ranjit Singhji. It came to the auction with a $60,000-100,000 estimate and went out at $115,000. Another Holland & Holland made for his highness was the Cal. 425 Westley Richards carrying a presale estimate of $45,000-75,000, it sold for $80,500. Perhaps the most historic of the sporting arms for this day was the John Rigby 470 Boxlock Ejector Double Rifle once owned by Philip H. Percival. He was noted as the Dean of African Professional Hunters. He was also the individual who inspired Hemingway’s character, “Pop” in “Greenhill’s of Africa.” In addition to guiding Hemingway, he had also guided Theodore Roosevelt and numerous other notable big game hunters. His rifle carried a presale estimate of $75,000-150,000 and sold for $80,500.
Any quality sporting arms auction which included one or more Boss shotguns was a matter to be prideful of. This auction did not include only one, but numerous superb Boss shotguns. One lot with a 410 Side Lock Ejector Single Trigger Game Gun in excellent condition. It carried a presale estimate of $75,000-125,000 and realized smack dab in the middle at $103,500. One of the most notable names to ever produce English shotguns was the Purdey firm which still exists today. This sale was simply astounding in terms of both the quality of Purdey shotguns but also the numbers of high end, quality Purdey shotguns. Most distinguished was a 410 Double with Ken Hunt relief sculptured engraving, a true work of art and probably never fired. It carried a presale estimate of $80,000-120,000 and went out at $103,500. Another Purdey estimated at $55,000-85,000 went out at $74,750. Another Purdey, estimated at $47,500-67,500, went out at $66,125. Yet another Purdey estimated at $50,000-70,000 realized $65,750. A Purdey estimated at $50,000-70,000 went out at $57,500. This is just a sampling. The results and the consistency were truly impressive. Julia’s is not known only for their successes with foreign shotguns but also for their tremendous success with American quality firearms; in fact, they hold the record for the highest auction price ever attained for a shotgun at auction (Theodore Roosevelt’s Fox Shotgun which generated $862,500 in October 2010). In this sale, an exceptionally fine Parker BHE Trap Gun estimated at $27,500-42,500 realized $43,125. A beautiful 410 Parker VHE Single Trigger Skeet Gun with Beaver tail forend was estimated at $30,000-50,000 and went out at $51,750. A truly exceptionally fine and rare 16 ga. Remington 1894 EE grade shotgun from the Estate of Andy B. Anderson carried a presale estimate of $35,000-55,000 and went out at $48,875. The second day ended with an extraordinary offering of superb Marlin rifles from a single owner, private collection. Most notable was the engraved Deluxe Special Order Model 1897, carrying a presale estimate of $50,000-70,000, it shot to $80,500. Another incredible Marlin, probably one of a kind, Deluxe engraved Model 1892 with Cheek Piece carried a presale estimate of $45,000-65,000 and brought $45,400.
Day 3, October 7, began with volcanics from the Bleakney Collection. A rare Lever Action Carbine estimated at $15,000-25,000 went out at $35,650. Shortly thereafter a wonderful assortment of Winchesters were offered including an extraordinary Model 73 with brilliant case colors estimated at $35,000-50,000, it sold for $57,500. A Winchester Model 1876, which at one time was gifted to the famous Sioux Chief Sitting Bull, carried a presale estimate of $35,000-55,000 and sold for $46,000. Following the Winchesters was an outstanding collection of Colts including a Second Model Dragoon identified to a Civil War sergeant. It was estimated at $15,000-25,000 and went out at $34,500. Most notable of all the antique Colts offered however was the historic Brace of Model 1860 Armies presented by Col. Colt himself to Col. James Cameron, Commander of the 79th New York Highlanders. Cameron would die shortly after receiving his gift in the first Battle of Bull Run while leading a heroic charge. Colt gifts directly from Col. Colt himself were something special and at the outset of the war, Colt made certain to ingratiate a great number of commanding officers and political figures with gifts of his Colts hoping to grease the way for future Army contracts. His gifts, in part, paid him handsomely and throughout the war Colt was awarded innumerable contracts. Colt’s strongest attempt to ingratiate was not James Cameron who received these Colts, but actually Simeon who also received a brace of Colts. Simeon was James’ brother but most importantly Lincoln’s Secretary of War and thus an extremely important person. Cameron’s Colts carried a presale estimate of $100,000-150,000 and went out a little over mid-way at $132,500. A Custer range Colt Cavalry estimated at $25,000-50,000 nearly made high estimate at $47,150. One historic lot, a Colt SA, which once belonged to the famous Texas Ranger, Frank Hamer, was estimated at $20,000-30,000 and brought $33,350. Hamer was most famous for his pursuit and final success in killing both Bonnie & Clyde, thus ending their reign of terror. A rare and superb engraved Model 1877 Colt estimated at $37,500-57,500 brought just under $49,000. The most expensive Colt of the day however was a rare Model 1875 Gatling gun with carriage and limber. In outstanding condition, it was estimated at $200,000-300,000 and went out at just above the low estimate, selling for $201,250. One of the prizes of the Bleakney Collection was an exceptional Nimschke engraved Colt SAA in extremely fine condition. It was estimated at $40,000-60,000 but went out at $80,500.
