Record Breaking Online Bidding Sends Cowan’s Arms & Armor Auction Over $2.1M

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  • May 08, 2020

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A Staggering $1.2M of the Two-Day Auction’s Total Came from Bidders on Internet Bidding Platforms, Shattering Previous Record

CINCINNATI – Record levels of online bidding sent Cowan’s May 6 and 7 Arms and Armor auction well past its estimate on its way to a $2.2 million two-day total. In a sign of the adaptability of the marketplace during unprecedented times, a staggering $1.2 million of the auction’s total came from bidders using internet bidding platforms.  Cowan’s proprietary platform, Cowan’s Live, led the way with over $960,000 in total hammer prices.

A Fine #5 Holster Model 'Texas' Colt Paterson with Extra Cylinder Serial Number 23


The auction was conducted virtually with staff and bidders participating from their homes. The unusual format did not dampen bidders’ enthusiasm in the auction. Over 1,000 active bidders participated in the auction, a third of which were bidding with Cowan’s for the first time. Even in a virtual environment, Cowan’s was able to accommodate phone bidders who accounted for over $680,000 of the sale’s total.  


“I couldn’t be prouder of our team here at Cowan’s and Hindman,” said Bill Lewis, Director of Arms and Armor. “Our consignors placed their trust in us in a less than ideal environment and I’m so pleased that we could deliver for them. I also want to thank our bidders for participating in an unusual format and persevering during a much slower than usual pace.”


The two-day auction marked the first full collaboration between Cowan’s and Hindman in the Arms and Armor category. Material in the auction was sourced from across Hindman’s network of 12 regional offices and staff from Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, and Palm Beach helped the Cincinnati team execute bids during the virtual auction.


“Our Arms and Armor team put together an extraordinary group of property that appealed to a broad range of collectors,” added Wes Cowan, Cowan’s Founder and Vice Chair of Hindman. “Seeing so many new bidders and the astounding amount of bidding on Cowan's Live speaks to all the effort the Cowan’s and Hindman teams put into making this sale a huge success."

Remington UMC Cartridge Board


The top lot of the auction was a #5 Holster Model “Texas” Colt Paterson with an extra cylinder that sold for $132,000. The #5 holster model is generally held as the epitome of the Colt Paterson revolver. Just 1,000 units of the #5 model were ever made and this particular example was in extraordinary condition despite being over 175 years old.


The highlight of the long gun category was a rare deluxe factory engraved Winchester Model 1886 “Big 50” lever auction rifle that sold for $60,000. The rifle was in exceptional condition with the beautiful marbled walnut wood somehow managing to retain nearly all of its high polish factory varnish over the years.


A large Remington Union Metallic Cartridge Company wall display was the top non-firearm lot of the auction selling for $28,800. The 54.25 inch, framed cased displayed over 225 different types of original Remington cartridges, each individually labeled underneath. The case was a complimentary advertising tool given to firearms and ammunition stores by the Union Metallic Cartridge Company out of Bridgeport, Connecticut.


Other highlights from the auction include an extremely rare Colt Civilian Walker Revolver that sold for $39,600; a remarkable double cased pair of silver and gilt Colt 1860 Army Revolvers with raised carved Mexican snake and eagle ivory grips for $39,000; a factory engraved “Big 50” Deluxe Winchester Model 1876 short rifle made for Egyptian Sultan and later King Fouad I for $32,400; a very rare Parker Brothers AHE Grade 7 Pigeon Gun $30,000; and a Union Pacific Railroad Henry Rifle period engraved on the left side of frame with "UPRR" for $30,000.


Cowan’s is still accepting consignments for major Arms and Armor auctions in the summer and fall. Both auctions will feature more items from the same institutional collection that consigned four of the top five lots in this auction, including the #5 Holster Model Colt Paterson and Factory Engraved Winchester Model 1886 'Big 50.' For more information, please visit


About Hindman

Hindman is one of the nation’s leading fine art auction houses connecting cities nationwide to the global art market and providing expertise across all categories, sales channels and price points. Hindman operates more salerooms in the United States than any other auction house and conducts over 100 auctions a year in categories such as fine jewelry and timepieces, contemporary art, 20th century design, rare books and manuscripts, furniture, decorative arts, couture, Asian works of art, Arts of the American west, numismatics, and more. Hindman was formed through the acquisition of two premier auction houses, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers (est.1982) and Cowan’s Auctions (est. 1995). Headquartered in Chicago, Hindman is home to 150 employees, with additional offices in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Milwaukee, Naples, Palm Beach, San Diego, Scottsdale, St. Louis and Washington DC. Visit for more information.


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Cowan's Auctions
6270 Este Ave
Cincinnati, Ohio

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