We love following the incredible auctions put on by our friends over at Rock Island Auction Company. When it comes to getting the most out of rare and treasured pieces of gun culture, arguably no one does it better. And this past year, Rock Island put up more than $107 million in total sales – a staggering number!
Rock Island Auction Company Tops $107 Million in 2022
Rock Island hosted 20 auction events over the last 12 months. In those events, approximately 42,500 legacy pieces went on the block. In those auctions, more than 40 fines arms realized six-figure values, according to Rock Island. The company also held three Premier auctions in 2022, earning more than $18 million. The May auction brought in an incredible $28.2 million
“The value of firearms as an alternative investment has increased significantly in the last 12 months,” said Kevin Hogan, President of Rock Island Auction Company. “When comparing fine arms to other collectibles like jewelry, art, and cars, firearms have been historically undervalued. This past year, we have been able to offer items to those fascinated by history, art and pop culture. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in fine arms collecting.”
Notable 2022 Auction Pieces & Values
Grant’s Remington revolvers, numbered 1 and 2, remain arguably the most significant firearms discovered from the Civil War. Historians believe Grant received them after he captured Vicksburg on the Fourth of July, 1883. The victory secured the length of the Mississippi River for the Union, a turning point in the war. The artistry of L. D. Nimschke covers the set. A most renowned master engraver of the 19th century, the guns feature grips carved with Grant’s portrait.
Han Solo’s original blaster previously went missing, presumed lost forever. The “loss” required new props built for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” The blaster, auctioned in August 2022, comprises the sole surviving blaster prop remaining of the three used for filming the original trilogy.
The revolver shipped to Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt on May 12, 1898. He departed for San Antonio that same day to train the famed Rough Riders. Roosevelt’s stunning Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 features incredible engraving and is chambered in a .38 Long Colt, an immensely scarce chambering for the model. Roosevelt was one of the greatest presidents in American history. The pristine condition and documentation of his revolver makes this gun incredibly valuable.
Finest Known “Lot Five” Ainsworth Inspected U.S. Cavalry Model Colt Single Action Army Revolver, Documented as a Battlefield Pick-Up: $763,750
This “Lot Five,” Orville W. Ainsworth-inspected Colt Single Action Army is attributed to the 7th Cavalry and documented as a battlefield pick up after the Battle of Little Bighorn. Author and expert John Kopec described this high-condition gun as “the finest representation of a ‘Lot Five’ revolver” he has examined.
Perhaps the most coveted variation of the Winchester Model 1873 rifle, all “One of One Hundred” rifles are viewed as crown jewels in fine arms collecting, with only eight ever manufactured. With close ties to the Winchester “One of One Thousand,” this model represents one of the most elusive variations of special-order Winchesters. It bears the marks of an “Old West” gun used and cherished by its owner.
This Rinaldo A. Carr-inspected Colt Single Action Army is simply spectacular, and drew immense interest at auction. The gun is in extraordinary condition and appears today as it did when it was manufactured in 1891. The revolver remains in “as issued” and unfired condition with 99 percent of its original high polish blue and casehardened finishes.
James Butler Hickok, also known as “Wild Bill,” was known as one of history’s greatest gunfighters and lawmen, and the “Wild Bill” name is synonymous with the American West. The Colt 1851 Navy had been featured in many museums and included in several books by notable experts in the field. The scarce few Wild Bill Hickok attributed guns rank among the most desirable firearms in the collecting pursuit.
Often called the magnums of their day, the Colt Model 1847 Walker Revolver was the quintessential big iron revolver of the mid-19th century. The massive horse pistol’s .44 caliber ball and 60-grain maximum powder load was a significantly higher charge than any other black powder wheel gun, even dwarfing their impressive Dragoon successors. Author R.L. Wilson stated that this Walker revolver was “one of the 15 best Walkers in America” and “distinguished in having completely matching numbers and all original parts.”