Author Topic: Well, the big auction is over  (Read 4673 times)


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Well, the big auction is over
« on: August 15, 2009, 03:48:35 AM »
Let's weigh in on the Holman estate at Morphy's.  The numbers will show that the average lot of wall hangers went for higher than the conservative estimates that were listed.  Moreover, many of the guns went a lot higher than the suggested price range.  While, at the same time, the high-end Beck, listed at $15,000-25-000 went for $18,000.  Let's not forget the 15-17% buyer's gouge and the 6% to the Commonwealth for all successful bidders without use tax numbers.   

Personally, I went conservative.  Most of the ones I had any interest in went for twice what I thought they were really worth.  The exception was an overlooked J. Snavely.  A Harrisburg gun, most scarce, beautiful engraved patchbox in classic Hbg. style, not all banged up and all there.  43" unstretched oct. barrel, signed, in about 52 cal.  Deep rifling.  Beautiful architecture and light weight for the payload.  Period conversion to percussion using original flint lock plate.  What I saw was a real specimen for my hometown, done by a builder who obviously knew what he was doing, in shooting condition with no alterations.  So, it was a good collecting day.  If I am not mistaken, this was the only Harrsiburg gun with a patchbox.  The Shell was a fowler, and the Ford and Glassbrenner were boxless, if I am not mistaken.  Great day to catch up with old friends.  JWH

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Well, the big auction is over
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2009, 03:09:24 PM »
 Since last spring I have been working on and off as an antique arms expert and description writer for the biggest gun auction house in th US. I must say gun auctions are bringing in some tremendous prices in a supposed "worst economy since the depression". Good stuff is bringing incredible money. Heck , even the low end stuff is going for more than I can pay.
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Offline lexington1

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Re: Well, the big auction is over
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2009, 06:32:51 PM »
I bid on a few of them online. I was close on the horsehead patchbox Albright rifle, but was not that close on the others I bid on. I really wanted to aquire it but was a bit hesitant to go too high with the fairly undetailed low resolution pics and spotty description. I wish I could have been back there to look at them in person.

Offline JTR

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Re: Well, the big auction is over
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2009, 07:10:27 PM »
I watched on-line, and this was a strange and surprising auction.
I'm still scratching my head over the meager $18000 that the Beck sold for, as well as the Peter Berry going for only 13K. On the other hand the silver Leman went for 11K, and # 1306 which was a relatively plain gun with a nice patchbox with an indian engraved on the lid sold for 11K also. To me that was a lot of $$$ for an engraved indian!
The ones I absentee bid on were the Carlile which sold for $1000 more than my bid, and the J Thomas rifle which had some ships engraved on the PB cover. It sold for 6500,,, more than double my bid.
As Wayne points out, most of the low estimate guns sold for more than double the estimates, so I guess the gun buyers economy isn't that bad. And I think that since a lot of the guns offered had some degree of rather poor restoration to them, that bidders were hoping to get some really good deals, but I didn't see many truly great deals. I guess this bodes well for well restored guns bringing strong prices.
But that still leaves the Beck and Berry selling for fire sale prices, and leaves me still scratching my head. No doubt these rifles will show up for sale at some point with an eye-watering markup!
« Last Edit: August 15, 2009, 07:17:09 PM by JTR »
John Robbins

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: Well, the big auction is over
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2009, 01:15:32 AM »
This auction will be long remembered! The collection was a great one and it represented a lifetime of hard work, if not always good taste. It was an odd aggregate in many ways having the good, the bad, and the ugly. Still, just about all of the pieces were interesting.
Not sure what the sales scenarios represent in this. The movie star rifles went begging and the plainer guns brought good, and even great money: in many instances probably far more than they were actually worth.
I will continue to wonder what forces were at play here. In my opinion, the auction house did a fine job in describing and photographing the items. They are to be commended for their efforts. I had no trouble in seeing what I was looking at in the descriptions and photos. They are an upscale, local house with a widespread sweep. But, how far that sweep extends is a possible clue as to the outcome. A national house has a commensurate audience and clientele which can add significantly to the selling of a collection of almost anything.
As for the Beck, the buyer got just a heck of a bargain. Many 'no shows' in true sour grape
fashion, suggested that it must have been less than acceptable; the truth to that is the Blue KRA Ribbon awarded for Best of Show sometime ago. The KRA does not give awards
to junk.  The Berry was equally a shocker. I had advised a friend to jump in to bid, but he was too timid, I fear; scared off by the estimates and a ghost bid of 20K that was said to have been tendered somewhat earler.
So boys, we now find ourselves waiting in the bushes until the next good auction comes around. To those of you who bid and didn't win, sorry; for those who did bid and won, a hearty congratulations (even if you may have overpaid); and for all of us who didn't participate, next time, I guess.
Maybe by then, I will have finished restoring my WW II Jeep and money will begin to flow again into my collection coffers instead of into the Jeep. Sure hope so!

Offline rf50cal

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Re: Well, the big auction is over
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2009, 03:45:45 AM »
            Thanks for the report and your thoughts on the sale. I only live 75 miles from there and planned to go, but at the last minute, was unable to attend. It would have been my first time at such an event.
           Would a listing of what the rifles sold for be available to the general public? There were a few that caught my eye and I'm curious about their final price.
Roger Fleisher

Offline Hurricane ( of Virginia)

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Re: Well, the big auction is over
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2009, 05:33:40 AM »
The prices were/are available on the site next to each item if you enter the live auction and "watch". Fredquently sometime after the auction the prices will be again listed in "past auctions" as a means to advertise the "success" of the auction house.
I recorded the prices brought of about 50 guns, so if you have a particular item or two in mind just email me.

Offline B Shipman

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Re: Well, the big auction is over
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2009, 06:53:13 AM »
Auctions always have their oddities. INMHO the big bucks were the big winners. The Beck and Berry were no brainer steals.  This is not always so.