WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — Over the weekend of March 12-13, Milestone Auctions in suburban Cleveland will hold its first-ever two-day Premier collectible firearms sale. The expanded format responds to the call of an ever-growing number of collectors who appreciate the historical and design aspects of antique, vintage and modern guns. Day one focuses on high-end firearms, while day two features a diverse selection of mostly affordable guns.
“Our goal is to allow collectors of all skill levels to participate in our sales by including all genres and price points,” said Milestone Auctions co-owner Miles King. “We try to keep it interesting for everyone, whether advanced collectors of elite weapons or beginners who are just starting a collection and want to do it the right way. They can learn a lot just by reading our unrivaled catalog descriptions and getting to know our team. We are always happy to share our knowledge with newcomers and make them feel welcome in the hobby.
In preparation for their first two-day Premier Firearms sale, additional custom gun racks are being installed in the gallery’s public display area. A survey of the range of 1,374 Premier firearms lots reveals the best selection of Winchesters (60) ever crossed at auction at Milestone, including rifles, shotguns and shotguns; Over 80 wanted Colts (some engraved), 16 Brownings, over 30 Smith & Wesson pistols and revolvers; an exceptional range of militaria and the crown jewel of the auction: an 1865 Martial Henry rifle – the first such long gun ever offered by the Ohio auction house.
A particularly fine example, the Martial Henry 2nd Model Rifle, made in .44 rimfire caliber, represents what many scholars consider to be the most advanced American Civil War long gun. The auction entry has a large two-line barrel address with the serial number “9718” stamped behind the rear sight. Although not specifically listed in the Springfield Research database, another rifle of its exact type does appear there with the mention that it was issued to a soldier of Union Company B, 3rd Veteran Volunteers. First prize of any collection, this historic American rifle is estimated between 35,000 and 45,000 dollars.
Another Civil War-era standout is a Maynard .50 caliber carbine made in 1865 by Mass. Arms Co., Chicopee Falls, Mass. “It is likely that it was commissioned by one of the notable retailers of military goods and equipment to be presented to an officer who was well connected, politically or financially,” said the firearms specialist at Milestone Auctions, Tony Wilcox. The presale estimate is $15,000 to $25,000.
One of the first antique firearms on sale is a rare rotary cased shotgun made circa 1820 in London by Elisha Collier, the gunsmith who inspired Samuel Colt to produce his legendary Colt Paterson revolver. The rifle up for auction was made in rifled .58 caliber with a five-shot hand-turning cylinder, full ribbed barrel and percussion ignition. It will soon be documented in a Frank Graves treatise on Collier firearms. Estimate: $20,000 to $30,000
The highlights continue with a superb Winchester .44 Model 1866 saddle ring rifle in very good condition with a full magazine and two barrel bands. “It’s a great rarity,” Wilcox noted. “Most of these weapons have seen heavy use, but this one is an exception. It is in superb original condition.” Estimate: $18,500-$22,500. Another dazzling Winchester, a Model 1876 .45-.75 WCF Centennial rifle, was made in 1882, at the height of the Indian Wars on the Western Frontier Its barrel is well marked with maker’s information, model number and patent dates It will come with important documentation: a 1973 factory letter signed by TE Hall, curator of the Winchester Gun Museum, confirming the gun’s shipment date of 1882. Its lineage of provenance includes the prestigious Larry Jones Collection Estimate: $17,500-$22,500
Smith & Wesson fans are unlikely to miss the opportunity to bid on a rare 320 rotary carbine manufactured between 1879 and 1887. Serial number 336, it comes from a documented total production run of only 977 examples. Estimate: $8,000 to $12,000
From the last decade of the 19th century, a very fine .38-.40 WCF Marlin Model 94 musket is said to be one of 80 that were shipped to Bureau County, Illinois for prison or prison security. jails and, in some cases, emergency use by deputized county residents. It comes with a factory letter from 1960 confirming that it is a musket made in 1894. The auction estimate is $8,000-$12,500.
The auction covers the World War II era brilliantly. One of the more interesting lots is a handgun that saw combat and was captured by the Nazis. The red Hungarian M37 Femaru Third Reich pistol marked with an eagle was manufactured under German occupation and redesigned with a manual safety. It is a model that was issued mainly to the Luftwaffe. Never before offered for public sale, the pistol in the Milestone sale is in near perfect condition. It retains its original box and comes with neat and legible “capture” papers dated October 2, 1945 and made out to Lt. Col. Richard C. Dickinson. Estimate: $3,000 to $5,000
A very fine Singer Model 1911A2, .45 ACP presentation pistol is derived from the original 500 that were manufactured in 1940 under an “educational contract” to allow personnel at the Elizabethtown, New Jersey, factory to to become familiar with the manufacture of the gun. Therefore, it has no serial number or proof of military acceptance, but it was expected that there would eventually be government orders of this model for US military use. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000
The list of notable military firearms also includes a US Model 1903 1924 Olympic rifle, a US Model 1903 National Match 1939 presentation rifle, a US Springfield Sporter with papers, US M1 Garand rifles and carbines; a Stevens trench shotgun, over 10 German sledders, Mauser broomstick pistols and many more. There is also a large selection of rare ammo, including many full boxes.
The Wolf & Klar name is inextricably linked to the gangster era of the 1920s/30s, as the notorious distributor in Fort Worth, Texas was the source of firearms that ended up in the hands of not only prominent lawmen of the time, but also criminals like John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Machine Gun Kelly. The auction includes two Colts that were retailed by Wolf & Klar: a 1922 revolver with real pearl grips, between $7,000 and $8,500; and a 1936 .38 “Detective” Special. This latter pistol displays the highest quality decoration available for its time, including genuine ruby eyes embedded in the steering head that embellishes the beaded grips. Estimate: $5,500 to $8,500
There is perhaps no more iconic American pistol than Smith & Wesson’s .357 Magnum. A registered example bearing the number 3320 and the serial number 54926 comes with its original blue two-piece photo box bearing a sticker with the corresponding registration and serial numbers. The bid estimate on this durable revolver is $10,000 to $15,000.
The Premier Milestone Collectible Firearms Auction on Saturday, March 12-13, 2022 will be held at the Milestone Gallery located at 38198 Willoughby Parkway, Willoughby (suburb of Cleveland), OH 44094. Start time: 10 a.m. ET on day 1 and 11 a.m. ET on day 2. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the internet via Milestone’s auction platform, LiveAuctioneers, Proxibid, AuctionZip or Invaluable. For more information about an item in the auction, call 440-527-8060 or email [email protected] Online: www.milestoneauctions.com