Sometimes lightning does strike twice in the same place. As the days grew closer to Milestone’s March 11-12, 2023, Premier Collectible Firearms Auction, company co-owner Miles King felt increasingly certain that the sale’s top entries might achieve the same sort of estimate-defying prices as those paid at the March 2022 edition of their Premier sale. His hunch was right on the money. The high-powered lineup of antique, military, sporting and civilian arms with a timeline spanning the Civil War through Vietnam era attracted a gung-ho field of bidders and closed the books at a hefty $2.5 million – exactly what Milestone’s March Premier sale had grossed one year ago. All prices quoted in this report include the buyer’s premium.
“The auction went amazingly well,” said King, who also presided over the sale as principal auctioneer. “There were some extremely rare and choice firearms in every category, and they produced a lot of surprises. The antique guns, especially the matched and cased flintlock pistols and those manufactured during the Civil War era, were very strong. Nothing slipped through the cracks.”
The star of the big two-day event turned out to be a P&D Moll Allentown (PA) brass-barreled, brass-mounted, German silver-escutcheoned flintlock pistol manufactured around 1820. With the manufacturer’s name marked on the barrel and the lock marked C. BIRD & Co PHILAD, WARRANTED, the .42-caliber antique smoothbore pistol had a captivating look and a desirable pedigree from an esteemed family in the Lehigh Valley firearms trade. Estimated at $4,000-$6,500, it flew past expectations to settle at $45,630.
Many motivated bidders went after a matched pair of circa 1860 Belgian Brevete Colt Navy Revolvers. The .36-caliber black powder pistols were of type known to have been offered to the South during the US Civil War. Presented in a French velvet-lined fitted case with a full complement of accessories, they sold within estimate for $43,050.
Another coveted duo was the pair of 1851 Colt square-guard Navy Revolvers, both .36 caliber black-powder models. Marked with an early Colt NY address on the barrel and engraved with an Ormsby’s Naval Engagement scene on the cylinders, the revolvers were offered in their correct red velvet-lined factory case, with accessories, and sold near the high estimate for $30,750.
Made in 1874, a very fine, documented Colt .45-caliber SAA (Single Action Army) revolver bore the number “4672,” meaning it fell within the serial-number range (4500-5504) for guns issued to George A Custer’s US 7th Cavalry regiment. The “A” stamped on barrel indicated the gun had been inspected by Orville W Ainsworth, who examined and put his mark on Colt SAA revolvers for the government only in 1873-1874. With matching serial numbers on frame, barrel, trigger guard, back strap, ejector housing and cylinder, the historical Colt sold near its high estimate for $27,000.
The magical Colt name attracted aggressive bidding throughout the sale. A Colt .45-caliber Single-Action Revolver inlaid in 24K gold, fine silver and pure copper was engraved in 1997 by Colt master engraver Ken Hurst. It was autographed by Hurst in gold on the back strap together with the word “Colt.” Excellent provenance accompanied the gun in the form of a three-page letter from Jim Alaimo, former superintendent of the Colt Custom Shop, who wrote in detail about the work that had been performed on the handsome firearm. It sold for $17,220 against an estimate of $6,000-$8,500.
Very rare and fine, a Colt 1911 transitional 45 ACP pistol was one of only 10,000 of its type ever produced, all in 1924. The gun bears 1911 U.S. ARMY markings but has a short checkered 1911-A1 trigger, distinguishing it as a transitional model. It sold above high estimate for $10,200,
A rare Winchester Model 70 rifle in caliber 284 – which is unique to Winchester – was manufactured in 1963, and according to Winchester researchers, the obscure chambering is believed to have been created for in-factory, experimental, or special order purposes. A genuine rarity and only the second example of its type to have been discovered, it sold at Milestone’s March event for an above-estimate price of $16,380.
Scarce and sought after, a WWII Irwin Pedersen .30-caliber M1 carbine represented one of few finished Pedersen guns, with some parts supplied by Saginaw to enable completion. It sold for $8,300 against an estimate of $3,000-$4,000. Other highlights included a rare pre-WWII Polish Eagle 37 Radom 9mm pistol with matching numbers, which sold well above the high estimate for $12,600; and a marvelous Western C.E. Coggshall (Miles City, MT) Colt holster/cartridge money belt designed for .41 caliber bullets. The holster was crafted from high-quality saddle leather and bears a Coggshall stamp, while the belt is stamped MADE BY H. HARDY, a Denver leather goods firm founded in 1910. The lot sold for $8,100, more than four times the high estimate.
To discuss consigning an antique, vintage or collectible firearm or collection to a future Milestone Auctions sale, call (440) 527-8060 or email email@example.com. All enquiries are kept strictly confidential. Visit Milestone online at www.milestoneauctions.com.