Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Fontaine’s to Host Civil War, Militaria and Estate Sales in September

A full slate of three auctions, including a Civil War & Militaria Auction planned for Sunday, Sept. 12, will be held by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, in the firm’s spacious gallery facility at 1485 West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield. The centerpiece of the Sept. 12 event promises to be an authentic Colt Gatling Gun, expected to bring over $150,000.

The month will kick off on Friday, Sept. 11, at 11 a.m., with an Antique Discovery Auction that will feature over 600 lots from prominent local estates and collections. Offered will be about 50 pieces from the Arts & Crafts Movement (Stickley, Limbert, etc.), a vintage clock collection, artwork, sterling silver, cut glass, coins, bronzes, art glass, cameo glass and more.

The following day, Sept. 12, also with an 11 a.m. start time, will be the Civil War & Militaria Auction. The day will be packed with nearly 500 lots of firearms, swords, Civil War items, saddles, daguerreotypes, uniforms, buckles, canteens, letters, ephemera and more, to include the aforementioned Gatling Gun. A replica model 1862 Gatling Gun will also be sold.

The third September sale will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, beginning at 10 a.m. It will be an unreserved estate auction (everything sells, regardless of price), featuring over 650 fresh to the market items offered in two sessions. Sold will be a fine Newport, R.I., Ocean Avenue estate (name withheld per request of the heirs). All items will be transported to the gallery in Pittsfield.

The contents of the estate represent a vast array of silver, Russian enamel, period furniture, paintings, Mettlach steins, Tiffany pieces, cloisonne, carved jade, Oriental rugs, European & Asian porcelains and more.

Bidding for the Sept. 11 sale will be live, phone and absentee, with no online bidding component. Internet bidding for the Sept. 12 auction will be facilitated by, and the Fontaine’s Auction Gallery website ( Online bidding for the Sept. 25 sale will be facilitated by and Fontaine’s website.

In the Sept. 12 firearms auction, keen advance interest has already been expressed in the Colt Gatling gun (Model 1875, Serial No. 135, manufactured in Hartford, Conn., in 1875). At a Fontaine’s auction held Aug. 15-16, 2009, a Colt Model 1883 .45 caliber Gatling gun sold for a respectable $172,500.

The Gatling gun is named after the man who invented it, Richard J. Gatling, and was a 19th century precursor to the modern-day machine gun. The example set to cross the block Sept. 12 comes out of the private arms collection of Peter and Patty Murray. It comes complete with carriage, trunnion and tripod. It is expected to realize $150,000-$250,000.

The gun has enjoyed two careers of sorts. Its first incarnation, of course, was as a weapon for the U.S. Army. That began when the gun was shipped by the Gatling Gun Co. (a subsidiary of Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co., Inc.) from Hartford on Oct. 13, 1875. But the piece also was used by MGM Studios in movies from the 1930s to the ‘70s, where it fired “5-in-1” blanks.

The replica model 1862 Gatling gun, while not an original, carries a handsome pre-sale estimate of $17,500-$25,000. Only 13 model 1862 Gatling guns were originally produced, and all of those were destroyed in a warehouse fire in Cincinnati after the Civil War. The replica to be sold was reproduced from the original plans by master cannon maker Gary Scott of Indiana.

Vintage rifles will also be in evidence at the sale. Expected top lots include an extremely rare and massive flintlock rampart gun with a 76-inch round barrel, just about 8 feet long and weighing 60-70 pounds (est. $4,000-$8,000); an excellent example of a Winchester Model 1886 extra lightweight rifle with a 22-inch rapid taper barrel, made in 1902 (est. $4,000-$5,000); and a nice Model 1817 U.S. flintlock rifle, .58 caliber, with 35-inch round barrel (est. $2,500-$3,500).

Other rifles expected to do well include a very nice percussion target rifle by A.P. Wood of New York City, .38 caliber with a 32.5-inch octagonal barrel (est. $2,500-$3,500); a Civil War-era carbine marked “Spencer Repeating Rifle Co., Boston, Mass., Pat’d March 6, 1860” (est. $2,000-$3,000); and one lot consisting of five pieces attributed to the 141st Regiment of New York, to include a Belgian copy of a British pattern 1853 Enfield rifle (est. $1,500-$2,000).

Single pistols will feature a magnificent engraved and gold-filled Colt Model 1860 Army revolver, in excellent condition and with all numbers matching (est. $3,000-$5,000); a cased Robert Jones 5-shot double-action percussion pistol, made in 1864 (est. $3,000-$4,000); and a Starr Arms Co. 1863 Confederate Army .44 caliber 6-shot Army revolver (est. $1,500-$2,500).

Pistol sets always delight the crowd. Two pair guaranteed to get paddles wagging are a matched pair of large-bore flintlock sea service pistols, .69 caliber with 9.25-inch barrels, made circa 1812 (est. $2,000-$4,000); and a wonderful pair of D. Egg (London) percussion dueling pistols, .62 caliber with 5 ½ inch octagonal barrels in a nice walnut case (est. $4,000-$6,000).

Military coats and frocks will include an enlisted man’s gray shell U.S. New York Regiment militia frock coat, circa 1860, in good clean condition (est. $10,000-$15,000); a Civil war period dark blue New York State 71st Regiment swallow-tailed full dress coat (est. $4,000-$5,000); and a Civil War-era Louisville legion style long blue wool frock (est. $2,500-$3,500).

Swords will include two examples by N.P. Ames (Springfield, Mass.). The first is a Model 1832 artillery short sword with scabbard, frog and belt (est. $3,000-$4,000). The second is a circa 1840-50 militia staff officer’s sword with 31-inch blade and scabbard, both signed (est. $1,500-$2,000). Also sold will be a lot consisting of an unmarked Confederate sword with brass guard and pommel, an English percussion revolver by Robert Adams (London), and a military letter from a Capt. Robins to Lieut. Col. Geo. H. Woods, dated 9/17/1863 (est. $2,000-$4,000).

Additional militaria will feature a metal-bodied Queen’s lancer drum, 10 ½ inches by 15 ½ inches (est. $3,000-$5,000); a Confederate leather belt with buckle and hand-made cartridge box (est. $3,000-$4,000); a small tintype portrait of Gen. George Armstrong Custer (est. $2,500-$3,500); a 1/3-scale model of a brass 6-pounder Civil War-era cannon (est. $1,750-$3,500); and a William Muir & Co. (Windsor Locks, Conn.) Model 1861 rifle-musket (est. $2,000-$3,000).

Rounding out the day’s anticipated top lots: a German SS Storm Trooper dagger with black wooden handle, brown metal scabbard and leather belt hanger (est. $1,750-$2,250); a silver-hilted German hanger, made around 1750 (est. $2,200-$2,400); a rare, pre-Civil War Rienly officer’s leather saddle, Model 1848 (est. $2,000-$2,500); and a 39-piece collection of powder horns, flasks and shot pouches, all mounted on a piece of pegboard (est. $1,500-$3,000).

Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is actively seeking quality consignments for future sales. The firm also buys antiques and entire estates outright. For more information, or to consign an item, estate or collection, you may call (413) 448-8922 and ask to speak to John Fontaine. Or, you can e-mail him at [email protected].

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