Suits of Armor to Thompson Machine Guns, Don’t Miss Rock Island Auction’s April Firearms Auction

From 16th Century Suits of Armor to WWII Thompson Submachine, Guns Rock Island Auction Company’s April 19th, 20th & 21st Premiere Firearms Auction Will Be A Truly Historic Event!

Lot 1412, the Glahn Factory Engraved and Gold Inlaid Pre-War Colt Single Action Army Revolver with Steer Head Ivory Grips
Lot 1412, the Glahn Factory Engraved and Gold Inlaid Pre-War Colt Single Action Army Revolver with Steer Head Ivory Grips
Rock Island Auction Company
Rock Island Auction Company

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois —( Rock Island Auction Company’s April 19th, 20th, 21st Premiere Firearms Auction will be an unprecedented bidding opportunity for all facets of arms collectors and investment buyers.

“It is not often the general public is given the ability to see, let alone purchase, what can basically be called a half a millennium of arms and armor. This particular sale begins with full suits of armor, of which there are over 20 in the auction, some dating as far back as the 16th century. It goes on to tell the story of warfare and the evolution of arms over 500 years, from the Middle Ages of Europe through the Vietnam War and beyond; it’s truly astonishing.” said Patrick Hogan, President and CEO of Rock Island Auction.

Rock Island Auction Company is pleased to bring to public auction the arms and armor collection of Mr. William Ashby. The objects in this collection demonstrate centuries of the uses of armor and arms in ceremonies, in tournaments and on the battlefield.

The grouping is comprised of wonderful matchlocks, snaphaunces, wheelocks, swords, daggers, halberds, helmets and shields. The most anticipated lot from the grouping is, without a doubt, Lot 1226, an impressive, fully Armored Life Sized Horse with Mounted Rider–talk about a striking display piece. Other suits of note are Lot 3322, an intricate Harness of Armor in the Style of Filippo Negroli's Masks Garnitur, as well as Lot 3330, a Composite Late 16th Century 3/4 Harness of Armor.

From armor to arms the grouping also features Lot 1245, a beautiful European Wheelock Sporting Gun with extensive Bone and Pearl Inlays along with two magnificent Tschinke Rifles, Lots 1227 and 3318. The early European items are just the beginning as this sale features magnificent arms, armor and edged weapons from Japan, which include three of the finest Katana’s RIAC has ever cataloged, Lots 1389, 1400 and 3450.

From the very early European arms of the Ashby Collection the sale continues with beautiful and historic European Arms of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Of particular importance is Lot 1182, a magnificent Cased Pair of French Engraved Gold Inlaid Underhammer Percussion Pistols by Gosset. This breathtaking set of pistols displays absolutely exquisite craftsmanship and artistry of intricate engraving and flawlessly executed gold inlays. Also of note is Lot 3316, a magnificent Pair of Cased Exhibition Quality French Prelat Gold Inlaid Percussion Target Pistols. While not European, Lot 1157, the Cook Signed Factory Exhibition Grade Relief Engraved Gold Inlaid Robbins & Lawrence Pepperbox Pistol with Ivory Grips, which was more than likely commissioned for the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851, is exceptional!

With nearly 600 Colts in this sale we must begin with Colt’s very first firearms endeavor, the Paterson, as the sale features a Rare Belt Model No.3 Paterson Revolver, Lot 1069. We then follow Col. Colt to his next development, the Colt Model 1847 Walker Revolver, Lot 3069, the pinnacle for both U.S. Military arms collectors as well as Colt firearms collectors. From there we can observe a selection of the other rare and important Colt percussion firearms in the sale–the finest issued pair of Martially Inspected 2nd model Colt Dragoon revolvers extant, Lot 1091, and a stunning Martially Inspected 1851 Navy revolver, Lot 1092. As for the most iconic Colt pistol of all time, the Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army (aka “the Peacemaker”), the sale is headlined by the “big three”–Lot 1412, the Glahn Factory Engraved and Gold Inlaid Pre-War Colt Single Action Army Revolver with Steer Head Ivory Grips, Holster, and Factory Letter once belonging to M. Bertrand “Frisco Bert” Couch, a noted Texas immigration officer and colorful Western personality; Lot 1430, a historic and documented Factory Deluxe Engraved and Inscribed Colt Bisley Model Revolver with magnificent Carved Eagle Pearl Grips, Factory Letter and Tucson Arizona Marked Holster. One must stop to think that Colt produced only forty factory engraved and factory inscribed Bisley model revolvers; this particular Bisley’s rarity is compounded with the documented factory silver plating and carved eagle pearl grips! Last, but certainly not least, is Lot 3211, a documented outstanding Hartley & Graham Engraved Colt Frontier Six-Shooter Single Action Revolver with Relief Carved Pearl Grip and Factory Letter. And finally, if it’s engraved arms you are after, look no further than Lot 1839, an exquisite Documented Signed Master Engraver Alvin A. White Exhibition Quality Engraved and Gold Inlaid Pre-World War II Colt Ace Semi-Automatic Pistol from the Sutherland Colt Collection. This is one of only a few pistols that can actually be called 100% coverage!

