Colt Model 1883 Gatling Gun hits $172,500 at Fontaine's A Colt Model 1883 .45 caliber Gatling Gun, fully operational and in spectacular condition, sold for $172,500 at a Civil War, Firearms & Militaria Auction held Aug. 15-16 by Fontaine's Auction Gallery.
News-Antique.com - Oct 01,2009 - (PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – A Colt Model 1883 .45 caliber Gatling Gun – named after the man who invented it (Richard J. Gatling) and a 19th-century precursor to the modern-day machine gun – scored a bull’s eye when it soared to $172,500 at a Civil War, Firearms and Militaria Auction held Aug. 15-16 by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, in the firm’s gallery located at 1485 West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield.
The Gatling Gun was fully operational and in spectacular condition, boasting ten rotating .45 caliber barrels encased in a bronze jacket. It came out of the lifetime collection of the late George J. Bisacca, whose mainly Civil War collection had previously been housed in the Eastover Resort complex in Lenox, as part of a museum open to the public. The Gatling Gun was fired in showings at Eastover.
Actually, two Gatling Guns were sold at the auction, the other one (a Colt Model 1874) bringing $69,000. They easily took top lot honors in a sale that grossed $1.1 million and saw over 800 items change hands. The auction also featured vintage rifles, muskets, revolvers and guns, cannons, swords, drums, frocks, coats, uniforms, a Confederate belt with buckle, tintypes, cartes de visites and more.
“Obviously, any time you top the $1 million mark, it is a cause for celebration,” said John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, “but the bigger story is the fact that we are now positioned as one of the premier auction houses for Civil War, vintage firearms and militaria in the Northeast. We’re already gathering quality consignments for another such sale, on January 16, 2010.”
A standing room only crowd packed the Fontaine’s showroom, while online bidders (about 300 registered) participated through Proxibid, Artfact and Fontaine’s own Internet bidding platform, developed especially for them. In addition, approximately 200 people submitted bids by phone, while another 150 or so people submitted left bids. In all there were about 800 participating bidders for the 2 days.
Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Ten lots topped the $10,000 mark, in addition to the two Gatling Guns. These included a 3-inch 1861 ordinance rifle cannon carriage mount ($28,750); a Confederate Fayetteville 1864 muzzle-loader armory rifle ($23,000); a 12-pound cannon on iron carriage mount, dated 1837 ($19,550); a Hotchkiss mountain rifle with 2-inch bore cannon ($19,550); and a Model 1861 ordinance rifle-cannon ($17,250).
Other lots that soared above the $10,000 mark included an artillery limber with heavy metal ammunition chest ($14,950); a Coehorn mortar round ($14,375); an artillery cannon, carriage only ($12,650); a Mann experimental breechloading cannon ($11,550); and a British 12-pound cannon, circa 1812 ($10,925). Also, an Ohio Civil War drum with a photo of drummer Corp. H. L. Smith hit $7,475.
A Civil War-era U.S. New York regiment militia frock coat (circa 1860) garnered $7,475; a U.S. Civil War uniform worn by Capt. John Berry realized $6,325; a 16th-century European double-handled Landsknecht commanded $6,325; a burst artillery (tube only, circa 1840) hammered for