News-Antique.com - Jan 03,2008 - Rock Island Auction Company in Moline, IL was a busy place in September, 2007 following a major three day firearms sale and it would have been very easy for the telephone receptionist to dust off another caller looking for a free appraisal. However, the experienced receptionist knew a key phrase when she heard it and she immediately transferred the call to Acquisitions. The phrase? Colt Belt Paterson.
The caller just wanted to get an idea if the Colt was worth enough to buy his mother a new car. Acquisitions asked if he could send a photo and inquired of the condition. Yes he had a photo and the condition – new in the original box. Too good to be true but the photo confirmed the identity and the condition – flared grip, square back cylinder with all accessories in unpolished new condition in the original case. And, as if that weren’t enough, the original photo was accompanied by the photo of a Volcanic lever operated pistol made by New Haven Arms in 1857. That was all it took.
Auction owner Patrick Hogan was on the airplane on Monday morning to check out the new finds in Pennsylvania. Over the kitchen table the owner told Hogan a local collector had offered $8,000 for the entire collection that had belonged to his stepfather. When his independent research turned up a possible value as high as $75,000 he called Rock Island for confirmation. Hogan confirmed the estimate and told him it could sell as high as $275,000. The Volcanic from the photo turned out to be brand new and the owner asked Hogan if he was interested in the old box the gun came in. “Did you want it? I was going to throw it out as it is battered, would you like to see it?” Hogan’s jaw dropped “You have the original box?” As of that time there was only one original box known. This now makes two. The box itself could bring $30,000 plus the $100,000 + value of the pistol. Did he have any more? During this visit in the morning the son continued to bring out one fabulous piece after another setting them before Hogan on the kitchen table, guns from the mid-1850’s through the 1860’s cared for by the stepfather, a true collector.
The items were consigned to Rock Island and included in the December 8,9,10 catalog and sale. Throughout the sale the auctioneers would mention as each piece of this collection came up for sale “Here’s another kitchen table gun,” delighting the attentive crowd who knew the story.
The Colt, circa 1837-1840, touted in the Rock Island sale catalog as “The Finest Colt No. 3 Belt Model Paterson Known,” bearing serial number 51, was the top lot of the December Rock Island sale hammering down at a new world record of $414,000 including the buyer’s premium. The Volcanic in the original box likewise set a new record at $143,750 and a factory engraved Remington Double Derringer in