Cased Winchester 1866 lever-action rifle, .44-caliber Henry rimfire cartridge, serial number 46027, in the original Schuyler, Hartley & Graham silver-bound rosewood case, originally owned by railroad executive James Jerome Hill, $224,250.
The model 1860 Henry lever-action standard rifle, .44 caliber, serial number 2425, has a 24¼" octagonal barrel, German silver front sight, and the original 900-yard ladder Henry rear sight. The original four-piece iron and hickory cleaning rod was contained within the brass butt plate trap. From the Wes Adams collection and in original condition, with little use wear despite service in the Civil War and on the frontier, it sold over the $65,000/90,000 estimate for $109,250.
The single-action Colt revolver, originally purchased by Old West lawman Jeff Milton, sold for $201,250.
Presentation sword given to Brigadier General Joseph Abel Haskin, inscribed and dated 1864, $109,250. Julia photo.
The Colt Walker .44-caliber percussion revolver, serial number "C Company 194," came with a holster and flask. Only about 1000 of these revolvers were produced by Colt for the U.S. Army in 1847, and according to the description, it was only the second type of repeating revolver used by the army at that time. Colt named it after Captain Samuel Walker, commander of the "C Company Dragoons," who approached him with a request for its design. Walker was killed in the Battle of Huamantla during the Mexican-American War in 1847. The revolver sold for $109,250.
This collection of decorated powder horns consisted of 13 of the 27 horns known to have been done by the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War carver known as the "Folky Artist." His use of palmetto trees, alligators, and other images suggest that he was from the South, and three of the horns in this group have southern histories. Often the carver's theme includes hunters with dogs and their quarry. Mel Hankla, who first put this collection together and produced a pamphlet on the "Folky Artist," theorized that he may have been a soldier, campaigning perhaps as far north as the Canadian border. The whole collection brought $69,000. Julia photos.
First model Colt Dragoon .44-caliber percussion revolver, linked to ranger C.H. Bowman, a veteran of the Mexican-American War, $181,125.
James D. Julia, Inc., Fairfield, Maine
by Mark Sisco
James D. Julia, Inc. already has the world record for volume in a firearms sale, set when the March 2012 auction hit almost $18 million. The October 1 and 2, 2012, sale in Fairfield, Maine, however, ran a close second, finishing with a total of about $16.5 million.
The first day began with the second session of the Wes Adams Winchester collection, and the bidding spiked early and often. Of the approximately 216 Adams lots offered, more than 200 sold within estimates or higher, and remarkably only three failed to sell. Overall, the buy-in rate for the entire two-day auction was well under 20%.
The crown jewel in the Adams collection and one of the "shooting stars" of the sale was a cased Winchester 1866 lever-action rifle, a .44-caliber Henry, with serial number 46027. The gun was complete with a half-nickel front sight, a Henry ladder rear sight, and a butt plate trap containing a four-piece brass and iron cleaning rod. The receiver was about 95% decorated with engravings by L.D. Nimschke in the form of foliate arabesque patterns and punch-dot backgrounds. It was contained in its original Schuyler, Hartley & Graham silver-bound rosewood case containing compartments for ten full boxes of original .44 rimfire ammunition and more places for 41 rounds of raised "H" Winchester ammunition.
According to family history, the rifle had been presented to James Jerome Hill (1838-1916), executive builder of the Great Northern Railroad, who also was involved in the Northern Pacific railroad and other lines as well. One of his most famous attributed quotes is, "Give me snuff, whiskey, and Swedes, and I will build a railroad to hell." The rifle easily passed the $100,000/175,000 estimate and finished with a commanding $224,250 (includes buyer's premium).
One of the historic firearms in the sale belonged to Old West lawman and gunfighter Jeff Davis Milton (1861-1947). According to the catalog description, Milton is credited with the famously self-serving statement, "I never killed a man that didn't need killing." That statement may in fact belong to the notorious gunfighter, killer, and cattle baron Clay Allison (1840-1887) on whose grave it appeared on a second marker after his death.
Milton wasn't exactly a choirboy either. He joined the Texas Rangers in 1878 and acquired a reputation for speed and accuracy with a gun. After serving as a ranger for three or four years, he worked for several years with Arizona sheriff John Slaughter and Texas lawman George Scarborough. In 1884 he went to New Mexico as a cowboy detective for a cattle association and then served as deputy sheriff in Socorro County, New Mexico. After serving with numerous federal agencies and private firms, he retired to Tombstone, Arizona, in 1932.
One of Milton's most significant encounters came with the arrest of Texas rustler Martin McRose. McRose was killed under cloudy circumstances while being brought back from Mexico for trial. Notorious outlaw John Wesley Hardin claimed he had paid Scarborough and Milton to do the killing, and both were arrested, but the charges were dropped when Hardin withdrew his claim.
