ARMS & ARMOR COLLECTORS REMAIN FOCUSED ON HARD-TO-FIND, ONE-OF-A-KIND ITEMS
David Carde has been a firearms specialist for 20 years, working at Butterfield & Butterfield Auctions before landing a job at Heritage Auctions. He has appeared as an expert-appraiser on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow.
What are collectors looking for these days in arms and armor?
With so many arms and armor and related material auctions happening almost weekly worldwide, collectors are beginning to focus on hard-to-find, one-of-a-kind items. Prototypes, early production runs and guns considered “mint” are highly sought-after.
What’s a highlight of your upcoming June 10 auction?
We have a fantastic Civil War archive of personal items belonging to Lt. Colonel William L. Gross, assistant superintendent of the United States Military Telegraphs. It is all being sold together and it includes his presentation sword, a matched pair of inscribed revolvers, letters, documents and much more acquired directly from the family. It even has a letter from Union Major General Philip Sheridan introducing him to the superintendent of West Point.
Heritage Auctions recently sold a Colt Civilian Model Walker Single Action Revolver attributed to John Coffee “Jack” Hays. It realized $312,500. Why was that revolver so important?
Key factors make this gun so important and attractive. First, the fact that it is a Colt Civilian Walker, serial number 1001, rare as a gun itself plus the fact that it was probably the very first gun of the Civilian series of 100. Also the fact that it has the association with Jack Hays, a legendary figure in the history of the State of Texas, captain of the Texas Rangers, and one of the founding members of the city of Oakland and San Francisco’s first sheriff. So it’s not only a rare gun, but a gun attributed to an important historical figure. That’s a great combination.
What kind of consignment gets you excited these days?
“Fresh to the market” collections! Nothing is more exciting than a collection that’s been put away for generations. And collections that might be known by their name, but not available or seen publicly. These collections seem to have an item or two only seen or read about in books. From the time they come in until they get auctioned, we connect with the items and treat them like our own, and sometimes it becomes hard to say goodbye.
David Carde can be reached at DavidC@HA.com or 214.409.1881.