WILLOUGHBY, Ohio - Milestone’s first Premier Collectible Firearms Auction of 2023, slated for March 11-12, promises to be a crowd-pleaser with its high-caliber selection of US, British, German, French and Japanese productions. The 1,452-lot selection is led by superior-quality antique, military and civilian arms from long-held collections. Many of the consignments are fresh to the market, and in keeping with Milestone’s tradition, there are excellent examples to suit every pocketbook and special interest. The auction follows a historical timeline that starts in the 18th century and progresses to contemporary conflicts.
An exciting highlight for Colt fans is the documented US 7th Cavalry Custer serial range .45-caliber Single Action Army revolver. Made in early 1874 and marked 4672, it falls within the Custer-issued range of 4500-5504. There are matching serial numbers on the frame, barrel, trigger guard, back strap, ejector housing and cylinder; and the “A” stamped on the barrel indicates the gun was inspected by Orville W Ainsworth. This superior second-year Ainsworth Colt SAA is poised for star status on auction day and is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.
The extensive array of cased early revolvers is, by far, the best ever offered by Milestone. The lineup includes a stellar matched pair of circa-1860 Belgian Brevete Colt Navy black-powder revolvers with consecutive serial numbers (7355 and 7356), $25,000-$55,000; and a cased pair of 1851 Colt Square Guard Navy revolvers (Serial Nos. 2995 and 2759), $20,000-$32,000. A cased and fully accessorized duo of profusely engraved gold Adams (London) revolvers, circa 1860, is expected to reach $15,000-$30,000.
A firearm with an imposing presence is the rare 3rd Model Colt Dragoon. This type of gun was intended for use by mounted cavalrymen, who considered it a privilege to carry one. Made in 1860 in a production run of 200, this hefty .44-caliber black-powder model weighs in at 4lbs and 2oz. It is engraved with the well-known “Ranger and Indian” fighting scene and has WL Ormsby markings. A sensational addition to any collection, this coveted pistol comes to auction with a $7,000-$12,000 estimate.
Another Colt to watch is the 1911 transitional 45 ACP pistol manufactured by the legendary American company in 1924. It displays 1911 U.S. ARMY markings but has a short checkered 1911-A1 trigger, a checkered arched mainspring housing, milled finger slots in the frame, a long spur grip safety and non-diamond-checkered walnut grips. One of only 10,000 transitional models produced by Colt (all in 1924), this rare find should make $5,000-$7,500.
A Harpers Ferry Arsenal 1805 flintlock martial pistol is a .54- caliber smoothbore with a 10 1/8-inch barrel and is one of around 2,500 produced in 1807. It is marked US, with an Eagle Head over the “P” inspection mark. The lock is marked HARPERS FERRY 1807 at the rear, with the Large Eagle mark and “US” at its center. Most of these guns were later converted to percussion, but the auction example retains its original flintlock configuration. This model is regarded by many to be the most elegant of all US martial pistols. In fact, to this day its image is still used on US military commendations and awards. Estimate: $9,000-$15,000
For those who like early productions with very low matching numbers, Milestone offers a top prize from Smith & Wesson: an 1878 .32-.44 caliber New Model #3 target revolver. The gun’s serial number, 24, confirms it was manufactured during the first week of this model’s production. Its condition is amazing, especially for an antique. It has near-mint grips, strong rifling, and retains more than 93% of its original nickel. Estimate: $4,500-$6,500
One of the premier lever-action rifles of its period, a high-condition Deluxe large-frame Bullard rifle, made between 1886 and 1890, is marked with the serial number 575. It has a very scarce full octagon barrel with half magazine and a number of additional upgrade details. The Bullard address is stamped on the left side of frame, and the caliber is stamped on bridge. Due to the high cost of their manufacture and the special attention given to each Bullard Deluxe rifle, these guns did not have a long production run. They were out of the market in fewer than five years. To find an exceedingly high-condition example, tip to tail, is very unusual, but Milestone presents that opportunity to collectors in the March 11 session. Estimate: $13,000-$18,000
Another longarm of special note is the superb Winchester Model 1873 .44-.40 caliber rifle manufactured in 1892. Both its chamber and brass cartridge elevator are marked 44 WCF, and the barrel is marked with the 2-line Winchester New Haven address. Milestone’s firearms expert Tony Wilcox describes the rifle as “very fine with brilliant, bright, sharp rifling and extremely fine stocks that retain most of their varnish.” He also notes that the action “operates smoothly with a solid lock-up.” The auction estimate is $5,500-$8,500.
Connecticut’s long history of excellence in gunmaking is exemplified by a museum-quality Sharps Model 1855 percussion breech-loading carbine that presents in an unused state. The .577-caliber firearm, which was originally made under contract for export to Britain, has an 1845 patent date on its Maynard tape primer door (the Maynard tape primer was a system designed by Edward Maynard to enable faster reloading of muskets). It has a brass patch box and butt plate, four folding-leaf rear sights, and British Crown proof stamps on the tang and barrel breech. Only 6,000 of these guns were produced, all during the Crimean War. Truly a museum-worthy example, this Sharps 1855 is entered with a $10,000-$20,000 estimate.
European highlights are plentiful. An 1897 Mauser .30 caliber Conehammer Broomhandle pistol has a rare MAUSER CARTRIDGE 303-marked slide and an adjustable rear sight attributed exclusively to Conehammers marketed by Westley Richards & Co. With matching numbers, including on the grips, it is estimated at $4,000-$6,000. A Belgian military-inspected FN Model 1900 pistol manufactured between 1900 and 1910 has matching numbers and all appropriate markings. This scarce model should fly with a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-$1,500.
Miles King, co-owner of Milestone Auctions commented that the quality of firearms in the March 11-12 auction represents coast-to-coast efforts to secure the types of rare guns that are of most interest to today’s collectors. “In preparation for this sale, our trucks got quite a workout, delivering one gun collection after another to our gallery. We’ve had a presence at every major gun show of the past several months, and one thing we really enjoyed was talking to collectors and getting their feedback. It has been a pleasure to hear that collectors follow our sales and like how we conduct our business. They know we work hard to give every collection, large or small, the attention it deserves. As a result, we’ve gotten some fantastic consignments for the March sale, some of the best we’ve ever handled. We look forward to welcoming both our old and new friends in the hobby to this collector-friendly event.”
Milestone’s Saturday/Sunday March 11-12, 2023 Premier Collectible Firearms Auction will be held at Milestone’s gallery located at 38198 Willoughby Parkway, Willoughby (suburban Cleveland), OH 44094. Start time: 10am ET on both days. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Milestone’s own bidding platform, LiveAuctioneers, Proxibid, Invaluable or iCollector. For additional information on any item in the auction, call 440-527-8060 or email email@example.com. Online: www.milestoneauctions.com
38198 Willoughby Parkway
About Milestone Auctions
Milestone Auctions, located in Willoughby, Ohio strives to offer successful auctions for both buyers and sellers. When selling we will give your collection the time and dedication it deserves to maximize your return. Experts will take the time to catalog and photograph your items. Then your items will be offered at our live auction and on internet bidding platforms for the world to bid on. For buyers we strive to offer several bidding options to make bidding an easy and pleasant experience. Our dedicated staff is available any time to discuss any items in further detail you may have interest in.