Auction

Stevens 1880s-era tip-up, heavy-barrel, black powder, .22 caliber long rifle engraved, “From Buffalo Bill to Night-Hawk & Broncho Bill”, with a historical photo of Buffalo Bill and Dr. D. Frank Powell, a.k.a. “Night-Hawk” and Buffalo Bill’s business partner (est. $25,000-$75,000).

If a Stevens .22 caliber long rifle, engraved "From Buffalo Bill to Night-Hawk & Broncho Bill" is on your wish list—you're in luck.

Swords, knives, antique firearms, like the Buffalo Bill rifle, and other eclectic collectibles will all be included in an upcoming auction.

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 – will be offered in a big three-day auction, July 26-28.

The auction is hosted by Holabird Western Americana Collections at the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum in Claremore.

Auction proceeds will go to "provide ongoing funding for the preservation, conservation and upkeep" of the J.M. Davis Collection housed at the museum in Claremore, according to Holabird.

The firearms to be auctioned have not seen the light of day for 50 years, according to auction organizers.

“They were ensconced in the museum at its inception, in 1969, and have resided there ever since. The public can view the firearms at previews planned for Wednesday and Thursday, July 24 and 25 at the museum," they said.

One of the highlight lots of the sale is a Stevens .22 caliber long rifle engraved, “From Buffalo Bill to Night-Hawk & Broncho Bill”. Accompanying the 1880s-era tip-up, heavy-barrel, black powder rifle is a published historical photo of Buffalo Bill Cody himself, pictured with the rifle in the auction and Dr. D. Frank Powell, a.k.a. “Night-Hawk”. Dr. Powell, along with two other brothers and Cody, were business partners in an entertainment syndicate worth about $9 million.

On the Auction Block

Other firearms expected to attract keen bidder interest include the following examples:

•An 1879 John Browning high-wall, single-shot rifle with serial #127 made in Browning’s gun shop in Ogden, Utah. The gun is still “in the white” (cared for since its manufacture).

•A G. Wallis 10-gauge flintlock musket, made during the American Colonial period and of French fowler design. Overall 52 inches long; one of at least six others from the era.

•An early American, Rev-War era musket with the original flint lock and influenced by the British “Brown Bess” design (later re-shaped for hunting rather than military use).

•A 1798 Federal Period U.S. contract musket that could very well have seen action in the War of 1812. Based on the French Charleville design and built by American craftsmen.

•A circa 1830s Sam Hawken Kentucky rifle, one of at least 101 rifles being offered from America’s First Gold Rush and fur trade eras. The half-stock rifle is signed “S. Hawken”.

•A Parkers-Snow & Co. (Meriden, Conn.) musket, dated 1864 on the lock just above the trigger and built under contract for Civil War use. One of over 100 Civil War-era rifles.

•An Allen & Wheelock Civil War rifle, one of fewer than 2,000 made and chambered as a rare .42 Ethan Allen (later called the .42 Forehand & Wadsworth). Barrel is 25.4” long.

•A rare, high-grade and beautiful Luete German Drilling 16-gauge, double-barrel shotgun over 8.5 mm rifle. The backlot plate and receiver both engraved with gold filigree inlay.

•A Krag Jorgeson, 1898 30-40 caliber bolt-action battle rifle from the Spanish-American War (one of more than 60 rifles from the era). The weapon is in near-original condition.

•A Springfield Model 1903 30-06 battle rifle, likely used during World War I and maybe even World War II. It’s marked with, “U.S. Springfield Armory Model 1903 – 217406”.

•A World War II M1 carbine, circa 1942-1945, made by an unknown manufacturer and in excellent condition, with initials “JHL” carved into the stock. One of 85+ from the era.

•A Gounne V Gronzabol AYA Matador side-by-side, double-barrel shotgun in .410 gauge, with the break at the top. Made in Spain and in nearly new shape, with nice checking.

Also offered in the sale will be hundreds of antique swords and a significant amount of Americana, to include Native Americana, especially stone objects and historic Midwestern pottery. Also up for bid will be thousands of pinbacks and ribbons, dating from the 1890s to around 1940 in a range of subject matter, including very rare baseball examples from the 1920s.

The Native American stoneware features items ranging from arrowheads to tomahawks. There are fewer than a dozen Native American pots in the sale, but all are desirable. Half are ancient and from the Midwestern United States; the other half were dug up in Panama, during the excavation of the Canal, and some have museum labels from the 1920s.

The swords date from the Medieval period to around World War II and there are both private and military examples.

About J.M. Davis

J. M. Davis’s love of firearms began in 1894, at age seven, when his father gave him a small, .410-gauge shotgun, this sparking his passion for collecting. By 1929 he had 99 guns and began to display them in the Mason Hotel in downtown Claremore, which he and his wife Addie had purchased in 1917. In 1965, the J.M. Davis Foundation was set up to manage his vast collection.

Over the course of several decades, Davis’s collection swelled to 20,000 firearms and other collectibles. Today the bulk of the collection is displayed to the public at the 40,000-square-foot J. M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum, operated by the State of Oklahoma. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm Central time. Admission is by donation.

To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections and the July 26-27-28 auction of the J.M. Davis antique firearms collection, visit www.fhwac.com.

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