Records Tumble in Skinner’s Historic Arms & Militaria Auction

MARLBOROUGH, MA — Skinner’s Historic Arms & Militaria auction, under the leadership of Christopher Fox, was met with great enthusiasm and posted strong results well exceeding presale expectations, with a final sale total of $757,784 including buyer’s premium. The October 29 live sale held at Skinner’s Marlborough gallery was headlined with the William Rose Colonial and Revolutionary War Arms Collection Part I and saw extremely active bidding in the gallery, by telephone and absentee, as well as online. The collection featured a vast selection of military arms of all types spanning the late 17th century through the American Revolution. 

The collection’s top lot was a New Hampshire 2nd Battalion Marked French Model 1763/66 Infantry musket. The musket is one of a group of 2,016 arms that were obtained by New Hampshire in late March 1777 and distinctively marked on the barrel indicating their ownership by the state. The muskets were used in the 1777 campaigns in Northern New York and elsewhere after that. This fine example set a record for the highest price paid at auction for a New Hampshire Battalion marked musket at $44,062.50.

Detail | New Hampshire 2nd Battalion Marked French
Model 1763/66 Infantry musket. Sold for: $44,062.50

Another musket that was highly competed for was a rare 34th Regiment of Foot Dublin Castle Pattern 1769 Short Land Service musket. The musket achieved a price of $34,075, setting a record for the highest auction price for a Dublin Castle Short Land Pattern musket. The musket drew significant attention because both the arms and actions of the 34th Regiment are so well documented. The musket was part of a new set of arms issued to the 34th Regiment just before sailing to America in the spring of 1776. The musket has markings connecting it to the Regiment’s grenadier company which was one of two companies of the 34th that took part in British General John Burgoyne’s invasion of New York in 1777 forcing the evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga in early July 1777 and participating in the major actions leading to Saratoga when the Regiment surrendered to the American army on October 17.

Detail | Rare 34th Regiment of Foot Dublin Castle Pattern 1769 Short Land Service Musket, c. 1776. Sold for: $34,075

Swords and pistols also performed well. A New Hampshire-attributed Dog Pommel Saber dating to c. 1760-1780 set a record of $11,750 for its type. Early British swords met eager buyers with a Scottish Officer’s Basket Hilt Broadsword selling for $5,581 and a rare British Dog’s Head Infantry Hanger selling for $4,700. As for pistols, early French arms carried the day with a Dragoon Pistol by Antoine Penel & Fils selling for $7,638.

Detail | New Hampshire-attributed Dog Pommel
Saber dating to c. 1760-1780. Sold for: $11,750

Early accoutrements proved popular with buyers as well. French and British officers’ gorgets brought strong prices, $2,703 and $4,406 respectively.  An Early Bayonet Scabbard and Woven Linen Strap sold for $3,055. A canteen made in the early years of the Revolution and used by New Hampshire Lieutenant Thomas Blake brought $3,819. The sale also included numerous documents, including several associated with the beginning of the Revolution, including a Nathanael Low 1775 Almanack with Notations Regarding the Fight at Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775, that soared to $9,400.

The post-18th century portion of the sale saw great success as well with a Rare Cyrus B. Allen Elgin Patent Cutlass Pistol with Original Holster/Scabbard selling at $27,025, a Remington New Model Revolver with associated items belonging to Major Oliver Alexander Horner of Cole’s Maryland Cavalry selling for $4,113. A Colt Python Double-action Revolver Acquired for the James Bond Film The Man With the Golden Gun selling for $5,875.

Rare Cyrus B. Allen Elgin Patent Cutlass Pistol with Original Holster/Scabbard. Sold for $27,025

The corresponding timed online auction also achieved robust prices.  The top lots in the online sale include a rare Engraved Spencer Sporting Rifle made by J.P. Gemmer, St. Louis, Missouri, that sold for $30,550, a Collection of Carte-de-visite Photographs and Other Civil War Images which brought $7,050, and a Nickel-plated Dale Woody Custom Engraved Colt Model 1873 Single-action Army Revolver shot up to $4,994.

Skinner’s Historic Arms & Militaria department is already gearing up for its next auction in the spring of 2022, featuring Part II of the William Rose Colonial and Revolutionary War Arms Collection and other fine militaria as well as modern collectible and sporting arms. Contact Department Director Christopher Fox at militaria@skinnerinc.com or 508.970.3125 to consign.

About Skinner
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, or Florida, or online at https://www.skinnerinc.com

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