The Armourer

Big guns at Rock Island


May 13-15 sees a three day bonanza for antique, classic and collectabl­e firearms from US specialist, Rock Island Auction. The auction includes elite American treasures like Ulysses S Grant's Remington New Model Army revolvers, serial numbers 1 and 2. The ivory grips on these exquisitel­y engraved pieces feature carvings to honour Ulysses S Grant, General and Chief of the Armies of the United States.

An ultra-rare, documented Winchester ‘One of One Hundred’ 1873 lever-action rifle is another flagship item. One of only eight manufactur­ed, this Model 1873 represents one of the most elusive variations of specialord­er Winchester­s and is a crown jewel in gun collecting. Other headline Winchester­s include a documented Winchester One of One Thousand, a rare, LD Nimschke signed and engraved, gold gilt Winchester Model 1866 leveractio­n rifle, and an immensely significan­t Henry rifle that was owned by David Kalakaua, the

Last King of Hawaii. As the famous predecesso­r to the Winchester Model 1866, the New Haven Arms Co. Henry rifles are desirable collectabl­es on their own. When you include the factory inscriptio­n and engraving, the impressive condition, and the historic provenance this Henry rifle carries as David Kalakaua’s gun, you have a worthy investment piece.

There are also numerous museum-worthy revolvers, including Wild Bill Hickok's Smith & Wesson Model No. 2. One of the legendary guns of the Old West, this Smith & Wesson is documented as the very revolver Hickok carried on the night he was shot.

Other notable historic offerings include a Colt New Model 1855 military rifle, factory presentati­on inscribed to Muragaki-Awajino-Kamio, the first Japanese ambassador to the United States, on his historic voyage to San Francisco in 1860.

A rare factory engraved and inscribed Colt Government Model is another highlight: a Colt pistol presented by US General of the Armies John ‘Blackjack’ Pershing to the President of Venezuela.

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