According to the catalog description, in 1915 Milton was the head of the Arizona mounted guards and was sent to represent the immigration service at the San Francisco World's Fair, where he probably placed an order for a single-action Colt revolver. The revolver Julia offered had a serial number of 333342, dating it to that time, and factory deep silver medallion pearl grips, a relief-carved eagle, and factory engravings by Cuno Helfricht with his trademark fan and foliate patterns. It came with a Colt factory letter that identified that the gun was sold to Milton. An accompanying article noted that Milton carried the revolver for the rest of his life. At the auction, it fell squarely within the $150,000/250,000 estimate at $201,250.
An important section of the auction came from the collection of John and Margaret Pickup of Tasmania. Foremost among their lots was a first model Colt Dragoon .44-caliber percussion revolver, serial number 5842, identified to C.H. Bowman, a ranger who was a veteran of the Mexican-American War. Housed in a rare original burgundy velvet-lined case with compartments for a two-cavity bullet mold and sprue cutter, a nipple wrench and screwdriver, and a lacquered Eley's cap tin, and accompanied by a copper powder flask, it was once owned by collector Elmer Keith, author of the book Six Guns. It sold within estimate for $181,125.
If there was a soft spot in the sale, it was the sword collection of Kevin Hoffman. His swords were from the Revolutionary War era to the Civil War. Of the 26 sword lots offered, only six successfully sold, led by a spectacular presentation sword worn by Union Brigadier General Joseph Haskin. The Schuyler, Hartley & Graham, New York, sword was given to Haskin and inscribed "PRESENTED TO/ Lt. Co. J.A. Haskin/ by the Officers of the/ 1st Me Hy Art'y/ April 1864." The grip and knuckle bow featured a full-dimensional Union officer thrusting a saber through the open mouth of a serpent, representing the Confederacy.
Included with the Haskin sword were two signed presidential commissions, one for the rank of major signed by Abraham Lincoln and one for brigadier general signed by Andrew Johnson. The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment sustained some of the heaviest casualties of the war, including those incurred in the assault on Petersburg. With a $90,000/110,000 estimate, the sword sold for $109,250.
Another historically significant gun was a cased, gold-washed, and engraved .32-caliber Walther PPK pistol with a spare clip and three rounds of ammunition. It was surrendered by German Reich Marshal Hermann Goering at the time of his capture by American Lieutenant Jerome Shapiro of the 142nd Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon. Shapiro, at the closing days of World War II, was operating about 80 miles behind enemy lines and apprehended Goering as he attempted to flee his Austrian castle in a bullet-proof Mercedes. Goering gave Shapiro the Walther but asked to retain a Smith and Wesson pistol for personal surrender to General Dwight Eisenhower (who refused to accept Goering's personal surrender or the gun). On October 15, 1946, the night before he was scheduled to be hanged, Goering committed suicide with a potassium cyanide capsule.
In 1968 Shapiro agreed to sell the weapon to Major Ronald W. Lane for $1000 down, plus future payments. Upon Shapiro's death in 1970, the deal hadn't been fully consummated, but Shapiro's widow honored the bargain and ceded the weapon, along with other Goering artifacts, to Lane, who later sold it to another private collector. In October 2001, Julia sold the same pistol, accompanied by a host of other artifacts from the Goering capture, but this time the sale was for the Walther PPK alone. The Walther is gold-plated and decorated with oak leaves, which were seen as symbols of Nazi strength. It sold within the $30,000/90,000 estimate for $40,250.
For more information, call (207) 453-7125 or visit the Web site (www.jamesdjulia.com).
This Parker Brothers shotgun, serial number 117432, was a special order by Frank Butler for his wife, Annie Oakley, during their time with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show. It was unusual in that it bore her engraved likeness, showing Oakley in her traditional shooting garb in two vignettes, one with a setter on point and one with Oakley taking aim at flying birds. Amid all the other decorative engravings were the initials “W.C.W.,” probably indicating a subsequent owner now lost to history. Parker records confirm that the gun was ordered by Butler, almost certainly to the preferred specifications of his wife. The historic shotgun sold just under estimate for $28,750. Julia photo.
Highly decorated wheel-lock wall gun, muzzle flaring to almost 3", in heavy cast iron, with relief-carved decorations on virtually every inch, with images of a satyr's mask, balancing scales, a coiled dragon, a sovereign holding a ball and cross, and other designs. The date of 1507 was marked on the breech end. It exceeded the $4000/6000 estimate to sell for $8625.
6028This Volcanic Arms No. 2 Navy lever-action pistol, serial number 1673, had a provenance beginning with U.S. Army Captain George Emerson Albee, a Medal of Honor recipient for action in the Indian Wars. Captain Albee acquired it around 1870, and it passed to his descendant Carey Strong Selby, and then to collector and historian Norm Flayderman. Albee was wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run, and in October 1869 he was involved in action at the Brazos River in Texas in which he attacked a force of 11 Indians with only two men, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. The pistol passed the $30,000/40,000 estimate to finish at $48,875. Julia photo.
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest