|By Kathleen Floyd
FINDLAY, Ohio – Old Barn Auction was a bustling place on April 20 and 21, as bidders took part in a huge, two-day auction of antique guns, knives and militaria. There were more than 1,200 lots, ranging from the Revolutionary War to the modern era. Most items came from the collections of Don Hazelwood of Illinois, David Boyer of Ohio and the late Wayne Mertz of Findlay, Ohio.
Vicky Sorgenfrei, Old Barn owner and manager, was pleased with the large crowd and successful sales results. She praised the work of Steve Kiene, Old Barn gun consultant, who coordinated the entire sale and compiled the 65-page color catalog. As always, Sorgenfrei relied on auctioneers Steve Eaton and Dave Wedertz, to keep the auction rolling quickly, even with many absentee and phone bidders.
The item that stole the show was a beautiful 45 caliber, Model 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver, with a 7 1/2-inch barrel. According to Kiene, it was factory engraved, which is extremely hard to find on a black powder frame single action.. It was in fine working condition, with all matching serial numbers and its original pearl grips. Further increasing its value, it sold with its original factory letter. After intense competition, a phone bidder fired the winning bid of $28,600. All prices mentioned here include a 10 percent buyers premium.
Another auction highlight was an authentic Confederate Le Mat, a well-known Civil War revolver used by many Confederate officers. It had all matching serial numbers and was inscribed, “Cyst Le Mat Paris,” on top of its 7-inch octagon barrel. The revolver, with a dark patina and well worn grips, sold with the book, The Confederate Le Mat, by Doug Adams. It reached $15,400.
The top-performing rifle was a Colt Paterson, Model 1839, with a 32-inch smooth-bore barrel. There were only around 950 produced, making this rifle exceptionally hard to find. It had a replacement six-shot cylinder, but the stock appeared to be original, with minor cracks. It sold for $11,000. Also hitting a high mark, was a Colt Model 1855 revolving rifle in excellent working condition, with an overall length of 49 ˝-inches. The serial numbers were all matching and it had its correct receiver and black tang markings. Kiene noted, it was remarkable that its bayonet’s serial numbers also matched the rifle. It brought $7,040.
An odd Henry rifle attracted much attention. George Madis, noted author and authority on Henry and Winchester rifles, nicknamed it “The World’s Rarest Henry Rifle.” Surprisingly, one side of the rifle looked fine, but the other side had never been finished. It was factory stamped, Reject January 7, 1862. Kiene said there were five handwritten pages of letters with the rifle, which told about finding it in a shop on the Arkansas-Texas border in 1964. According to the letters, it was inset in a walnut board with the good side showing, and may have been displayed in Oliver Winchester’s personal office. Since 2001, Western Heritage Museum in Tombstone, Arizona exhibited the rifle. It sold with the letters for $7,700.
There were several guns of local interest. A Spencer Model 1860 Army rifle played an important role in the Civil War and was of special significance to Ohio collectors. Kiene said the serial numbers on this rifle, showed it was issued to the 7th Independent Company, Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters who were responsible for protecting the Union generals. The breech-loading, 7-shot rifle was 47 inches in overall length. Although the middle barrel lock was broken, the rifle reached $5,060. Findlay area bidders competed for a cased pair of Colt 1812 Fort Findlay revolvers, made to commemorate the city of Findlay’s Sesquicentennial in 1962. There were only 110 produced and only 20 cased pairs. A set of 22 caliber revolvers, with a gold finish and walnut grips, shot to $5,500. Local bidders also had the unusual opportunity to bid on three rifles by O.B. Vandenburgh, who was a Findlay gunsmith in the 1800’s. In very good condition, a 38 caliber half-stock Vandenburgh rifle with an imitation tiger maple stock and Henry Parker Warranted back lock, sold for $770. The second example, a half-stock percussion rifle with some repairs and updates, brought $330; while the third, in poor condition, still made $165.
Other featured guns included a Derringer flintlock Indian trade rifle. The full stock rifle, circa 1800, had a 37-inch octagon barrel, tiger maple wood and an eagle head lightly carved on the patch box. With minor repair, it was in very good condition, striking a $5,720 bid. Another fine Indian-owned gun, was a Winchester 1866 saddle ring carbine which was decorated with brass tacks and its original beaded scalp lock. It rode to $2,200. One of the older guns, a flintlock Fowler circa 1780, had the typical slender style, with a cherry stock and an impressive 52-inch barrel. In very good condition for its age, it reached $3,575. Designed for protection, a “lady of the evening vanity box,” was an unusual set containing a small caliber pistol, a sterling handle garter knife and a swivel pull-out drawer with additional accessories. The set sold for $1,100.
There were many outstanding knives, swords and other miscellaneous items. One example was a U.S. Revolutionary War officer’s hanger sword, with an 18 1/2-inch blade and a grooved cherry grip with silver strapping. All of its metal furniture was gold plated. Selling without a scabbard, it was in very good condition, hitting $2,970. An outstanding Civil War era fighting knife, with a stag handle and a 12 1/2-inch blade, reached $3,300. Six boxed sample sets of antique ammunition sold well. A Winchester military set with a variety of sample shells, topped the group at $935. Made in 1864, a16-inch diameter, Civil War rope-tension drum, had a bentwood body. In beautiful condition, with names handwritten on the head, it sold with what were believed to be its original drumsticks for $550. Even cap guns made their mark. The top-selling lot had six cap pistols with their original boxes. They included Roy Rogers, Buffalo Bill, Gene Autry and others. Together, they hit $1,100.
Contact: 419-422-8531 or www.oldbarn.com