Firearms and Militaria Auction Totals $1,023,700
Cowan’s April 28 and 29, 2010, Historic Firearms and Early Militaria had total proceeds reach over $1,023,700, with 859 bidders competing for 1265 lots. Featuring two significant collections of cavalry materials, the first day of the auction passed only five out of 676 lots. Items from the French and Indian War and Spanish American War sold exceptionally well, significantly exceeding their estimates.
Jack Lewis, Cowan’s Director of Firearms and Early Militaria, commented, “I was really very happy with the results of the auction. The interest overall in the sale was just fabulous, especially in a soft economy. What I saw out there was that people are buying; they are looking very cautiously at good investments and unique ways to spend their money.”
The highest-selling lot of the auction was a Henry Bowers Engraved New York Map Powder Horn, which brought $23,000, notably above its $8,000/12,000 estimate. Made during the French and Indian War, the powder horn was desirable due to its intricate details in the map with images ships, windmills, people and animals.
More than tripling its $2/4,000 estimate were the Uniform and Medals of “Rough Rider” George H. Sharland, which brought $13,800. In excellent condition, the lot included a copy of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt’s 1899 regimental roster of the Rough Riders. It is undoubtedly a remarkable piece of history from the Spanish American War period.
The salesroom was a flurry of activity when the 2nd Cavalry Regimental Colors, circa 1884, came on the block. Bidding between phone and online bidders escalated quickly, and the hand-painted colors with a motto, banner, and typical U.S. martial reversed en volant, eventually sold for $18,400, far surpassing its $5/10,000 estimate. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment is distinct in that it is the longest continuously serving regiment in the United States Army.
Another Cavalry item that exceeded its estimate was a Pattern 1872 Enlisted Cavalry Dress Helmet. Estimated at $6,000/8,000, the lot sold for $10,925. Dress helmets from this period rarely come to auction; bidders also took note of the helmet’s remarkable condition.
“I was excited to see that items from the Indian Wars—a soft area in the past—were really kicking. The cavalry collections’ results were just outstanding. I was very encouraged that the Internet bidding went through the roof when the cavalry items hit the block,” commented Lewis.
Indeed, this auction demonstrated the power of the Internet, as Cowan’s live online platform iCowans registered over 300 bidders. Sales to internet bidders made up 42[[%]] of total auction proceeds.
Of the firearms, a Springfield Model 1922 Experimental Heavy Barrel Rifle sold for $16,675, over its $10,000/15,000 estimate. The rifle’s superb condition and beautiful color palette contributed to its high selling price. A First Model Henry Rifle exceeded its $18/22,000 estimate, bringing $22,425.
Cowan’s Firearms and Militaria department is preparing for its inaugural World at War Auction, to be held June 22, 2010. The new auction will offer relics from World War I to the Gulf War. The department is accepting consignments for its Fall auction, to be held at the end of October.