A couple of months prior to the auction, Julia’s had been contacted by Newsweek regarding Confederate Flags. The writer of Newsweek quizzed Julia on whether he thought the Confederate flags in his upcoming auction would suffer greatly from the current controversy regarding Confederate flags. Julia’s response was, “I do not deal in symbols. I deal in rare, historic artifacts and the uproar concerning the symbolism will have nothing to do with the value of these historic flags which I am about to sell.” The sales results basically verified that. The fine and historic Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag carried by Tucker’s Naval Brigade at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, one of the last military engagements of the Civil War, went out just under $110,000. Another Confederate First National Battle Flag of the 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion known as Lucas’ Artillery brought $46,000. Wal-Mart may have decided not to sell modern replicas and symbols of the Confederate flags in the future but that certainly will not be Julia’s decision in the future when it comes to selling antique and historic relics. Speaking of Confederate items, the outstanding Collection of Civil War firearms and fighting knives belonging to James Maconkey was offered in this sale. His rare, fine CH Rigdon Augusta, GA CSA marked Confederate revolver was estimated at $40,000-60,000 and went out over estimate at $63,250. A rare Confederate Dance Dragoon revolver estimated at $45,000-60,000 went out over high estimate at $67,500. Another rare Civil War and Confederate Collection included the fabulous fighting knives amassed by noted collector, John Ashworth. His Confederate Bowie knife made at Etowah Iron Works in Georgia was inscribed and at one time used by Capt. E. M. Seago. It brought $37,375. Another highly noteworthy collection in this sale was that of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess of Zurich, Switzerland. His massive collection of auto loading weapons had been divided up into various sessions, this one being just about the last of the offering of Sturgess’ arms. An extraordinary Swiss/UK trials prototype Luger Rig SN 30 realized $57,500. The Sturgess Collection also included a group of exceedingly rare Gabbet Fairfax Mars Model 1901 pistols. Most notable in this sale however was the Gabbet Fairfax that accompanied its original holster; an extraordinarily rare accessory. This gun estimated at $40,000-60,000 went out over high estimate at $69,000. As always, this Julia auction included an excellent offering of Class III machine guns. A fantastic GM Frigidaire M-2 Browning 50 cal. machine gun estimated at $30,000-50,000 did just under high estimate a tad over $47,000. A fantastic ZB26 with Nazi proofs was estimated at $25,000-35,000 and sold for $46,000. Also performing extremely well was an exceedingly rare MP 43 with ZF4 Scope rail. It was estimated at $15,000-22,000 and performed well over high estimate at $39,675.
Julia’s is now amassing consignments for their March 2016 Firearms Auction which already includes some extraordinary offerings. Most notably is an important private collection of the highest quality Colt Percussion firearms together with great sporting arms, Winchesters, Military Class III, and much more. More details regarding this October auction can be found on Julia’s website, www.jamesdjulia.com or by telephone, 207-453-7125, fax 207-453-2502 or mail to P.O. Box 830, Fairfield, Maine 04937. The Julia Auction Company’s next auction will be an Important Lamp & Glass auction scheduled for November 18, 2015. This important sale will feature an extraordinary assemblage of beautiful Tiffany lamps, 3 rare and important private collections of superb cameo glass, and much, much more.