MARLBOROUGH, MA – Skinner is pleased to announce an exciting new chapter in its Historic Arms & Militaria department. Under the leadership of Director Christopher Fox, the department has taken dramatic steps to strengthen its commitment to offering fine historic, collectible, and sporting arms and related items to its vast client base. In the forthcoming sale, bidders will find a significantly enhanced web catalog with detailed lot descriptions, thorough condition reports, and numerous detailed photographs of each lot. In addition to these improvements, Skinner has taken the unprecedented step of reducing its buyer’s premium for Historic Arms & Militaria auctions to 17.5%. This step aligns the department with the greater militaria marketplace and will greatly benefit both consignors and buyers.
With these important changes implemented, we are excited to present our October Historic Arms & Militaria auctions, including a live auction on October 29 featuring Part I of the extensive William Rose Colonial & Revolutionary War Arms Collection as well as important items from numerous other New England collections, and a timed online sale open for bidding October 20–28.
Assembled over several decades, the Rose Collection is one of the most important of its type to be offered anywhere in several years. William Rose is a U.S. Navy veteran with a life-long passion for American military history and love of the American Revolution in particular. The collection focuses on historic arms, accoutrements, and personal possessions used by American, French, and British soldiers that fought in America’s early military conflicts, spanning the 17th century through the American Revolution. Offered in Part I of the Rose Collection are approximately 180 lots of rare 17th and 18th longarms, bayonets, pistols, swords, powder horns, and personal soldier possessions (Part II of the Rose Collection is scheduled to be offered in the spring of 2022). Highlights include rare and historic regimentally marked British Short Land Pattern muskets associated with the 34th and 45th Regiments of Foot.
The 34th Regiment arrived in Quebec on May 29, 1776, and the bulk of the Regiment joined General John Burgoyne’s forces. The 34th was part of Burgoyne’s invasion force that forced the evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga in early July 1777 and participated in the significant actions leading to Saratoga when the Regiment surrendered to the American army on October 17. The musket is distinctly engraved “34/D/33” on the brass thumbpiece, indicating that it was issued to the 33rd man in company “D,” the grenadier company. The grenadier company and the light infantry companies were the only two companies of the 34th Regiment at Saratoga. The 54th Regiment of Foot arrived in American on May 3, 1776, and this musket may be one of the 180 arms issued to the 54th Regiment on December 24, 1778.
In 1779 the 54th participated in raids on New Haven, Fairfield, and Norwalk, Connecticut. In September 1781, the Regiment took part in the assault on Fort Griswold.
In addition to rare British muskets, the Rose Collection includes a selection of scarce French military muskets representing many of the models used in American during the Revolution, including a highly collectible example with barrel markings denoting its issued to New Hampshire troops, and an interesting selection of American-made hunting and military longarms spanning about 1700 to the Revolutionary War.
A diverse group of socket bayonets used with muskets, some including American “US” property marks, complements the selection of longarms.
Approximately seventy-five lots of 17th and 18th century British, French, Germanic, and American pistols and swords present an opportunity for collectors to acquire examples of rare sidearms used in colonial wars that are rarely encountered outside museum collections. Pistol highlights include exceptionally fine examples of early long-barreled English and French pistols used by cavalry troops in the late 17th and early 18th century, and rare American military pistols made at the beginning of the American Revolution.
Several of the pistols have been included and illustrated in recent historic arms publications. Dozens of 17th and 18th century military swords used by British, French, and Germanic troops include rare examples used by infantry and cavalry soldiers, and light finely decorated and handsome silver hilted swords carried by officers and worn by fashionable 18th century gentlemen.
Scarce accoutrements include leather cartridge boxes, sword and bayonet belts used by 18th century American military forces, and rare gilded brass British and French gorgets worn by officers to show their rank.
A diverse selection of military buttons from the American Revolution includes examples representing numerous British Army regiments that served in the 1777 Burgoyne Campaign, Scottish Highland Regiments, Massachusetts Continental Army regiments, and American Continental Artillery troops.
Additional personal items include intricate embroidered and leather pocket books owned by soldiers, including one carried by a soldier who responded to the April 19, 1775 alarm at Lexington, Massachusetts, and carved powder horns, including a horn carried by a Connecticut soldier during the 1775 siege of Boston. Numerous other small items in the collection include bullet and button molds, buckles, hatchets, and other tools. And a selection of military pay documents related to the Lexington Alarm of April 19, 1775, and the Siege of Boston reinforces the historical nature of the collection.
In addition to the Rose Collection, the October 29 live auction includes rare militaria from the 19th century. Highlights include a rare Cyrus B. Allen Elgin Patent Cutlass Pistol.
This unusual pistol features a large Bowie-type blade mounted under a 0.54 caliber barrel and retains its original leather and German silver holster/scabbard. It is one of only 150 made under contract with the United States Navy in 1837 and used on a South Seas exploration expedition. Apart from its extreme rarity, it is significant because it is the United States military’s first percussion handgun. Other highlights include more Revolutionary War firearms, weapons associated with Union Civil War soldiers, and scarce 19th century rifles.
In addition to rare 19th century arms, the live sale includes a Colt Python revolver acquired in 1974 by important James Bond film military liaison and technical advisor, Charles Russhon, for the film The Man with the Golden Gun. Russhon’s work with the films of the 1960s and early 1970s made possible some the series’ most iconic scenes including Bond’s, played by Sean Connery, famous jetpack escape at the beginning of Thunderball and the movie’s final underwater and nautical scenes, and the filming in and around the Fort Knox military base in Kentucky in the movie Goldfinger. The consignor of the revolver was close friends with Charles Russhon and his wife. After Russhon’s death in 1982, the consignor was given the revolver by his widow noting that it was acquired specifically for the film The Man with the Golden Gun. A scene in the film’s pre-title sequence shows a Colt Python revolver in a cabinet with a collection of guns owned by the film’s villain, Francisco Scaramanga, played by actor Christopher Lee. Read about it on the blog.
The timed online auction offers a wide selection of militaria and collectible firearms from the 19th and 20th centuries. Muskets, rifles, pistols, swords spanning the War of 1812 through the Civil War, and a strong offering of World War I & II military rifles and handguns provide bidders with many opportunities to fill holes in or add to existing collections. Numerous lots of modern sporting and target firearms present collectors with opportunities to acquire highly collectible arms when demand vastly outweighs supply in the traditional retail market.
For more information about the auctions or consign items for future sales, please contact Skinner’s Director of Historic Arms & Militaria, Christopher Fox, firstname.lastname@example.org, 508-970-3137.
We invite you to preview items, ask questions of our specialist, and learn more about the auction process at Skinner. Free and open to the public, previews for the auction will be held October 26–28, by appointment.
Skinner attracts top consignments and commands record-breaking prices in the international auction marketplace. With renowned expertise and extraordinary service, Skinner is the place for buyers, sellers and the passionately curious. Skinner appraisers are familiar faces on PBS’s 19-time Emmy Award-nominated ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. Visit us in Boston, Marlborough, New York, Maine, orFlorida, or online at https://www.skinnerinc.com