1864 Buffalo Bill rifle hits the mark for $18,125 at Holabird's auction of the J.M. Davis collection
An 1864 J.M. Stevens & Co. presentation rifle engraved "from Buffalo Bill to Night-Hawk & Broncho Bill" scored a bull's-eye for $18,125, and a pre-1845 S. Hawken Kentucky half-stock walnut rifle sold for $15,000 at the auction, held July 26-28.
By: Holabird Western Americana Collections
About 2,400 antique firearms from the private collection of J.M. Davis – part of the largest privately held firearms collection in the world, one spanning multiple conflicts and generations –were offered in the three-day event. In addition to antique firearms, the sale also featured swords, knives, projectile points, Native Americana, historic Midwestern pottery, pinbacks and ribbons.
The money raised will provide ongoing funding for the preservation, conservation and upkeep of the J.M. Davis Collection, presently housed at the museum that bears Davis' name in Claremore. The museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Davis first displayed his burgeoning collection at the Claremont Hotel back in 1929. Davis and his wife Addie had purchased the hotel in 1917. In 1965 the J.M. Davis Foundation was set up to manage the collection, which had become huge.
The Buffalo Bill Cody rifle was one of J.M. Davis's prized possessions. It was on display at the Mason Hotel in Claremore until about 1968-1969. It never made it into the huge public display of more than 20,000 guns at the J.M. Davis Firearms Museum over its 50-year lifespan. As such, it was unknown to most modern antique firearm experts and was truly a fresh-to-the-
The S. Hawken rifle had a Kentucky half-stock of walnut with a full engraved lock that appeared original. The barrel flat was marked "S. Hawken" and the brass cap-box oval cheek piece showed the Masonic emblem of Square and Compass. The rifle exhibited beautiful craftsmanship from a master gunsmith, a fine .54-caliber St. Louis gun with lengthy tang, two screws, fully engraved.
A strong crowd was present for the gun sales, and for those unable to attend in person, online bidding was provided by iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com, Auctionzip.com and AuctionMobility.com. All lots were offered without reserves to the highest bidder.
Holabird Western Americana Collections' next auction will be in September. Watch the website for details. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, visit fhwac.com.