From high conditioned to factory engraved; to rare, nearly unheard of configurations; this sale has it all in quality and quantity when it comes to Winchesters. How about FIVE henry rifles which include an iron frame (Lot 3107), an identified Civil War engraved rifle (Lot 3087), and, not to be overlooked, THE FINEST conditioned U.S. Inspected Henry Rifle ever before offered at public auction (Lot 1100). The sale includes phenomenal 1866’s, 1873’s, 1876’s, 1892’s, 1894’s and 1895’s. Of note, collectors will be delighted and impressed to see the award winning Winchester Model 1894 display collection of Gary Cote. The crescendo of the Winchester selection is, without a doubt, Lot 1006, an extraordinary and Important Fully Documented Deluxe Special Order “Engraved Like” 1 of 1000 J. Ulrich Signed Winchester Model 1873 Rifle. Lever Actions represent only a fraction of the incredible Winchesters in this sale, as our sporting arms assemblage is headlined by the most complete and important grouping of over eighty Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 Rifles and Carbines!

Civil War collectors will be delighted to flip through the pages of this catalog as it is, without question, the most historic and impressive single grouping of arms from both sides of the conflict, North and South, which RIAC has ever offered. From the Confederacy the sale features Lot 1106, an exceptionally Rare Finest Known Dance & Brothers Confederate Percussion Revolver. This pistol is not only in remarkable condition, it is still loaded!! Other notable Confederate revolvers include Lot 1116, a Confederate Inspected LeMat (one of three in the sale); Lot 1147, a Confederate Griswold and Gunnison from the Confederate States Armory Museum; Lot 3108, a rare Documented Confederate Civil War Augusta Machine Works Percussion Twelve Stop Style Revolver Attributed to a Surgeon in The First Florida Infantry. Union arms include a Spectacular Spencer Army Model Repeating Rifle (Lot 1098); one of only 200 .36 Caliber Starr Navy Revolvers (Lot 1134); many ultra-high condition Civil War Carbines; and Lot 1126, a Magnificent Cased Civil War Presentation Model 1850 Staff & Field Officer Sword with Silver Figural Hilt.

Once again, RIAC is proud to bring to public auction the most impressive and rare 20th century military arms available. Included in this group is a World War II M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle (Lot 506); an impressive and encyclopedic collection of 1903 Rifles such as TWO 1903 Rod Bayonets and sniper rifles, one being Lot 1857; and an extraordinary Documented Experimental Springfield Model 1903 Sniper Rifle with Winchester A5 Scope. Of note is the historic collection of renowned German military arms, in particular P-38’s from the Chuck and Sharon Lindley Collection. Talk about impressive! Here is a true student, nay a professor, who amassed the most impressive German military pistol collection we have ever seen. This is evident in his encyclopedic grouping of P-38 Pistols which includes every serial number block, every production code, and every manufacturer. His P-38’s only scratch the surface as the collection also contains ultra-rare Lugers, PP’s, and related ephemera.

European Wheelock Sporting Gun Lot 1227
European Wheelock Sporting Gun Lot 1227

From the earliest of matchlock and wheelock firearms to 16th century armor to the most modern sporting and Class III weapons, this sale is sure to have something for every level of firearms buyer. For more information on any of the above items, or to learn more about the other 2700+ items in this sale, please visit or call 1-800-238-8022.

Rock Island Auction Company is the Nation’s leading auction house for firearms, edged weapons and military artifacts. Catering to all levels of collecting, a $1000 item or $1 million item is welcome as firearms specialists are on staff and more than one auction venue is available to accommodate varying needs. RIAC works with advisors, estates and collectors and is prepared to buy single firearms and collections outright and/or can sell through private treaty. There is no limit to what RIAC can buy. To find out more, please visit or call 1-800-238-8022.

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